Sausage Mix Sausages & the Like
Sausages are basically animal parts chopped or ground up, mixed with seasonings and stuffed into an animal intestine (or reasonable facsimile thereof). They may optionally be cured, smoked, dried or aged. Sausages were originally a method of preserving meat with fat, dryness and salt. Today they are made in a bewildering variety for their unique flavors, and in a wide range of quality.

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I list mostly sausages easily and economically available in Southern California. Sausages are perishable and expensive to ship so nearly all examples are "made in USA". The vast ethnic communities in this country, and particularly in Los Angeles, keep the sausage makers true (they usually "came from there" anyway). Most of the examples were obtained from markets serving those communities. As the U.S. overtakes the Old World quality of wine, cheese and caviar, our sausage makers are keeping pace.

Due to changes in U.S. laws, mostly to mollify the Europeans, American sausage makers can no longer make, say, a Hungarian Sausage (or any other country's sausage), no matter how authentically made, and call it a "Hungarian Sausage" - but our sausage makers are resourceful. Instead they call it "Hungarian Brand Sausage", which doesn't imply it actually camer from Hungary.

Also included are a number of purely authentic American industrial products which make no pretense to traditional methods. The ingredient list generally starts with "Mechanically separated chicken", has soy protein in the middle and ends with "flavoring" and a long list of chemicals.


Casings Traditionally sausages meats are stuffed into casings made from the intestines of pigs, sheep, cows and veal calves. Pig casings are most popular but for kosher and halal (Islamic) products manufacturers use sheep casings, though they are more difficult to use.

Today volume producers prefer an artificial casing made from collagen for product uniformity. Collagen is made by boiling down animal hides. Inedible casings are also used, particularly for larger size. Fiber casings have a look and feel more like natural casings than plastic casings do. "Skinless" products like hot dogs and many vegetarian sausages are made in a plastic casing which is stripped off after cooking and before packaging.

The photo shows natural pork casings obtained from a local Philippine market, about 5-1/2 feet long each and weighing about 0.6 ounce each. They are cleaned, heavily salted and must be refrigerated and used within a few days. About 1/4 inch wide as shown they will expand to about 1-1/2 inches diameter when filled.

While natural and collagen casings are easily purchased for making meat sausage at home, vegetarians will find there is no casing for them and will have to form their sausage into patties, loaves, roll them in some substance or other, or wrap them in plastic to be stripped off after preliminary cooking. High volume makers of vegetarian sausage can use a liquid coating system which produce an effect similar to a collagen casing.

Sausage or Salami?

Well, technically they're all sausages but those called "salami" are generally drier, firmer, likely saltier, often larger, and can be sliced and eaten without cooking. Most salamis are raw and cured by air drying, salting an/or smoking, but some are cooked. Some called sausages are air dried, cured, salted, and/or smoked and eaten uncooked as well.


Many sausages are grilled or fried and eaten with mustard. I have tried any number of mustards, fancy and plain. Many clash with or distract from the sausage. Economical mustards I've found excellent with sausages are French's Spicy Brown Mustard, Morehouse Deli Mustard and Gulden's Spicy Mustard.


Sausages Pronounced "ahn-DOO-wee", it's a pork sausage in the Cajun / Creole style of Louisiana, USA and used for recipes from that area. It is said to be descended from the sausages of Normandy and Brittany France which in turn may descend from similar German sausages. This is one of the few "hot" sausages that actually take that designation seriously. Commercial versions are smaller in diameter than traditionally made, the meat chopped finer, and not smoked nearly as long so are lighter in color. The photo specimens (commercial) were fully cooked, 5 inches long, 1.2 inches in diameter and weighed 3 ounces each. 200 calories / link, 75% from fat, they need to be kept refrigerated and should be used within just a few days from opening the vacuum package. Typically: pork, water, salt, spices, garlic, paprika, other flavorings, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Armenian Sausage   -   See Soujuk, also Erevanskaya.

Sausages This is your basic British pub sausage. Bangers are thick, so if purchased fresh they should be simmered about 10 minutes to cook through, just as with bratwurst (and as with bratwurst I usually simmer in beer). Once cooked through they are grilled, roasted or fried to get a crisp skin. Bangers are a very mild fine textured sausage with a hint of sage. Much of the flavor comes from a well browned exterior. The name "banger" comes from Word War II scarcity in England where sausages made with extra water to stretch the ingredients tended to explode when cooked.

British commercial brands are generally about 65% pork (up to half of which can be fat) and 30% rusk (dried yeast-free bread) but traditional butchers may use up to 90% pork. Seasonings are generally sage, onion salt and spices. The photo samples, made in California by Papa Cantella's, follow "best practices" with just 10% rusk. They were 5-1/4 inches long, 1-1/4 inch in diameter and weighed 3-3/8 ounces - pork, water, rusk, salt, dextrose, spices and hydrolized pork stock. 280 calories per link, 71% from fat.

Basturma Pronounced "bah-stourm-AH", this is the Armenian version of a family of dry cured meats to which Prosciutto and Pastrami belong. Sections of beef, filet mignon whole loin is best, are first buried in salt for 2-3 days, then washed, dried and pressed under weights, then dried again. they are finally soaked for 2 weeks or so in a paste called Chaman made of salt, fenugreek, garlic (lots of garlic), paprika, chilis, and other spices, then packaged coated with this mixture. Clearly this is powerful stuff! The photo sample, by Eureka, was 6 inches by 4-3/4 inches by 1-5/8 inches and weighed about a pound. The fine print says, "Raw beef, cook before eating", but I think this is widely ignored - it's just sliced very thin and eaten as is. It is used in recipes though, for instance it can be used in place of Soujuk in Eggs & Soujuk Sausage

Note that the word "basturma" (variously spelled) is widespread through the Caucasus, Turkey and the Balkans but doesn't mean the same thing every where. While in the U.S. and Armenia basturma is made of beef as described here, elsewhere it may be made of lamb and in some places pork. In some areas the word represents a recipe for marinated lamb or beef grilled on skewers, not sausage-like at all.

Blood Sausage
Sausages have been made with blood as an ingredient for thousands of years worldwide as a natural part of using the whole animal without waste. Even the Navajo have a version made with corn meal in a sheep stomach, but blood sausages are forbidden to Jews, Moslems and Pythagoreans. Blood is extremely perishable so most blood sausages are fully cooked. If you purchase a fresh blood sausage it must be cooked immediately.

Black Pudding   -   [England, Ireland, Scotland; Marag dubh (Scot)]
Made in the British Isles from onions, pork fat, oatmeal, flavorings and blood (usually pig).

Blutwurst   -   [German]
Sausage A sausage made of pork, beef and beef blood popular in Germany as a snack food. It's fully cooked but is often fried before serving. The photo samples, made by Continental Gourmet Sausage are in two sizes. The larger is actually round but sliced on an angle, the smaller was 4-1/2 inches long, 2-3/8 inches in diameter and weighed just over 10 ounces. If you fry this sausage it will disintegrate, but is then excellent for spreading on bread or toast or using as an omelet filling. Made of pork snouts, pork tongues, pork skins, beef, pork back fat, onions, salt, spices, flavorings, sodium nitrite.

Boudin Noir   -   French

Boudin Rouge   -   Louisiana, USA

Kishka   -   [Polish-American (variously spelled); Derma, Stuffed derma]
Made from blood, beef and barley, and customarily served as a breakfast sausage. See also the Jewish Kishke.

Morcelas   -   [Portugal]

Morcilla   -   [Spain]
Sausage This sausage is important to the cuisines of Spain. It holds together quite well when simmered so it can be used in soups and stews. The photo specimens were Morcilla de Cebolla (Morcilla with Onion), 5 inches long 1-1/4 inches diameter and weighed 4 ounces. Pork, dehydrated onions, beef blood, salt, paprika, spices, garlic, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, 36% fat. These were from La Espanola Meats.

Morcilla de Arroz   -   [Spain]
Sausage This sausage is very common in Spanish kitchens. Like regular Morcilla it is used in stews, but it swells and disintegrates rather than staying whole. It can also be grilled and/or fried. They are more perishable than regular Morcilla so they should be kept refrigerated and used soon after purchase. The photo specimens were 5-1/4 inches long 1-1/8 inches diameter and weighed 4 ounces. Pork, cooked rice, dehydrated onions, beef blood, salt, paprika, garlic, spices, 7% fat. These were from La Espanola Meats.

Bokwurst A German sausage traditionally made of veal and pork but heavier on the veal, but even in Germany now made with chicken, turkey, lamb and sometimes horse. It is lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika and sometimes other seasonings, has a natural casing and in Germany is sometimes smoked. It's name comes from a tradition of eating it with bock beer (and spicy mustard). It is generally cooked by simmering, but if over cooked it will split open so the trick is to pull it just before it splits. Photo sample (cooked, Safeway branded, maker unknown) was 5 inches by 1-1/4 inch and weighed 3.5 ounces each. Veal, pork, water, soy protein concentrate, salt, spices, onion powder, dextrose fresh eggs and fresh onions; 230 calories per link 70% from fat.

Coiled Sausage Not to be confused with Boer Wars, this is the favorite sausage of South Africa, originally created by Dutch settlers, the Boers. It is made from beef, but may also contain pork and/or lamb, and is in the form of a coil. Spicing typically includes coriander seed, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Preparation is usually to grill a whole coil. It is often eaten made into "boerie rolls", in a split roll similar to an American hot dog. The photo specimen is an all beef version made in California by Harmony Farms, 1-1/4 inches diameter. It is dark in color because it doesn't include the nitrites or nitrates usually included in commercial sausages, so it is sold frozen. Ingred: Beef chuck meat, salt, spices, MSG, sodium metabisulphite, citric acid, sodium erythorbate, hog casing.

Slices An American version of the Italian Mortadella (also adopted by Russia under the name Doctorskaya Keilbasa), properly pronounced "baloney". It's a very finely ground, fully cooked sausage sold in various sizes and shapes and often in pre-sliced packages. Large sizes are used for making sandwiches and small sizes for frying for breakfast and similar uses. In northeastern Canada a fried or barbecued slab of bologna is called a "Newfie Steak". A similar sausage is made in Australia and variously called polony, fritz, devon or strasbourg. Link to NutritionData.

As an imitation mortadella, bologna is properly made of pork and lard, but in the U.S. it is also made of chicken, turkey, beef and (may the gods help us) soybeans. The photo specimens are:

  • Mikailian Meat Products, Valencia, California: 2-1/2 inch diameter. This product fries well and browns quickly. Pork, water, beef, nonfat dry milk, salt, dextrose, sodium phosphate, spices, garlic paprika, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), sodium nitrite.
  • Red Square, Somerset, New Jersey: 4-3/4 inch diameter, also labeled "Doctorskaya" (in Cyrilic). This product fries up quite light due to a lot of incorporated air bubbles Pork, water salt sodium erythorbate, white pepper, sodium phosphate, sodium nitrate, paprika.
  • Oscar Mayer, Madison Wisconsin: 4-1/4 inch diameter, a leading supermarket brand, pre-sliced for sandwiches. When fried this product dries out badly and has little flavor. Mechanically separated chicken, pork, water, corn syrup, salt, sodium lactate, flavor, sodium phosphate, autolyzed yeast, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, dextrose, extractives of paprika, potassium phosphate, sugar, potassium chloride.

Cooking: Bologna is commonly sliced fairly thin and used in sandwiches with no further cooking, but it is also often fried. When frying a cut is usually made from one side to the center because it otherwise tends to buckle badly. It exudes little oil so it needs some oil in the pan for heat transfer. Bologna is also used as a wrap around mashed potatoes and baked, and in many other ways.

Storing: Bologna should always be kept well refrigerated and should be used within 7 days of opening a vacuum package.

Bratwurst - [Liberty Sausage (U.S. during WWI)]
The name Bratwurst comes from brat, a fine chopped meat, though some hold it was from braten, to fry. Bratwurst are very popular in Germany and in the American Midwest, particularly Wisconsin and Ohio where large numbers of Germans settled. These sausages are usually made from pork or pork and veal but sometimes from pork and beef. Originally from the region of Thuringia where the local version is called Thüringer Rostbratwurst, it is now made all over Germany and the U.S. with minor variations of size and seasoning.

Cooked Bratwurst
Sausage These sausages are easily identified by their white color. They are almost always finished by roasting or grilling whole, though in the U.S. they may also be pan fried because the special bratwurst roasters common in Germany are scarce here. The photo sample, Hilshire Farm brand, was 5 inches long by 1.35 inches diameter and weighed 3.5 ounces - 260 calories, 81% from fat. Typically: pork, water, corn syrup, salt, sodium lactate, dextrose, sodium diacetate, monsodium glutimate.

Fresh Bratwurst
Sausage Fresh bratwurst is produced mainly by specialty sausage makers but is occasionally available in Southern California supermarkets. It looks pretty much like any other fresh pork sausage and usually ends up roasted or grilled. Since it is fairly thick it should be pre-cooked by simmering in beer or broth until cooked through before roasting. The photo samples by Papa Cantella's were 5-3/4 inches long, 1-1/8 inch in diameter and weighed 3-1/4 ounces. This brand is one of my favorite breakfast sausages - excellent flavor and texture. Pork, salt, dextrose, corn syrup solids, mustard and spice extractives and water.

Cheddarwurst This is a Smoked Bratwurst with cheddar cheese inside. Very popular in the U.S. Midwest and in other Germanic regions. The photo specimen, by Hilshire Farm, was 5-1/2 inches long, 1 inch in diameter and weighed 2.7 ounces. Pork, beef, water, Wisconsin cheddar cheese, corn syrup, natural spices, natural flavors, salt, dextrose, isolated soy protein, sodium lactate, sodium diacetate, monosodium glutamate, vitamin C, sodium nitrite. These should be kept refrigerated and used within 7 days of breaking the vacuum seal.

Nuremberger Bratwurst
Sausage This German sausage is much thinner, longer, and more intensely spiced than most versions of bratwurst and it has a lot more texture. The photo sample from Continental Gourmet Sausage Co. was 8 inches long by 0.95 inches in diameter and weighed 3-1/4 ounces.

Smoked Bratwurst
Sausage This sausage is fully cooked but the smoking process uses dry heat and produces a normal brown product rather than white. The photo sample, Hilshire Farm brand, was 5-1/2 inches long, 1 inch in diameter and weighed 2.6 ounces - 240 calories / link, 79% from fat.

Sausages A German soft spreadable pork liver sausage very similar to Liverwurst but almost always smoked and deeper in flavor. Its name derives from the German town of Braunschweig and its main use is as a sandwich spread. Braunschweiger is highly perishable, should be kept well refrigerated and eaten in less than a week. The photo sample by Farmer John was 6-1/4 inches long, 2-3/8 inches in diameter and weighed 1 pound. Pork, pork liver, cured bacon, salt, water, flavorings, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. Link to NutritionData

Breakfast Chub   -   [Chub Sausage, Country Pork Sausage]

A soft pork sausage generally formed into patties or used as a recipe ingredient. It is most commonly sold in "regular", sage and hot versions. The photo sample, by Jimmy Dean was a 2-1/2 inch diameter 1 pound chub. Pork, water, salt, spices, sugar, corn syrup, monosodium glutamate. Calories are figured on a 2 ounce cooked sample which would have been 2.6 ounces raw and disregards fat left in the pan - 220 calories, 86% from fat.

Breakfast Links
Sausages The common American breakfast sausage served in diners and hotels. The photo specimens are Farmer John brand produced by a major Los Angeles pork factory. These fry up quickly because of their small diameter, brown well and are tasty due to the high fat content. Quite a bit of fat is rendered while frying. The specimens are 3-1/2 inches long by 0.66 inch diameter, weigh about 1 ounce each. 50 calories / link, 70% from fat. These have a thin casing and are simply formed at the ends and cut rather than twisted. There are versions without casings that are simply extruded and cut to length but those don't fry as nicely. Typically: pork, water, sodium lactate, salt, flavorings, sugar and collagen casings.

Butifarra   -   [(Spain)   |   smaller, Butifarrita]
Cut Sausage

This fully cooked sausage, originating from Catalonia, Spain, is similar to a mild, usmoked Cervelat or Summer Sausage. It is used sliced in sandwiches, diced as a garnish and cut into pieces for inclusion in stews. It is also made in a regular link size called Butifarrita, which is often grilled. The photo specimen was made in Catalán style by La Española Meats, Harbor City, California. It was 6 inches long, 2-3/8 inch in diameter and weighed 1 pound. Pork, salt, spices, garlic, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Cabanos   -   see Kabanos.

Capicolla   -   [Capricolla (incorrect)]

A ham sausage made from pork butt (high on the shoulder, not the aft end of the pig), cut into chunks, spiced, and coated with a mix of spices and paprika (hot paprika for hot capicolla). It's then packed in 3 to 4 inch casings and smoked until fully cooked. The photo specimens were about 3-1/2 inch diameter.

Capicolla is intensely flavorful so generally used sliced very thin for sandwiches and the like. Typically it contains salt, coriander, sugar, mace, phosphates, citric acid, pepper, juniper berries and garlic powder while the coating is paprika, chili powder, fennel seed and black pepper.

Cervelat   -   [Summer Sausage, Blockwurst, Thuringer, Landjaeger]

A family of mildly seasoned semi-soft salamis, fermented and smoked, made from pork or pork and beef or beef. These popular "ready to eat" sausages are made throughout Europe. In North America they are also very popular but are called Summer Sausage. European Mortadella is a finely ground variety of cervelat but American mortadella is Bologna with lumps of fat. The photo sample, by Sausage Factory in Los Angeles, was labeled "Cervelat" and subtitled "Russian Brand Smoked Sausage". It was 13-1/2 inches long, 1-3/4 inches in diameter and weighed 1.2 pounds. Pork, salt, spices, sugar, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. These sausages must be kept refrigerated and should be eaten within a week of cutting the casing.

Chedderwurst   -   see Bratwurst

Chinese Sausages   -   [lap cheong (China)]

Thin, wrinkled, rather dry, rather sweet pork sausages traditionally packaged in pairs. They are usually used as an ingredient in recipes and are to be cooked before serving. The flavor is unique and there is no ready substitute.

These sausages are manufactured by the millions in the West Coast states to supply the huge Asian communities here so few are imported. The photo specimens, made in Seattle, Washington, were 6 inches long by 0.8 inches in diameter and weighed 1.6 ounces each. 240 calories/link 79% from fat. They are generally sold in vacuum packages and will keep a week or so refrigerated after opening. Typically: pork, pork fat, sugar, soy sauce, salt, grain alcohol, sodium nitrite, sodium erythorbate.

CHORIZO   -   [(Spanish), Chouriço (Portugal)]
A family of sausages originating from Spain and Portugal and adopted by all Spanish and Portuguese speaking peoples around the world. It comes in the three categories listed below, Fresh, Semi-Cured and Dry-Cured. In the U.S. the word "chorizo" implies a fresh or Mexican style chorizo that is generally broken from its casing and cooked as an ingredient, and "Spanish chorizo" implies a dry cured "ready to eat" sausage, though it still may be used as a recipe ingredient. See also Longaniza a Chorizo variant and the default name for Chorizo type sausages in the Philippines.

Chorizo - Fresh   -   [Chorizo Fresco]
Simply "Chorizo" in most of the world, it must be qualified by "Fresco" in Spain and Portugal. These are uncooked, uncured versions of pork sausage found throughout North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. In Spain pimentón (smoked paprika) and garlic are the major flavorings.

Mexican Chorizo
Chorizo Properly a version of Chorizo Fresco spiced with chilis rather than paprika. Improperly it's a dumping ground for parts of the pig that can't be unloaded any other way. I've seen commercial brands where the top two ingredients are "pork salivary glands, lymph nodes".

Buy:   Only "store made" from a market that serves a Latino community. All the packaged products I've examined are totally inferior. This sausage is removed from its casing, then crumbled as it cooks. It should fry up crumbly with very little oil - not disintegrating into mush or swimming in a pool of oil. It is quite red in color but only moderately hot. It is perishable; keep refrigerated and use in less than a week.

Salvadoran Paisano Chorizo
Chorizo This Salvadoran peasant style chorizo with strips of corn husk tying off the links has more internal integrity than the Mexican. It can be sliced before frying if desired but can still be crumbled easily. It doesn't bleed so much of that awful red color as the Mexican but has a similar chili bite from less of a hotter chili. It releases a moderate amount of oil when fried, and in my opinion, has better flavor than the Mexican. The photo examples, purchased from a market in Glendale, CA were 3-1/2 inches long, 1-1/2 inches diameter and weighed 3 ounces each. These should be kept refrigerated and used in less than a week.

Argentine Chorizo
Much different from all the above, it looks much like a Fresh Bratwurst and may be made of pork, beef, or a combination of both. It may be flavored with herbs, paprika and/or chili, but not nearly as heavy as with Mexican chorizo. For a long thin version see Salchicha Parrillera. Subst: fresh bratwurst will work.

Chorizo - Semi-Cured
This is your cooking chorizo for Spanish and Portuguese cuisines. These versions have been fermented with a starter culture and partially dried. They need to be cooked and need to be stored in the refrigerator but will keep considerably longer than fresh chorizo.

Chorizio de Bilbao   -   [(Spain - Basque)]
Sausage This is the cooking chorizo most available in North America, with several manufacturers here. I buy it from the freezer cases of Philippine markets in Southern California, but it can also be ordered from the usual Spanish import emporiums. The photo specimen was distributed by Martin Pure Foods of Walnut, CA. It was 4-1/2 inches long, 1-1/4 inches in diameter and weighed 2.5 ounces.

This style of semi-cured sausage originated in the Basque region of northern Spain. It's mildly spicy, and excellent in stews, soups, paella and with rice or lentils. It can be sliced and holds its shape well when cooked. When fried it exudes a lot of oil so you'll probably need to pour some off if, say, making sausage & eggs.

Chorizio Riojano   -   [(Spain)]
2 Sausages As you may be able to tell from the bright red color, this sausage tastes very strongly of Spanish paprika, but is only mildly chili-hot. These are grilled, fried or used in stews, and are important for some recipes from the Rioja region of Spain. They have an easily peeled off skin and stay quite firm with wet cooking. The photo specimens were made in the style of Rioja, by La Española Meats, Harbor City, California. They were 3-3/4 inches long, 1 inch in diameter and weighed 2.0 ounces each. Pork, sea salt, nonfat dry milk, dextrose, pimentón (smoked paprika), garlic, liquid smoke, oleoresin of paprika, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, lactic starter culture.

Chorizo - Dry-Cured   -   [Spanish Chorizo]
These Chorizos, fermented and air dried, can (and usually are) eaten sliced thin and without cooking. Simply "Chorizo" in Spain and Portugal but must be qualified as "Spanish Chorizo" in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world. Of course every region of Spain and Portugal has its own version, but most available in the U.S. are made here.

Chorizo Cantimpalo
Sausage Popular for appetizers, this intensely red chorizo originated in the Salamanca, Segovia & Valladolid regions of Spain. It is quite firm and ready to slice thin and eat as-is. It has a deep favor dominated by Spanish smoked paprika. The photo sample, from La Espanola Meats was 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 7-1/2 inches long, but obviously cut from a longer length. Pork, beef, water, sea salt, smoked paprika (pimenton), nonfat dry milk, sodium caseinate, cane sugar, garlic, spices, oleoresin of paprika, lactic acid starter culture.

Chorizo Palacios
Sausage This Spanish made chorizo (both mild and hot (Picante)) is quite commonly available in North America (or at least in Southern California) It has an excellent smoky flavor. The photo specimen is the Picante version, 15 inches long, 1-1/8 inches in diameter and weighing 7.9 ounces. The mild version his lighter in color and has a white rope rather than red. No ingredient list but "All natural, no artificial ingredients, minimally processed". Packed by Embutidos Palacios S.A., La Rioja, Espana.

Sausage Chubs A form of sausage packaging used primarily for soft sausage that will be crumbled, spread or formed into patties, but firmer sausages can also be described as "chubs". A Chub is generally short and thick with common sizes of 12 oz, 1 pound and 2 pound. The casing is generally non-edible plastic or fiber sealed with metal rings at the ends - a packaging highly suited to volume production. Chub Sausage generally refers to a loose pork Breakfast Sausage that can be formed into patties.

Cotto Salami
Slices Cotto means cooked in Italian and this sausage is generally cooked in the smokehouse as part of the smoking process. This sausage is fairly distinctly seasoned with black peppercorns and garlic and distinctly smoked. The photo sample, Albertson's house brand, is in the standard 4-1/4 inch American sliced sandwich meat format. Mechanically separated chicken, pork hearts, pork, corn syrup, water beef, flavoring, salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, potassium lactate, sodium lactate, dextrose, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. 60 calories per slice, 58% from fat.

Danger Dog   -   [Tijuana Bacon Dog]
Danger Dogs Danger Dogs get their name from the street vendors of Tijuana, not always the most mindful of bacteria. It has become quite popular in Southern California and other Southwest states where you can buy them from street vendors at practically any event that draws a crowd. You can also buy them (in relative safety) in supermarkets and fry them up yourself. Danger dogs are served in a bun with grilled onions and chili sauce or topped with mayonnaise. Danger Dogs have also surfaced as the Jersey Breakfast Dog, far more dangerous than the original.

Doctorskaya Kolbasa   -   [Doctorskaya Balogna, Baby Bologna]
Sausage A Russian version of Bologna. It is called "Doctor's" and "Baby" from it's very smooth soft texture (thought suitable for invalids and babies). It is made in various sizes and may be made from pork or veal. Specialty sausage makers often double label it, "Balogna" in Roman letters and "Doctorskaya" in Cyrilic. The photo sample, made by Eureka, was 2 inches in diameter, made from pork, and was distinctly spiced with nutmeg. Eureka also makes it in 3 inch diameter.

Erevanskaya Salami
Sausage "Erevanskaya" is Russian for "from Yerevan" (in Armenia). I've had a hard time finding information on any Armenian sausages other than Soujuk, which this clearly isn't. Eureka subtitles it "Armenian smoked dry hot salami", and as a major maker of soujuk they certainly should know the difference, but I have no idea what this sausage might be called in Armenia. It's a fermented sausage (like soujuk) and much dryer and spicier than Eureka's various Russian sausages, though I certainly wouldn't call it "hot" by Southern California standards. The photo sample was 14-1/2 inches long, 1-3/4 inches in diameter, and weighed 1.2 pounds. Pork, salt, dextrose, garlic, black pepper, coriander, hot red pepper, starter culture, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Estonian Salami   -   [Estonska]
Sausage A cooked, ready to eat semi-soft salami in a larger size. It is subtly but definitely seasoned and a good salami for eating plain. It needs to be kept refrigerated and should be eaten within a week of opening the vacuum pack. The photo sample, by Groezinger's, was 2-1/2 inches in diameter, 6 inches long and weighed 14 ounces. Pork, beef, water, corn syrup solids, salt, spices, sodium phosphate, monosodium glutamate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Frankfurter - see Wiener.

Sausages Some lump fuet as "chorizo" because it's Spanish (Catalunia region), but it's really its own thing and doesn't have the intense paprika Spanish chorizos have.This is a dry fermented sausage ready to slice and eat. Fuet means "whip", and most is at least half again as long as the photo sample which is a short version for the convenience of retail stores. The sample, from La Espanola Meats, was 8-1/4 inches long, 1-1/8 inch in diameter and weighed 9 ounces. Pork, sea salt, nonfat dry milk, cane sugar, spices, lactic acid starter.

Giumry Named for Giumry, the second largest city in Armenia, this is a fermented, cooked and smoked Cervelat style sausage, but a bit more pungent than many. The photo sample, by Eureka, was 14 inches long, 1-3/4 i inches in diameter and weighing 1-1/4 pounds. Pork, beef, sodium lactate, salt, garlic, sodium phosphate, sugar, spices, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate.

Gyulai Kolbasz
Gyulai A Hungarian sausage named for the town of Gyula. This medium spicy sausage traditionally made from coarsely chopped pork, bacon fat and beef seasoned with red paprika, pepper, garlic and caraway, then dried with smoke. It is fairly dry and can be eaten raw. The photo sample (Hungarian Brand by Bende & Son in Vernon Hills, Illinois) was 8 inches long, 1.3 inches in diameter and weighed 0.44 pounds. Pork, salt, paprika, flavoring, sodium lactate, sugar, lactic acid starter culture, ascorbic acid, sodium nitrite.

Hamonado   -   see Longaniza Hamonado.

Head Cheese
Thick Slice A sausage made of various parts of the pig head (tongue, snout, etc.) and sometimes other parts of the pig (but not ears), chopped in large chunks and suspended in a clear pork jelly. This is one of my favorites but some people may not like seeing what they're eating.

Holsteiner Mettwurst
Salami This flavorful sausage is very popular in Northern Germany. It is made of pork, beef and mustard seeds, then smoked and dried. The photo specimen was a half link 2.18 inches diameter and wighing 9 ounces. The whole link would have been about 9 inches long. Made somewhere in North America.

Hot Dog - see Wiener.

Italian Dry Salami
Italian Sausage This is a raw fermented salami aged in a temperature and humidity controlled environment where it accumulates a blue/white coating of natural mold. It is normally just sliced and eaten, but it can be used as a pizza topping or mixed into salads. This salami can be kept at a cool room temperature but if kept too long it will dry out and be impossible to chew. The photo specimen, by Gallo (not the wine company), was 2-1/2 inches diameter, 13 inches long and weighed 2 pounds. Pork, nonfat dry milk, dextrose, salt, spices, sauterne wine, lactic acid starter culture, vitamin C, garlic, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, 110 calories/ounce, 73% from fat.

Italian Sausage
Italian Sausage In the USA "Italian Sausage" means a fresh pork sausage seasoned with fennel and other spices, properly made with a meat to fat ratio of 3 to 1. Similar sausages are actually made in Italy. Here it is generally available in "Hot" and "Mild" versions but the hot are still fairly mild. Some are made with extra fennel seeds and sold as Italian Fennel Sausage.

The photo specimens (mild on left, hot on right) were "store made" by a local Italian market. They ranged from 5-1/2 to 6 inches long, 1.4 inches in diameter and between 4.2 and 4.8 ounces each.

Buy preferably "store made" from a reputable Italian market - commercial brands are highly variable in quality. This sausage must be cooked before eating and may be cooked whole (pierce the casings in a few places so they don't explode), or stripped of their casings and crumbled, depending on use. They can be sliced before cooking if nearly frozen. These sausages are perishable so keep well refrigerated and use within a few days. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Cut Sausage Literally "Hunting Sausage", this is a German cooked sausage made of pork, beef and water, variously spiced. Part of the meat is very finely ground while part of it is left coarsely ground. In East Germany under the Soviets this sausage was often sliced, breaded, and fried, then called "Jägerschnitzel". This is not to be confused with the real Jägerschnitzel, which is a veal schnitzel served with mushroom sauce. Fat content for Jagdwurst is usually around 20%. Mikale's: Pork, Water, Beef, Non-Fat Dry Milk, Salt, Garlic, Sodium Phosphate, Dextrose, Spices, Paprika, Sodium Nitrite, Citric Acid.

Jersey Breakfast Dog
Jersey Breakfast Dog This is a New Jersey adaptation of the Danger Dog. Following the hot dog tradition of New Jersey, they are deep fried rather than grilled or pan fried. Breakfast Dogs are served on a bun with a fried egg and melted cheese under them, which looks far more deadly than the original Danger Dog. This formula is derived from the Jersey Breakfast Sandwich, made from Jersey Pork Roll rather than hot dogs. Other New Jersey forms of deep fried hot dogs (without bacon) are "in and outers" (fried until lightly blistered) and "rippers" (fried until they split wide open). Photo copyright Jason Perlow, all rights released.

Jersey Pork Roll - [Taylor Ham]
Jersey Pork Roll This "King of Mystery Meats" is made from secret recipes by several companies in or around Trenton, New Jersey. Maker John Taylor has become sufficiently dominant to make "Taylor Ham" a generic alternative to Jersey Pork Roll, but some connoisseurs prefer products from smaller makers.

The recipes may be secret, but one thing is for sure, salt. Enough salt so I think the product is eternal - even mold doesn't grow on it. Several sellers ship pork roll to most points in the U.S. packed in styrofoam with frozen gel packs. The photo specimen (4 inch diameter, 4 pounds) was shipped to me UPS 3rd day ground courtesy Mike Vitale (Yendor). The most famous use for Pork Roll is the Jersey Breakfast Sandwich Details and Cooking.

Kabanos   -   [(Polish), Cabanos, Hunter's Sausage, Kabanosy (plural)]

In Poland this thin dry well smoked sausage may be made from pork, beef, lamb or horse, but in the U.S. it's always pork - except in kosher delis where it's made of turkey. A popular snack sausage, it's often just broken off and eaten. It may be made of just pork, salt and pepper, but other seasonings including garlic and spices may be used. The photo samples, purchased at a deli in Los Angeles, were 14 inches long, 0.8 inches in diameter and weighed 4.3 ounces each.

Kielbasa   -   [(Polish), Kolbasa (Russian), Kolbasz (Hungarian)]
This generic word for Sausage is said to derive from the Turkish word külbasti, literally "pressed on the ashes" but often translated as "grilled cutlet".

Kielbasa - U.S.   -   [Polish Sausage, Keilbasa]

A cooked and generally lightly smoked sausage sort of resembling one made in Poland. Generally about 18 inches long and bent into a "U" shape but other sizes are also made. The closest Polish equivalent is wiejska, which translates roughly to "country one" which is made of pork and veal and generally sold in the familiar "U" shape.

While the original would be made from better cuts of pork and veal, the big meat packers may use pork, beef, chicken, turkey or whatever they have a lot of offcuts of. Link to NutritionData. Small sausage makers often provide a good equivalent to the original.

Kishke   -   Jewish (variously spelled)
This dark sausage is a kosher stand-in for the Polish blood sausage Kishka. Of course it contains no blood and no pork but is made from matzo meal, onions and suet stuffed into a beef casing.

Knackwurst   -   [Knockwurst]
Sausages A fully cooked sausage of German origin rather like a plump Wiener, but unlike skinless hot dogs, it generally has a casing. It can be prepared and served by all methods used for wieners but cooking time must be longer and temperatures lower to allow full penetration of heat. If roasted or fried it will split open, justifying the name which means "crack sausage". The photo specimen, from European Meat Specialties was 5-3/4 inches long, 1-1/2 inches in diameter and weighed 5.6 ounces. Typically: pork, water, non fat dry milk, salt, spices, sodium phosphate, sodium nitrite, sodium erythorbate. Link to NutritionData.

Krakow Salami   -   [Krakovskaya Salami]

A fully cooked Polish sausage, ready to eat but needs to be kept refrigerated and used within a week of breaking the vacuum seal. The photo specimen, by Eureka was 17 inches long, 1-1/2 inches in diameter and weighed 1 pound. Nicely seasoned and excellent just sliced thin. Other manufacturers may make them shorter and straight. Typically: beef, pork, salt, sodium phosphate, spices, sugar sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Kupaty   -   [Georgian Style Sausage]

A fully cooked sausage, 0.85 diameter formed into a coil 6 inches across. The photo specimen was by Red Square Foods. Pork, chicken, lamb, onion, cilantro, dill, garlic, pepper, spices, sugar, sodium nitrite.

Lamb Sausage, Moroccan
Sausage The photo samples, obtained fresh from a Whole Foods Market, were 7 inches long, 1 inch in diameter and weighed 3 ounces. Lamb, spices (black pepper, cumin, coriander), sea salt, citric acid, natural lemon flavor, canola oil, and natural lamb casings. This formulation is fine for the flavor of North African recipes, but doesn't assure kosher / halal if the animals have not been slaughtered and prepared in accordance with religious laws - plenty good enough for Christians and Pagans though.

This is a rather spicy sausage, though the "hot" aspect comes from black pepper rather than chilis. The cumin and coriander are fairly assertive as well. In cooking it exudes quite a bit of both oil and water, so for browning you want to use a fairly high heat (and there will be a lot of splattering). Grilling over hot coals will get better browning than frying, but frying works fine too. The overall effect is significantly drier than a pork sausage but moist enough to be enjoyable, and of course the flavor is different.

Lebanon Bologna
Slices Named for the Lebanon Valley of Pennsylvania where it was developed by German immigrants, this salami went into commercial production in 1885. A truly American salami with a distinct and memorable flavor, it is still made primarily in the Lebanon Valley. Three major manufacturers using traditional methods, are Weavers, Seltzer's and Kutztown. Made from beef and salt, Lebanon bologna is fermented and aged for at least 10 days, some of that time overlapping a slow smoking process. The photo sample, by Seltzer's, is the standard 4-1/4 inch diameter American sliced sandwich meat format, though other sizes are made. Beef, salt, sugar, dextrose, spices, lactic acid starter culture, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. 40 calories per slice, 50% from fat.

Linguiça   -   [Longaniza (Spain)]
Linguica Pronounced ling-GWEE-sah, this is the essential sausage for cooking Portuguese soups and stews. It's similar to Spanish longaniza but not at all similar to longaniza from anywhere else. The version in the photo is fully cooked and lightly smoked, made by Silva in California who say they've been making the same sausage for 35 years. It was 9-1/2 inches long, 1-1/4 inches in diameter and weighed 6-1/2 ounces. Pork, wine, vinegar, non-fat dry milk, salt, paprika, sugar, garlic, spices, monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite.

Sausage A soft spreadable fully cooked sausage popular for sandwiches and canapés. It comes in various sizes packed in plastic casings. Liverwurst is highly perishable, should be kept well refrigerated and used in less than a week. The photo sample by Gaiser's of New Jersey was 6-1/2 inches long, 2 inches in diameter and weighted 10 ounces. Pork, pork liver, veal, calf's liver, onions, salt, dextrose, flavoring, spices, hydrolyzed corn protein, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. Link to NutritionData.

Longaniza   -   [Linguica (Portugal); Longanisa, Longganisa longanissa, longannisa (Philippine)]
What this is depends on what part of the Spanish / Portuguese speaking world you are talking about. Even in the various regions of Spain it is different. One thing certain is a close relationship to Chorizo. In some areas the only difference is whether they are twisted into short lengths or not - but there's no consistency. It is generally made with about 1 pound of lean pork to 1/4 pound of pork fat.

Mexican Longaniza
Sausages Similar to Mexican Chorizo, this sausage is a little firmer and a lot longer. It can be sliced, though the slices will crumble a bit when fried. It releases a fair amount of oil with a strong red-orange color and is a bit spicier than most Mexican chorizo, The photo sample, typical of commercial brands in Los Angeles, was 19 inches long, 1.1 inches in diameter and weighed 9.6 ounces. Typically pork, paprika, salt, vinegar, spices, red pepper, garlic, sodium nitrite, soy flour.

Philippine Longanisa
Sausages "Longaniza" is used in the Philippines for what might be called Chorizo in other Spanish speaking areas of the world. It is generally made up into short links about 1-1/4 inch in diameter and about 2 ounces each The photo samples were obtained from Philippine markets in Los Angeles, one labeled "Native" (natural) and the other labeled "Hot". This sausage is stripped of its casing and crumbled for use.

Longanisa Hamonado
Sausages "Ham cured" longaniza is a rather sweet pork sausage made in the Philippines. In Southern California Philippine markets also sell Chicken Hamonado sausages but I don't know if they make those in the Philippines. This sausage is cooked whole or sliced rather than crumbled. Photo specimen links are 4-1/2 inches long and weigh 2.1 ounces each.

Ilocano Longanisa
Cut and Whole Sausages A famous sausage made in the northern region of the Philippines from pork or pork and beef, plenty of garlic, salt and the local Ilocos vinegar. This sausage may be cooked whole or stripped of its casing and crumbled. It is most often fried. The photo specimens, obtained from a Philippine market in Los Angeles, were about 3 inches long by 1.1 inches in diameter and weighed about 1.3 ounces each. These sausages can be kept refrigerated for about 6 days or frozen for up to a year.

Vigan Longaniza
Sausages This famous sausage made in the Vigan region of the northern Philippines from pork, pork fat, garlic, salt, the local Ilocos vinegar and soy sauce for color. It is then hung up to dry for a while. It is fairly dry and can be sliced rather than crumbled but still needs to be cooked. It is often simmered in a pan with some water, until the water has all evaporated, then fried in it's own fat until browned. Then it is eaten with a dip of Iloco vinegar. The photo specimens were about 3 inches long by 1.1 inches in diameter and weighed about 1.3 ounces each. These sausages can be kept refrigerated for about 6 days or frozen for up to a year.

Slices Real Italian Mortadella was illegal in the United States for 30 years, the ban finally lifted in 2000. In the mean time, an imitation was manufactured in North America. In Italy mortadella is air dried but in the U.S. both imported and domestic "mortadella" had to go through additional cooking steps making them basically just Bologna with little lumps of pork fat and extra garlic. While the real thing is now legal, the imitation will remain dominant here due to price difference - and because that's what people are used to.

A version of mortadella with embedded pistachio nuts was developed in Germany, and American manufacturers followed suit. The photo specimen is Colombia brand with and without pistachios, 5 inches in diameter, sliced for sandwiches.

Moldavskaya   -   [Moldavian]
Sausage A fully cooked sausage similar to Moskovskaya but with more garlic and pepper. It is fairly soft and moderately spiced. The photo example, by Eureka was 17 inches long, just over 1-1/2 inches in diameter and weighed 1.23 pounds - 45 calories / ounce, 56% from fat. Typically: pork, beef, sodium lactate, salt sodium phosphate, garlic, spices, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Sausage This cooked smoked salami is a popular snack in Russia sliced into thin rounds and is now made by a number of companies in the USA. It requires refrigeration and should be eaten within a week of opening. The photo example was 10 inches long, 2 inches in diameter and weighed 1 pound, made by Eureka. Pork, beef, salt, spices, sodium phosphate, sugar, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. 45 calories per ounce, 56% from fat.

Moskovskaya Osobaya
Sausage This name translates to "Moscow Special" (not to be confused with Moskovskaya Osobaya brand vodka). It's a cooked smoked salami similar to the regular Moskovskaya but all pork instead of pork and beef and significantly stiffer and drier. It needs to be refrigerated and eaten within a week of opening. Typically: pork, salt, spices, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. The photo sample, 14 inches long, 1-3/4 inches in diameter and weighing 1-1/4 pounds was made by Eureka.

Olive Loaf
Slices This is just regular commercial Bologna with green olives and red bell pepper embedded in it. The photo sample, Albertson's house brand, is in the standard 4-1/4 inch American sliced sandwich meat format. Mechanically separated chicken, water, corn syrup, pork, beef, modified food starch, hydrolized soy protein, olives, red bell peppers (pickled), salt, flavoring, dextrose, potassium lactate, sodium lactate, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. 80 calories per slice, 63% from fat.

Pepperoni A hard. spicy, fermented American salami more or less in the style of southern Italy (in Italy "pepperoni" is a bell pepper). While it can be eaten raw, this imitation of the Italian salsiccia Napoletana piccante is the most popular topping for American style pizzas and is used in other recipes. The photo samples, Margherita brand (ConAgra Foods, Downers Grove, Illinois), were 10 inches long, 1-3/8 inches in diameter and weighed about 6-3/4 ounces each. Typically: pork, beef, salt, dextrose, flavoring, lactic acid starter culture, paprika sodium nitrite, spices, BHA, BHT, citric acid. 140 calories per ounce, 86% from fat. Keep dry and refrigerated.

Penn Sausage
Penn Sausage As far as I've found Bar M Packers is the only maker of "Penn Sausage" and they make two varieties, "mild" and "hot". The mild still has a bit of hotness to it and the hot is much hotter. 4-1/4 inches long, 1 inch diameter, 2-1/4 ounces each Pork, beef hearts, water, salt, corn syrup, flavorings, dextrose, sodium phosphate, paprika, garlic, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite. 85 calories / ounce 76% from fat. Keep refrigerated and use within a few days of breaking the vacuum seal.

Polish Sausage - See Kielbasa

Posolskaya Salami
Sausage Why this sausage should be named after an obscure whistle stop on the Trans Siberian Railway is beyond me, but it is a very good hard salami. Diameter 1-3/4 inches, Pork, beef, ham 50 extra (modified cornstarch, diphosphates, triphosphates, carregeenan, maltodxtrin, yeast extracts, sodium L-ascorbate), sodium nitrite, paprika. Made by Red Square Foods, 2014 US $7.99/pound.

Rostovskaya Salami
Sausage A fully cooked and smoked Russian sausage similar to the Moskovskaya but a bit closer to a dry salami in flavor. The photo sample, by Eureka, was 9-1/2 inches long, 2 inches in diameter and weighed 1 pound 2-1/2 ounces. Typically: pork, beef, sodium lactate, salt, sodium phosphate, sugar, spices, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite - 45 calories per ounce, 56% from fat.

Salchicha Parrillera
Curled Sausage In Argentina "Salchicha" means "sausage" and Parrilla is a grill. This sausage is made exactly the same as Argentine Chorizo, but is made in long thin lengths rather than plump links. You can keep it in shape on the grill by running a couple skewers through from side to side. The photo specimen, by Special America's, was 3/4 inches diameter, weighed 8 ounces and was made in sheep casing. Pork, water, curing salt (salt, sugar, dextrose, sodium nitrite), flavoring, spices, sodium erythorbate - 90 calories per ounce, 78% from fat.

Soujuk   -   [(Armenian), Soujouk (Armenian), Sucuk (Turk)]

A fermented dried beef sausage. It is said to derive from the pressed dried and salted meat Turkic horsemen kept under their saddles to eat while invading countries and slaughtering their peoples. This sausage is widely available in Los Angeles due to its huge Armenian community (Armenians joke that their country has two capitals, Yerevan and Glendale). Armenians and Turks hate each other but share a common cuisine.

Shown are typical examples, traditionally flattened from Eureka and round from Ohanyan's. The round was 6 inches by 1-1/2 inch diameter, the flat was 8-1/2 inches by 1-1/2 inches by 0.8 inches but larger sizes are available. Spicing is typically garlic, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and dried chili. A starter culture is used for fermentation. In Turkey "tail fat" is added but fat tail sheep aren't raised here. I notice Eureka uses "natural pork casings" clearly targeting Armenian and Georgian Christians while excluding Muslims, but Ohanyan's is sold in Turkish markets so must use sheep, veal or collagen casings.
Recipe: Eggs & Soujuk Sausage

Summer Sausage   -   [Cervelat]
Summer Sausage Basically an American cervelat, a family of mildly seasoned semi-soft salamis, fermented, generally smoked and fully cooked. Commercially they are made from pork or pork and beef or beef, but are a favorite with home sausage makers who often make them with game meats. This "ready to eat" sausage is fairly durable but should be kept refrigerated and eaten within 7 days or so of breaking the vacuum pack. The photo sample, by Hilshire Farm, was 13-1/2 inches long, 2-1/4 inches diameter and weighed 2 pounds but they also make one 14 inches long, 2-3/4 inches diameter and 3 pounds. Beef and Pork, salt, natural spices, dextrose lactic acid starter culture, flavorings, sodium ascorbate (vitamin C), Sodium Nitrite; 95 calories per ounce, 79% from fat.

Vegetarian Sausages
Sausages The photo sample, from Boca, was 5 inches long, 1 inch in diameter and weighed 2.6 ounces. This "Italian Meatless Sausage" was found in the vegi-burger section of the freezer case of a local upscale market. Water, soy protein isolate, canola oil, textured soy protein concentrate, egg whites, potato starch, salt, wheat gluten, spices, natural flavor (non meat), sugar, washed raw sugar, malt extract, paprika, dried garlic, sesame oil, beet powder (color) - 130 calories per link, 46% from fat.

Appearance is clearly way off, texture is similar to a dry, almost crumbly hot dog, and while the spicing includes plenty of fennel, the base flavor is clearly soy. They brown well but do not become plump and/or juicy. I do not fault this manufacturer, who's product is as good as any I've tried, but point to the impossibility of imitating the complex flavors and textures of meats. Personally, I don't get the point - with tens of thousands of great vegetarian recipes in the world why bother with imitations of meat products that can't be imitated?

Vetchina Rubleyana
Sausage Literally "Ham Chopped" this Russian sausage consists of ham chopped into largish pieces, mixed with some seasonings and preservatives, and stuffed into a casing. Very ham-like in flavor. The example shown would be about 14" long whole, and 2-1/4" in diameter. You can use this sausage anywhere cooked ham is called for.

Vienna Sausage
Sausages? In the USA "Vienna Sausage" means these hideous things. Somewhat smaller than a cocktail wiener they are fully cooked and almost always packed in cans. Nearly devoid of flavor they are mushy straight from the can, but not nearly as mushy as they'll be if you fry them. The only excuse for their existence is the long shelf life of cans. The "Major Brand Name" samples in the photo were 2-1/4 inch long, 3/4 inch in diameter and weighed just over 1/2 ounce each. Mechanically separated chicken, chicken broth, water, beef, pork, salt, sugar, spices, sodium erythorbate, flavorings, sodium nitrite, garlic powder - 43 calories per link, 85% from fat.

Wieners   -   [Hot dog, Franks, Weenies, Frankfurters (all USA); Wiener, Wiener Würstchen (Germany); Frankfurt, Frankfurter Würstchen (Austria)]

The most popular sausage in America, but the Germans blame it on the Austrians (Wien = Vienna) and the Austrians blame it on the Germans (Frankfurt). The wiener very much resembles Bologna in texture and flavor, but tends to be a bit more distinctly seasoned and may be lightly smoked. Today it is usually made "skinless", cooked in a plastic casing which is peeled off before packaging, but a few are still made with natural casings. The weiner is thought to have been created in the late 1600s by German butcher Johann Georghehner, living in the town of Coburg. The origin of the name "hot dog" is highly controversial but seems to have appeared in the late 1800s.

In the U.S. these are made primarily of pork but may also contain beef, chicken, turkey or any mix of those. All beef versions are made for the kosher market and "more healthful" Turkey and chicken versions as well. Vegetarian versions are also made, generally from TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) and various other chemically processed ingredients. The photo samples are:

  • Typical American wieners (front) by Farmer John ("No Fillers, No Byproducts"). Skinless, 4.8 inches long, 7/8 inch diameter and 1-1/2 ounces - 140 calories, 86% from fat. Pork, mechanically separated turkey, water, salt, corn syrup, natural flavorings, dextrose, sugar, potassium lactate, sodium phosphates, beef, sodium erythorbate, oleoresin, paprika, sodium nitrite.
  • "European Style" (back) by European Meat Specialties. Not skinless, 5 inches long, 1.1 inches diameter, 2-1/2 ounces. Pork, water, nonfat dry milk, salt, spices, sodium phosphate, sodium nitrite, sodium erythorbate.
  • Cocktail Wieners (right) by Eureka, Skinless, 2-3/4 inches long, 7/8 inch diameter, 1 ounce each. Pork, water, salt, nonfat dry milk, sodium phosphate, spices, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Of these the Farmer John are quite salty and have the strongest, but also coarsest, flavor. The Eureka are more gently seasoned with a definite tone of nutmeg and a lot less salt. The European are even more gently seasoned. The Farmer John are easiest to fry or roast because they're very straight but they end up a bit dry. The European are much plumper, lighter and juicier with the casing helping to keep them moist. Cocktail wieners aren't usually fried, but the Eureka fried up a bit puffier than the Farmer John.

Simmered, the coarseness of the Farmer John flavor was more noticeable, as was the nutmeg tone of the Eureka. The European was the most satisfactory in my opinion, but does tend to split open like a knackwurst when simmered.

Zywiecka Kielbasa   -   [Beer Sausage (US)]
Smoked Sausage

This Sausage is named for the town of Zywiec in the south of Poland, where the famous Zywiec brewery is located. The sausage is fairly dry, a bit salty and spicy, and strongly smoked over hardwood. Yes, you will want beer with this. The photo specimen, by Belmont Sausage, was 7-1/4 inches long, 2-1/8 inch diameter and weighed 13 ounces. Pork, beef, water, salt, sugar, garlic, sodium lactate, seasoning mix (spices, salt, dextrose, msg, garlic, garlic oil, paprika oleoresin) sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite; 2013 US $8.99 / pound.

Health & Nutrition

Hardly anyone considers sausages to be health food, but they sure taste good, and many people have survived eating them. Here in California, the untimely death of George Johnson was recently noted (2006) in the newspapers. There is little doubt an unvarying diet of sausages and waffles contributed to his demise at age 112, but that's a risk some of us are willing to take.

Salt:   By nature, sausages are high in salt, because salt is one of the important preservatives that keeps them from spoiling. Sausages that can be kept at room temperature for some time will be the saltiest. Despite the shrieking of the do-gooders, the question of the danger level of salt is still wide open.

Fat:   Sausages are high in fat. Fat acts as a preservative and as a conveyance for most of the sausage's flavor. Because they are made from animal products, sausages will be high in saturated fats. The American Heart Association says saturated fats will kill you in short order, but people who have adhered to the Atkins diet (very high in saturated fats) have had no such problems. The worst artery clogger has proven to be the trans fats the AHA had been trying to get us to eat instead, for the past 50 years or so. The polyunsaturated fats they still promote may not be much safer. Recent research shows that saturated fats protect rat hearts from the ravages of canola oil. Of course fats can make you fat, and obesity is a problem in North America, so apply moderation. A fat being saturated doesn't seem to make that much difference (except it's more resistant to rancidity and formation of carcinogens).

Nitrites   Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite are very important to maintaining color in cured meat products like sausages (during cure nitrates convert to nitrites) and also, in combination with Sodium Chloride (salt) they are powerful inhibitors of harmful bacteria. Despite the suspected possibility of danger to humans, the FDA has not banned nitrites - because the alternative (botulism) is considered a much greater danger, resulting in an immediate and very uncomfortable death.

Nitrites have been shown to combine with amines in meat in the acid environment of the stomach to form nitrosamines, which are thought to be at least somewhat carcinogenic. The actual risk is entirely unknown at this time, but it is known that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can greatly reduce nitrosamine formation, so you will find sausages that contain nitrite will also contain ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate to supress nitrosamine formation.

It is known that many people who have eaten large amounts of sausages and bacon and drunk plenty of beer for most of their lives have lived to a ripe old age. Today's sausages, bacon and beer are far safer (nitrosamine wise) than what elderly people would have consumed for most of their lives. There have been a significant number of reported cases of nitrite poisoning, mostly in children, but these nitrites were all from vegetables, some of which are naturally very high in nitrites. They were not from sausages.


  • I1 - Sausage Information - University of Wisconsin.
  • I2 - Spanish Sausages - La Tienda - A Common Sense Guide to Chorizo and Spanish Sausages.
  • I3 - Nitrosamines - Linus Pauling Institute Nitrosamines and Cancer.
  • S2 - Eureka Sausage Co. 6835 Tujunga Ave, North Hollywood, CA , 91605-6312 818-752-7880 - a specialist in Soviet sausages.
  • S3 - Ohanyan's Bastirma & Soujouk Mfg Co. 3296 West Sussex Way, Fresno, CA 93722 - a specialist in Armenian / Turkish sausages, nationally distributed but no Web site. Fresno was the original Armenian community in California, now overshadowed by Glendale.
  • S4 - Farmer John - Clogherty Packing LLC, Los Angeles, CA 90058 - a major brand for pork products in Southern California.
  • S5 - La Espanola Meats - 25020 Dobie Avenue, Harbor City, California 90710, 1-310-539-0455
  • S6 - Hillshire Farm (Sara Lee) - Ohio, USA.
  • S7 - European Meat Specialties - 12926 Saticoy St. North Hollywood, California - wholesale manufacturer with on-site retail deli.
  • S8 - Continental Gourmet Sausage Co., 6406 San Fernando Road, Gelendale CA 91201, 1-818-502-1447 - a wholesale / retail German sausage maker with an on-site deli.
  • S9 - Papa Cantella's 3341 E. 50th Street, Vernon, CA 90058, 800-727-2676, fax 323-581-4253.
  • S10 - Sausage Patties from Jimmy Dean (Sara Lee) - Ohio, USA - company was actually started by Country & Western singer Jimmy Dean and his brother Don.
  • S11 - Boca Foods Co.- (apparently in Florida, no address on Web site) - meatless products.
  • S12 - Sausage Factory, 5425 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90019 - 323-935-2440 - retail meats, wholesale sausage.
  • S13 - Seltzer's / Palmyra Bologna Co. - Palmyra Pennsylvania 17078.
  • S14 - Kutztown Bologna Inc. - Lebanon, Pensylvania 17042.
  • S15 - Weaver's - Lebanon Pennsylvania 17042.
  • S16 - Groezinger Provisions Inc. 1200 Seventh Ave., Neptune NJ 07753, (732)775-3220.
  • S17 - Silva Sausage Company - San Jose CA, Portuguise Linguica, Spanish Chorizo.
  • S18 - Gallo Foods, San Lorenzo CA - Dry Salame and Pepperoni.
  • S19 - Bar M Packers - Serve-Rite Meat Co., Los Angeles, CA 90065.
  • S20 - Special America'a BBQ Inc., Miami Florida 33142. 305-637-7377.
  • S21 - Mikale's Meat Products, 12926 Saticoy Street, North Hollywood, CA 91605.
  • S22 - Red Square Foods 62 Berry Street, Somerset NJ 08873 732-846-0190
  • S23 - Belmont Sausage Co., 2201 Estes Ave, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007.
  • S24 - Harmony Farms, 2824 Foothill Blvd. La Crescenta, CA 91214, 818-248-3068.
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