Column: Include summer sausage in your winter plans


Commentary by Mark LaFay

The lineup for Super Bowl LVII has been cemented and the congratulations go to Kansas City and Philadelphia. I don’t have a dog in the fight, so my interest level is a bit low. Regardless, the Super Bowl is a great excuse to get together with friends, eat some tasty snacks and play a few games of euchre. This year, we will be whipping up some hot wings and a few hot dips. Of course, we will also have a small spread of meats and cheeses for grazing throughout the evening. One thing you can always count on finding in the Midwest, and you will definitely be finding at my home, is summer sausage!

Summer sausage is a generic American term used to describe any sausage that can be stored without refrigeration. Rarely ever is summer sausage a term used to describe dry-cured salamis, or other preserved dried sausages heralding from other parts of the world. In my family’s tradition, summer sausage is almost always venison. We are a hunting family, and without fail, we process our deer into summer sausage.  Summer sausage, however, can be pork or beef, and it is almost always smoked or has smoke flavoring.

Summer sausage is great with sharp cheese, grainy mustard and a crunchy cracker. It is a hearty and delicious snack that can be quite filling. One of my favorite summer sausages can be found in Wawa, Ontario, Canada, at Young’s General Store. But if you don’t find yourself three hours north of Sault St. Marie, a couple options you can find locally are Neuske’s and Old Major Summer Sausage.

Neuske’s is based out of Wisconsin. Its summer sausage is a 10-ounce chub that is lightly smoked with fruit wood. It has a subtle spice flavor and is quite delicious (full disclosure, Old Major is my company). Old Major Summer Sausage is all beef, smoked with hickory and cherry and lightly seasoned. Super Bowl plans? Work the sausage of summer into your plans!