Each week, our founder asing captain, Frank Isernio will answer one of your questions. Whether it’s regarding sausage, Isernio’s history, quality control or how to make a killer lasagne, Frank is here to help extinguish the flames of your burning curiosity.
This week’s question hails from Tacoma, WA.
Q: What is the difference between fresh and cooked sausage?
A: Fresh sausage is simply ground meat. It’s put in an all-natural casing. You have to think of it like fresh meat and without any additives. All it has is seasonings, so it has to be shipped out the day it’s processed. There’s nothing (no additives) to preserve its shelf life. It’s got to be cooked within nine days of the times it’s made, whereas a cooked sausage, like a hot dog, can go 30 to 40 days or more before they go bad.
If you’re using beautiful meat, like Isernio’s is, you want to preserve that juiciness so you want those chunks of meat to be as course as possible when you’re grinding it. If you’re talking about a hot dog, which began as a receptacle for everything the packing houses didn’t use, they turned that into an emulsion which is basically like a puree. That method can hide a lot, it can be consistent. These days, you see a lot of sausages where the texture is almost like a hot dog, which just doesn’t do it for me, personally. So, adding preservatives, I don’t think it really changes the flavor of sausage, but to really experience the juiciness of a sausage, fresh sausage is the way to go.