Can you eat summer sausage raw?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat summer sausage raw?” and discuss can you eat summer sausage uncooked?

Can you eat summer sausage raw?

Yes, you can eat summer sausage raw. In fact, summer sausages are not raw, rather they are dry or semi-dries sausages and therefore, can be consumed without additional cooking. Dry sausages are dried for varying lengths of time during processing and smoking, depending on the sausage type. Semi-dry sausages may be smoked and slightly cooked in the smokehouse and after smoking, or these sausages may be air dried for a relatively short time (3). Snacks, picnics, and charcuterie boards are all great places to use summer sausage. It’s usually served thinly sliced, and it goes well with both wine and cheese. It’s also delicious on sandwiches.

Summer sausage is also fantastic fried or in a casserole, but the real beauty of it is that it’s easy to make, ready to eat, and tastes great at room temperature.

The USDA final rule addressing the control of Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products requires processors of the products to take one or more specific steps to ensure the absence of this pathogenic bacteria from their products. For summer sausage and related products, the reduction of water activity accomplished through cooking/drying, along with the reduction of pH via fermentation or addition of an acidulant, could serve as antimicrobial processes by making the finished product unsuitable for Listeria monocytogenes growth. In general, an antimicrobial agent is added to the product that suppresses or limits microbial growth throughout product shelf-life (1).

Though curing processes have been used for centuries as a method to preserve meat products in a state that renders them microbiologically safe for human consumption in the absence of cooking, no dry curing processes have been validated for inactivation of protozoan parasites found in meat, such as Toxoplasma gondii. In the U.S., 2.8% of market weight pigs at the farm level are infected with T. gondii, while the prevalence of T. gondii in fresh pork meat found in the meat case is N7 times lower, at 0.38% (2).

What Is Summer Sausage, and How Do I Make It?

Summer sausage is a form of cured meat that originated in Europe prior to the invention of refrigeration. People were able to manufacture a sausage that would not spoil without refrigeration “during the summer months” by combining multiple sorts of preservation technologies.

Dry or fermented sausages are prepared using ground meats, which are seasoned, cured, stuffed in casings, fermented, often smoked, and carefully air-dried. Dry and fermented sausages develop a characteristic tangy flavor due to fermentation and the production of lactic acid. The lactic acid is produced by microbial fermentation of the sugars, and the addition of salt often provides a distinctive and enticing aroma, flavor, and a characteristic “bite.” Sausages are dried for varying lengths of time during processing and smoking, depending on the sausage type. Fermentation and drying are the oldest way of preserving meat and meat products. The drying is accomplished by adding salt to meat to prevent spoilage. They are also referred to as “summer sausages” and eaten cold. Some examples are summer sausage, Italian salami, German salami, Lebanon bologna, Genoa salami, thuringer, cervelat, and pepperoni (3).

Summer sausages come in a variety of flavors (think salami, pepperoni, and Spanish chorizo), but genuine German summer sausage is softer and less dry than these ready-to-eat meats. This is owing to the German climate and the fact that the meat didn’t need to be dehydrated as much during the summer to stay fresh.

What Is the Best Way to Cook Summer Sausage?

Snacks, picnics, and charcuterie boards are all great places to use summer sausage. It’s usually served thinly sliced, and it goes well with both wine and cheese. It’s also delicious on sandwiches. Summer sausage is also fantastic fried or in a casserole, but the real beauty of it is that it’s easy to make, ready to eat, and tastes great at room temperature.

Is it necessary to keep summer sausage refrigerated?

While summer sausage was initially designed to be stored without refrigeration, we now know a little more about food safety, and refrigeration is luckily commonly available. Many sausages can be left out of the cooler, but keep in mind that not all summer sausages are made equal, and some must be refrigerated to stay fresh.

Consult the maker if you’re unsure whether your sausage needs to be refrigerated. You can also check the packaging to see if it says “Refrigerate after opening,” in which case you can store it in the pantry until you’re ready to use it. 

Put it in the fridge if it indicates it needs to be refrigerated. You might also consider where you bought the item in your grocery shop. If you got your snack at the checkout counter, it’s probably shelf-stable, but if you got it from the refrigerated case, it’ll need to keep cold.

However, although summer sausages that have been fermented to produce the acidic tangy flavor are more durable, the safety recommendations require that it should be stored in the refrigerator after production is finished, that is, after being smoked, cooked and cooled. Refrigeration will increase the safe consumption of the product and reduce risks of growth of pathogenic bacteria. Summer sausage may be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator (1).

What’s the best way to make the ideal sausage?

Place the sausages in a nonstick pan over medium heat. As the sausages warm-up, a bit of the fat will begin to leak out; flip the sausages in the hot fat to coat them. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, moving them around in the pan and turning them over frequently to ensure equal cooking (3).

When it comes to cooking sausage, what temperature should I use?

An uncooked sausage should be cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and kept at that temperature. According to the USDA, to prevent foodborne illness, uncooked sausages that contain ground beef, pork, lamb or veal should be cooked to 160 °F. Uncooked sausages that contain ground turkey and chicken should be cooked to 165 °F. Any higher temperature causes the fat inside the sausage to melt and leak out, resulting in dry, bland sausage. The sausage should not be pink in hue.

What is the best method for preparing sausages?

To fry sausages, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Cook the sausages gently in the oil for 10-12 minutes, turning periodically, until well cooked. Sausages can also be baked in the oven (which is an excellent option to utilize if you’re preparing something else in the oven at the same time).

When it comes to summer sausage, how can you know when it’s done?

Stuff cooked sausage into fibrous casings with a diameter of 3 inches. 1 hour at 140°F, 1 hour at 160°F, 1 hour at 180°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F (insert a food thermometer in the thickest part of the sausage to check the internal temperature) (3).

How long should summer sausage be smoked?

How Long Should Summer Sausage Be Smoked? Summer sausage should not be overcooked because it will become dry and crumbly. Cook the sausage until it reaches a temperature of 155 degrees on the inside. This takes roughly 4 hours on average.

How hot should I cook summer sausage?

1 hour at 140°F, 1 hour at 160°F, 1 hour at 180°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F, 1 hour at 200°F (insert a food thermometer in the thickest part of the sausage to check the internal temperature). Remove from the smoker/smokehouse and spray for 15 to 30 seconds with hot water.

To learn more about eating summer sausage raw click here

Other FAQs about Sausages that you may be interested in.

Can you eat summer sausage casing?

Can you cook sausages from frozen?

Can You Reheat Sausages?

Can you freeze cooked hot dogs?

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat summer sausage raw?” and we discussed can you eat summer sausage uncooked?

Reference

  1. Ingham, Steven C., et al. Survival of Listeria monocytogenes during storage of ready-to-eat meat products processed by drying, fermentation, and/or smoking. J food protec, 2004, 67, 2698-2702.
  2. Hill, D. E., et al. Rapid inactivation of Toxoplasma gondii bradyzoites during formulation of dry cured ready-to-eat pork sausage. Food Waterborne Parasitol, 2018, 12, e00029.
  3. Mohan, Anand. Basics of sausage making, Formulation, Processing and safety. UGA Extension Bulletin, 2014, 1437, 5-8.