What Is Summer Sausage Made Of? All The Ingredients You Need To Know

In addition to being the ideal addition to a holiday party, summer sausage is also a flexible item utilized to enhance other dishes’ flavor.

You can easily buy these sausages at the supermarket or make them at home as long as you know the ingredients included. 

What is summer sausage made of? This food has various types, but all of them include three essential elements: meat, spice, and casing. 

If you want to make this delicacy food at home, scroll down to this article to know more about it! Let’s get started!

What’s Special About Summer Sausage? 

Summer sausage is originally a sort of smoked sausage produced from any meat available like pork or beef.

Because unsmoked meat would perish, dried meats and sausages were created to preserve meats for the following years and improve cattle use.

People often used pork, venison, and beef to make sausages, but they also added other meats such as turkey, chicken, or lamb.

The modern summer sausages are made from pork, beef, or a combination of pork and venison, or beef and pork. 

Apart from meat, people also used other ingredients. They often ground, spiced, and cured the meat before cooking. 

Some people also liked stuffing the meat into the casings made of animal intestines cleaned out before making sausages. 

The sausages today come with fibrous or synthetic casings. Some types of cases need to be discarded before eating the food.

Where Does Summer Sausage Originate?

Germany is where the summer sausage first appeared. And manufacturing sausage is still a centuries-old tradition there.

People would make sausages at the end of autumn and winter after they slaughtered animals like pigs and livestock. 

People didn’t have a fridge to store the leftover fresh food a hundred years ago. 

Thus, they came up with the idea of curing and smoking meat for subsequent use in the following seasons.

The curing and smoking process made the meat last longer despite the weather. That’s why people could store this food without a fridge. 

People mainly made this dish at the end of autumn and winter, so they often used it in the next season, summer. 

Summer sausages are manufactured all year round, meaning you can buy them in any season, whether summer or winter. 

What Is Summer Sausage Made Of? 

Summer sausages include three main components: meat, spices, and casing. To make this delicacy at home, you should first know its main ingredients. 


Swine and beef are the two main types of meat used to make summer sausage. However, you can also use beef and swine alone in your recipe. 

Summer sausage is typically cured at low pH to prevent bacterial growth and extend shelf life while producing a sour taste.

You can mix pork and beef at a ratio of 75% : 25% or 25% : 75%. It depends on your preference. 

It is possible to duplicate the specific flavor by taking a short route and retaining crops for fermenting the subsequent batches.

The whitish substance you notice on your sausages is mold. It is a unique mold used in the fermentation of meat.

Adding the meat with the exceptional, beneficial mold eliminates any dangerous mildew and preserves the product.

If necessary, the meat is ground, seasoned, and processed before being stuffed within the animal casings.

The sausages should include a fat proportion of 20 to 30 percent to mix lean meat and fat as precisely as possible.


There aren’t many spices needed for summer sausage. It is necessary to use salt, which facilitates the curing and improves the meat’s rich flavor.

Other seasonings may include ground red, black, garlic, mustard, nutmeg, coriander, and sugar. 

However, classic summer sausages offer a mild flavor, so you can make them hotter by adding paprika and cayenne if you want. 

Summer sausage seasonings can change depending on what the final product tastes. To get a distinctive flavor, some manufacturers use more or fewer spices.

The freshly ground meat is mixed with the seasonings. Most spices aid in curing, and they work best when present throughout the sausage-making process.

The type of meat used might also influence the spices chosen for this delicacy.


The sausage stuffing substance is called the casing or the sausage skin.

There are several types of casings. Traditionally, people use animals’ intestines to make these casings, mostly pig or beef.

Collagen makes up the most popular synthetic variant. A vegetarian-friendly substitute is cellulose casings, which are produced from plant materials.

Another popular method of preparing and storing this food is in plastic casings. They are relatively inexpensive but inedible.

Differences Between Summer Sausage And Regular Sausage 

There are some main differences between the two types: summer sausage and regular sausage. Let’s check it out!

The summer sausage is semi-dry. During maturing, it loses approximately 15% of its initial moisture.

The fermentation of lactic acid has a salty, smoky, and tart flavor. You can eat this food raw if you like.

Although neighboring cultures and countries have unique cuisines, this sausage is primarily a German product.

On the other hand, because it is frequently consumed at breakfast, regular sausages are sometimes called morning sausage.

This sausage is a widely available kind of mildly spiced pork in the US.

Regular sausages are cured foods, and they are often meals made from ground pork and the skin which surround it.

One of the most well-liked types of sausages in the United States is referred to as Genoa after the Italy country where it is manufactured.

How To Make Summer Sausage At Home?

If you want to make this delicacy at home, the following guides will be helpful.

Step 1: Prepare Equipment

  • Meat grinder
  • A bowl
  • Electric smoker

Step 2: Prepare Ingredients

  • Meat: 25% pork and 75% beef 
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Mustard seeds
  • Coriander
  • Ginger
  • Allspice
  • Curing salt

Step 3: Grind The Meat

Use a 3/16 inch plate to grind the meat. 

Divide the pork and beef into smaller pieces.

Put them in the grinder and crush them until they are fine enough.

Step 4: Season The Meat

Combine the ground beef with the seasonings and ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is sticky.

Leave the blend in the freezer for 45 to 60 minutes to get cold.

Step 5: Stuff The Sausages

You can use beef middles, collagen, or fibrous casings.

The typical sizes for cases include 40mm, 60mm, and 120mm in diameter. 

If you use collagen casings, soak them in warm water to make them pliable before stuffing.

Fill the cases with the mixture after forming them into little meatballs.

Squeeze and pressure the casings while you try to load everything within.

Once they are complete, use twine to tie them. 

Leave the sausages in the fridge for about 8 to 10 hours so the meat will get rosy. 

Step 6: Cook The Sausages

Cook the summer sausages on an electric smoker at around 110°F for 4 to 6 hours.

Make sure the internal temperature should be 140 to 155°F.

After cooking, put the food back in the fridge overnight. 

How Long Does Summer Sausage Last? 

Summer sausage storage conditions affect how long they will stay fresh. It’s best to keep unopened sausages in cool and dry places. 

If you properly store meat, it will be suitable for around one month when placed at room temperature. 

To prolong the shelf life of unopened sausages, you can put them in the fridge. This way, they can last for more than six months. 

However, the lifespan of this delicacy will drastically reduce once you open it. 

The flesh gets exposed to the air, and any bacteria has been sliced open after the casting. So it will deteriorate more quickly.

A sausage will keep without refrigeration for around 1 to 4 days. Summer sausages stay for roughly a month in the refrigerator after being opened.

Summer sausage slices spoil more quickly when a large surface portion is exposed. As a result, you need to consume them on the same day.

Summer sausages that have been cooked often don’t stay very long since collected moisture dramatically shortens their shelf life.

Cooked sausages have a short shelf life when kept at room temperature, only for some hours. 

It would be best if you preserved these meats in a fridge to expand their shelf life, about a week.

Last but not least, the sort of sausages will also affect their shelf life.

For instance, you must consume defrosted sausages immediately because they don’t last long in the freezer. 

On the other hand, semi-dry sausage is kept in the fridge for one to two months.

Besides, the preservation methods determine the shelf life of your food. Some products will deteriorate more quickly if Lacto fermentation is not present.

Nevertheless, types that contain preservatives can keep the meat for a very long time in the refrigerator.

Compared to other food, summer sausages have a relatively long shelf life. What are the reasons behind their success? 

As shared earlier, manufacturers must dry, ferment, salt-cure, and smoke the meat. 

Apart from preserving the red color of meat, sodium and these chemicals prevent Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria causing botulism food poisoning, from growing.

These salts also impart the sausage’s unique flavor. Nonetheless, at extreme temps, nitrates, and nitrites produce cancer-causing nitrosamines.

Thus, use ascorbate or sodium erythorbate to cure your meat. Citric acid will be used to recreate the sour flavor that fermenting provides the sausages.

Moreover, the sausages’ distinctive acidic flavor also comes from fermentation.

Citric acid replication is a quick way to preserve colonies for the subsequent fermentation batch.

How Do You Know If Summer Sausage Goes Bad? 

Although summer sausages can last longer than other meats, they still go spoiled. Below are some signs to know bad food.

Summer sausages that have been cooked exhibit signs of deterioration earlier than those that have not been baked.

They are more prone to bacterial degradation because of their high moisture content.

Discoloration brought on by the absence of nitrites and nitrates once they go rancid is among the most typical signs.

These ingredients are preservatives to increase the lifespan of sausages. The meat spoils faster than usual since they aren’t there to preserve it.

Another sign of spoiled sausages is an unpleasant odor. Be aware that since the meat matures, it can get stronger.

It’s essential to consider the texture as well. Sausages with bacterial spoilage begin to become slimy and slick, indicating that the germs have started to grow.

Food poisoning and other health issues like vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea might result from consuming rotten meat.

As a result, if you see any of the symptoms mentioned above, avoid eating summer sausages.

How To Store Summer Sausage? 

You can store this food in the fridge. This way, it can last for about 3 or 4 months.

However, the best way to prolong the shelf-life of these sausages is to put them in the freezer. Your meat can last up to 10 months if frozen.

Follow the steps below to store this food:

  • Wrap your sausages with freezer paper.
  • Seal the wrapping’s edges using freezer tape. 
  • Label and write the date on the packaging.
  • Let it freeze for some months. 

In A Nutshell

This post has solved your question: What is summer sausage made of? 

Now you can select your favorite ingredients and spices to make this delicacy for your holiday treats. 

Hopefully, this article will be helpful for you. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below to let us know.

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