Do you know that there are at least 15 different types of salt out there? And I can tell you from my research that there is definitely more. Given this huge variety, it definitely matters what type of salt you use, and this absolutely applies to sausage making.
Here we’ll explore what kind of salt goes in sausages, and exactly how much salt you need to use.
What Is the Role of Salt in Sausage Making?
We use salt for so many different things these days. It has so many uses, from cooking and preserving foods to cleaning, adding it to our baths, and preventing our driveways from icing over.
And when it comes to making sausages, salt is more than just a seasoning. Here are the key roles salt plays in sausage making:
- Enhances flavor (and is needed in both sweet and savory dishes)
- Controls moisture to maintain juiciness
- Prevents too much bacterial growth to help in preservation
- Helps in binding for texture and structure
What Is the Best Salt for Sausage Making?
There are so many different types of salt out there. Examples include your regular table salt (which is iodized salt), kosher salt, sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, Black Hawaiian salt, Red Hawaiian salt, smoked salt, pickling salt, and so many more.
There’s a reason why we use so many different types of salt, and that’s because there’s a significant difference between them! Therefore, the type of salt you use definitely matters in sausage making. It can really affect the flavor.
You want to use a high quality, coarse salt. Kosher salt or sea salt are great examples. Kosher salt is a favorite among sausage makers and is probably the best salt for sausage making because it:
- Tastes better than table salt
- Has no aftertaste
- Dissolves easily and blends well
- Has no additives
- Is not expensive
Table salt (in other words, iodized salt) is not recommended for sausage making because it adds an off, metallic flavor and can give your sausage a bitter aftertaste. You should always go for non-iodized salt, and the crowd favorite is kosher salt.
Do I Need Curing Salt to Make Sausage?
If you’re making fresh sausage, curing salt is not used.
But curing salt is needed when you’re making cured sausage (for example, pepperoni, salami, smoked sausage, summer sausage, etc.).
Cured salt contains sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, which act as preservatives and give the meat a longer shelf life. They also add the pink color you see with these types of sausages and give it a saltier flavor. Check out this article to learn more about nitrates in sausages.
How Much Salt Is in Fresh Sausage?
Now that you know what type of salt you should use, it’s also crucial to know how much of it you need to make sausage.
Sausage recipes often don’t specify what kind of salt you should be using when telling you the amount of salt you need. The type of salt matters because the amount you need will vary depending on the type you’re using.
Most recipes assume you’re using table salt because that’s the most commonly used salt that most people have in their kitchen. But many people who choose to use kosher salt instead when following a recipe, find that their sausage turns out undersalted or underseasoned.
This is because kosher salt weighs less than an equal volume of table salt. So for example, a tablespoon of kosher salt weighs 12 grams, but a tablespoon of table salt weighs 22 grams. That’s a big difference in weight!
The reason for this difference is that coarse salt like kosher salt or sea salt, especially the flaky kinds, has larger, coarse grains. When you scoop out a tablespoon of coarse salt, there’s more air in between the grains because they’re bigger and bulkier compared to the much smaller grains of table salt. So, they take up the same space but there’s less salt in that space to add weight and saltiness.
For this reason, you’d need more kosher salt in comparison to table salt to have the same amount of saltiness for a recipe.
Also, this is especially important if you’re making a large batch of sausage because as volume increases, the weight difference between kosher and table salt increases dramatically. Definitely something to keep in mind for those of you making sausage in bulk.
For kosher salt, most home sausage makers recommend using between 1.5 and 2% of the total weight of sausage meat you’re using. You can always experiment in this range and see what you like best.
Calculating the Amount of Salt You Need for Sausage
So I gave you a percentage of how much kosher salt you should use, but how do you actually weigh that out?
This is easiest to calculate by taking the weight of meat you have in pounds, convert it to grams (1 pound equals 453.6 grams), then take the percentage of the weight in grams to get how much salt you need in grams.
So say you have 5 pounds of sausage meat. 5 pounds of sausage meat equals 2,268 grams (5 x 453.6 = 2268). If you want to use 1.5% kosher salt, you would take 1.5% of 2268 grams, which is 34 grams (0.015 x 2268 = 34). So, you would need 34 grams of kosher salt to make 5 pounds of sausage.
To accurately weigh out the amount of salt you need in grams, get yourself a good kitchen scale or grams scale. These are relatively cheap and are definitely worth keeping in your kitchen.
Here are my 3 favorite grams scales to have in your kitchen:
As you can see, kosher salt is the best salt for sausage making, although you can always try out other non-iodized salts, like sea salt. Just don’t use iodized table salt because it will mess with the flavor of your sausage!
With kosher salt, a good rule of thumb for how much to use is to calculate about 1.5-2% of the weight of meat. As a tip for mixing the salt into your sausage meat, dissolve it into the pre-measured amount of water you’ll use in your sausage mixture (click here to learn more)!
As always, I encourage you to experiment with different types of (non-iodized) salt and percentages to see what you like the most!