Curing & Smoking
A suitable definition of a sausage is ground or chopped meat combined with salt, seasonings and other ingredients which may be stuffed into a container or a casing. A wide variety of sausages may be produced by altering the meat and spice ingredients and/or the method of preparation. Classification of sausages into specific categories is difficult because sausages are produced by many different methods. The following is a simple and broad classification of the various sausage types based upon processing procedures and product characteristics.
FRESH SAUSAGES are not cooked during processing, and usually do not contain nitrite. Examples include fresh pork sausage, Italian sausage and most bratwurst.
COOKED SAUSAGES are fully cooked during processing to 155ºF. These products may be eaten without heating, but most are heated again before serving. They may be smoked. Examples are wieners, bologna, cotto salami and red hots.
DRY OR FERMENTED SAUSAGES have developed a characteristic tangy flavor due to the production of lactic acid. The lactic acid is produced by microbial fermentation of the sugars added to the sausage mix. Sausages are dried to varying extents during processing and smoking, depending on the sausage type. Examples are summer sausage, Italian salami and pepperoni.
MEAT LOAVES AND JELLIED PRODUCTS are mixtures of ground or chopped meat processed in pans or molds. Jellied products consist of cooked meat chunks suspended in gelatin. Examples include pickle and pimento loaf, jellied corned beef and head cheese.
This document was extracted from "Sausage and Smoked Meat Formulation and Processing", 1982. Bulletin 865, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. By A. Estes Reynolds, Jr. and George A. Schuler, Extension Food Scientists.
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