Sausage - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Sausage History
Sausage is traditionally made of ground meat that is flavored with fat, seasonings, spices and preservatives and stuffed into a casing which may or may not be removed prior to consumption. Sausages have been made for thousands of years. Many believe that Sausages were first made by Sumerians in regions near present day Iraq as early as 4000 BC. An important food in the diets of both Greeks and Romans, the name Sausage is derived from the Latin word salsus, meaning “salted”. Since refrigeration was not in existence years ago, making Sausage was a way to preserve meat. Climate played a large role in the way that Sausages were prepared, as dry windy climates such as those in Italy and Spain supported curing Sausages as the dry air helped preserve the meat. Northern European countries like Germany and England ate more Sausages in fresh form due to their damp, cold climates and some of these regions were able to preserve their fresh Sausages without refrigeration during the colder months. These colder climates also developed a process to Smoke Sausages which allowed the Sausages to be kept in warmer months without refrigeration.

Sausage is made in literally thousands of varieties throughout the world. Sausages are available in fresh form which need to be cooked prior to eating or in preserved form, which includes cured, dried or smoked Sausages. While pork is the most common meat used in Sausages, just about any meat can be used to make Sausages. Many spices are used in Sausages such as salt, pepper, sage, coriander, fennel, nutmeg, garlic, onion and ginger. Casings for Sausages may be natural, such as intestines, but some casings may be artificially produced, while some sliced Sausages are made with no casing at all. Today, new ways of preparing Sausage are constantly being created such as seafood and vegetarian and lower fat variations.

Sausage Classifications

Fresh Sausage: Fresh Sausage is sold uncooked must be cooked prior to consumption. Fresh Sausage includes breakfast Sausage links, Bratwurst, and Italian Sausage.

Cooked Sausage: Cooked Sausage is made with fresh uncured meat that is then fully cooked. These Sausages need refrigeration and usually need to be cooked prior to consumption. Hot Dogs, Mortadella and Liver Sausage are Cooked Sausages.

Fresh Smoked Sausage: Fresh Smoked Sausage is smoked and then cured. Mettwurst and Romanian Sausages are Fresh Smoked Sausages.

Cooked Smoked Sausage: Cooked Smoked Sausages are cooked and then smoked, and require refrigeration, although they may be eaten cold or hot. Kiebalsa is a famous Cooked Smoked Sausage.

Dry Sausage Dry Sausage, also called Summer Sausage, is cured Sausage that is air-dried. Dry Sausage may or may not be smoked. Salami and Spanish Chorizo are Dry Sausages.

Vegetarian Sausage: Vegetarian Sausage is Sausage that is made without meat. Vegetarian Sausage may be made with meat replacements such as soy protein or tofu.

Types of Sausage

Andouille Sausage: Andouille is a French smoked pork Sausage that is spicy due to seasonings such as paprika, pepper, garlic, and onions.

Bratwurst Sausage: Bratwurst, or Brats, are a German uncured fresh Sausage that is typically made of pork, beef or veal. Bratwurst is seasoned with such herbs as cardamom, coriander and caraway and often grilled or simmered with beer.

Chorizo Sausage: Chorizo is a fresh or cured Sausage made of seasoned pork, known for its Spanish and Mexican varieties. Spanish Chorizo is a cured Sausage distinguished by its deep red color due to large amounts of paprika. Mexican Sausage is a fresh Sausage with a red color derived from spicy red peppers.

Hot Dogs: Hot Dogs are cooked, smoked and cured Sausages made of pork or beef and seasoning such as garlic, salt and peppers. Hot Dogs are typically served on a bun and accompanied by condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, onions and relish.

Kielbasa Sausage: Kielbasa is a smoked cooked Polish Sausage that is traditionally made with pork and seasonings such as garlic, marjoram, salt and pepper. There are several different varieties of Kielbasa that are made with many different meats and seasonings.

Mortadella: Mortadella is a large-format Italian Cooked Sausage. A cold cut made of pork and cubes of fat, Mortadella is seasoned with garlic and pepper.

Salami: Salami is a cured air-dried pork Sausage that is highly seasoned with such spices as garlic, pepper, salt and sugar.

Saucisson Sec: Saucisson Sec is a French dry-cured Salami. Saucisson Sec is usually made with pork, but may be made with pork mixed with other meats and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and sugar.

Sopressata: Sopressata is an Italian dry cured Salami made of pork of beef. Sopressata comes in hot or sweet varieties.

Summer Sausage: Summer Sausage is a cured smoked Sausage usually made of pork or beef which does not require refrigeration.

We offer the widest selection of gourmet sausages like authentic imported Spanish Chorizo, Andouille, Sopressata, French Saucisson Sec, Italian Genoa and Milano Salami, and much more. To find the best gourmet foods and gift baskets online, begin your search at