Dry and Semidry Sausages

Learn about the differences in sausages and processes and chemical reactions that distinguish one from another.

| July 2019

Photo from Adobe Stock/Voyagerix

Dry and semidry sausages are made from fresh meats that are ground, seasoned, and cured during processing. They are stuffed into either natural or synthetic casings, fermented, often smoked, and carefully air-dried. True dry sausages are generally not cooked and may require long drying periods of between 21 to 90 days, depending on their diameter.

The distinctive flavor of these sausages is due to the lactic acid produced by fermentation. This fermentation occurs after the meat is stuffed into casing and the bacteria metabolize the sugars, producing acids and other compounds as byproducts and the resulting tangy flavor. 

Semidry sausages, such as summer sausage, are often fermented and cooked in a smokehouse. Both dry and semidry sausages are ready to eat and do not require heating before serving, although a cool temperature or refrigeration is recommended for storage. Dry and semidry sausages include summer sausage, pepperoni, salami, and Landjäger, among others. These are detailed in the paragraphs below.

Summer sausage

Photo from Adobe Stock/MSPhotographic

A general term for any sausage that can be kept without refrigeration. It is typically a fermented sausage with a low pH to slow bacterial growth and provide a longer shelf life. It is usually made from a mixture of beef or beef and pork. Venison can also be used to make summer sausage. It resembles some of the drier salamis but is milder and sweeter in flavor. Summer sausage can be either dried or smoked, and although curing agents can vary considerably, some sort of curing salt is almost always used.



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