What Cut of Meat Is Best for Sausage?

Obviously, sausages are made from ground meat (sometimes called ground sausage). But have you ever thought about exactly what type of meat you’re eating?

Here I’ll discuss and hope to answer your questions about what cut of meat is best for sausage making.

different cuts of meat on a cutting board

What Kind of Meat Is Used for Sausage?

Historically, sausages were made from whatever meat and parts of the animal were available depending on the season and where in the world you were.

The type of cut of meat used didn’t matter so much because, in order to make sausages, the meat needs to be ground up anyway.

This still holds true today, although you can also find much higher quality sausage meat at butcher shops and grocery stores these days. Today you can also find sausages in grocery stores that are often made with preservatives in them to make them last much longer (you can read more on this here).

If you’re making sausages yourself at home, you can do it cheaply, or you can choose to spend a little more. You have a lot of different options of cuts of meat to choose from. Most commonly, these will be beef and pork cuts, but you can also make sausages from lamb, poultry, and wild game (venison or rabbit, for example).

What you use really all depends on your own tastes and/or the tastes of the people you’re making the sausages for.

butcher cutting piece of meat

What’s really awesome is that there are so many different types of sausages out there, all originating from different countries and cultures all over the world.

Sausages can be made from pretty much any type of meat, and you can even do combinations of different types of meat!

Best Cut of Beef for Sausage

Beef chuck is the cut of beef that’s most commonly turned into ground beef to make sausages (and burgers).

It comes from the shoulders of the animal and is very affordable. Beef chuck has a fat content of about 15-20%, which is ideal because it prevents the sausage from drying out.

Since the meat is going to be ground to make sausage, you don’t need to spend more money on the more tender cuts of beef. For reference, the more tender cuts of beef are cuts like sirloin, tenderloin, rib and flank, and these are often used for steaks.

Best Cut of Pork for Sausage

Just like beef shoulder is the best cut of beef for sausages, pork shoulder is the best cut of pork for sausages.

Pork shoulder is also called pork butt or Boston butt and is very affordable. It has a fat content of about 20-30%, which is perfect for making sausages.

You can also use leaner cuts of pork (like tenderloin), but you likely would have to add extra fat to the mix so your sausages don’t dry out. (Again, an ideal fat content for sausages is 15-20%).

glass bowl with ground meat

Best Cut of Lamb for Sausage

As you might have guessed, the best cut of lamb to use for sausages comes from the shoulder, but you can also use meat from the neck or breast.

The cost of lamb runs higher than beef, pork, or chicken usually, but remember for sausage making, it’s okay to use the cheaper cuts of meat.

Using Poultry to Make Sausage

When making chicken or turkey sausage, buying the whole bird is pretty affordable and you can get a lot out of it.

Breast meat is very lean, with little fat, so it isn’t ideal for sausages. You can save the breast meat for other uses and use the rest of the bird for your sausages.

It’s pretty common to use both light and dark meat in chicken or turkey sausages. To add fat, you can use duck fat or pork fat. You can also add the skin to the sausage mix because it acts as a great binder to prevent the ground meat from falling apart and also adds great moisture.

With sausage made from poultry, like chicken sausage, note that you’ll have to cook it to a slightly higher internal temperature for food safety reasons.

Using Wild Game Meat to Make Sausage

Wild game meat includes animals that are typically hunted, like deer (venison), elk, buffalo, boar, and even rabbit or squirrels.

These are hard to find in a butcher shop, so when you’re boning the meat yourself at home, make sure that all of the bones are removed, and any meat that looks off (it’s not the right color or is damaged) is also removed.

Game meat is generally pretty lean, so it’s a good idea to add additional pork and/or beef fat to prevent your sausages from drying out.

In Summary

As you can see, your options of cuts of meat to choose from to make sausages are almost limitless.

Use any of the types of meat I mentioned or whatever you see in your local butcher shop. I also encourage you to experiment with different combinations of meat! Just remember to include the right amount of fat.