Pork fat or other fat, such as the beef fat used in all-beef sausages,is an important ingredient. Because our impression of juiciness in any cooked meat is largely due to the meat's fat content, some fat is included in sausage mixtures.Without it, the texture of the cooked sausage would be very dry.

In most traditional sausages,fat makes up 25 to 50 percent of the total weight,with 33 percent fat being the norm. In other words, proportions of fat to lean range from 3 parts lean plus 1 part fat (the leanest sausages) to 1 part lean plus 1 part fat (rich, fatty sausages).Varying the proportions changes the character of the sausage.

Hard fatback is preferred over other fats for pork sausage. Softer fats are more likely to melt out of the sausage during cooking. A quick and easy way to make pork sausages without worrying about the ratio of fat to lean is to use whole pork butt.The ratio of fat to lean in this cut is very good for sausages.

In today's diet-conscious atmosphere, it may make sense to try to create low-fat sausages. But be advised that extra care is required when making sausages with less than 25 percent fat. Lean sausages should never be overcooked, as overcooking makes them dry. Keep the meat mixture cold to avoid damage to the texture of the meat and fat.With care, it is possible to make tasty sausages with a fat content as low as 10 or 15 percent. One should not expect, however, that the eating qualities of lean sausages will be the same as those of fattier sausages.

Cereal ingredients and fillers (rice, barley, bread crumbs, and so on) can be used to help reduce fat content. Because these starches absorb and retain moisture, they enhance the total moisture content of low-fat sausages.

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