Charcuterie | Sausage | Ham | Bacon

Charcuterie is the art of curing and preserving of meat. It can be pronounced as Shahr-ku-tuh-ree . This word was originated in France and it translates to pork butcher shop. It involves prepared meat such as ham, sausage ,bacon. Generally, pork items were transferred into various other products.  Charcuterie products can be served at morning, noon or night for breakfast, lunch or dinner as also can be served as main course , appetizers, side dish or as snacks. They are normally eaten slightly chilled while other are also eaten in warm form.  It's It's origin can be track back to several hundred years ago in Roman empire where sausage was very popular and Roman enjoyed pork products much which was flavoured with black pepper, pine nuts , bay leaves.

Today most of these preparation are called processed meat and Regional specialities in charcuterie developed all over Europe like Bologna from Bologna , Genoa salami from Genoa , Frankfurters from Frankfurt . Processed meats are meat which has been changed by cooking ,canning, freezing,, seasoning,curing,drying for preservation. Processing also enhances flavour ,texture.


It is ground meat which has been salted for preservation and seasoned to taste. The additives used should be less than 4% . In broad sense it is any meat that has been comminuted and seasoned. The term comminuted means diced , ground , chopped, emulsified to minute particles. It have three primary component- Meat ingredients, Non meat ingredients and  casings. Ground meat is mixed with salt, herbs and other spices with a tough skin around it. It is derived from the old french french saussiche and Latin salsus meaning salted. Sausage is formed in casing traditionally made from intestine but sometimes it may be synthetic also. 

Types of Sausage :- 

1. Fresh sausage

2. Cooked sausage

3. Cooked smoked sausage

4. Uncooked smoked sausage 

5. Dry or semi-dry sausage

Fresh sausage are  made from meat which is ground, chopped , dice and seasoned. The meat has not been cured or smoked so it must be fully cooked before eating. Buckwurst , Italian sausages are best example of fresh sausage. 

Cooked sausage is also made from uncured meat which is ground , seasoned and stuffed in casings. The sausage is poached afterwards and are normally served cold as purchased. Braunschweiger is famous example of cooked sausage.

Cooked smoked sausage is made from cured meat which is ground, seasoned and stuffed in casings . Then it is smoked and fully cooked so it does not require further cooking but are heated and before serving. Bologna , Frankfurters, cotti salami are this types of sausage. 

Uncooked smoked sausage is made from cured or uncured meat which is ground , seasoned and stuffed into casings. It is smoked but not cooked so it is fully cooked before consuming. Kielbasa is these type of sausage. 

Dry or semi- dry sausage are made from cured meat which is ground, seasoned and stuffed in casings.  It may or may not be smoked and are air dried under under controlled conditions. They require no further cooking. German salami, Italian salami and pepperoni are this types of Sausage. 


1. Salami :- It is highly seasoned sausage and have fermented flavour. It is usually made of pork and beef , seasoned with salt ,peppercorn and sugar. Most are Air dried and not smoked or cooked. Cooked salami is cotto salami. 

2. Frankfurters :- It is made of pork or beef and seasoned with coriander, garlic , nutmeg , sugar and white pepper. They are fully cooked and smoked but served warm.

3. Bologna :- it is made from cured pork or beef and is finely grounded with Seasoning similar to Frankfurters.

4. Bockwurst :- It is fresh Sausage made of veal and pork . The meat is combined with eggs , mild , chives and chopped parsley.

5. Italian sausage :- It has sweet or hot taste and is made of pork butts with coarse texture. It is also fresh sausage

6. Braunschweiger :- It is pork sausage made of pork livers and jowls . It have smooth texture and is smoked after cooking.


It is obtained from hind leg of the pig which is cured and smoked with salt being main curing agents. After cured , it may or may not be cooked and available in two forms - cooked and uncooked. Certain Ham are not  cooked , smoked but dried which took a long time upto year. 
Varieties of Ham :-

1. Fresh Ham :- It is hind leg of pig that has not been cured or smoked

2. Country Ham :- It is cured hams which are not normally smoked when purchased.

3. Kentucky Ham :- It is heavily smoked Ham and is very lean

4. Prague Ham :- It is cured and smoked and should be cooked before eating

5. Culatello :- It is rare and expensive Italian raw ham which is cured and aged in wine. 

6. Pennsylvania Ham :- It is brine cured and picked in vinegar and sugar . After that smoked over apple wood . It is fully cooked ham.


It is cured meat prepared from belly of the pig . The meat is cured and usually smoked, which is then sliced thin

Varieties of Bacon :-

1. Sliced Bacon :- They are cured , smoked and sliced thin .

2. Slab bacon :- It have longer shelf life and is unsliced version of sliced Bacon

3. Country cured bacon :- It is salty and have have very strong flavour . It is also more expensive

4. Canadian style bacon :- It is much perishable and have refrigerated shelf life of 4 days. It is also cured , smoked but made from loin

5. Pea Meal bacon :- It is form of Canadian bacon that is not smoked. After curing it is dried briefly. 

Note :- Green Bacon is also a type of bacon cured with large quantity of salt . This results fresh bacon which is then treated with nitrate salts results little greenish colour on meat. 

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