Reclaiming summer sausage

I have never tried either jerky or summer sausage. I was recently gifted two large links (one is all beef) of the latter, from an artisan maker in Wisconsin. They are in the fridge, in a baggie. Not only do I dislike high salt foods, but have to limit salt intake for medical reasons. However, I also dislike wasting food. I am largely housebound and don’t know anyone who would want these sausages.

I googled for some.time but found no definitive info about the utility of soaking or simmering to remove salt, nor any recipe suggestions for using the result. I am up for dicing the links before de-salting them, but don’t want to do this if whatever the finished dish is turns out to be unpalatable, wasting even more food. Does anyone have firsthand experience with this process, and an actual recipe rather than just an idea?

If you can’t have any salt, this may not be doable. I would dice them and then freeze them . I would then use sparingly when roasing vegetables, making pasta sauces and frittatas, use them as a seasoning rather than a main component. This
should hopefully minimize salt but maximize flavour.


I do think gently poaching will leach some of the salt out.

As @paprikaboy said, it really depends on how salt-restricted you are — no point in creating a health risk for this.

But if you are allowed some salt, I would poach for a while, then cut up, sauté, and freeze.

You can then use a little at a time as an addition to many things — beans, soup, fried rice, pasta, eggs, I mean the list is endless.


I would give them away.

Either as a gift, or maybe to a food bank.

Trying to leach out salt from sausages is sort of like trying to take the citrus out of orange juice.


Hi Erica, I have sliced sausage into thin disks and soaked in warm water to desalt. You can get a notion of how much salt you’re extracting by dipping a finger into the water and tasting it, or by doing a pre- and post-nibble on one of the coins themselves.

The warm water treatment removes a fair bit of salt. Simmering removes a lot more but also pulls a lot more of the flavor/spices/fats out.

But even the warm water treatment, while it didn’t affect the taste too much, did change the texture a lot. Not horrible, but just a lot softer than it should have been.

Another tack - if you eat eggs - might be to scramble thin slices of the sausage with the eggs, letting the sausage be your sole salt component of the egg dish. I’m not sure how salt restricted you are, though, and this still might be more than you’d want to get. Particularly if you do eat eggs but are now accustomed to eating them with no salt at all.


Though not any real help, to my mind Summer Sausage and Jerky are not really meant to be cooked.
I believe Summer Sausage got it’s Name because you didn’t need to heat up your Kitchen to use it.
Since it sounds like a high quality Product being “Artisan” it too bad you don not know anyone that could appreciate it.
I think soaking it would ruin the taste and texture.


Be careful. It’s not simply salt. A lot of Summer Sausage (most?) is made with Prague Powder #1, which is 6.25% sodium nitrite. Yes you can extract this and sodium chloride by cooking in water and discarding the water, but it may take several “washings”. Also bear in mind why the nitrite was put there in the first place: to keep botulism at bay.

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Oh yes, thanks, you’d only want to wash on a use-by-use basis, not try to wash the whole thing and store further. I should have said something about this above but now it’s too late to modify my comment.

Yeah, how much of a 26-oz Hickory Farms Beef Stick can one person process and use before it goes off?

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