Discover the Delicious World of Sausages: What Are Sausages?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 3, 2022

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Sausage is a popular food worldwide, but people often don’t know much about the different varieties. This guide will cover everything you need to know about sausages!

Sausage is a meat product that can be cooked and eaten immediately or dried and stored for future use. It’s typically made from ground meat (usually beef or pork) mixed with salt, spices, and other fillers and then stuffed into a casing.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the history, types, and other facts about this delicious food.

What are sausages

What’s the Deal with Sausage?

What Is It?

Sausage is basically ground meat, fat, salt, and a bunch of other stuff like spices, preservatives, and sometimes fillers like grains or breadcrumbs all mixed together. You can get it in bulk form, or it can be stuffed into casings to make links. It can be fresh, cooked, cured, smoked, or dried. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of meats!

Where Does It Come From?

The word “sausage” comes from the Middle English sausige, which came from sal, Latin for salt. In France, they call it sausissons and in Germany, it’s wurst. It was originally created as a way to preserve meat, so it’s been around for a long time. You can make sausage out of almost any kind of meat, from the traditional to the exotic. Plus, you can mix in all sorts of spices and other ingredients to get a huge variety of flavors. Prices vary depending on the ingredients, type, and maker.

What’s the Best Sausage?

Ah, the age-old question. Well, if you’re looking for a delicious yet affordable option, then Italian sausage is the way to go. It’s got all the flavor you could ever want, and it won’t break the bank. Plus, you can use it in all sorts of recipes, from pasta dishes to breakfast scrambles. Yum!

Cooking Sausage: A Beginner’s Guide

Ground Sausage

Cooking ground sausage is a breeze! You can:

  • Form it into patties or balls and pan-fry, bake, or grill it
  • Stuff it into dishes as a filling
  • Break it up and brown it in a skillet and use it in soups, sauces, and other dishes

Fresh Link Sausage

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can try cooking fresh link sausage! Here are some ways to do it:

  • Grill it
  • Roast it
  • Broil it
  • Braise it
  • Pan-fry it
  • Boil it

Once it’s cooked, you can serve it whole or slice it up and incorporate it into dishes.

Cured and Smoked Sausages

If you’re looking for something that’s already cooked, cured and smoked sausages are the way to go! You can just serve them as-is, or add them to a cooked dish.

Homemade Sausage

If you’re feeling extra creative, why not try making your own sausage? With a meat grinder and sausage stuffer (for links), you can control the ingredients and spices. And once you’re done, you can enjoy your homemade sausages as-is, smoke them, or dry them.

What Does Sausage Taste Like?

A Variety of Flavors

Sausage is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get! From spicy to sweet, there’s a sausage flavor for everyone. You’ve got your classic Italian sausage, with its fennel, curry powder, and paprika. Then there’s the sweet stuff, like apple and maple syrup sausage. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try blood sausage, which has a strong mineral taste.

Texture Matters Too

When it comes to sausage, texture is just as important as flavor. Fresh sausage has a texture similar to ground meat, and is usually moist thanks to the fat content. The grind of the meat, the amount of fat, and other ingredients like oats and breadcrumbs can all have an impact on the texture. Dried, cured, and smoked sausages tend to have a tougher, chewier texture and a more intense flavor.

A Delicious Experience

Sausage is a delicious experience, no matter which variety you choose! Whether you’re looking for something spicy, sweet, or just plain savory, there’s a sausage out there for you. So grab a pack, fire up the grill, and get ready for a flavor-packed adventure!

Sausage: A Delicious Variety

When it comes to sausage, there’s no shortage of delicious options. Whether you’re looking for something to spice up your breakfast or a hearty dinner, there’s sure to be a sausage out there for you. Let’s take a look at the different types of sausage available:

Fresh Sausage

  • Fresh sausages are uncooked and come in either bulk or casing form.
  • Popular fresh sausages include Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, bangers, bratwurst, merguez, boudin, and Mexican-style chorizo.
  • Pre-cooked fresh sausages include black pudding and hot dogs.

Smoked Sausage

  • Smoked sausages are either pre-cooked and smoked or just smoked.
  • Examples include kielbasa, andouille, and Spanish-style chorizo.

Dried Sausage

  • Dried sausages have a hard texture and concentrated flavor and don’t need to be cooked.
  • Examples include lap cheong, salami, and longaniza.

Vegetarian & Vegan Options

  • For those looking for a meat-free option, there’s a wide range of vegetarian and vegan sausages available.
  • These are made using tofu, pea protein, grains, lentils, and more and can often mimic the texture and flavor of fresh sausage.

So, whether you’re a meat-lover or a veggie-fanatic, there’s a sausage out there for you. With so many delicious varieties available, why not give them all a try?

Delicious Ways to Enjoy Sausage


Start your day off right with a delicious sausage-filled breakfast! Crumble or slice up some fresh sausage and add it to omelets, stuffings, and casseroles. Or, if you’re feeling extra fancy, why not whip up some sausage cheddar biscuits?


Nothing says lunch like a good ol’ sausage roll! Whether you’re looking for a classic British sausage roll or something a bit more exotic, you can’t go wrong with a delicious sausage-filled pastry.


For dinner, why not try something a bit more hearty? Italian sausage and peppers is a classic that never gets old. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try baking some sausage into a batter for a unique twist.


Smoked or dried sausages make for a tasty snack. Serve them up with a cheese platter or add them to a rice dish like jambalaya or fried rice for a flavorful kick.

Where to Find the Best Sausage Around

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are a great place to get your sausage fix! You can find all sorts of delicious options like pork, beef, turkey, chicken, and veggie sausages like Italian, breakfast, bratwurst, hot dogs, and even Mexican-style chorizo. Plus, some stores may even have salami, kielbasa, andouille, and more. If you’re looking for something specific, try an international market for some unique flavors like lap cheong.

Fresh or Pre-Cooked

When it comes to sausage, you can get it fresh or pre-cooked. Fresh sausage is sold by the pound at the meat counter or in pre-packaged one to two-pound packages in the meat section. You can also buy it in bulk without the casing. Make sure to get the freshest uncooked sausage you can find! Dried and smoked sausages are available by the link or sliced by the pound. If you’re looking for something special, try aged sausage from its country of origin or from skilled American makers.

The Bottom Line

So, if you’re looking to get your sausage on, head to your local grocery store! You’ll find all sorts of delicious options, from fresh to pre-cooked, and from beef to veggie. Plus, if you’re feeling adventurous, try an international market for some unique flavors. No matter what you choose, you’re sure to find something that’ll make your taste buds happy!

Storing Sausage: A Guide for the Average Joe

Fresh Sausage

Fresh sausage should be stored in its original packaging in the refrigerator for up to three days. Any extra should be tightly wrapped and placed in a container or zip-top bag to freeze for up to three months.

Pre-Cooked Sausages

Unopened pre-cooked sausages, like hot dogs, will keep in the fridge for at least two weeks and a week after opening. Store in an airtight container or bag.

Dried, Cured, and Smoked Sausages

Most dried, cured, and smoked sausages will keep in the pantry for up to 2 months in its original packaging. Store any sliced sausage in the fridge for a few weeks.

Storing Sausage: A Summary

Storing sausage can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right know-how, you can keep your sausages fresh and delicious! Here’s a quick rundown of the basics:

  • Fresh sausage should be stored in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Unopened pre-cooked sausages, like hot dogs, will keep in the fridge for at least two weeks and a week after opening.
  • Most dried, cured, and smoked sausages will keep in the pantry for up to 2 months.
  • Any sliced sausage should be stored in the fridge for a few weeks.

So there you have it – a handy guide to storing sausage! Now you can enjoy your sausages for longer and never worry about them going bad.

The History and Varieties of Sausages

A Brief History

Sausages have been around for centuries and have been enjoyed by many cultures throughout the ages. They were popular in Rome and well known in the Middle Ages. Nowadays, sausages are made with a combination of meat, fat, binding agents and water, all contained in a natural or artificial casing. Sausages can be eaten raw, cooked, fermented, dried or smoked, and come in a huge variety of shapes and flavors.

The Main Ingredients

The main ingredients of a sausage are:

  • Meat
  • Fat
  • Binding agents
  • Water

Plus, curing salts, such as sodium chloride or sodium nitrate, sugar, herbs and spices are often added for flavor.

The Making of a Sausage

Making sausages is a three-step process:

  • Mincing the meat and fat
  • Mixing the ingredients together
  • Filling the casing

The filling is where the mixture is put into the casing. Natural casings are the intestines of pigs, cows or lambs, and artificial casings can be synthetic or cellulose-based.

The Many Varieties

Sausages come in a huge variety of shapes and flavors. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Merguez: Raw sausages made with a combination of lamb, beef and spices.
  • Chipolatas: Small, thin sausages made with pork, beef or veal.
  • Vienna sausages: Cooked and smoked sausages made with pork, beef or veal.
  • Lyon sausage: Cooked sausages made with pork, beef or veal.
  • Dry salami: Salted, fermented, dried and possibly smoked sausages.
  • Black pudding: Blood-based sausages, usually eaten quickly after the slaughtering of the pig.
  • White sausages: Milk, eggs, white meat and fatty bacon-based sausages.

So, whether you’re looking for a classic or something a bit more adventurous, there’s sure to be a sausage for you!

The Skinny on Sausage Casings

What are Sausage Casings?

Sausage casings are the outer layer that encases the deliciousness inside. It’s like the wrapping paper of a sausage gift. Traditionally, these casings were made from the cleaned intestines or stomachs of animals, but nowadays, they can be made from collagen, cellulose, or even plastic. Some sausages don’t even need a casing, like sliced sausage, luncheon meat, and sausage meat in cans and jars.

Why Do We Need Sausage Casings?

Sausage casings are essential for a few reasons:

  • They keep the sausage together, so it doesn’t fall apart when you cook it.
  • They help to keep the flavor inside the sausage, so you can enjoy all the deliciousness in one bite.
  • They help to keep the sausage moist and juicy, so it doesn’t dry out when you cook it.

What Are the Different Types of Sausage Casings?

There are a few different types of sausage casings available, depending on your needs. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Natural Casings: These are made from the cleaned intestines or stomachs of animals and are the traditional choice.
  • Collagen Casings: These are made from collagen, a protein found in animal skin and bones. They are usually more affordable than natural casings.
  • Cellulose Casings: These are made from cellulose, a plant-based material. They are usually the most affordable option.
  • Plastic Casings: These are made from plastic and are often used for industrially manufactured sausages.

How Do I Choose the Right Sausage Casings?

When choosing the right sausage casings, it’s important to consider a few things:

  • What type of sausage are you making? Different types of sausages require different types of casings.
  • What type of flavor do you want? Natural casings tend to have a stronger flavor, while plastic casings are more neutral.
  • How much do you want to spend? Natural casings tend to be more expensive, while plastic casings are usually the most affordable.

No matter what type of sausage you’re making, there’s sure to be a casing that’s perfect for you. So go ahead and get creative with your sausage-making!

What’s Inside a Sausage?

The Meaty Stuff

Sausages are made from all sorts of meaty goodness, from pork and beef to poultry and veal. Depending on the type of sausage and the producer, the ratio of lean meat to fat can vary. Some sausages contain more than 100% meat, which happens when the weight of the meat exceeds the total weight of the sausage after it’s been made.

The Extras

Sausages also contain a bunch of other ingredients to give them flavor and texture. These can include:

  • Starch fillers like breadcrumbs or grains
  • Seasonings and spices
  • Fruits and vegetables like apples and leeks

The Regulations

In some countries, there are regulations in place that dictate what can and can’t be included in sausages. In the US, for example, the Department of Agriculture has rules about the fat content of different types of sausages.

The Low-Cost Option

When it comes to low-cost sausages, pretty much anything goes. You might find sausages made from fat and connective tissue, or with mechanically recovered meat (MRM). On the other hand, the finest quality sausages only contain choice cuts of meat and seasoning.

The Science Bit

Sausages are emulsion-type products. This means they’re made up of solid fat globules that are suspended in a protein solution. The proteins act as a coating for the fat and help to keep the sausage together when it’s cooked. As the meat contracts in the heat, the filler expands and absorbs fat and moisture from the meat.


Sausages are a delicious and versatile food that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a full meal, there’s a sausage for everyone! From fresh to smoked to dried, there’s a flavor and texture to suit any palate. And don’t forget: when it comes to sausages, you don’t have to “Kielbasa” the same old thing over and over again. So go ahead and get creative with your cooking – you won’t be “SORRY”!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.