Chemical, bacteriological and processing characteristics of experimental and commercial snack sausages were investigated. Snack sausages are narrow diameter (ca. 10–12 mm), all-beef products which are relatively dry and shelf-stable, and which may or may not be fermented. The bacterial flora of each product consisted of gram-positive, catalase-positive sporeforming rods (bacilli), reflecting a time-temperature effect of heating/smoking which destroyed most other organisms. The products have low moisture content (av. 20.6%), water activity (av. 0.78), and moisture/protein (M/P) ratio (av. 0.81/1). Judged by the sausage classification system of Acton and Dick relating moisture content to M/P ratio, the snack sausages are fully dry products. The yield of snack sausage prepared in our pilot plant was 39.6% but increased to 51.4% when the initial fat content of the meat mixture was increased from 7.2 to 25.7%.

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Author notes

1Federal Research, Science and Education Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture.