How Long Is Summer Sausage Good For?

Summer sausage is a type of savory meat product made from pork, beef, venison, turkey or lamb and typically features ingredients like garlic, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, black pepper flakes, coriander seeds and cheese for flavor and aroma.

Summer sausage’s shelf life can be reduced through improper storage and climate conditions, making this type of meat deliciously long-lived.


Summer sausage’s shelf life depends heavily on its storage environment. An unopened package of Hickory Farms beef or turkey summer sausage should last several months when kept in a cool and dry location, provided that consumers mark its expiration date on its packaging to prevent food poisoning. The expiration date should always be noted by consumers to prevent later consumption of harmful bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

Summer sausage should be stored unopened in the refrigerator for three weeks after opening and placed in an airtight container, away from moisture and sunlight. Frozen summer sausage has an even longer shelf life since its preservatives will degrade much slower; however thawing should occur immediately as this could hasten spoilage.

An appropriately sealed and stored summer sausage package in the freezer should remain edible for nine months if stored in a cool, dark environment. Unfortunately, however, its quality may deteriorate over time as preservatives break down; to maintain freshness it’s recommended that sausage be consumed within six months of purchase or it could spoil.

Shelf life of summer sausage depends heavily on its preservation methods of manufacture. Some brands employ lacto fermentation while others rely on salt and other preservatives. These factors will determine both how long it can be kept at room temperature as well as when refrigerated after opening.

If a package of summer sausage does not need to be refrigerated, it should be stored in the pantry. However, it is essential to read labels as some varieties require refrigeration after being opened. If refrigeration is required after opening it is recommended storing in a cold and dry location such as a cupboard or cabinet; placing it near heat or humidity could cause it to spoil faster or cause it to acquire an unpleasant flavor.


Refrigerating summer sausages in your freezer is an effective way to store them for months if stored correctly, although you must remember that too much heat could compromise their taste and lose their fresh flavor. A properly insulated and dry freezer environment should also be ensured for maximum storage efficiency.

Unopened packages of summer sausage can be frozen for three weeks; once opened, up to one month. If you plan on cooking the sausages before freezing them, remove them from the refrigerator a day or two beforehand in order for them to come to room temperature and retain their texture and flavor while making them easier to manage when frozen.

To effectively freeze cooked summer sausages, it is crucial that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. Most products require that they are wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil before placing them into the freezer to prevent air seepage into their contents and spoilage. Once frozen, label each bag with information regarding thawing and cooking procedures for later reference.

To prevent spoilage, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect sausages. If they begin to smell off-putting or have an off-taste, discard them as this could indicate that some of their necessary nitrates and nitrites have been lost, which help preserve meat products.

Summer sausages that have gone bad can easily be identified with their foul smell and slimy texture, both telltale signs that should prompt immediate discard. Furthermore, even if the summer sausages do not yet smell bad they should eventually go off due to losing some nitrates and nitrites which makes them more prone to bacteria growth and therefore food poisoning; this situation poses particular threats for people with sensitive digestive tracts.


If you have extra summer sausage lying around and don’t plan on using it any time soon, keep it in the pantry. Unlike other meats which need to be refrigerated to stay fresh, summer sausage has a longer shelf life when stored properly in a pantry – you could keep it there for several weeks without refrigeration or freezing needed if there are leftovers from prior batches.

As soon as your summer sausage has turned rancid, the easiest way to tell is by inspecting it closely. A bad sausage will have a slimy coating and strong fishy aroma; its dull or grayish color indicates loss of nitrates and nitrites which protect meat preservation. If it emits an offensive odor or has grey, brown, or black hues then discard immediately!

As well as checking the package itself, look out for dates on it that indicate how long the meat has been on store shelves – these dates often refer to best-by dates rather than safety dates so it’s essential that you read through carefully the labels on every package you buy.

Most packaged sausages can withstand heat and moisture, but for optimal food safety it is wise to store them in the refrigerator. It is always safer to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety!

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to a refrigerator for storage of sausages, they should be wrapped in either foil or paper and stored in a cool, dark place. This should keep them fresher for several days at most; eventually they may begin losing flavor and texture over time. It is recommended that when keeping sausages in a pantry it be stored using parchment paper rather than aluminum foil due to aluminum’s ability to scratch or chip surfaces while the former makes cleanup much simpler and leaves no trace. Alternatively, summer sausage can also be stored inside resealable plastic bags to ensure maximum freshness!


An aged, cured meat such as summer sausage needs time to mature before it can be consumed; this process, known as fermentation, ensures it contains essential proteins and fats to make it delicious yet nutritious. Fermentation also reduces bacteria counts in the meat during this process – therefore using a humidity controller and heating pad during fermentation is recommended to ensure an even atmosphere during this stage.

Start making summer sausage at home by cutting pork and fat into manageable chunks that fit through your grinder easily, then combine these pieces with curing salt. Allow this mixture to rest in the fridge for at least two days (preferably three) so the myosin protein develops, creating tighter links when stuffing them later. After the meat has had time to develop its myosin content, remove from refrigerator and pat dry using paper towels before grinding into fine mash; mix spices/seasonings/curing liquid as necessary and stuff into casings at least 2 feet long– loosely at first as tighten ends later when stuffing links later!

Summer sausage should always be stored in the refrigerator once opened to avoid exposure to higher temperatures and light, which could deteriorate its quality. When stored in the pantry it’s important to reseal its package so as to prevent moisture entering and making the sausage go bad faster.

One telltale sign that summer sausage has gone bad is its change in color, due to a shortage of the nitrates and nitrites which help preserve it from spoilage. A rancid smell may also indicate something has gone amiss with your homemade creation – should either of these occur, it is best to dispose of the product immediately rather than enjoy its delicious flavors and fresh texture for months!

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