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What Are the Different Types of Sausages?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are a wide variety of different sausages available throughout the world, and they all fall into just a few basic categories. Sausage is primarily made with seasoned ground pork, although other meats may sometimes be used. This combination of meat and spices is categorized according to the amount of processing and includes fresh, smoked, and cured sausage. Some sausages have already been pre-cooked before reaching the market. These sausages are then further categorized according to flavor and type, such as breakfast sausage, hot dogs, or bologna.

Fresh sausage is made from raw meat and a combination of spices. This type of sausage needs to be refrigerated before use and cooked completely before serving. Sausage patties, breakfast links, and bratwursts are examples of fresh sausages. It is important to thoroughly cook fresh sausage and carefully clean any surfaces that come into contact with raw meat in order to avoid contamination and prevent food poisoning associated with raw or undercooked meat. Proper hand-washing techniques are also important when handling this type of sausage.

Smoked sausage is typically hung in a smoke house or placed in a smoker and is partially or completely cooked by the smoke that results from a well-controlled fire. The smoke helps to flavor the meat, and this type of sausage is a favorite at deli counters throughout the world. Kielbasa is a type of smoked sausage that requires further cooking before consumption. Ready-to-eat smoked sausages include andouille, hot dogs, and bologna.

Cured sausages are made from fresh meat and spices and then covered with salt. The meat is then allowed to air dry for a specified amount of time, usually several weeks. This process of curing essentially cooks the sausage over a period of time. Examples of cured sausages include salami, chorizo, and coppa. In some areas of the world, cured sausage is more commonly known as summer sausage due to the fact that it does not require refrigeration during the warmer months of the year.

Pre-cooked sausages can be made with fresh, smoked, or cured meat, and sometimes a combination of these methods may be employed. A pureed concoction of meat and spices is placed inside a sausage casing and then cooked appropriately, depending on the specific type of sausage. Some examples of pre-cooked sausages include frankfurters, mortadella, and bratwursts. While this type of sausage is often eaten straight from the package, it may also be cut up and cooked in other food dishes.

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Discussion Comments
By indemnifyme — On Jan 03, 2012

I had no idea that you could leave cured/summer sausage out of the refrigerator! I always get really nervous about getting food poisoning from meat, so I probably wouldn't have believed that one if I hadn't read it in an article. Very interesting!

I suppose if you wanted to make your own sausage, cured sausage would probably be the best kind to make, also. It sounds like basically all you have to do is cover it in salt and leave it sitting out. That doesn't sound very complicated to me!

By JessicaLynn — On Jan 02, 2012

@Monika - That does sound like a fairly easy meal. I make something similar, but I usually use ground beef instead of sausage. I used to like sausage a lot (italian sausage was my favorite) but I just can't bring myself to eat it anymore.

I always hear all these horrible stories about how sausage is basically made with all the leftover meat parts. The whole idea grosses me out, so I just buy regular meat instead. Also, sausage isn't really that great for you anyway, because most sausages are extremely high in sodium.

By Monika — On Jan 02, 2012

Kielbasa sausage happens to be my person favorite type of sausage. I'm not sure what sausage seasoning they use on it, but it sure is good! Also, it's available pre-cooked, so all you have to do is warm it up.

If I want to make a really quick dinner, I just get some pasta, sauce, Kielbasa sausage and garlic bread. I'll get some vegetables too if I feel like chopping (but sometimes I don't bother.) Then, I cook the pasta, warm up the sauce, sausage and garlic bread, and I have myself a meal! The whole process takes less than a half an hour.

By kylee07drg — On Jan 01, 2012

@Perdido – Cocktail smokies do taste great prepared this way. I have to say that pigs in a blanket is my second favorite sausage meal. However, sausage patties are the greatest. I have been eating them for breakfast since I was a little kid, and my taste buds still crave them.

I buy the patties frozen and keep them that way until I'm ready to cook them. I place them in a cast iron skillet and let them sizzle on medium heat until they are brown on both sides.

I love eating sausage patties in biscuits. If I'm in a rush, though, I will eat them with buttered toast, and this is just as delicious.

By Oceana — On Jan 01, 2012

Hot dogs are my favorite type of smoked sausage. There is nothing like a hot dog cooked on a charcoal grill on a day at the lake. I have usually worked up quite an appetite by swimming, and I can eat two large grilled hot dogs.

The cool thing about hot dogs is that they can also be eaten cold, since they are sold fully cooked. I remember when the electricity went out at my house for an entire day, my family and I ate cold hot dogs for supper, and they were delicious wrapped up in wheat bread with mustard.

One other way I eat hot dogs is with baked beans. My husband often makes a pot of beans with brown sugar and ketchup mixed in, and he adds chopped hot dogs to it. It's a sweet way to enjoy the smoked sausage.

By wavy58 — On Dec 31, 2011

I had never considered bologna a type of sausage until reading this article. It is true that the meat contains a lot of spices.

It is really convenient to eat when you need to make a quick lunch. I like to eat bologna on white bread with a single piece of lettuce. The softness of the bread and the crispiness of the lettuce make a good contrast in texture, and the actual flavor is provided by the bologna.

I also love eating bologna on crackers. I like to cut it up into six pieces and put each one on a cracker. This is a great snack to tide me over til dinner.

By Perdido — On Dec 30, 2011

@bagley79 – I also love those little sausages, but I prepare them differently. I make pigs in a blanket out of them.

I use canned biscuit dough for the blankets. I pinch off half a biscuit and wrap one sausage in it, mushing the ends of the dough together around the sausage.

I then cook them according to the directions on the can of biscuit dough. I always take them to holiday parties, because too many people just bring sweet stuff, and I like to know that there will be something filling and meaty there to eat.

By Mykol — On Dec 29, 2011

We serve breakfast every year at the cattleman headquarters restaurant at our state fair. When most people think of sausages, they think of pork.

Because we promote beef products, we order some beef sausages from a local locker. We serve an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with sausage.

Not everybody cares for the beef sausage, especially when they are used to eating pork. They are maple flavored and I find them to be very tasty.

In fact, my husband and I order some of these from this same locker every year. For someone who does not like pork, or like to eat much pork, these are a great alternative.

By bagley79 — On Dec 29, 2011

I love the cocktail size pork and beef sausages. This is one thing I always take to parties, and know I will come home with an empty crock pot.

All I do is put the sausages in the crock pot and add equal amounts of chili sauce and grape jelly. I cook these on low for a few hours and they are ready to eat.

Not much work is involved in preparing these, but everyone always loves them. If I showed up without them, I know everyone would be asking me why I didn't bring them.

By andee — On Dec 28, 2011

My husband loves to hunt, and every year he gets a deer, we have some venison sausage made up. This sausage is a combination of venison and pork and looks like ring bologna.

Sometimes we have some cheese in the middle of the sausage ring, but other times we just like it plain.

For a nice meal, all I have to do is add the ring of sausage to some boiling water in a pan and heat it through. I always serve this with some homemade macaroni and cheese.

This is an easy and cheap meal that feeds my whole family and more importantly - everyone likes it!

If there are any leftovers it tastes just as good sliced and eaten with some cheese and crackers.

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