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How to tell if ground sausage is bad – The signs you need to know

Ground sausage is a finely ground meat product usually made from pork or a combination of pork and other meats. Ground sausage is made up of various spices and lean beef; you can consume a spoiled one if you don’t know how to tell if ground sausage is bad.

How to tell if ground sausage is bad? If you see pink or red worms or maggots crawling out of your sausage, throw it away immediately. Sausage that has been around too long smells bad and tastes bad. Old sausage can also be slimy, sticky, or greasy. If ground sausage is slimy or opaque, it may be moldy or exposed to bacteria, or if the packaging looks damaged, it should not be consumed.

It can be stored in a home refrigerator for less than two days. It’s best not to keep ground sausage longer than that because it may develop an unwanted meat odor or begin to change the texture. A good sign that ground sausage is about to go bad is if the package begins to slim out and lose its shape.

What is ground sausage?

What is ground sausageGround sausage is made of ground pork and seasonings. Ground sausage is sold in various sizes; 3 ounces to 5 pounds. It can be found fresh, smoked, dried, or cured. You can use this meat in many dishes or use it alone when you make your homemade breakfast sausages.

It is composed of coarsely chopped pieces of meat, organs, and other tissues, flavored with various spices and other ingredients and stuffed into a casing. Sausage making is a traditional food preservation technique. There are thousands of different kinds of sausages in the world with a great variety of flavors.

Ground sausage curing is what makes it safe to store at room temperature for several days before cooking. Ground sausage has the appearance of ground beef, but with pork fat mixed in to give it a lighter texture than ground beef. It works well as part of an egg dish with cheese or mixed into pasta or with stuffing. You can also fry it with potatoes or combine it into casseroles.

Types of ground sausage

There are two main types of ground sausage—fresh and smoked.

Fresh ground sausage

Fresh ground sausage is made from pork, beef, or a mixture of both, which is ground and seasoned. It differs from other kinds of sausage, such as cured and smoked, because it is not cured (or dried). Fresh ground sausage can be used as a filling for various foods such as baked potatoes and sandwiches or enjoyed on its own as an appetizer.

Fresh sausage is also called raw sausage. It is made to be cooked shortly after preparation or eaten raw. It’s very similar to a preserved sausage and has a slightly lighter color than the dark grey of a cured sausage.

Smoked ground sausage

Smoked ground sausage is sausages that are cured or marinated, then smoked. The process of smoking ground sausage gives it a unique flavor and also acts as a preservative. They are shaped into patties or rectangular logs and may be smoked on the finest hardwoods like hickory, maple, oak, or pecan.

Smoked ground sausage is sometimes sliced and eaten as a snack on crackers. When cooked, this type of sausage has a crumbly texture that is similar to hot dogs or some kinds of luncheon meats.

It is called ‘cold’ smoking if the meat is cured with salt and can be eaten immediately; it is called ‘hot’ smoking if salted after smoking.

Cured ground sausage

Cured sausages are a variety of sausages with very high salt content. They have a long shelf life but require extra care in handling. It can be anything from split chicken or turkey meat with seasonings to ground hamburgers with seasonings thrown in. 

Cured sausages are made of a combination of ground pork, and ground beef that has been ground and then preserved using curing salt, sugar, and sometimes smokes. Cured sausage is also known as fermented sausage.

How to tell if ground sausage is bad

how to tell if ground sausage is bad

1. The smell

If it looks or smells off, chances are your ground meat is bad. Condiment stains and food debris are signs that the meat was mishandled during preparation or has been around too many bacteria.

The smell is the most basic indicator of ground sausage. It should not have an ammonia smell to it. If the ground sausage has an ammonia-like smell, then it has gone bad and should be discarded.

2. The texture

There are two texture tests you can perform to determine if your ground sausage has gone bad. The meat should be firm, not slimy or sticky. If you cut into it, the juices that run out should be clear, not cloudy or discolored. 

It should be firm yet tender enough to cut with a knife or spoon; if it’s soft and spongy, or has mold growth on it, then it’s not safe to eat.

3. The Taste

Fresh ground sausage should have a clean, slightly sweet taste with no hint of fat or blood. If the sausage tastes musty or bitter, it’s bad. If it tastes old or reheated, there’s a good chance it has been sitting around for too long and most likely isn’t fresh anymore.

The best way to determine if ground sausage is bad is by tasting it. If the taste is off, then something may be wrong with the product. This could mean that there was an error during its production or that something else has been added to the mix.

4. Look at the color

The color of ground sausage will vary depending on the cut of meat. Ground pork is often a light pink, although it can also be red or even green. Ground meat is usually grey but can also be brown or even black. If you do not see any of these colors, the chances are that your sausage has gone wrong.

5. If the can has been broken

The first indication you will notice with a bad ground sausage comes from the can. If the can has been wholly or partially damaged, it may have spoiled weeks or months ago, and you are just now noticing the odor. 

What causes ground sausage to go Bad

What causes ground sausage to go BadGround sausage is something that people usually don’t think about, but it’s one of the most important things to make sure you have on hand in your pantry. When ground sausage is bad, it’s not only going to taste bad, but it’s also not going to be fully functional anymore, which could be a problem when you need it most. 

The thing that makes ground sausage go bad is because of bacteria and mold formation. All kinds of meats can cause this issue, so make sure not to store them anywhere that is close to an air vent or where there is a lot of moisture.

Proper storage at room temperature is the most common cause of bad sausage. Sausage that has gone bad should be discarded since it may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness if eaten. It should also be avoided since it will probably be highly aromatic, but this may mask any harmful spoilage characteristics. Sausage that is moldy or shows other signs of spoilage should not be recooked or eaten.

How to tell if frozen sausage is bad

Frozen sausage is a convenient way to have sausage on hand for a variety of uses; knowing if the frozen sausage is bad enables you to prevent waste and enjoy fresh sausage.

Sausage should never be eaten if it begins to smell or look bad. Never trust your senses of smell alone when trying to determine if sausage is bad. Because bacteria can thrive in frozen sausage, you need to recognize other signs that it may have gone bad. Making the right decision about frozen sausage could mean preventing foodborne illness.

If you are asking how long will freeze sausage last. When properly stored, frozen sausage has a shelf life of 9 months to 1 year or even longer on average.

What will happens if you eat gone off sausages

What will happens if you eat gone off sausagesYou may be surprised to learn that eating sausages that have gone off can actually make you sick. Foods go off for many reasons, including improperly stored or old food. But at some point, the sausage will start to lose its flavor and absorb water. 

When this happens, it’s vital to destroy the food, so if you see your sausage going bad, then it’s time to throw it out. While eating old food may not seem dangerous, repeated exposure to enzymes from decomposing meat can produce toxins called heterocyclic amines, which are known to cause cancer in mice and rats.

Eating pasty or other sausages that have gone off can be dangerous. Although most sausages should be eaten within a few days of purchase, some sausages can go off much quicker than that. If you have bought a sausage that has gone off, you should return it to the store or throw it away and buy another one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does ground sausage go bad?

Ground sausage does not go bad. Fresh sausage should be discarded if it smells strongly of ammonia or there is liquid leaking from the package. The shelf life of ground sausage depends on its specific freshness date as set by the manufacturer.

How long does ground sausage last in the fridge?

Ground sausage typically lasts for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. It’s important to remember that meat will continue to get “weaker” or “stronger” as time goes on, so what may have been fine 3 days ago may not be suitable for consumption today.

How long does ground sausage last in the freezer?

The general rule of thumb for ground sausage is that it lasts for about 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Older batches may be more rancid than fresh ground and will smell stronger. Store in an airtight container with a cover in the refrigerator or the freezer. 

How do you know if sausage is still good?

The sure sign that sausage is still good is if it cures (i.e. hardens) evenly. If the center of the sausage is firmer than the outside, or if it appears moist or soupy, throw it out and start again.

Why is my sausage slimy?

It’s often because of the way the sausage is made. ‘Sausages’ with added fillers are less likely to be slimy. These sausages are also easier to make and don’t need to be dried out as much before cooking.


Ground sausage is one of the most versatile products in any kitchen, and several signs can help you determine whether or not what you’re about to buy will end up in your fridge. When the texture of ground sausage is uneven, the chances are that the product has been stored for too long or isn’t very fresh. Knowing how to tell if ground sausage is bad through the factors we have mentioned, you can be sure of a healthy consumption of ground sausage.

What is ground sausage

Beef Sausage Recipe

Ground sausage is made of ground pork and seasonings.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef Sausage Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 304kcal


  • 1 Slow Cooker


  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cans black beans
  • ½ cup quinoa rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Stir the items together after adding them to the slow cooker.
  • Cook for 4 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low.
  • Pour into dishes and top with chosen garnish.



Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 1734mg | Potassium: 846mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 10095IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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