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What is Blood Sausage: A Culinary Guide to This Rich, Savory Delicacy

Editorial Team
Updated May 16, 2024
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What is Blood Sausage: A Culinary Guide to This Rich, Savory Delicacy

Delve into the savory world of blood sausage, a culinary tradition steeped in history and enjoyed across the globe. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, this delicacy dates back to ancient times, with references by Homer highlighting its longstanding cultural significance. Known as blutwurst in Germany, boudin noir in France, and morcilla in Spain, each variety incorporates local flavors and ingredients, creating a rich tapestry of tastes. . A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information emphasizes the nutritional value of blood sausage, noting its high protein content and presence of essential minerals (). Whether you're a food enthusiast or a curious epicurean, understanding what is blood sausage unlocks a world of gastronomic delight, offering a unique window into the culinary practices that have nourished communities for millennia.


Rich Flavor

This type of sausage is distasteful to some consumers because of the blood content, which is perceived as unpleasant or offensive. When made properly, however, blood sausage should not have the metallic taste that many people link with blood. Instead, it has a rich and complex flavor that many people consider to be delicious alone or as a complement to soups, stews and other dishes.


In its most basic form, blood sausage contains onions and a few herbs and spices cooked together with pork, to which the blood is added. Additional ingredients might include cream, seasonal vegetables or heavier spices. After being thoroughly stirred together so that the blood distributes evenly, the mixture is forced into sausage casings. The proper amount of blood and thorough mixing are important so that clots of blood do not form in the sausage, which can make for an unpleasant experience for the diner. After being made, blood sausage can be cooked and canned, dried or eaten fresh.


Blood sausage is considered to taste best when it is made with fresh blood that has not coagulated, so it is one of the first products that is made from a slaughtered animal. After being slaughtered, the animal is suspended and bled. The blood is collected in a basin and usually is kept somewhere cool while the animal is being butchered and dressed.


Fresh blood sausages generally will keep for only a few days, although they can be frozen. This type of sausage has a short shelf life when fresh, so it frequently accompanies a traditional post-slaughter meal, which includes other delicate meats, such as the liver. It usually is available for sale in a precooked or cured form, which tastes very different from fresh sausage. For this reason, many chefs who have access to a good butcher prefer to make it fresh, although obtaining fresh blood can be difficult in some areas.

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Our Editorial Team, made up of seasoned professionals, prioritizes accuracy and quality in every piece of content. With years of experience in journalism and publishing, we work diligently to deliver reliable and well-researched content to our readers.
Discussion Comments
By anon1007129 — On Jun 06, 2022

I love the taste of fried black pudding but I do not like the lumps of fat. Is there a version available in the UK that is 'smooth'?

By anon963576 — On Jul 30, 2014

I'm dying to try it. It sounds interesting. I'll give it a go when I'm in the UK later this year.

By anon337400 — On Jun 05, 2013

Yes, Great Britain does have this on a traditional English breakfast fry up. It's best done until crispy on the outside, for my taste.

If you think black pudding is bad, you should investigate the Scottish Haggis.

By anon326421 — On Mar 21, 2013

My parents came to Ohio from central Europe and would often purchase a freshly slaughtered pig from a nearby farm to prepare smoked ham and various types of sausages including blood sausage or kishka, as it's sometimes called. Everything was homemade using the freshest ingredients. It was absolutely delicious.

What's ironic is that I would gross out my classmates when I told them the casings were literally the pig's intestines. Now I can understand the revulsion of vegetarians, but anyone who regularly eats commercially mass produced hot dogs which are rendered from far more "interesting" substances from the animal should really keep their comments to themselves.

By lluviaporos — On Mar 07, 2013

This seems like the kind of thing that sounds bad, but just tastes exactly like meat when you eat it.

If I had a good blood sausage recipe and access to some blood I'd give it a try, but I doubt I'd be able to find any that have already been made in this area.

Although, in saying that, sometimes when you feel a bit off about eating something it starts to taste off, so I'd have to be feeling open minded.

By Mor — On Mar 06, 2013
@KoiwiGal - Not all people have traditionally eaten blood though, in any shape or form. I know there's a traditional Jewish prohibition on eating blood (which is one reason why they use kosher salt, to draw it out of meat so they can wash it away).

Yes, a lot of people did eat it, because it was a shame to waste any part of an animal if you've just slaughtered it and your family lives meal to meal. But, on the other hand, carcasses that have not been properly drained of blood don't keep very well, and blood in general isn't going to keep very well in hot weather, so I doubt many tribes that lived in the desert would have blood based meals just because it wouldn't stay good in storage.

I could be wrong though, I don't know if spicing it or smoking it would work the way it can for other kinds of meat.

By KoiwiGal — On Mar 06, 2013

@anon288802 - Actually it's very healthy and contains a lot of the nutrients people need (iron in particular, obviously). I know there are tribes in Africa who live solely on blood and milk from their cows, which they bleed (without hurting them) to collect the blood. They are the only group in the world who can basically live without killing another living thing (plants included).

It's actually pretty strange that there's such a stigma against it in some modern societies. I mean, there is blood in steak and every other kind of meat. It doesn't all drain away, it just gets cooked until it's no longer bright red. So, what's the difference?

By anon288802 — On Aug 31, 2012

It can't be healthy for people to ingest blood. Is the blood simply to provide a flavor or what? I have to admit I will never even try this. It sounds absolutely disgusting.

By anon250937 — On Feb 27, 2012

This was originally an autumn slaughter feast item. When hams and sausages were hung in the smokehouse, the parts which could not be stored for winter consumption were used immediately. Nothing was wasted. One never knew when the extra vitamins and calories would be needed. Blood sausage, blood pudding, liver and kidney, etc, were all part of the feast, and people passing through joined in the feast if they happened to be there at the time. Lots of history in this dish!

By anon238260 — On Jan 02, 2012

As a child, teenager and young adult I loved this heated in butter til it burst open and then mixed with ketchup. I always thought it carried the name "blood sausage" because of its color.

One of my grown daughters asked me about the name since she also loved it growing up. After reading her the ingredients, I was shocked. She replied, "Yeah I will never eat that again". Glad I have been a vegetarian for over 10 years now. Yuck!

By anon180494 — On May 26, 2011

@zanna1tx: try a Mexican butcher shop and ask for morcilla ("morsija" in Dutch). When I still lived in Holland my mother baked thick slices and we ate it on white bread with slices of baked apple on top. Yummy!

By anon167922 — On Apr 14, 2011

@zanna1tx: Herberts grocery store sells it in San Marcos, Texas. It is on River road. Good stuff.

By anon116459 — On Oct 06, 2010

Zanna1tx for sure in Colombian Restaurants (Houston) you can order it, it is called Morsilla.

By anon115322 — On Oct 01, 2010

I had black pudding last night and I admit, it was delicious. I worried it would taste coppery or weird, but it didn't. I would eat it again.

By anon108132 — On Sep 01, 2010

Try Bernhard Meat Processing, Inc., in Kerrville, Texas

By anon97476 — On Jul 19, 2010

It is unlikely I'll ever eat blood sausage after reading this article. It sounds pretty disgusting.

By anon92550 — On Jun 28, 2010

Wouldn't you drink blood if that's all the vitamins you could live from?

By anon91599 — On Jun 22, 2010

It looks and tastes nasty.

By anon77489 — On Apr 14, 2010

We have never had blood pudding so we can't really say we don't like it.

By zanna1tx — On Mar 17, 2009

Used to love this when I was a kid growing up in the Netherlands. Is there any place in Texas I can order or buy blood sausage? Thank you, Suzanna.

By anon23294 — On Dec 20, 2008

Blood pudding is completely different. It is blood also, but it is cooked and congealed outside of a casing, not like the blood sausage. Same type of food, just not the same thing. The English have black pudding and blood sausage.

By leilani — On May 15, 2008

I believe the British have yet another name for this type of food -- black pudding or blood pudding.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
Our Editorial Team, made up of seasoned professionals, prioritizes accuracy and quality in every piece of content. With years of experience in journalism and publishing, we work diligently to deliver reliable and well-researched content to our readers.
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