Many Italian recipes call for ground sausage, but what is ground sausage? Is there a difference between ground sausage and regular ground meat?
Ground sausage is the same meat that’s used to stuff sausage casings. It’s mainly made from pork, but it can also be made from beef, poultry, lamb, or veal.
In this article, I’ll answer explain what ground sausage really is. I’ll also go over some common frequently asked questions you might have related to ground sausage.
What’s the Difference Between Sausage Meat and Ground Sausage?
While there is a clear distinction between ground sausage and ground meat, ground sausage and sausage meat are made from the same type of meat.
It’s pretty easy to confuse all these terms, especially if you’re new to making sausages or recipes that call for either ingredient.
When it comes to the difference between sausage meat and ground sausage, one key aspect sets these two types of meat apart – the form. While sausage meat is stuffed into a sausage casing, ground sausage has the same form as ground meat.
Both sausage meat and ground sausage are seasoned with the same spices. Common spices added to sausages are salt, black pepper, parsley, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, and many other herbs.
Another vital ingredient is fat, as ground sausage needs to contain up to 30% fat. The fat helps the meat retain moisture during the cooking process.
What Is Ground Sausage Made From?
Ground sausage can be made from different types of meat, including pork, beef, veal, chicken, and lamb. However, if your recipe requires ground beef and ground sausage, it usually refers to pork ground sausage.
Pork is the most popular choice of meat for ground sausage and can be used for various recipes. If you want to make homemade ground sausage, you will need to have your own meat grinder.
You won’t need a sausage stuffer, though, since you won’t be stuffing the filling into sausage casings.
You can always get ground sausage from your local butcher’s shop, too. Just make sure to ask for ground sausage, not minced meat.
Aside from spices, you can also add extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. These two ingredients will help you achieve the perfect balance between salty and savory flavors.
Suppose you want your ground sausage to have a slightly sweet flavor. In that case, you can also add ingredients like Spanish dulce paprika, sweet chili peppers (like aji panca chili peppers, chile guajillo, and chile pasa), basil, or sage.
Can You Use Sausage Links Instead of Ground Sausage?
The process of making sausage links is much lengthier than making ground sausage since you will need to stuff the casings and make the links. For this, you’ll need a sausage stuffer.
If you’re wondering whether you can use sausage links instead of ground sausage, the answer depends on the recipe. Since sausage links and ground sausage have entirely different shapes and textures, they’re rarely interchangeable.
However, if you were to remove the sausage links and casings, you can use the meat to make ground sausage.
Keep in mind that some sausage link manufacturers make their casings very thin and challenging to remove. In that case, you won’t be able to use sausage links instead of ground sausage.
On the other hand, other sausage companies make their sausage casings easy to remove, so you can cut the casing and remove it with ease.
What Is the Difference Between Ground Pork and Sausage?
The first significant difference between ground pork and sausage is that ground pork is made from different parts of a pig, while sausages can be made from parts of a pig or a mixture of other meats.
Aside from pork, which is the most common type of sausage, it can also be made from chicken, beef, veal, and more exotic varieties.
Technically speaking, ground pork is pork in its true form. Outside of America, it’s called minced meat.
It can be used in various recipes like meatballs, burgers, meatloaf, pasta, risotto, nachos, lasagna, and meat pie. It can also be prepared in a lot of different ways, depending on the recipe.
On the other hand, sausages are usually made individually. They can be fried, steamed, dried, smoked, and so on.
This may leave you wondering what the difference is between ground pork and pork sausage. These two types of meat are similar since both are made from pork. However, the main difference between ground pork and pork sausage is how they are prepared.
What Is Ground Pork Sausage?
Unlike ground pork, which is basically made by grinding pork until it’s minced into tiny pieces, ground pork sausages are made with a different purpose.
When butchers make ground sausages, they use a unique technique to cut and prepare the pork. This is done so ground pork can be stuffed into sausage casings to have a specific texture (however, breakfast sausages made from ground pork are usually patties – click here to learn more).
Ground pork sausage is always seasoned with common spices that go into pork sausages, such as salt, black pepper, garlic, and many more.
In addition, different types of fillers and preservatives are usually added to ground pork sausages as well. Therefore, ground pork sausage also tastes differently from plain ground pork.
Ground pork sausages also contain 25 to 30% fat, unlike ground pork which only has 15% fat, naturally. Therefore, the entire process of making ground pork sausages is much more complex, and it can also be used as a substitute for a ground pork recipe if the seasonings suit the recipe’s flavor profile.
If you’re confused about what ground sausage is, the answer is simple. Ground sausage is made from the same meat used to make sausages, except that it has a different form.
While sausage links are usually a dish in itself, ground sausage is generally incorporated into countless recipes. If you use it as a substitute for ground meat, it will give your food a whole new flavor.