Is Summer Sausage Healthy? Benefits, Warnings & Best Brands

Summer Sausage has a long shelf life and requires no refrigeration for storage, but is summer sausage healthy for you?

Sure. Summer sausage is healthy for you. However, ration sizes matter as excess intake has been linked to a number of health conditions. Some of these health conditions include; cancer, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.

In this article, I will discuss summer sausage, why it is called so, what it tastes like, and the risk asserted to eating summer sausage in excess.

Let’s get started.

What is summer sausage?

summer sausage - cheffist

Summer sausage or summer ham is a hard-dried sausage that is made of beef and pork. It is similar to salami but can be kept without refrigerating.

How did summer sausage get its name?

Summer sausage got its name because it has a strong resistance to spoiling. As a result of that, you do not need to refrigerate it even during summer when it is hot, hence the name “summer sausage.”

SEE: Are Sausages Gluten-Free?

How is summer sausage made?

how is summer sausage made - cheffist

Firstly, the meat is grounded thoroughly, either beef, pork, or a combination of both. Afterward, the spices are grounded finely as well, these spices include coriander, allspice, ginger, black pepper, garlic, and mustard seed.

These ground spices are added to the ground meat and rubbed or mashed together, so the spice spreads evenly. Then the meat is stuffed into a 40mm long pork or beef casing.

The sausage is then hung on a stick and allowed to sit at room temperature for 2 – 3 hours. This is done till the casing is dry; if the casing is not dry, it is allowed to sit for another hour or two.

Next, the sausage is placed in a smoker set at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It is left to dry till it reaches a cooking temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which usually takes around 2 hours.

Afterward, the sausages are taken off the smoker and allowed to sit at room temperature overnight.

The following day, dense cold smoke is applied to the sausage. This takes around 12 hours, and by then it takes a reddish-brown color.

Finally, the sausage is air-dried until it loses 15 percent of its weight.

Some brands skip the cold smoking phase and opt for drying longer; however, it doesn’t affect its shelf-life.

SEE: Difference and Similarities Between Andouille Sausage and Kielbasa Sausage

What does summer sausage taste like?

The taste of summer sausage is described as salty, tangy, and smoky. Its taste is similar to that of salami, although a bit dryer because of the lactic acid fermentation.

Summer sausage vs salami

The main difference between summer sausage and salami is the smoking process. Salami is dried for a longer period of time before it is sliced and shipped for sale.

Summer sausage, on the other hand, is smoked for a shorter period. This is because the curing process is the essential step in preserving it, and smoking is just done to improve its flavor.

SEE: Difference Between Steak Types You Don’t Know

Is summer sausage healthy?

Yes, it is. Summer sausage is healthy if taken occasionally, but steady intake has been linked to a number of health conditions. Some of the side effects of eating summer sausage on a regular basis include;

1. Increased risk of heart disease

According to the US Department of Agriculture, excess intake of summer sausage has been linked to various heart diseases. This occurs due to excess intake of nitrates, which are used in the curing process.

Also, diseases like cardiovascular disease and even cancer occur when you consume summer sausage regularly.

SEE: Is Ham Healthier Than Bacon?

2. Increased risk of high blood pressure

Summer sausage is loaded with sodium, and excess intake of sodium can do major damage to your health. According to American Heart Association, excess sodium has been linked to high blood pressure.

3. Risk of stroke

The saturated fat present in a summer sausage is about 13g, and this is quite a lot. Not only does it lead to weight gain, but it can also increase your cholesterol level and may result in a stroke.

SEE: Is Spam Unhealthy For You?

Is there any benefit to eating summer sausage?

Yes, there are. If taken moderately, there are a number of health benefits you can gain. Some of which include;

1. Moderate amount of protein

Summer sausage holds a good amount of protein, a serving can hold around 13g. Protein is essential for maintaining, building, and repairing lean muscle mass and improving tissue health.

2. Keeps your blood healthy

The iron and Vitamin B12 found in summer sausage have great nutritional benefits. They are both essential in red blood cells and hemoglobin formation.

3. Boost your immune system

The selenium found in this product is vital for your overall health. Study shows that intake of selenium-rich food boosts thyroid health and the immune system.

SEE: See Why Sausages Are Pink In The Middle

What are the best brands of summer sausage?

If you are going to eat summer sausage occasionally, you should get the best quality. Below are some of the best brands and why they are preferable.

1. Stonie’s summer sausage

stonie's summer sausage - cheffist

This is one of the best brands available in the United States. Stonie’s summer sausage is highly regarded because it is made from natural ingredients, it is also healthy and gluten-free. Also, it can give you a good taste at room temperature.

2. Hunters reserve – taste of the wild summer sausages

Hunters reserve - taste of the wild summer sausages - cheffist

This brand is specifically known for its high level of protein and is also gluten-, MSG- (monosodium glutamate), and nitrite-free.

3. Hickory farmhouse summer sausage

Hickory farmhouse summer sausage - cheffist

This brand is known to have premium quality meat, which is low on carbohydrates and contains a fair amount of protein. Their summer sausage is also keto-friendly, and it stays good in quality even at room temperature also.


Do you need to refrigerate your summer sausage?

No, you don’t. This product requires no refrigeration until it is opened.

What is the best way to enjoy summer sausage?

You can eat it raw, or you can serve it accompanied with cheese and crackers.

Where does summer sausage originate from?

This product originated from Germany.

Which food can you pair summer sausage with?

There are a number of dishes you can pair with summer sausage. Some of these dishes include; bread, potatoes, chips, and cheese.

Conclusion: Is summer sausage healthy?

If eaten in the right amount, summer sausage is very healthy for your diet. Excess intake however is linked to a number of health conditions. So, occasional consumption is best and will do more good than harm.

You can also see the top healthy brands of summer sausage you can try in this article.

I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should see if all sausages are made of beef or pork.

Thanks for reading.