A Sausage is a food usually made from ground meat with a skin around it. Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made from intestine, but sometimes synthetic. Some sausages are cooked during processing and the casing may be removed after. Sausage making is a traditional food preservation technique. Sausages may be preserved by curing, drying, or smoking.
Refer also to Black Pudding (Blood Sausage)
History of Sausages
Sausage making is a logical outcome of efficient butchery. Traditionally, sausage makers would salt various tissues and organs such as scraps, organ meats, blood, and fat to help preserve them. They would then stuff them into tubular casings made from the cleaned intestines of the animal, producing the characteristic cylindrical shape. Hence, sausages, puddings, and salami are among the oldest of prepared foods, whether cooked and eaten immediately or dried to varying degrees.
Early humans made the first sausages by stuffing roasted intestines into stomachs. The Greek poet Homer mentioned a kind of blood sausage in the Odyssey, Epicharmus wrote a comedy titled The Sausage, and Aristophanes’ play The Knights is about a sausage-vendor who is elected leader. Evidence suggests that sausages were already popular both among the ancient Greeks and Romans, and most likely with the various tribes occupying the larger part of Europe.
The most famous sausage in ancient Italy was from Lucania (modern Basilicata) and was called lucanica, a name which lives on in a variety of modern sausages in the Mediterranean. During the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, sausages were associated with the Lupercalia festival. Early in the 10th century during the Byzantine Empire, Leo VI the Wise outlawed the production of blood sausages following cases of food poisoning. The word sausage is derived from Old French saussiche, from the Latin word salsus meaning “salted”
Refer to Sausage Casing
Traditionally, sausage casings were made of the cleaned intestines, or stomachs in the case of haggis and other traditional puddings. Today, however, natural casings are often replaced by collagen, cellulose, or even plastic casings, especially in the case of industrially manufactured sausages. Some forms of sausage, such as sliced sausage, are prepared without a casing. Additionally, luncheon meat and sausage meat are now available without casings in tin cans and jars.
A sausage consists of meat, cut into pieces or ground, and filled into a casing, with other ingredients. Ingredients may include a cheap starch filler such as breadcrumbs, seasoning and flavourings such as spices, and sometimes others. The meat may be from any animal, but often is pork, beef, or veal. The lean meat-to-fat ratio is dependent upon the style and producer. Specialty sausages with other ingredients such as apple and leek are also made. The meat content as labelled may exceed 100%; this happens when the weight of meat used exceeds the total weight of the sausage after it has been made, sometimes including a drying process which reduces water content.
In some countries and jurisdictions foods described as sausages must meet regulations governing their content.
For example, in Australia sausage must contain –
(a) no less than 500g/kg of fat free meat flesh; and
(b) the proportion of fat in sausage must be no more than 500g/kg of the fat free meat flesh content.
The Australian ComLaw definition of a sausage : Sausage means meat that is minced, or comminuted meat or a combination thereof, which may be combined with other foods, encased or formed into discrete units, but does not include meat formed or joined into the semblance of cuts of meat.
Many traditional styles of sausage from Europe and Asia use no bread-based filler and include only meat (lean meat and fat) and flavourings. In the United Kingdom and other countries with English cuisine traditions, many sausages contain a significant proportion of bread and starch-based fillers, which may comprise 30% of ingredients. The filler used in many sausages helps them to keep their shape as they are cooked. As the meat contracts in the heat, the filler expands and absorbs moisture and fat from the meat.
When the food processing industry produces sausages to a price, almost any part of the animal can end up in sausages, varying from cheap, fatty specimens stuffed with meat blasted off the carcasses (mechanically recovered meat, MRM) and rusk, while the finest quality contain only meat and seasoning. In Britain “meat” declared on labels could in the past include fat, connective tissue, and MRM; these ingredients may still be used, but must be labelled as such, and up to 10% water may be included without being labelled.
Sausages classification is subject to regional differences of opinion. Various metrics such as types of ingredients, consistency, and preparation are used. In the English-speaking world, the following distinction between fresh, cooked, and dry sausages seems to be more or less accepted:
- Cooked sausages are made with fresh meats, and then fully cooked. They are either eaten immediately after cooking or must be refrigerated. Examples include hot dogs, Braunschweiger, and liver sausage.
- Cooked smoked sausages are cooked and then smoked or smoke-cooked. They are eaten hot or cold, but need to be refrigerated. Examples include kielbasa and mortadella. Some are slow cooked while smoking, in which case the process takes several days or longer, such as the case for Gyulai kolbász.
- Fresh sausages are made from meats that have not been previously cured. They must be refrigerated and thoroughly cooked before eating. Examples include Boerewors, Italian pork sausage, siskonmakkara, and breakfast sausage.
- Fresh smoked sausages are fresh sausages that are smoked and cured. They do not normally require refrigeration and do not require any further cooking before eating. Examples include Mettwurst and Teewurst which are meat preparations packed in sausage casing but squeezed out of it (just like any other spread from a tube).
- Dry sausages are cured sausages that are fermented and dried. Some are smoked as well at the beginning of the drying process. They are generally eaten cold and will keep for a long time. Examples include salami, Droë wors, Finnish meetvursti, Sucuk, Landjäger (smoked), Slim Jim, and summer sausage.
- Bulk sausage, or sometimes sausage meat, refers to raw, ground, spiced meat, usually sold without any casing.
- Vegetarian sausage are made without meat, for example, based on soya protein or tofu, with herbs and spices. Some vegetarian sausages are not necessarily vegan, and may contain ingredients such as eggs.
The distinct flavour of some sausages is due to fermentation by Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, or Micrococcus (added as starter cultures) or natural flora during curing.
Other countries use different systems of classification. Germany, for instance, which produces more than 1200 types of sausage, distinguishes raw, cooked and precooked sausages.
- Raw sausages are made with raw meat and are not cooked. They are preserved by lactic acid fermentation, and they may be dried, brined or smoked. Most raw sausages will keep for a long time. Examples include Mettwurst and salami.
- Cooked sausages may include water and emulsifiers and are always cooked. They will not keep long. Examples include cervelat, Jagdwurst, and Weißwurst.
- Precooked sausages (Kochwurst) are made with cooked meat but may also include raw organ meat. They may be heated after casing, and they will keep only for a few days. Examples include Saumagen and Blutwurst.
In Italy, the basic distinctions are:
- Raw sausage (salsiccia) with a thin casing
- Cured and aged sausage (salsiccia stagionata or salsiccia secca)
- Cooked sausage (wuerstel)
- Blood sausage (sanguinaccio or boudin)
- Liver sausage (salsiccia di fegato)
- Salami (in Italy, salami is the plural of salame, a big, cured, fermented and air-dried sausage)
- Cheese sausage (casalsiccia) with cheese inside
The United States has a particular shelf stable type called pickled sausages, commonly sold in establishments such as gas stations and delicatessens. These are usually smoked or boiled sausages of a highly processed hot dog or kielbasa style plunged into a boiling brine of vinegar, salt, spices, and often a pink colouring, then canned in Mason jars. They are usually packaged in single blister packs or jars.
Certain countries classify sausage types according to the region in which the sausage was traditionally produced:
- France: Montbéliard, Morteau, Strasbourg,Toulouse,..
- Germany: Frankfurt am Main, Thuringian sausage, Nuremberg, Pomerania, ..
- Austria: Vienna, ..
- Italy: Merano (Meraner Wurst)
- UK: Cumberland, Chiltern, Lincolnshire, Glamorgan, ..
- Slovenia: Kranjska (klobasa), after the Slovenian name for the province of Carniola
- Spain: botifarra catalana, chorizo riojano, chorizo gallego, chorizo de Teror, longaniza de Aragón, morcilla de Burgos, morcilla de Ronda, morcilla extremeña, morcilla dulce canaria, llonganissa de Vic, fuet d’Olot, sobrassada mallorquina, botillo de León, llonganissa de Valencia, farinato de Salamanca, ..
- Poland: kielbasa krakowska (Kraków-style), toruńska (Toruń), żywiecka (Żywiec), bydgoska (Bydgoszcz), krotoszyńska (Krotoszyn), podwawelska (literally: “from under Wawel”), zielonogórska (Zielona Góra), rzeszowska (Rzeszów), śląska (Silesia), swojska, wiejska, jałowcowa, zwyczajna, polska, krajańska, szynkowa, parówkowa, ..
- Hungary: kolbász gyulai (after the town of Gyula), csabai (after the city of Békéscsaba), Debrecener (after the city of Debrecen).
- Serbia: Sremska kobasica, Sremska salama, Sremski kulen (after the region of Srem/Sirmium), Požarevačka kobasica (after the city of Požarevac)
National varieties of Sausages
Many nations and regions have their own characteristic sausages, using meats and other ingredients native to the region and employed in traditional dishes.
Merguez is a red, spicy sausage from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, North Africa. It is also popular in France, Israel and the German state of Saarland, where it is often grilled on a Schwenker. Merguez is made with lamb, beef, or a mixture of both. It can be flavoured with a wide range of spices, such as sumac for tartness, and paprika, cayenne pepper, or Harissa, a hot chilli paste that gives it a red colour. It is stuffed into a lamb casing, rather than a pork casing. It is traditionally made fresh and eaten grilled or with couscous. Sun-dried merguez is used to add flavour to tagines. It is also eaten in sandwiches.
In South Africa, traditional sausages are known as boerewors or farmer’s sausage. Ingredients include game and beef, usually mixed with pork or lamb and with a high percentage of fat. Coriander and vinegar are the two most common seasoning ingredients, although many variations exist. The coarsely-ground nature of the meat as well as the long continuous spiral of sausage are two of its recognisable qualities. Boerewors is traditionally cooked on a braai (barbecue).
Droë wors is an uncooked sausage similar to boerewors made in a dry-curing process similar to biltong.
A local variant of the hot dog is the “Wors roll”, or boerewors roll. This is a hotdog bun with a piece of boerewors in, served with a tomato and onion relish called seshebo. Seshebo can include chilli, atchaar or curries, depending on the area within the country.
Refer to Chinese Sausages
Lap cheong (also lap chong, lap chung, lop chong) are dried pork sausages that look and feel like pepperoni, but are much sweeter. In southwestern China, sausages are flavoured with salt, red pepper and wild pepper. People often cure sausages by smoking and air drying.
Although Japan is not traditionally known for beef, pork, venison, or even blood sausages, the Japanese do consume a fish-based log called Kamaboko, which could be considered a type of sausage. Kamaboko is made with cured ground fish paste called surimi. It is usually shaped into half-moons on top of a small plank of wood and the outside dyed pink. When the kamaboko is cut into slices it appears to have an unmistakable pink rind which surrounds a white interior. It is often cut into thin slices and added to soups, salads, bento, and many other dishes as a garnish. In recent years, kamaboko has also entered the market as a snack food. Similar to the Slim Jim, cheese, sausage, and fish flavoured kamaboko sticks can be found in convenience stores across Japan.
Sundae, a form of blood sausage, is a traditional Korean sausage. A popular street food, sundae is normally prepared by steaming or boiling cow or pig intestines stuffed with various ingredients. The most common variation is composed of pork blood, cellophane noodle, sliced carrot and barley stuffed into pig intestines, but other regional variations include squid or Alaska pollock casings. Sundae is eaten plain with salt, in stews, or as part of a stir-fry.
In the Philippines, there are different kinds of sausages called Longaniza (Filipino languages: longganisa) with mixes dependent on their size of origin: Longaniza de Vigan (longganisang Vigan), Longaniza de Lucban (longganisang Lucban), and Longaniza de Cebu (longganisang Sugbo/Cebu) are examples.
While longganisa is widely accepted as the term for native sausages, in some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao chorizo (Visayan: tsoriso) is a more common term. There are regional varieties such as Vigan (with lots of garlic and not sweet) and Lucban (lots of oregano and pork fat is chunky). Most longganisas contain Prague powder and are hardly smoked and usually sold fresh. In general there are several common variants:
- matamis, sweet
- jamonado or hamonado, with lots of garlic, black pepper and other spices
- skinless, sans the usual natural casing and rolled in plastic sheets
- Chorizo de Macao (in reference to Macao. sweet and dried with lots of chunky fat and also identified with the red coloured abacá twine)
- Chorizo de Bilbao, with lots of paprika and usually kept in a can with lard. The best and most popular brand is Marca el Rey; contrary to popular belief that it comes from Bilbao, this is manufactured in the United States. Chorizo de Bilbao seems to be a purely Filipino term as the variant does not exist in Spain.
There are many varieties of sausages known to Thai cuisine, some of which are specialties of a specific region of Thailand. From northern Thailand comes sai ua, a grilled minced pork sausage flavoured with curry paste and fresh herbs. Another grilled sausage is called sai krok Isan, a fermented sausage with a distinctive slightly sour taste from northeastern Thailand (the region also known as Isan). Both sausages are commonly eaten withsticky rice, fresh vegetables, and a fresh Nam Phrik (Thai chilli paste) or some raw bird’s eye chillies. They might also be served together with a refreshing Thai salad such as Som Tum (green papaya salad).
Also very popular in Thailand is naem, a raw fermented pork sausage similar to the Vietnamese nem chua and Laotian som moo. This variety of sausage is often encountered as yam naem and naem khluk, both of which are Thai salads. Adopted from Vietnam comes mu yo. It is somewhat similar in taste and texture to liverwurst and, served with a nam chim (Thai dipping sauce), a popular snack in Thailand. It too can be used as an ingredient for Thai salads and as a meat ingredient in, for instance, Thai soups. Kun chiang is a dry and sweet Chinese sausage which has also been incorporated into the Thai culinary culture. Known as lap cheong by Cantonese, in Thailand it is most often used, again, as an ingredient for a Thai salad, yam kun chiang, one that is normally only eaten together with khao tom kui, a plain rice congee. A host of modern, factory-made, sausages have become popular as snacks in recent years. These most often resemble hot-dogs and frankfurters and are commonly sold grilled or deep-fried at street stalls, and served with a sweet, sticky and slightly spicy soy-based sauce.
Refer to Chả Lụa
Asia Minor (Eurasia)
In Turkey, sausage is known as sosis, which is made of beef.
Sucuk (pronounced tsudjuck or sujuk with accent on the last syllable) is a type of sausage made in Turkey and neighbouring Balkan countries.
There are many types of sucuk, but it is mostly made from beef. It is fermented, spiced (with garlic and pepper) and filled in an inedible casing that needs to be peeled off before consuming. Slightly smoked sucuk is considered superior. The taste is spicy, salty and a little raw, similar to pepperoni. Some varieties are extremely hot and/or greasy. Some are “adulterated” with turkey, water buffalo meat, sheep fat or chicken.
There are many dishes made with sucuk, but grilled sucuk remains the most popular. Smoke dried varieties are consumed “raw” in sandwiches. An intestinal loop is one sucuk. Smoked sucuk is usually straight.
Britain and Ireland
In the UK and Ireland, sausages are a very popular and common feature of the national diet and popular culture.
British sausages and Irish sausages are normally made from raw pork or beef mixed with a variety of herbs and spices and cereals, many recipes of which are traditionally associated with particular regions (for example Cumberland sausages). They normally contain a certain amount of rusk or bread-rusk, and are traditionally cooked by frying, grilling or baking. They are normally 10–15 cm long, the filling compressed by twisting the casing into concatenated “links”.
Due to their habit of often exploding due to shrinkage of the tight skin during cooking, they are commonly referred to as bangers, particularly when served with the most common accompaniment of mashed potatoes to form a bi-national dish known as bangers and mash. (The designation banger was in use at least as far back as 1919 and is often said to have been popularised in World War II, when scarcity of meat led many sausage makers to add water to the mixture, making it more likely to explode on heating.)
Due to concerns about health and user preference (distaste for horse meat), heightened by the BSE crisis in the 1990s and the 2013 horse meat scandal, the quality of the meat content in many British sausages improved with a return to the artisan production of high quality traditional recipes, which had previously been in decline. However, many cheaper sausages contain mechanically recovered meat or meat slurry, which must be so listed on packaging.
There are various laws concerning the meat content of sausages in the UK. The minimum meat content to be labelled Pork Sausages is 42% (30% for other types of meat sausages), although to be classed as meat, the Pork can contain 30% fat and 25% connective tissue. Often the cheapest supermarket pork sausages do not have the necessary meat content to be described as “pork sausages” and are simply labelled “sausages”; with even less meat content they are described as “bangers” (an unregulated name). These typically contain MRM which was previously included in meat content, but under later EU law cannot be so described.
There are currently organisations in a number of UK counties, such as Lincolnshire, which are seeking European Protected designation of origin (PDO) for their sausages so that they can be made only in the appropriate region and to an attested recipe and quality.
Famously, they are an essential component of a full English or Irish breakfast. In the UK alone, there are believed to be over 470 different types of sausages; some made to traditional regional recipes such as those from Cumberland or Lincolnshire, and increasingly to modern recipes which combine fruit such as apples or apricots with the meat, or are influenced by other European styles such as the Toulouse sausage or Chorizo.
A popular and widespread snack is the sausage roll made from sausage-meat rolled in puff pastry; they are sold from most bakeries and often made in the home.
Sausages may be baked in a Yorkshire pudding batter to create “toad in the hole”, often served with gravy and onions.
In many areas, “sausage meat” for frying and stuffing into poultry and meat is sold as slices cut from an oblong block of pressed meat without casing: in Scotland this is known as Lorne sausage or often sliced sausage or square sausage.
Battered sausage, consisting of a sausage dipped in batter, and fried, is sold throughout Britain from Fish and Chip shops. In England, the saveloy is a type of pre-cooked beef sausage, larger than a typical hot-dog, which is served hot. A saveloy skin was traditionally colored with bismarck-brown dye giving saveloy a distinctive bright red colour. Saveloys are free of pork, and may be kosher and eaten by Jews.
A thin variety of sausage, known as the chipolata is often wrapped in bacon and served alongside roast turkey at Christmas time and are known as Pigs in a Blanket or “Pigs in Blankets”. They are also served cold at children’s parties throughout the year. The word derives from the Italian “cipolatta”, “onioned” or made with onion, although its meaning has been forgotten and it need not contain onion.
Black pudding, white pudding and Hog’s pudding are similar to their European counterparts.
Haggis is generally recognised as the national dish, although not described as a sausage. A popular breakfast food is the square sausage. This is normally eaten as part of a full Scottish Breakfast or on a Scottish morning roll. The sausage is produced in a rectangular block and individual portions are sliced off. It is seasoned mainly with pepper. It is rarely seen outside Scotland and in fact is still fairly uncommon in the Highlands. Other types of sausage include black pudding, similar to the German and Polish blood sausages. Stornoway black pudding is held in high regard and measures are currently being taken to bring it under EU geographical protection. Additionally a popular native variety of sausage is the red pudding. It is usually served in chip shops, deep fried in batter and with chips as a red pudding supper.
Lukanka (Луканка) is a spicy salami sausage unique to Bulgarian cuisine. It is similar to sujuk, but often stronger flavoured.
Kulen is a type of flavoured sausage made of minced pork that is traditionally produced in Croatia (Slavonia) and Serbia (Vojvodina), and its designation of origin has been protected. The meat is low-fat, rather brittle and dense, and the flavour is spicy. The red paprika gives it aroma and colour, and garlic adds spice. The original kulen recipe does not contain black pepper because its hot flavour comes from hot red paprika.
Other types of sausages in Serbia include Sremska, Požarevačka, and Sudžuk.
Finnish makkara is typically similar in appearance to Polish sausages or bratwursts, but have a very different taste and texture. Nakki is a tinier edition of makkara. There is a variety of different nakkis varying almost as much as different types of makkara. The closest relative to nakki is the thin knackwurst.
Most makkara has very little spice and is therefore frequently eaten with mustard, ketchup, or other table condiments without a bun. Makkara is usually grilled, roasted over coals or open fire, steamed (called höyrymakkara) or cooked on sauna heating stones. Siskonmakkara, a finely ground light-coloured sausage is usually encountered in the form of soup, siskonmakkarakeitto.
One Finnish variety is mustamakkara, lit. black sausage. Mustamakkara is prepared with blood and it is a specialty of Tampere. It is similar to the Scottish black pudding.
When a steak made out of thick (diameter about 10 cm) makkara is prepared inside a sliced, fried bun with cucumber salad and other fillings, it becomes a porilainen after the town of Pori.
Another Finnish speciality is ryynimakkara, a low-fat sausage which contains groats.
Pickled makkara intended to be consumed as slices is called kestomakkara. This class includes various mettwurst, salami and Balkanesque styles. The most popular kestomakkara in Finland is meetvursti (etymologically this word comes from mettwurst), which contains finely ground full meat, ground fat and various spices. It is not unlike salami, but usually thicker and less salty. Meetvursti used to additionally contain horse meat, but only a few brands contain it anymore, mostly due to the high cost of production. In general, there is no taboo against eating horse meat in Nordic countries, but the popularity has decreased with decreasing availability of suitable horse meat. There is also makkara and meetvursti with game, like deer, moose or reindeer meat. Even a lohimakkara, i.e.,salmon sausage, exists.
In Finland there are b- and a-classes of BBQ Sausages like Kabanossi, Camping and HK Sininen Lenkki, Blue Loop.
France and Belgium
Saucisson is perhaps one of the most popularised forms of dried sausage in France, with many different variations from region to region. Usually saucisson contains pork, cured with a mixture of salt, wine and/or spirits. Regional varieties sometimes contain more unorthodox ingredients such as nuts and fruits. Other French sausages include the diot and various types of boudin.
German sausages include Würste Frankfurters/Wieners, Bratwürste, Rindswürste, Knackwürste, and Bockwürste. Currywurst, a dish of sausages with curry sauce, is a popular fast food in Germany.
Loukaniko is the common Greek word for pork sausage, but in English it refers specifically to Greek sausages flavoured with orange peel, fennel seed and other herbs.
Hungarian sausages, when smoked and cured, are called kolbász – different types are often distinguished by their typical regions, e.g. “Gyulai” and “Csabai” sausage. As no collective word for “sausage” in the English sense exists in Hungarian, local salamis (see e.g.winter salami) and boiled sausages “hurka” are often not considered when listing regional sausage varieties. The most common boiled sausages are Rice Liver Sausage (“Májas Hurka”) and Blood Sausage (“Véres Hurka”). In the first case, the main ingredient is liver, mixed with rice stuffing. In the latter, the blood is mixed with rice, or pieces of bread rolls. Spices, pepper, salt and marjoram are added.
Italian sausages (salsiccia – pl. “salsicce”) are often made of pure pork. Sometimes they may contain beef. Fennel seeds and chilli are generally used as the primary spice in the South of Italy, in Puglia they are called “Zampina”, black pepper and garlic in the centre and North.
Macedonian sausages (kolbas, lukanec) are made from fried pork,onions, and leeks, with herbs and spices.
Maltese sausage (Maltese: Zalzett tal-Malti) is made of pork, sea salt, black peppercorns, coriander seeds and parsley. It is short and thick in shape and can be eaten grilled, fried, stewed, steamed or even raw when freshly made. A barbecue variety is similar to the original but with a thinner skin and less salt.
Dutch cuisine is not known for its abundant use of sausages in its traditional dishes. Nevertheless the Dutch have a number of sausage varieties, such as the rookworst (smoked sausage) and Slagersworst (lit. Butchers Meat or sausage) mostly found at the specialist butcher shops and still made by hand and spiced following traditionally family recipes. Another common variety in the Netherlands is the runderworst which is made from beef and the dried sausage known as metworst or droge worst. The Dutch braadworst’s name might suggest it being a variant of the bratwurst, but this is not the case and it is closely related to the well known Afrikaner Boerewors.
Nordic sausages (Danish: pølse, Norwegian: pølsa/pølse/pylsa/korv/kurv, Icelandic: bjúga/pylsa/grjúpán/sperðill, Swedish: korv ) are usually made of 60–80% very finely ground pork, very sparsely spiced with pepper, nutmeg, allspice or similar sweet spices (ground mustard seed, onion and sugar may also be added). Water, lard, rind, potato starch flour and soy or milk protein are often added for binding and filling. In southern Norway, grill and wiener sausages are often wrapped in a potato lompe, a kind of lefse.
Virtually all sausages will be industrially precooked and either fried or warmed in hot water by the consumer or at the hot dog stand. Since hot dog stands are ubiquitous in Denmark (known as Pølsevogn) some people regard pølser as one of the national dishes, perhaps along with medisterpølse, a fried, finely ground pork and bacon sausage. The most noticeable aspect of Danish boiled sausages (never the fried ones) is that the cover often contains a traditional bright-red dye. They are also called wienerpølser and legend has it they originate from Vienna where it was once ordered that day-old sausages be dyed as a means of warning. The Swedish falukorv is a similarly red-dyed sausage, but about 5 cm thick, usually baked in the oven coated in mustard or cut in slices and fried. Unlike ordinary sausages it is a typical home dish, not sold at hot dog stands. Other Swedish sausages include prinskorv, fläskkorv, köttkorv and isterband; all of these, in addition to falukorv, are often accompanied by potato mash or rotmos (a root vegetable mash) rather than bread. In Iceland, lamb may be added to sausages, giving them a distinct taste. Horse sausage and mutton sausage are also traditional foods in Iceland, although their popularity is waning. Liver sausage, which has been compared to haggis, and blood sausage are also a common foodstuff in Iceland.
Polish sausages, Kiełbasa, come in a wide range of styles such as Swojska, Krajańska, Szynkowa, Biała, śląska, Krakowska, podhalańska, kishka and others. Sausages in Poland are generally made of pork, rarely beef. Sausages with low meat content and additions like soy protein, potato flour or water binding additions are regarded as of low quality. Because of climate conditions, sausages were traditionally preserved by smoking, rather than drying, like in Mediterranean countries.
Since the 14th century, Poland excelled in the production of sausages, thanks in part to the royal hunting excursions across virgin forests with game delivered as gifts to friendly noble families and religious hierarchy across the country. The extended list of beneficiaries of such diplomatic generosity included city magistrates, academy professors, voivodes, szlachta and kapituła. Usually the raw meat was delivered in winter, but the processed meat, throughout the rest of the year. With regard to varieties, early Italian, French and German influences played a role. Meat commonly preserved in fat and by smoking was mentioned by historian Jan Długosz in his annals.
Portugal and Brazil
Embutidos (or enchidos) and Linguiça generally contain hashed meat, particularly pork, seasoned with aromatic herbs or spices (pepper, red pepper, paprika, garlic, rosemary, thyme, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, etc.).
In Spain, several products that could be dubbed sausage exist, although, of them, it is salchicha, cooked sausages, and salchichón (cured, smoked and sometimes cooked sausages) that are the most similar product to summer sausage and English or German sausages. They usually contained hashed pork meat. Depending on the herbs and spices added two distinct varieties can be found: red or white sausages. Red sausages contain paprika (pimentón in Spanish) and are usually fried; they can also contain other spices such as garlic, pepper or thyme. The most popular type of red sausage is perhaps txistorra, a thin and long paprika sausage originating in Navarre. White sausages, in turn, do not contain paprika and can be fried, boiled in wine, or, more rarely, in water.
Morcilla could be regarded as another type of sausage, although Spaniards do not regard it as such. Morcillas are blood sausages, made with pork meat and blood, usually adding rice, garlic, paprika and some other spices to it. There are many regional variations to them, and in general they are either fried or added to cocidos and boiled.
Although Spanish embutidos such as chorizo or salchichón could be called “sausages”, they are not “sausages” for Spanish speakers at all. In general, Spaniards think of sausages as having to be cooked, whereas chorizo or salchichón are usually eaten raw.
The Cervelat, a cooked sausage, is often referred to as Switzerland’s national sausage. A great number of regional sausage specialties exist as well.
Falukorv is a large traditional Swedish sausage made of a grated mixture of pork and beef or veal with potato flour and mild spices. The sausage got its name from Falun, the city from where it originates, after being introduced by German immigrants who came to work in the region’s mines. Isterband is made of pork, barley groats and potato and is lightly smoked.
In most of Latin America, a few basic types of sausages are consumed, with slight regional variations on each recipe. These are Chorizo (raw, rather than cured and dried like its Spanish namesake), longaniza (usually very similar to chorizo but longer and thinner), morcilla or relleno (blood sausage), and salchichas (often similar to hot dogs or Vienna sausages). Beef tends to be more predominant than in the pork-heavy Spanish equivalents.
Argentina and Uruguay
In Argentina and Uruguay, many sausages are consumed. Eaten as part of the traditional asado, Chorizo (beef and/or pork, flavoured with spices) and morcilla (blood sausage or black pudding) are the most popular. Both share a Spanish origin. One local variety is the salchicha argentina (Argentine sausage), criolla or parrillera (literally, barbecue-style), made of the same ingredients as the chorizo but thinner.
There are hundreds of salami-style sausages. Very popular is the salame tandilero, from the city of Tandil. Other types include longaniza, cantimpalo and soppressata.
Vienna sausages are eaten as an appetiser or in hot dogs (called panchos), which are usually served with different sauces and salads.
Leberwurst is usually found in every market.
Weisswurst is also a common dish in some regions, eaten usually with mashed potatoes or chucrut (sauerkraut).
Longaniza is the most common type of sausage, or at least the most common name in Chile for sausages that also could be classified as chorizo. The Chilean variety is made of four parts pork to one part bacon (or less) and seasoned with finely ground garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika and chilli sauce. The cities of Chillán and San Carlos are known among Chileans for having the best longanizas.
Another traditional sausage is the prieta, the Chilean version of blood sausage, generally known elsewhere in Latin America as morcilla. In Chile, it contains onions, spices and sometimes walnut or rice and is usually eaten at asados or accompanied by simple boiled potatoes. It sometimes has a very thick skin so is cut open lengthwise before eating.
“Vienesa”s or Vienna sausages are also very common and are mainly used in the completo, the Chilean version of the hot dog.
A grilled chorizo served with a buttered arepa is one of the most common street foods in Colombia. Butifarras Soledeñas are sausages from Soledad, Atlántico, Colombia.
In addition to the standard Latin American sausages, dried pork sausages are served cold as a snack, often to accompany beer drinking. These include cábanos (salty, short, thin, and served individually), butifarras (of Catalan origin; spicier, shorter, fatter and moister than cábanos, often eaten raw, sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice) and salchichón (a long, thin and heavily processed sausage served in slices).
The most common Mexican sausage by far is chorizo. It is fresh and usually deep red in colour (in most of the rest of Latin America, chorizo is uncoloured and coarsely chopped). Some chorizo is so loose that it spills out of its casing as soon as it is cut; this crumbled chorizo is a popular filling for torta sandwiches, eggs,breakfast burritos and tacos. Salchichas, longaniza (a long, thin, lightly spiced, coarse chopped pork sausage), moronga (a type of blood pudding) and head cheese are also widely consumed.
North American breakfast or country sausage is made from uncooked ground pork mixed with pepper, sage, and other spices. It is widely sold in grocery stores in a large synthetic plastic casing, or in links which may have a protein casing. It is also available sold by the pound without a casing. It can often be found on a smaller scale in rural regions, especially in southern states, where it is either in fresh patties or in links with either natural or synthetic casings as well as smoked. This sausage is most similar to English-style sausages and has been made in the United States since colonial days. It is commonly sliced into small patties and pan-fried, or cooked and crumbled into scrambled eggs or gravy. Scrapple is a pork-based breakfast meat that originated in the Mid-Atlantic States. Other uncooked sausages are available in certain regions in link form, including Italian, bratwurst, Chorizo, and Linguiça.
In Louisiana, there is a variety of sausage that is unique to its heritage, a variant of andouille. Unlike the original variety native to Northern France, Louisiana andouille has evolved to be made mainly of pork butt, not tripe, and tends to be spicy with a flavour far too strong for the mustard sauce that traditionally accompanies French andouille: prior to casing, the meat is heavily spiced with cayenne and black pepper. The variety from Louisiana is known as Tasso ham and is often a staple of both Cajun and Creole cooking. Traditionally it is smoked over pecan wood or sugar cane as a final step before being ready to eat. In Cajun cuisine, boudin is also popular.
The frankfurter or hot dog is the most common pre-cooked sausage in the United States and Canada. If proper terminology is observed in manufacture and marketing (it often is not), “frankfurters” are more mildly seasoned, “hot dogs” more robustly so. Another popular variation is the corn dog, which is a hot dog that is deep fried in cornmeal batter and served on a stick.
A common and very popular regional sausage in the Trenton, New Jersey and Philadelphia, PA areas is pork roll. Other popular ready-to-eat sausages, often eaten in sandwiches, include salami, American-style bologna, Lebanon bologna, prasky, liverwurst, and head cheese. Pepperoni and Italian crumbles are Popular Pizza Toppings.
Australian sausages have traditionally been made with beef, pork and chicken, while recently game meats such as kangaroo have been used that typically have much less fat.
English style sausages, known colloquially as “snags”, come in two varieties: thin, that resemble an English ‘breakfast’ sausage, and thick, known as ‘Merryland’ in South Australia. These types of sausage are popular at barbecues, and can be purchased from any butcher or supermarket.
Devon is a spiced pork sausage similar to Bologna sausage and Gelbwurst. It is usually made in a large diameter, and often thinly sliced and eaten cold in sandwiches.
Mettwurst and other German-style sausages are highly popular in South Australia, often made in towns like Hahndorf and Tanunda, due to the large German immigration to the state during early settlement. Mettwurst is usually sliced, and eaten cold on sandwiches or alone as a snack.
A local variation on cabanossi, developed by Italian migrants after World War II using local cuts of meat, is a popular snack at parties.
The Don small goods company developed a spiced snack-style sausage based on the cabanossi in 1991 called Twiggy Sticks.
Sausage rolls are a popular snack and party food, as are saveloys, cheerios, and locally manufactured cabanossi. Traditional sausages similar to English bangers are eaten throughout the country; these are usually made of finely ground beef or mutton with breadcrumbs, very mildly spiced, stuffed into an edible collagen casing which crisps and splits when fried. These may be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In recent years, many international and exotic sausages have also become widely available in NZ.
Sausages may be served as hors d’œuvre, in a sandwich, in a bread roll as a hot dog, wrapped in a tortilla, or as an ingredient in dishes such as stews and casseroles. It can be served on a stick (like the corn dog) or on a bone as well. Sausage without casing is called sausage meat and can be fried or used as stuffing for poultry, or for wrapping foods like Scotch eggs. Similarly, sausage meat encased in puff pastry is called a sausage roll.
Sausages are almost always fried in oil, served for any meal, particularly breakfast or lunch and often “sweet sausages” have been created which are made with any of the above: dried fruit, nuts, caramel and chocolate, bound with butter and sugar. These sweet sausages are refrigerated rather than fried and usually, however, served for dessert rather than as part of a savoury course.
Sausages can also be modified to use indigenous ingredients. Mexican styles add oregano and the guajillo red pepper to the Spanish chorizoto give it an even hotter spicy touch.
Certain sausages also contain ingredients such as cheese and apple, or types of vegetable.
Vegetarian and vegan sausages are also available in some countries, or can be made from scratch. These may be made from tofu, seitan, nuts, pulses, mycoprotein, soya protein, vegetables or any combination of similar ingredients that will hold together during cooking. These sausages, like most meat-replacement products, generally fall into two camps: some are shaped, coloured, flavoured, etc. to replicate the taste and texture of meat as accurately as possible; others such as the Glamorgan sausage rely on spices and vegetables to lend their natural flavour to the product and no attempt is made to imitate meat.
While not vegetarian, the soya sausage was invented 1916 in Germany. First known as Kölner Wurst (“Cologne Sausage”) by later German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer(1876–1967).