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How Long Can Cooked Sausage Sit Out

How Long Can Cooked Sausage Sit Out

When I have to toss in the trash that I could have eaten a few days ago, I get frustrated.

It’s literally the worst, especially when you paid top dollar for premium sausage or made your own homemade sausage at home.

Knowing how long sausage can sit out can help you save your food and keep it as long as possible.

What Is Sausage?

Sausage is a meat product made from beef, turkey, pork, lamb, or chicken. The meat is ground using a meat grinder then seasoned.

The sausage meat is either formed into a patty or stuffed into a casing using a sausage stuffer.

Sausage can be sold cured, fresh, or cooked.

How Long Can Cooked Sausage Sit Out

How long sausage can sit out depends on the type of sausage. Nevertheless, all sausages, excluding dry sausages, are perishable and should be refrigerated or frozen.

However, the key issue you must be aware of is the temperature danger zone. 

The temperature danger zone refers to temperatures between 40°F-140°F. During this zone, bacteria can multiply rapidly, rendering the food unsafe.

This is why knowing how long sausage can sit out is so important.

Fresh And Cooked Sausage

Fresh or cooked sausages cannot be left at room temperature indefinitely. They can only be kept at room temperature for 2 hours.

After 2 hours in the temperature danger zone, the sausage will be unsafe to eat.

If the room’s temperature is above 90°F, it will become unsafe to eat in 1 hour. Either way, you should discard the sausage to avoid contracting food poisoning.

Sausage Based Dishes 

Just like fresh or cooked sausage, sausage-based dishes can only sit out for 2 hours.

Whether you made gravy, pizza, pasta, or a casserole does not matter. Do not let your sausage-based dishes sit out for 2 hours.

Cured Sausage

Sausage comes from the Latin word salsus, which translates to salted. In the past, before we had refrigerators smoking and salting were the main preservation methods.

These preservation methods are stilled used today. Therefore, salami, summer sausage, and pepperoni can be stored at room temperature.

Nonetheless, just because dry or cured sausage cab be stored at room temperature does not mean you should go willy nilly and forget about storing the sausage.

Always store these sausages in a dry, dark, cool space like the pantry or cupboard.

Once the sausage is opened, it cannot sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Spanish dried sausage

Spanish dried sausage

How To Freeze Sausage 

The best way to store fresh or cooked sausage is in the freezer. If it is stored in the fridge, sausage will only last in the fridge for 1-2 days. In the freezer, it will last for 1-2 months.

When freezing sausage, you must pay attention to the date. Sausage must be frozen before the best by, sell by, or expiration date.

Freezing the sausage will not neutralize bacteria already on the meat, but it will prevent more bacteria from forming and the food from spoiling.

This is why you should not freeze sausage that has sat out for more than 2 hours. 

It is best to package your sausage using a vacuum-sealing machine to prevent the sausage from spoiling.

The vacuum sealer will remove oxygen and moisture from can cause freezer burn and textural changes in the sausage.

If you do not have a vacuum sealer, you can store your sausage in freezer-safe ziplock bags. However, you should remove as much air as you can from the sausage before sealing the bag.

Whether you use a vacuum sealer or ziplock bag, wrap the sausage tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Label the sausage with the day before placing it into the freezer.

Cooked sausage is a little different. They come in a vacuum-sealed package.

If the cooked sausage is not opened, it can be stored in the freezer as is.

However, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil and add a label before placing the cooked sausage in the freezer.

Frozen Sausage

How To Defrost Sausage

Ideally, you should defrost sausage overnight in the fridge. Although it will take 24 hours for the sausage to thaw, it is the best method.

The sausage will defrost slowly and restrict changes in texture and flavor.

Even though the fridge is the best method, life happens, and you forget to take the sausage out of the fridge. Luckily you can also defrost sausage n cold water.

Simply place it into a ziplock bag and submerge it in cold water until it thaws. However, you must change the water every 30 minutes if you are using the cold water method.

Although most of us are guilty of leaving sausage to thaw overnight, it is not safe.

Remember, sausage will enter the danger zone after 2 hours. Therefore, if you thaw it overnight at room temperature, you cannot eat the sausage. 

How Long Does Sausage Last in the Fridge

Some types of sausages have a short lifespan. Therefore, the amount of time sausage lasts in the fridge can vary.

Raw sausage will only last in the fridge for 2 days before it spoils. Cooked sausage, on the other hand, will last for 4 days in the fridge. 

Pre-cooked or smoked sausages will last until the best by date as long as they remain unopened. However, if there are opened, they will only last for 4 days.

Hard or dry sausages can be stored indefinitely in the refrigerator or in the pantry for 6 weeks. Once they are opened, hard or dry sausage will last in the fridge for 3 weeks.

Final Thoughts

Sausage is a versatile yet simple ingredient that’s easy to prepare and use. However, sausage must be handled properly because it has been ground and reformed.

This means that you cannot leave the sausage out for more than 2 hours. If your room’s temperature is 90°F, do not leave it out for more than an hour.

Although these rules may seem annoying, it will protect you and your loved ones from food poisoning.

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