10+ Tips to Help You Choose a High-Quality Delicious Sausage

Sausages are a very popular food in many countries. But despite the variety of different sausages, it can be pretty hard to find a high-quality product.

We at Bright Side love eating tasty food, so we decided to find out how to choose a good sausage.

Smoked sausage

Smoked sausage is prepared from high quality chopped meat made with different smoking techniques. Half-smoked sausage is fried, boiled, and then smoked. It is made of chopped meat and is sold in its natural casing, which is edible. Good sausage shouldn’t cost less than meat.

Summer sausage is made of high-quality meat that uses a cold smoking process for the meat that is done at 68-77ºF. It contains a lot of spices and even cognac sometimes. It can be saved in the fridge for 4 months. You should know that natural smoking is a very expensive process. Many manufacturers just use liquid smoke for preparation.

When choosing a sausage, pay attention to these factors:

  • The cut of the sausage should be dry, smooth, even, and without any veins. And the color should be close to brown. If it is bright red, pink, or coral, something is wrong. Curl a piece of sausage into a tube — good products are elastic and they don’t break. If a piece is broken, it means that there is almost no natural meat in it.
  • The casing should be a bit wrinkled because of lack of moisture. If the casing is elastic, it means the sausage contains a lot of water, and a lot of supplements like soy and starch which are not supposed to be there. It’s OK to see white dry mold on the sausage, and as long as doesn’t get into the meat it’s acceptable. A sausage that was smoked with natural smoke should have a dry and shiny surface. If a product was made with liquid smoke, the color of the casing will be a little bit dull and orange.
  • The smell should be very subtle. If the smell is too strong, it means the sausage was soaked in a special liquid.
  • In order to save money, some manufacturers add soy, starch, or flour, and never mention it on the ingredient list. When buying sausage ask to taste it, this way you can see if there is too much starch, because in that case, the taste will be “paper-like.”
  • The list of ingredients should be very short: it’s best if it’s just meat and spices. The glucono delta lactone (or Е575) speeds up the process of preparation in an artificial way.
  • The sausage itself should be solid, dry, and thick. And when it is cut, it should be elastic and easy to chew.
  • The taste of the sausage should not be sour: it should be a little bit spicy and salty.

Dry sausage

Dry sausages are... dried and not smoked. They are only cooked with high-quality meats and they may contain spices, honey, and cognac. Aside from pork and beef, they may contain lamb meat, horse meat, and even wine. These sausages can be kept in the fridge for up to 4-6 months. The most popular type of such sausage is salami.

Here are a few tips on how to choose a good dry sausage:

  • The darker the product, the more horse meat or beef it contains. And because these sausages are only made of the best meat, they aren’t cheap.
  • If there is some white stuff on the casing, it means that the sausage is really good quality. The white residue is salt. Pay close attention to the cut: if the color of the meat is not even, especially on the edges, it means the sausage was rubbed with water and oil in order to remove the salt.
  • The casing should be natural or close to natural. It should be made of natural products: collagen (made of cattle skin) and fibrous (made of cellulose). Sometimes, during the preparation, sausages get covered in mold — this is perfectly normal. Sometimes, the mold is peeled off and the sausage is covered with spices, so avoid buying salami with a lot of spices on the casing.

True for all types of sausages

  • The smell of sausage is not supposed to be very strong. If there is a strong smell, it means that some flavoring was added to the product. And if you can smell a lot of spices, it is a sign that the meat that was used was not fresh.
  • If a sausage has fat in it, it is not supposed to be yellow or pink. It has to be white. Otherwise, either the sausage is not fresh or it contains a lot of food coloring.
  • If the ingredient list says that the product contains soy, it means that there is almost no meat in the product. Instead, there is some mix of cartilage, skin, and other leftovers. Starch in the product is completely harmless. It is used as a thickening agent for the minced meat. Carrageenan is a food supplement and can cause an allergic reaction.
  • If you have eaten several pieces of sausage that have a very bright taste and you can’t resist eating more, it probably contains the powerful taste intensifier monosodium glutamate. This additive makes sausage taste and smell incredibly good, but the most important factor is that it can hide the bad smell of low-quality minced meat.

Bonus: How to cook a saveloy sausage according to a 1938 recipe

You will need:

  • 750 grams of pork shoulder (no bone)
  • 250 grams of beef
  • 10 grams of nitrite salt and 10 grams regular salt
  • 100 ml of water
  • 1.5 grams of white pepper
  • 0.3 grams of nutmeg
  • 2 grams of sugar
  • 3 grams of phosphate (optional)

Cut the meat into pieces, salt it, and put it into the fridge for 2 days. After that, freeze the meat for a little bit and then put it into a mincer. The temperature of the meat shouldn’t be higher than 54ºF. After that, add some spices.

Next, you need to mix the meat with your hands very well (for 5-10 minutes). Fill the casing of the future sausage with the meat. After that, hang the sausage in the fridge for a day and then move it to a warm place for 4 hours.

Finally, put it into an oven at 185ºF degrees for 1.5 hours, pour some water into a tray, and put it under the sausage. When the sausage is ready, let it rest for at least 8 hours. Here is the detailed recipe.

When choosing a sausage, don’t forget to read through the ingredients carefully. If you see ingredients that you have never heard of, it is better to not buy the product. We hope that these tips will help you quickly choose tasty and high-quality sausages.

Do you know about any other signs that indicate a good sausage? Share your experience with other readers!

Preview photo credit pxhere, depositphotos
Illustrated by Sergey Raskovalov for Bright Side
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