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Let me preface this by saying that I am basically a complete novice when it comes to cooking. So I apologize if this is a silly question.

I sometimes like to cook things using ground pork sausage, but much of the time it's nearly impossible to find in the local grocery stores. However, they always seem to have ground pork, which I've considered using as a substitute. I know it wouldn't cause my kitchen to explode or anything like that ;-) but I'm curious, what's the difference? What exactly am I putting in my food by using the sausage that I'd miss out on if I used regular ground pork?

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Nothing wrong with being a novice. Everyone's gotta start somewhere. –  Daniel Bingham Jul 26 '10 at 4:25
    
Where are you that you have trouble finding this? Any grocery store in Atlanta would have multiple types of sausage, both in and out of casings. Are you looking in the right place in the store? Sausage is sometimes placed a bit weird with respect to meat overall. –  yossarian Jul 26 '10 at 18:40
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I'm in the middle of Pennsylvania. And I completely forgot that they do carry some kind of ground sausage in a plastic wrapper, which I tried once, but it turned out to be highly unsatisfactory. –  David Z Jul 27 '10 at 1:21
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6 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Ground pork is simply that, pork. Pork sausage is ground pork that has been seasoned.

You can substitute, but you'll have to bring your own seasoning.

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OK, thanks. Any info on what kinds of seasonings go into the sausage? –  David Z Jul 26 '10 at 1:56
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All kinds. That is a vast topic. In the USA pepper & sage are prominent. Italian sausage has fennel & red pepper prominent. –  hobodave Jul 26 '10 at 1:58
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@David, there are a few "named varieties" of sausage in the UK, take a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:English_sausages ... it might give you some inspiration for seasoning combinations :-) –  Rob Jul 26 '10 at 8:24
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Mexican chorizo is a very heavily seasoned, very greasy sausage. I wouldn't generally recommend it as a substitution for "sausage" in a recipe. It may work, but you should be aware that it will significantly alter the flavor profile, and color of the dish you are making. –  hobodave Jul 26 '10 at 17:12
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Typically though, pork sausage has a great deal of fat added compared to standard ground pork. –  markh Mar 7 '11 at 20:41
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Pork is the word ascribed to the pig animal as a food product. We don't eat "pig" rather we eat "pork." Sausage is ground meat mixed with herbs and spices in some manner of form. Sausage can be made from any meat, it isn't limited to pork.

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As you've found, loose ground sausage isn't always available.

If the meat department has fresh sausage, you can buy them, cut the casing and remove the sausage.

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what's with the multiple answers? –  hobodave Jul 26 '10 at 2:21
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I felt they were 2 different answers, so should be separate for the community to judge. This one presents him with a way to still get the sausage, the other is about the pork vs sausage. –  ManiacZX Jul 26 '10 at 3:17
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the only thing worse (on an SE site) than one question that asks multipe disparate questions, is one answer that's made up of several that are candidates for being discrete answers, +1 from me =) –  Rob Jul 26 '10 at 8:26
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Although a lot of sausage is pork, and probably the one you are referring to, sausage can be made from many different types of meat.

Pork is pork, meat from a pig, very simple.

Sausage can be made from pork, beef, chicken, turkey, reindeer (popular in Alaska from what I hear) and many more. It can be loose, formed into links, patties and probably other forms.

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True, I should have mentioned I was talking about pork sausage. (Actually, I'll edit the question) In my shopping experience, sausages made from other kinds of meat are even harder to find than pork sausage, so I have a tendency to forget that they exist. –  David Z Jul 26 '10 at 5:17
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Here in the UK you can buy sausage meat from butchers. It typically has added ingredients (rusk, fat etc.) which give it that 'sausageyness' when cooked. Regular ground (minced in the UK) pork is just the minced meat.

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in your grocery check by the lunchmeat, etc and you will see the bob evans packages for sure. there will be several different brands of sausage in tubes, use these just like you would bulk from the meat counter.

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