Summer sausage is an American term for a sausage that can be kept without refrigeration until opened. Summer sausage is made of beef, pork, or sometimes venison. Summer sausage is fermented, and 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. Fermentation of summer sausage lowers pH to slow bacterial growth and give a longer shelf life, causing a tangy taste. Sam Sifton, writing in the New York Times wrote, "It is gas-station salami, essentially, mail-order homespun funk." Summer sausages are often included in gift baskets sold by American online and mail order retailers like Harry & David, Wisconsin Cheeseman and Hickory Farms.  Armour has produced summer sausage for over 100 years.
Historically, summer sausage predated refrigeration and referred to meats that could be consumed "in the summer months" when high temperatures would cause fresh meats to spoil. For this reason, they became popular gifts during the winter holidays, especially in German-American settler communities.
- Venison Cookery. London: The Quarto Group. 1997. p. 113. ISBN 9781616739027.
- 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.
- Sifton, Sam (May 22, 2018). "10 Sausages for Summer, Ranked: From pale weisswurst to versatile kielbasa and beyond, there's a lot to like in those casings". New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
- Lalomia, Felicia; Baker, Nashia (August 8, 2023). "The 15 Best Meat And Cheese Gift Baskets For Your Charcuterie-Loving Friend: They'll hardly "brie-lieve" it!". Delish. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
- "Foods for the Motorboatman". MotorBoating. June 1917. p. 34. Retrieved September 17, 2023.