Mini sausages are literally smaller versions of normal sausages. Like with normal sausages, the exact definition of what constitutes a sausage will vary from country to country and region to region. While theoretically any sausage can be miniaturized, cured sausages and salami are usually too big. Examples of these sausages range from the mini hot dog in America to the cocktail sausage found in British buffets via the Romanian mititei sausage.
Sausages are a means of both preserving meat and making use of meat products that have not been used by butchers in other cuts. While many sausages are made of pork, there are also sausages made from beef, chicken, and fish. There is also a wide range of vegetarian and halal sausages available in many countries.
The preparation methods for full-size and mini sausages are identical. The meat is first ground or minced into small portions. It is then mixed with herbs, spices or other ingredients ranging from other meats to fruits such as apricots and apples. The mixture is then forced into a membrane that is twisted to form sausages. With mini sausages, the meat is often forced through a smaller hole to produce a thinner sausage with the twisting taking place at shorter intervals to make a shorter sausage.
Like their bigger cousins, mini sausages can be classified based on type and origin. Sausages can first be classified as raw, fresh, cooked or precooked. They can then be sub-classified as smoked or dried. In Britain, most small sausages are precooked and sold in large packs. Mini hot dogs and mini corn dogs are also sold precooked.
The boiled sausage, such as the wiener and American hot dogs, can be miniaturized. The mini hot dog is often used as a buffet snack or for kids’ party meals alongside mini hamburgers and finger sandwiches. The mini hot dog can also be dipped into cornmeal batter and deep fried to make a mini corn dog. In Japan, there are mini octopus sausages that are pre-cut so when they cook, they expand to look like octopuses.
In Britain, mini sausages are also called cocktail sausages. They tend to be skewered on cocktail sticks and served next to pineapple and cheese hedgehogs at buffets. The sausage is also used as an alternative to the chipolata as an accompaniment to slices of roast turkey and stuffing in Christmas meals. Another alternative is to wrap the mini sausage in bacon before cooking.