Summer sausage is an American term for any sausage that can be kept without refrigeration until opened. Summer sausage is usually a mixture of pork and other meat such as beef or venison. Summer sausage can be dried or smoked, and while curing ingredients vary significantly, curing salt is almost always used. Seasonings may include mustard seeds, black pepper, garlic salt, or sugar.
Summer sausage, like many sausages, uses leftover scrap meat and organ meat that would otherwise be wasted. However some brands of summer sausage do not use scrap meats.
Traditionally, summer sausage is a fermented sausage with a low pH to slow bacterial growth and give a longer shelf life, causing a tangy taste. The distinctive taste can be copied using citric acid as a shortcut to keeping cultures to ferment the following batch.
- Dennis Buege; Robert Gene Cassens; University of Wisconsin--Extension. Cooperative Extension Programs (1980). Manufacturing summer sausage. University of Wisconsin--Extension. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Daniel Francis Wessley (1960). The role of microorganisms in the manufacture of summer sausage. University of Wisconsin--Madison. Retrieved 20 January 2013.