Are Sausages Made of Pork?

Sausages can be made of many different meats including pork and are available all over the world, I have made various types myself and I’ve eaten them, too.

These varieties of sausages across the world – made of other meat and spices – have changed the image and many aspects of the humble sausage.

One may think sausages are always made with pork, but it is not quite as simple as that. I have been making sausages for the last 20 years and have used a lot of meat available from various animals either farmed or wild.

Sausages made with pork have pork fat to create moisture and a desirable texture. Sausages with other meats can sometimes contain pork fat – emulsified sausages often have pork fat such as wiener, hot dog or frankfurter sausages.

Firstly, I want to cover pork sausages in different categories and highlight the common ones that people like. Then I’ll talk about the types of sausages which do not contain pork.

Are All Sausages Made of Pork in Detail

Certain cuts of meat or muscles from a pig have a 30 to 50% ratio of meat to fat, which makes it ideal for making sausages.

Some commercial practices can retain water and moisture inside the sausages. However, 25-40% of the meat content will be pork fat, for all those different categorizes of sausages. There are more details about this below.

A sausage is cased in a natural, collagen, or synthetic exterior and the meat is mixed with salt and spices. Additives, preservatives, and fillers are used for longer shelf life, moisture retention, and visual appearance.

What Variations Are There of Sausages?

  • Emulsified Sausage
  • Dry Cured Salami
  • Fresh Raw Sausage
  • Hot Smoked/Cooked

Dry Cured Salami

Classic Dry Cured Pork Salami with Pork Meat and White Pork Fat (sometimes called showcase fat)

There is a traditional style of making dry-cured salami, and there is also a quick commercial technique, often made with pork.

You’ll find the commercial salami has a blend of meats like beef and also pork sometimes.

The traditional style of dry-cured salami takes much longer to produce and will only have pork in it. (Such as Italian – Picante, Sopressata, and Felino).

Some pork and non-pork sausages, also have a fermentation stage, which is to decrease pH, which increases acidity. The unwanted bacteria do not like acidic environments in the salami/sausage.

Dry Cured Salami Made of Pork

The most popular sausages you have seen in the Western world, are salamis like Pepperoni, Genoa, Picante, Felino, and Sopressata. These dry-cured salami sausages will contain pork, as well as pork fat.

Emulsified Sausage

Mortadella Pork, with Pork Fat encrusted with Pastachio (Spoleto, Italy)

Baloney/Bologna is one of the most common types of emulsified sausages you’ll find in America. It often has a blend of leftover meat cuts that can be turned into a type of meat paste and is then cooked (which is the basic process of emulsion) similar to binding oil with egg to make mayonnaise.

This is what gives it the uniform emulsified texture and appearance of pork sausage.

Mortadella is another type of emulsified sausage and often the meat is a mixture of beef or lamb, as pictured above.

Emulsified Sausage Made of Pork

Very common types are Boloney, Frankfurter and Hot Dog – see below for more types.

Fresh Sausage

500-year-old Germany Recipe, Nurenburg Sausage, more specifically Bavarian/Franconian (think Gauls)

Probably 90% of sausages in the world (complete guess) are made of pork meat or with pork fat.

Some obvious non-pork fresh sausages are beef sausages. Beef fat does have a different taste to pork fat, this can be quite noticeable for some.

Veal, Chicken, and Lamb can often be added to the thriftiest sausages that are available, these are often the offcuts or lesser-value parts after processing the main cuts of the animal (Google “Mechanically Process Meat” for more info on this, this is the type of meat that McDonald’s uses for “meat products”).

Generic or half-emulsified sausages which are very common, commercially, have a more uniform texture. What this sometimes entails, is that the meat, additives, and other preservatives are in a way mixed through so you cannot tell these non-meat ingredients.

Many mass-produced commercial meats will be of this nature, for cost and scale to produce a more profitable version of sausage. Artisanal producers are often on the other end of the scale, using higher grades of meat.

Fresh Sausage Made of Pork

It is the classic English pork sausage, of course. Though, many countries have fresh pork sausage: Catalonian White Sausage (Butifarra), is a specific breed of pig and traditionally just salt and lots of black pepper. A major festival happens every year for this Spanish Classic!

Hot Smoked / Cooked Sausage

Take a fresh sausage, and then cook it gently either in a hot smoker or simmer it, and you have a hot smoked sausage. I put this in another category; You do get hot smoked or simmered emulsified sausage; however, some sausages are not emulsified but are hot smoked, which showcases fat that doesn’t melt.

A Hot Dog or Frankfurter would be hot smoked to a certain temperature, then simmered until the finished cooked temperature.

Why are Most Sausages Made of Pork?

Many sausages will be made with pork, and specifically with pork fat. The reason for this is, pork fat has a very neutral flavor, compared to fat from other animals like beef or lamb.

Another reason is, the melting point is higher, which can be beneficial in terms of the hot smoking the sausage, it won’t render.

Within each of these categories, there are popular pork meat sausages which I’ll mention; but some variations do not contain pork, too.

Here is a generic list from wiki of some variations across the world, often pork based.

I’ll list some interesting pork and non-pork sausages below.

Sausages Table with Pork

Here I would like to highlight the variations that exist across our planet. Some of these I’ve made, and some I will make soon!

Below are some sausages with pork I can think of:

Sausage TypeSausage CategoryMeat TypesOrigin
BoudinFresh SausagePork, Pork LiverLouisiana, USA
BratwurstFresh SausagePork, VealGermany
Greek SausageFresh SausagePorkGreece
Lap ChongHot Smoked/CookedPorkChina, Southeast Asia
KabanosyHot Smoked/CookedPorkPoland
UkrainianFresh SausageBeef, Pork, BaconUkraine
BolognaEmulsifiedBeef, PorkUSA (Version of Italy)
Mortadella di BolognaEmulsifiedPorkItaly
WeinerEmulsifiedBeef, Veal, PorkAustria
Hot DogEmulsifiedBeef, PorkUSA (Version of Austria)
FrankfurterEmulsifiedBeef, PorkGermany
MorcillaEmulsifiedPork Blood, FatSpain
LithuanianFresh SausagePork, Beef, RabbitLithuania
Pepperoni / PicanteDry CuredPorkUSA / Italy
Genoa, MilanoDry CuredPork, BeefItaly

Sausage Table Without Pork Meat

Sausage TypeSausage CategoryMeat TypesOrigin
MerguezFresh SausageLamb or BeefNorth Africa
TatarCooked/Hot SmokedLambMongolia (5th Century)
White PuddingCookedBeefIreland/Scotland
Lebanon BolognaDry CuredBeefPennsylvania, USA
SucukDry CuredBeef, Lamb/MuttonTurkey, Middle East

Again, countless variations of all these sausages can replace pork with other meat. However, it’s the neutrality of the pork fat which is added to a majority of sausages, you will find across the globe.

Yes, there are fish sausages and vegetarian sausages as well – that is for another article.

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