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Sausage: Main Image

Buying Tips

Check the “Sell By” date on the package. This date indicates the last day the sausage should be offered for sale. Meat and poultry should be prepared as soon as possible after the date of purchase, and used beyond the “Sell By” date only occasionally, if at all.


Sausage may be sold in bulk like hamburger, or stuffed into casings to make links. Fresh sausage is made from raw meat, spices, and grains or breadcrumbs. Cooked sausage is ready to eat.

Dried beef (also called chipped beef) is cured, smoked, dehydrated, and thinly sliced beef packed in cans or jars.

Jellied beef loaf is cooked, shredded beef in gelatin.

Blood sausage is cooked pork mixed with beef blood, gelatin, and spices.

Bockwurst, fresh or cooked, is made of veal and pork with seasonings, milk, and eggs.

Bologna is a cooked, smoked sausage that tastes something like a hotdog and is sold in rings or slices.

Chorizo is a highly spiced dry pork sausage of Spanish origin.

Deviled ham is a cooked canned spread made of ground ham and seasonings.

Frankfurters (also called hot dogs or wieners) are a cooked sausage made of seasoned, finely ground beef, pork, chicken, or turkey.

Head cheese is made of chopped cured pig’s head meat and gelatin.

Italian sausage is a coarse pork sausage usually flavored with fennel, and may be highly spiced.

Knackwurst is a cooked smoked sausage similar to hot dogs or bologna but more highly seasoned.

Liver sausage (also called braunschweiger or liverwurst) is a cooked sausage made of ground pork liver, seasoning, and spices.

Pepperoni is a dry, highly spiced sausage used primarily as pizza topping.

Polish sausage (kielbasa) is made of ground lean pork and beef, seasonings, and garlic.

Pork sausage is made of fresh pork seasoned with black pepper, nutmeg, sage, and other spices.

Salami is a dry sausage, usually made of beef and pork, highly seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar.

Scrapple is ground cooked pork mixed with cornmeal or flour.

Thuringer is a pork sausage, smoked or unsmoked, seasoned similarly to salami.

Vienna sausages are small sausages that taste similar to hotdogs, canned packed in water.

Weisswurst is a fresh, white-colored, mildly spiced sausage made of pork and veal.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.