Smoked Pork Sausage is any sausage that is purely made out of pork and is smoked. Some types of pork sausage that are usually sold smoked are Andouille, Chorizo, Bratwurst, and Italian sausage. Pork is one of the most popular meats that are used for sausage because of its taste and fat content, which makes it perfect for moisture retention in sausages.
Smoked Pork Sausage Trivia
- Smoked pork sausages are almost always sold fully cooked.
- Smoked sausage is usually added to dishes as a flavoring agent, much like how smoked andouille sausage is added to jambalaya.
- One of the most popular smoked pork sausages is the kielbasa. It is very recognizable due to its very long link length.
Smoked Pork Sausage Buying Guide
While the majority of all smoked sausage that is sold is already pre-cooked, it is always best to check the label to see if it is pre-cooked or not. Better safe than biting into a raw sausage.
When buying commercially smoked pork sausage, you don’t have to worry about the smoke flavor overpowering the variety of the sausage as the flavors are very tightly controlled in commercial environments.
If you’re purchasing from a small-batch producer, the best way to check if the smoked pork sausage isn’t over-smoked is to take a whiff of the product. The scent should contain a mild smoky smell and not overpowering as over-smoked pork sausages will not have the pleasant taste of the sausage variety, and it might be bitter if over-smoked.
Visually, artisanal smoked pork sausage will look much less visually appealing than commercially smoked pork sausage due to the lack of nitrites. It may also look a bit on the greasy side, but taste-wise, it will be superior to that of their commercially produced counterparts.
Smoked Pork Sausage Production & Farming in Texas
Commercially Produced Smoked Pork Sausage:
Commercially smoked pork sausages will have their meats sourced from hogs that have been raised without regard to their environmental impacts. To increase yield and decrease costs, hormones, and growth accelerators may have been used on the meat ingredients used for the sausage. This may also include cuts of pork that hare not usually sold as they are (ears, snouts, scraped meats, mechanically removed meats, and so on).
Another unknown in commercially produced smoked pork sausage is a non-specific ingredient called “Natural Flavors.” While these flavors may be natural, it is unknown where they are sourced and what they specifically are.
Sodium nitrite is also a concern when it comes to commercially produced smoked pork sausage. While small amounts of sodium nitrite are acceptable to cure meats, commercial producers will more often than not hit the maximum allowed numbers for preservatives and chemicals.
The only thing that is “good” with commercially produced smoked pork sausage is their availability, consistency, and affordability.
Small Batch/Artisanal Smoked Pork Sausage Production:
Small batch or artisanal smoked pork sausage products will usually be made from prime cuts, and their producers will highlight that part. Sausages have moved from being just a way to utilize unused portions of meat to becoming specialties in themselves. Let’s take for example the smoked andouille sausage, butchers and specialty stores will make this exclusively from pork shoulders to maintain the quality of the sausage and not make up for it with added flavorings and fillers.
Aside from the higher cost of raw materials, smoking pork sausages is a pretty labor-intensive task, which adds to the final price of the product. The smoking temperature is usually controlled manually and must be monitored properly as not to over-smoke the sausages and to make sure that they are fully cooked.
Preservatives and Chemicals:
If you take a quick look at the ingredients label of commercially produced smoked pork sausages, you might see the following items there that don’t usually belong when producing sausages:
- Soy Protein – Used as an extender/binder.
- MSG – A flavor enhancer
- Caramel/Red Color – Added for visual appeal
- Dextrose – This is basically liquid sugar
- Flavorings – Flavor enhancers. This is to ensure that the taste of their product remains consistent.
Both commercial and artisanal smoked pork sausages are usually packed in vacuum-sealed plastic bags to prevent contamination and to extend shelf life.
Enjoying Smoked Pork Sausages
Smoked pork sausage can be consumed right from the pack, as long as it is indicated that it is pre-cooked. It is also advisable to reheat the sausage to make sure that any lingering food-borne bacteria are destroyed.
For commercially produced smoked pork sausages, refer to the packaging for storage instructions. Storage times and shelf life varies with the amount of preservatives used and smoking techniques employed.
Since smoked pork sausages are pre-cooked, only minor reheating is required. They are best reheated on the grill to enhance the smoked pork taste. Aside from the grill, smoked pork sausages can be reheated in a pan on stovetop, boiled, or in the microwave.
Smoked pork sausages are also added to stews and soups to add a nice smoky and porky flavor to them.