Meat

Of the ingredients listed above, the main ingredient is obviously the meat, which contributes not only the protein and the bulk of the product matrix, but also the fat, which provides much of the flavor.The fat-containing cuts usually are chopped or ground separately from the leaner portions to impart a desired appearance and flavor.The grind also affects texture and accordingly determines the type of product. For example, some sausages (e.g., Plockworst) have large visible fat particles, whereas others (e.g., cervelat) are ground to a fineness such that the fat particles are so small as to be indistinguishable from the sausage matrix.

The fat and lean portions may even be derived from different animals. Beef fat contains more unsaturated lipids than pork fat, and is more susceptible to oxidation reactions that may result in undesirable rancid flavors.Thus, many sausage products, such as the popular U.S. product summer sausage, are typically made with mixtures of beef and pork. Cuts are also important—shanks, chucks, and bull meat have binding properties that are especially important in sausage manufacture. Obviously, there is a trend to use less expensive cuts, but high quality meats are often still used.

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