Pork sausage is any meat product made from ground pork mixed with fat, salt, seasonings, and preservatives. If you enjoy eating red meat, it is hard not to like pork sausage. This is very tasty, very versatile, and affordable. Pork sausage is ubiquitous in today’s modern diet. When you are in the grocery or supermarket, you will find different kinds of pork sausages sold there. And because of that, pork sausages are also commonly found in the pantry and at the table for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Pork Sausage Trivia
- While pork sausage is not uncommon in Texas, the common ingredient of a Texas sausage is usually beef, not pork. Nevertheless, there are many pork and pork-and-beef sausages made and sold in Texas.
- The Chinese use rose water to flavor their famous smoked pork sausage lap cheong.
- Pork sausage but with a hint of orange and fennel? You are probably having the famous Greek pork sausage called loukanika.
- The Magnificent Mangalitsa is made from the rare Magnificent pig which food enthusiasts describe as the Kobe beef of pork. This pork sausage’s price tag? It is 100x the price of regular pork sausage! Can you believe that?
Pork Sausage Buying Guide
Pork sausage is a broad category that includes different types and different appearances, so it is important to know this before going out to buy pork sausages. For starters, there are two kinds of pork sausage in terms of shape and appearance: sausages in casings and flat sausage patties which people call breakfast sausage. You’ll find pork sausages that require cooking, like hot dogs, while there are also pork sausages labeled as smoked and cured and ready to eat as it is without the need to cook it.
Bratwurst is a German sausage commonly made from pork. Hot dogs made of ground pork are another example of pork sausage. Italian sausages, which are traditionally made from pork shoulder, also qualify as pork sausage.
If you are buying from a vendor that will ship your order, fully cooked sausage is the better option over fresh sausage.
When buying pork sausages, check if it is already pre-cooked or not. This way, you’ll know if you still have to cook it or if you can already eat it at home.
Pork Sausage Production & Farming in Texas
Sausage is a staple in the Texas diet, and there is no shortage of pork sausage makers and stores selling pork sausage in Texas.
Prasek, located in El Campo and Sealy, has Czech-style smoked pork sausages. Bud’s House of Meat in Cullen has Schulenburg Smoked Jalapeno Pork Sausage and Schulenburg Smoked Jalapeno Cheddar Pork Sausage. Chef Chris Shepherd’s award-winning restaurant Underbelly serves the Unconventional Texas BBQ Sampler which includes sausages made from pork belly.
H-E-B, an American privately held supermarket chain based in San Antonio, Texas, sells pork sausages from different sausage makers in and outside of Texas, like Jimmy Dean’s premium pork sausage.
Texas pork sausages are made using pork sourced from local hog raisers.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Many kinds of pork sausages sold in the market today contain different additives and artificial ingredients. These ingredients serve different purposes: some additives are important for preserving pork sausage and maximizing shelf life. Other artificial ingredients are used to manipulate taste, color, and mouthfeel. The ingredients may not be synthetic, purely chemical, and artificial/man-made, but they may also be made from modified and processed sources.
- Artificial flavors – These are used in making pork sausages because they help keep the taste of the product consistent batch after batch.
- FD&C Red #40
- Monosodium Glutamate – Also known as MSG, this ingredient is used as a flavor enhancer.
- Natural Flavors – Due to the commercial production of sausages using all sorts of meats, it is hard to get the real flavor of the meat without resorting to the use of “Natural Flavors.”
- These other additives are used for improving or influencing the flavor of the sausage:
- Autolyzed Yeast Extract
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Yeast extract
- Artificial food coloring ingredients, like caramel and red, are used to make the pork sausage appear appetizing and have the same color as raw meat, to suggest freshness.
- Ascorbic acid/Sodium ascorbate – This is used so that the pork sausage has a pink color. This is also used so that pork sausages do not get rancid very early after production.
- Benzoic acid – This is used to help preserve pork sausages.
- BHA or Butylated hydroxyanisole – This is added to keep the food from spoiling. While the FDA approves them as safe for human consumption, some studies have shown the BHA has carcinogenic properties that might be harmful in the long run.
- Citric acid – This is used to control the acidity of the sausage so that it becomes shelf-stable.
- Collagen casing – This is used as a sausage casing. If the casing of the pork sausage is edible, the collagen casing is made from animal hide. If the collagen casing is not edible, it is made from either cellulose or plastic.
- Corn Syrup – This ingredient has a lot of responsibilities in the process of making pork sausages: helps bind the meat together, adds flavor, supports the fermentation process, and helps hold the color of cured meats. We can easily see how corn syrup is important, but sadly, corn syrup – which is basically sugar – is one of the leading causes of obesity in the world.
- Dextrose – The role of this sweetener is not just for taste. Dextrose is important in the production of beneficial bacteria during the fermentation of pork sausages.
- Lactate/diacetate and Lauric arginate – These additives are used to inhibit the growth of bacteria and enhance safety.
- Modified food starch and Phosphates – These additives are used to manipulate the texture and mouthfeel of the sausage.
- Nitrite – This is used in dried sausages. This is an important and common ingredient to make sure the sausage is safe and free from botulism-causing bacteria.
- Potassium Chloride – This is usually added to augment the saltiness of the sausage without increasing the levels of sodium. While this is no problem for healthy people, those who have problems with excreting potassium should be very careful (people with diabetes, renal failure, etc.)
- Potassium Lactate – This is used as a substitute for sodium chloride and assumes the same role.
- Potassium Nitrate – This is used to help cure pork sausage.
- Potassium Sorbate – This ingredient is used to prevent the growth of mold and yeast on the surface of sausages during dry curing.
- Propyl Gallate – This chemical is usually used in tandem with BHA. Propyl Gallate prevents fats and oils from becoming rancid and spoiling. Again, while this has been approved as safe for human consumption, some studies have shown that it might be carcinogenic.
- Sodium benzoate – This ingredient is used for its antimicrobial capability that helps the pork sausage stay safe to eat for a long time.
- Sodium chloride – This is used as a binder in processed meats like pork sausage. It is also used to affect the texture of pork sausage.
- Sodium diacetate – This ingredient is used for its antimicrobial capability that helps the pork sausage stay safe to eat for a long time.
- Sodium erythorbate – This is used to improve the color of pork sausage
- Sodium nitrite and Sodium nitrate – These are used to help preserve pork sausages.
- Sodium sorbate – This is used to help preserve pork sausages.
- Soy Protein – This is used to retain moisture in fresh and cured sausage and avoid shrinkage of the sausage. This is also used so that the pork sausage has a smooth, moist consistency. However, an article on food and nutrition pointed out that this is chemically modified, processed, and filled with pesticides.
- Sulfur dioxide – This is used to help preserve pork sausages.
The preservatives, additives, and other artificial ingredients found in pork sausages are the reason why sausages are considered unhealthy food. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the public that the consumption of processed meats like sausages can lead to cancer.
Where there’s pig and hog, and where there are people eating pork, expect to find pork sausage there. Historically, pork sausages have been made and consumed in different parts of the world for many years now. Today, the pork sausage industry remains a major component of the global food industry, and the production of pork sausages continues in different countries, happening at a commercial level as well as at a local, small-scale, artisanal level.
Pork sausages are packed in vacuum-sealed plastic bags to prevent contamination and maximize shelf life. The packaging contains important product information like the name of the manufacturer and where the product was made, ingredients and nutritional data, expiration or best-before date, and storage and handling instructions, among other things.
Enjoying Pork Sausages
Some types of pork sausage require no cooking. Others are enjoyed best with reheating. Others are raw and require full cooking. Grill them or fry them. Use them to make rice dishes like jambalaya. Pork sausage is great to eat even by itself, or you can use it to make a sandwich. Cut it into smaller pieces and use it when making stews or soups. Pork sausage can also be used in making baked goods, or as toppings in pizza. Pork sausage is also a great filling for tacos, or pasta dishes like spaghetti, lasagna, or mac and cheese.
Pork sausages are great with vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, pepper, broccoli, potatoes, squash, beans, and more. You can mix it with chicken or seafood like shrimp. Pork sausages are great with eggs, bread, garlic, butter, cheese, herbs, and spices.
Read the label or ask the vendor or attendant if the pork sausage you are buying requires refrigeration or if it is shelf-stable and does not require refrigeration. Make sure you are aware of how long you can store pork sausages before it starts to go bad. Different kinds of pork sausages have different longevity or lifespan; some last longer in storage than others.
Make pork sausage patties at home
Pork sausage is a great, easy-to-make food for those times you are not sure what you want to have and you want to cook something fast. It is delicious, especially with eggs and muffins for breakfast. It is filling, nutritious, and tasty.
Yield: This recipe makes 4 servings
- Ground pork, 1 lb
- Salt, 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper, 1 teaspoon
- Paprika, 1 teaspoon
- Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon
- Dried thyme, 1 teaspoon
- Cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
- Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Step 1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix everything using your hand. Make small balls. This mixture is enough to make 8 small balls about 1/2 inch thick.
Step 2. Flatten each ball to the shape of a patty. Make sure to press each patty so that there is a dimple in the middle. This is important because it will help hold the patty’s shape while you fry it.
Step 3. Fry pork sausage patties in medium heat over a skillet. Fry both sides until golden brown.
Step 4. Enjoy with eggs, mashed potatoes, or any side dish you like!