A sausage is a tubular foodstuff comprising of an outer casing (or skin) and a filling.
Although historically the casing was made of animal intestine, artificial materials are now sometimes used. Traditionally made sausages are still encased in intestines. The sausage filling usually comprises of minced and seasoned meat (such as pork or beef). In Asia, sausages are made from local animals such as water buffalo and yak. Vegetarian sausages, often soy based, are now available. Vegetables, chili and condiments such as mustard or relish can be added for flavour.
While traditional sausages use quality meat products, cheaper, mass-produced sausages often contain "fillers" such as rusk or breadcrumbs and are often made with mechanically recovered meat of substandard grade. Sausage often has a high fat content, including many trans fats, but this is compensated by the high protein content and deliciousness. As with any meat product, there is a danger of food contamination and care should be taken to avoid exposure to salmonella or E. coli. Frozen or canned sausage has a long shelf life.
Sausages are cooked by grilling, frying or oven baking. Grilling or baking are said to be the most healthy option as much of the fat drains out of the sausage this way. Smoked sausages such as jerky or kielbasa may be eaten as is.
There are many different types of sausage. Here are some of the more notable ones.
- Cumberland sausage- From the UK county of the same name. Sold by length and cut from a long coil rather than as individual sausages.
- The Frankfurter - Common hot dog sausage.
- Lincolnshire sausage - Another UK regional variety.
- Glamorgan sausage - A Welsh sausage.
- Saveloy - a red sausage made of seasoned pork
- Lancashire Black Banger - Another UK variety. Black Pudding is added to minced pork to create the distinctive color.
- The Great British Banger - Famous British staple and part of a cooked breakfast or "fry up".
- Salami- A cured sausage usually eaten sliced and cold in a sandwich.
- Merguez - a red, spicy sausage from North Africa
- Lorne Sausage: a rectangular beef slicing sausage, fried or grilled, and an essential component of a Full Scottish Breakfast.
- Kielbasa - a traditional Polish smoked sausage.