Cured Sausage 101 - What Is Cured Sausage?

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    Fresh Sausage

    Cured Sausage 101 - What Is Cured Sausage?

    Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Summer Sausage

    What Is Cured Sausage?

    Sausage is a traditionally a meat product that has been ground, seasoned and then stuffed into a casing for cooking. Cured Sausage has a few extra steps, it has just had either nitrate or nitrites added to it to allow it to be smoked or slow cured. Cured Sausage covers a wide variety of meat snacks, everything from Snack Sticks and Summer Sausage to Bologna, Salami even a Hot Dog is also technically a Cured Sausage.

    Meat Block

    Sausage can be made from almost any meat. Pork is the most common as it is readily available and relatively inexpensive but beef is also fairly common and chicken sausage is also becoming much more common and commercially available. Regardless of what meat block is being used at least 80/20 fat ratio is standard but we like 70/30 and some even go closer to 50/50.

    This means if a leaner wild game such as venison is being used the correct amount of pork fat will need to be added or the finished product will be less flavorful and overly dry. The best time to add this pork fat is during the second grind so it can mix in well with the lean meat.

    Summer Sausage

    What Does Sure Cure Do?

    The cure that is used when wanting to keep a product safe through the smoking process contains sodium nitrite, also known as Sure Cure, Cure #1 or Prague Powder. The salt and cure block the growth of botulism spores, impart a cured flavor and are responsible for burning the meat a nice pinkish red color. Meat cured with salt alone will not have the same color, as the nitrites help burn that nice red color into the meat and then set it there during the thermal processing stage.


    Cured Sausage will have a smooth interior texture with small particle size. This happens because we need to achieve protein extraction and we have to grind it twice, first through a larger plate like a 3/16" and then a smaller plate like a 1/8". Then we will need to mix this until the protein begins to extract from the meat and bind together. All of this extra working of the meat will create a very fine texture.


    Cured Sausage covers such a wide variety of Sausages, from Snack Sticks to Summer Sausage that many different casings will be used including Fibrous (Summer Sausage) Collagen (Snack Sticks and Larger) Natural (Snack Sticks and Larger) and even Cellulose Casings (Skinless Hotdogs).


    The cooking or smoking schedules for Cured Sausage will generally be more complicated than fresh sausage. Since we have added a cure to the meat we are able to cook it at lower initial temperatures as the cure will keep the meat safe through this process. Cured Sausage can be cooked on a grill, in a smoker, in an oven or even on a stove top if desired.


    Depending on the pH and the Water Activity of your meat, you very well might have a shelf stable product. However, since you probably do not have a way to test either of these at home you should keep these items in a refrigerator or vacuum pack and put them in a freezer.

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Recent Posts

  • R

    Any idea of brand on the “brown” ones? I used to be able to buy them from my local butcher but he has since stopped selling them. Or where to purchase?

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  • E

    @ramt600 I had the same thing happen with the reddish ones also and the brown ones worked the best so, I just stopped using the red casings.

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  • Another way is with a digital gram scale. 1 ounce = 28 grams. 6 oz = 168 grams. 168 ÷ 100 = 1.68 grams per pound.

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  • @meatmadam
    You will need to inject the hams first. After injecting, then take any leftover brine, and put that with the hams into a tumbler. Then, tumble for 2-3 hours. Hold it overnight in a cooler, and then smoke it the next day!

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  • M

    Thank you Austin, looking forward to try it with my new vacuum tumbler! As the tumbler does not allow for 24 hours of tumble ( dial cannot be set longer than one hour )what is recommended for doing a ham?

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  • @meatmadam
    If the usage is 6 oz per 100 lb of meat, to recalculate for another batch size, simply divide the additive weight by the meat block weight (6/100) and that equals how much to use per lb of meat (which is 0.06 oz per lb). You can then take the 0.06 oz and multiple that by however many pounds of meat you are making, so if that is 5 lb, then you end up needing 0.3 oz per 5 lb of meat.

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