What Is Vienna Sausage and What’s It Made Of?

Canned food is great. We love some canned tuna, canned beans, canned pineapple—so why shouldn’t we love a can of fancy little hot dogs? Behold, Vienna sausages! These handy little frankfurters have been filling stomachs since the early 1900s, but does anyone know what actually goes into them? Let’s talk Vienna sausage. 

How to pronounce Vienna sausage, correctly?

Vienna sausage is pronounced “vee-eh-nuh saw-suhj.” There, now you won’t make a fool out of yourself!  

What are Vienna sausages made of?

Vienna sausages are small, pre-cooked sausages traditionally made of ground-up trimmings from pork, chicken, and/or beef. The meat mush is seasoned with things like onion, garlic, mustard, and paprika, as well as a splash of corn syrup. Of course, there are also things like “natural flavors” and nitrates in the mix. The puree is piped into inedible casings, just to help the sausages retain their shape as they are cooked (it’s removed before the sausages are canned). After receiving a shower of liquid smoke, the sausages are baked, stripped of their casings, and cut into two-inch sections. These little weiners are packaged in cans and topped off with broth. Hungry?

How many Vienna sausages are in a can?

There’s no set number, but a standard can of Vienna sausages typically contains seven to ten sausages, depending on the brand and the specific product. Be sure to check the label if you’re trying to attain a certain amount for a dinner party appetizer. Additionally, be sure that what you’re opening is an actual can of sausages, and not a fake novelty can with plastic springed snakes that will pop out and startle you! 

Are you supposed to cook Vienna sausages?

Vienna sausages are fully cooked by the time they’re packaged, and can be eaten right from the tin if you like. That said, they’re most often enjoyed warmed up at the very least, if not cooked in a recipe like pigs in a blanket, casseroles, or soup. 

Can you eat Vienna sausages raw?

In a sense, yes, you can eat them straight from the can. However, you are never quite eating them “raw” in the truest sense, since they are fully cooked beforehand. We won’t fault you for pretending though, if you’re trying to gross out your friends or anything like that! 

What do Vienna sausages taste like?

Classic Vienna sausages have been described as salty and meaty. Sporked’s managing editor Gwynedd Stuart recently tried them for the first time and described them as, “not exactly bursting with meat flavor, but they’re totally pleasant.” She was mostly struck by their extremely soft texture, saying that they practically dissolved in her mouth. 

So, go ahead and buy a can or two of Vienna sausages the next time you see them at a gas station. Not only are they perfect for snacking on right now, but you can line your doomsday bunker with them, for noshing on after a meteor hits Earth!

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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