Are you trying to make a recipe that calls for kielbasa but you only have sausage or vice versa? You're probably wondering if you can substitute kielbasa and sausage. Well, you've come to the right place. We've put together this guide to take all the guesswork out of it for you.
Kielbasa is created using a more coarsely ground pork filling and is generously seasoned with garlic. Sausage has a more finely ground pork filling and is seasoned with fennel and an assortment of pepper.
So how do you tell the difference between kielbasa and sausage? And is one or the other better for certain recipes? Keep reading to learn all about the differences between these meats and how to tell them apart.
Kielbasa Versus Sausage
A traditional Polish method of preparing pork or beef, kielbasa consists of coarsely ground meat seasoned with garlic, cloves, marjoram, and other spices and smoked for flavor.
Sausage originated in Iraq and is made using spicy and savory seasonings like pepper and fennel and can be cooked in many different ways. Kielbasa tends to be milder than sausage, which carries more heat due to the pepper used in the seasonings.
Can You Substitute Kielbasa And Sausage?
Yes, kielbasa and sausage can be interchanged for recipes in a pinch, and changing up the meat in your recipes can add a bit of excitement. Mexican-style chorizo is another great option to use when you need to substitute for either kielbasa or sausage in a recipe, and it adds a spicier kick.
MeatCrafters Kielbasa Polish Sausage
This four-pack of kielbasa is made using an authentic Polish recipe, and the meat is free from growth hormones and antibiotics. They ship with dry ice to keep them fresh and tasty while in transit.
Click here to see this kielbasa on Amazon.
Can You Make Your Own Kielbasa And Sausage?
Yes, with the proper ingredients and equipment, anyone can make their own kielbasa at home. It's not a very complicated process, but it may require some specialized tools like a meat grinder and sausage stuffer. You'll also need sausage casings to stuff the meat mix into.
Evaliana Sausage Stuffer
This manual sausage stuffer is great for anyone who wants to try making their own sausage. Use it to easily stuff your own sausage, kielbasa, salami, and more.
Click here to see this sausage stuffer on Amazon.
How Do You Make Your Own Kielbasa Or Sausage?
You'll want to find a recipe that sounds good to you or order some spice seasoning. You can even purchase pre-ground pork if you don't want to invest in a grinder right away. Mix your ground meat with your seasoning, and then stuff the mixture into a casing and cook it.
Here's a video that will provide you with a good idea of the process, and the recipe she uses looks great too:
What Spices Are Used In Kielbasa?
Kielbasa carries a distinctive garlic flavor, but it's also seasoned with cloves, marjoram, and pimentos. The flavor is completed when the meat is smoked and infused with a smoky taste. You can mix your own spices for homemade kielbasa, or purchase pre-made spice mix.
A.C. Legg Old Plantation Polish Kielbasa Seasoning
This polish kielbasa seasoning mix is ready to add to your ground pork. It comes in an 11.7-ounce package and contains enough to season 25 pounds of meat.
Click here to see this seasoning on Amazon.
What Spices Are Used In Sausage?
Sausage contains more fiery spices than kielbasa, like black pepper, red pepper flakes, and fennel. Paprika, salt, onion, parsley, and Italian seasoning are all common ingredients to use for the sausage mix. It also contains garlic but in lower amounts than you would typically use for kielbasa.
A.C. Legg's Mild Italian Sausage Mix
This mild sausage season has a slightly spicy kick that won't overpower the rest of your recipe. Each packet seasons 25 pounds of ground pork, so there's enough for multiple batches.
Click here to see this sausage mix on Amazon.
What Do You Eat Kielbasa With?
Kielbasa can be cooked in a multitude of different ways and can be eaten with a wide variety of side dishes.
In traditional Polish fashion, it is commonly sliced and fried in a pan with sauerkraut, but it pairs well with peppers, onions, and other vegetables too. It can be eaten like a hot dog on a bun, or you can slice it and mix it in with pasta and spaghetti sauce.
What Part Of The Pig Is Kielbasa?
Kielbasa is usually made with pork shoulder that has been cut into small pieces and then ground up. Pork shoulder is a very tender and juicy cut of meat that offers intense flavor. Some people have been known to incorporate beef and even bacon into their kielbasa meat mixture.
What Part Of The Pig Is Sausage From?
The pork used for sausage is typically pork butt or shoulder, which are both tender and somewhat fatty cuts of meat.
The fat content is important when choosing meat for your sausage because it helps create the proper texture and holds the links together. When using leaner cuts of meat, you can grind and add bacon to increase flavor and add some fat to the mix.
Can Kielbasa Be Eaten As-Is?
Some types of kielbasa sold in the store are fully cooked, usually in a smoker. Although it tastes best warmed, it can be eaten cold. Not all kielbasa comes cooked though, so it's important to follow the directions on the package. Typically, cooked kielbasa has a reddish color and uncooked is very pale.
Which Is Healthier, Kielbasa Or Sausage?
Kielbasa and sausage both have a fairly high fat content. However, kielbasa tends to have fewer calories per serving.
This can be an important consideration for anyone on a diet or anyone who is just generally trying to be more health-conscious. The healthiest version of sausage is chicken or turkey sausage, which are low in calories with high protein levels.
Do You Remove The Skin From Kielbasa?
Kielbasa and most other sausage-like products are stuffed into a casing. Typically, you would cook the link in the casing, which holds them in their cylindrical shape, but if desired, you can remove the meat filling from the casing.
This can be helpful if you're in need of ground sausage for a recipe but all you have available are links.
How Long Are Sausage And Kielbasa Good For?
Raw sausage and kielbasa will last one to two days in the fridge before they should be thrown away. If your sausage is cooked, it will stay good for up to four days in the fridge. It's important to cook sausage quickly or keep it frozen until it's ready to cook because it does tend to spill quickly.
How Can You Tell If Sausage Or Kielbasa Has Gone Bad?
Sausage or kielbasa that has spoiled will have a distinctly foul odor that is usually fairly noticeable. If it's spoiled, it may also have a slimy texture and a lot of sticky, slimy moisture pooling up in the package.
Look at the color of your meat too; if the meat looks less marbled and appears rather consistent in color, it's a good sign that the meat has gone bad.
How Long Will Kielbasa Stay Good In The Freezer?
Kielbasa will last up to six months in the freezer when properly stored. Make sure it's wrapped up well or kept in an airtight container for the best results. The sooner you eat it, the more flavorful it will be and the texture will degrade the longer it's frozen too.
How Long Will Sausage Stay Good In The Freezer?
Sausage will stay good for between one and two months in the freezer. While the meat will still be good past this length of time, the quality of the meat will significantly decrease beyond this point. Even frozen, sausage should be used fairly quickly to maintain the taste and texture.
Now that you know the differences between kielbasa and sausage, you're ready to get back to cooking. Don't forget that sausage and kielbasa can be interchanged in a pinch and can even be removed from the casing if needed. Have fun cooking and enjoy your delicious meal!
If you want to learn more about meat grinders and what you will need to make your own sausage or kielbasa, read our article: What Meat Grinder Plate Sizes Should I Have [Inc. Size For Hamburger, Sausage, & More]?
To read more about how to make your own sausage or kielbasa and how to prepare the meat, read our article: How Long to Freeze Meat Before Grinding or Slicing