Everyone who isn't a vegetarian loves sausages! They can be made of any type of meat, and are delicious, whether pork, beef, chicken, seafood, or a combination.
Categories of Sausages
There are four main categories of sausages: fresh; cooked and smoked; cooked; and semi-dry and dry. The sausages listed here are basically ground meat, seasoned and flavored, with added fat, stuffed into casings.
Bulk sausage is flavored ground meat, usually pork, that is cooked like ground beef, or formed into patties. No matter which sausage you use, be sure to read the label for handling and cooking instructions. A sausage that is smoked or dried, for instance, isn't necessarily fully cooked and ready to eat without further cooking.
Nitrate and Nitrite-Free Sausages
Many people are concerned about nitrates and nitrites, preservatives used in the making of smoked meat and sausages. These curing agents stop bacterial contamination, particularly Clostridium botulinum, and give the product a pink color and distinctive flavor. If you shop carefully, you can find products labeled nitrate and nitrite-free, although celery juice, which is usually used as a nitrate substitute, still forms nitrites, because celery juice contains sodium nitrate.
Ingredients in Sausages
In the chart below, the ingredients listed for each sausage are generic. Specific brands of sausages may have slightly different ingredients; however, these ingredients are considered typical. Remember, if you are serving anyone in a high-risk group (elderly, very young, pregnant women, those with illness and immune problems), do not serve them deli meats and cured meats without heating them to 160 F. Even hot dogs are not safe to eat for those in this group until they are thoroughly cooked.
Oh, and Polish Sausage and Kielbasa are basically the same and are interchangeable; kielbasa is a polish word that means 'sausage'. One of the differences is that Kielbasa is sold in rings rather than separate links. Just use the brand you like!
|Polish Sausage||Fresh||Pork, beef, garlic, thyme or marjoram, pork fat, pepper||Steam, Fry, Grill, or Bake to 160 F.|
|Kielbasa||Fresh, Smoked||Beef, pork, garlic, pork or beef fat, mustard||Steam, Fry, Grill, or Bake to 160 F.|
|Bratwurst||Fresh, sometimes smoked and cooked||Pork or beef, veal, dry milk, onion, garlic, coriander, caraway, nutmeg||Steam, Fry, Grill, or Bake to 160 F.|
|Salami||Dry, Cured||Highly seasoned: garlic, salt, pepper, sugar||
Ready to eat
|Sweet or Hot Italian||Fresh||
Sweet: garlic, sugar, anise, and fennel
Hot: paprika, chili peppers, onion, garlic, fennel, parsley
|Steam, Fry, Grill, or Bake to 160 F.|
|Cervelat or Summer Sausage||Cured, Smoked, Semi-Dry||Pork, beef, garlic, mustard, mild spices||Ready to eat|
|Andouille||Smoked||Pork, salt, very spicy, sugar, paprika, red pepper, garlic, sage||Ready to eat|
|Andouille||Fresh||Pork, salt, very spicy, sugar, paprika, red pepper, garlic, sage||Gently sauté to 160 F.|
|Boudin Blanc||Fresh, delicate||Pork, fat, eggs, cream, bread crumbs, seasonings||Gently sauté to 160 F.|
|Boudin Noir||Precooked||Pig's blood, suet, breadcrumbs||Ready to eat; better sautéed; check the label for cooking instructions|
|Knackwurst||Precooked, smoked||Beef, pork, lots of garlic, cumin||Ready to eat|
|Linguica||Cured, smoked||Pork butt, lots of garlic, cumin, cinnamon, vinegar||Usually ready to eat; check the label|
|Pepperoni||Air-dried||Pork, beef, lots of black and red pepper||Usually ready to eat; check the label|
|Chorizo||Dry, smoked||Pork, cilantro, paprika, garlic, chili powder, very spicy||Usually ready to eat; some must be cooked to 160 F before eating.|
|Mortadella||Semi-dry, smoked||Cubes of pork fat, pork, beef, peppercorns, garlic, anise||Steam, Fry, Grill, Bake to 160 F.|
|Hot Dogs||Cooked, Smoked, Cured||Cured beef, and pork, garlic, salt, sugar, mustard, pepper||May be ready to eat, but for high-risk, groups, heat to 160 F before serving|
|Bockwurst||Fresh||Veal, pork, milk, chives, eggs||Steam, Sauté, Bake to 160 F.|
|Bologna||Cooked, smoked||Cured beef, and pork, garlic, salt||Ready to eat|