Trail Bologna vs. Summer Sausage: All You Need to Know

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Saudasages are another name of love. Don’t you think so? However, with so many varieties there, it sometimes becomes confusing which is what.

For example – Trail Bologna and summer sausage. Whenever I went shopping, I used to stand hours before the display, thinking – ‘trail bologna or summer sausage.’ Are they similar, or are there any differences?

Well, here is what I have found about trail bologna vs. summer sausage.

Trail bologna vs. summer sausage – there are significant differences. While you only use beef to make bologna, chicken, pork, and beef – are all suitable for summer sausage. Bologna is smoky, and summer sausage is tangy. While the former is best cold-served, the latter is fit for both cold and warm.

In this article, we will be mentioning more distinguishing features between trail bologna and summer sausage. How they are made, which food is excellent for pairing with them, and more. Let’s get straight to it!

Trail Bologna vs. Summer Sausage: Quick Comparison  

Trail Bologna vs. Summer Sausage Quick Comparison  

Trail bologna and summer sausage are both finger-licking and mouthwatering. However, though they belong to the sausage family, they have prominent differences.

If you ask me precisely where they differ, my answer will be almost everywhere. From the making to serving to taste, they are way different.

Before we go for a detailed discussion about the differences, let’s take a short tour to a quick peek.

Trail Bologna Vs. Summer Sausage

Point of Differences

Trail Bologna

Summer Sausage

Meat Type

Beef only

Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, venison.



Cold smoked

Best Served

Only cold

Both cold and warm




Best Accompany.

Cheddar cheese, eggs, bread.

Cheese, green salad, wine.

Differences Between Trail Bologna And Summer Sausage

Trail Bologna vs. Summer Sausage

Now that we know there are differences between trail bologna and summer sausage, let’s get into the detail.

1. Meat

Usually, when we visualize sausage – we think of beef or pork. However, in the case of trail bologna and summer sausage, meat types draw the differential line.

Bologna is typically made out of pork. But trail bologna is made of beef – only beef. Also, the meat in trail bologna usually is leaner and thinner than average sausages. A few brands use cheddar cheese with the meat for a change; however, the meat is always beef.

On the other hand, summer sausage can be made of various meat types – chicken, turkey, pork, beef, venison, or a mix of two types of meat. Additionally, the fat percentage in summer sausages is much more than in trail bologna. The recipe also includes seasonings like garlic, clover, coriander, ginger, and black pepper.

2. Cooking Process

Trail Bologna is usually pre-cooked and cold-smoked by the manufacturers for two to three days. Therefore, you can eat them straight out of the box by microwaving or boiling them.  You can also deep fry them. It gives a smoky and tangy flavor.

With the meat, you can mix spices such as white pepper, paprika, garlic, cardamon, etc. After adding them, smoke the sausages at 140 F and raise the temperature every hour until they reach 170 F. This is how you make trail bologna.

On the other hand, several ways are there to make summer sausage. You can grill it, bake it or even boil it. However, the best way to make summer sausage is to smoke them to get the alluring smoky flavor.

The process is pretty easy. Maintain the internal temperature of your smoker to 160°F and smoke the meat for three hours. Your smoky summer sausage is ready. For a two-meat mix, pork and beef, keep it 75% beef and 25% pork for less fat. Or you can go for 60% pork and 40% beef for juicer sausage.

However, while smoking the meat, remember that different cooking method has a particular temperature.

Cooking MethodInitial TemperatureDesired Temperature
Smoker.120°F.160°F to 190°F.
Oven.Pre-heat to 170°F.190°F.

3. Best Paired With

You can pair trail bologna with any savory dish. However, the best combination is trail bologna and cheddar cheese. Fried trail bologna and eggs served with toasted bread or paired with sandwiches are also delicious breakfast menus.

Summer sausage also goes with any savory dish. However, they pair perfectly with green salads, cheese, and crackers, adding a great flavor to your sandwiches. You can also make BBQs and lazy Sunday dinners – delicious and easy to make.

4. Taste

Trail bologna has a smoky flavor with a garlicky-peppery touch. In addition, they also give you an attractive earthy flavor, which makes the sausage appealing to your nose and mouth.

In contrast, summer sausage has a salty-spicy-tangy flavor like usual sausage types. The tangy flavor comes from fermentation, which lowers the pH level. The plus point is that the low pH slows bacterial growth in your meat, making them last long without refrigeration.

5. Best Served

Trail bologna is usually cole-served.

On the other hand, you can serve summer sausage, both warm and cold. No matter how you serve them, this cured meat is delicious every time.

What Is The Difference Between Sausage And Bologna? 

The key difference between sausage and bologna is the seasoning and meat.

Sausage is mainly made of ground meat. It can be beef, turkey, or venison. The ground meat is then seasoned and packed in a cylindrical casing.

On the contrary, bologna is an Italian smokey sausage made of only beef or pork. The seasoning is also different – white pepper, paprika, garlic, cardamon, etc.

What’s The Best Brand Of Bologna? 

What’s The Best Brand Of Bologna 

There are a variety of brands competing in the food industry right now. You can try out a few brands we have carefully handpicked for bologna. For instance, Oscar Mayer lunch meat cold cuts beef bologna. According to our research, the most appealing feature of this brand is, that the texture and quality of meat are better than most other brands.

You can also try Frick’s Ring Bologna and Miller’s Hot Bologna. If you’re a fan of spicy and smokey meat, then Miller’s Hot Bologna will be the best option for you.

Is Bologna Like a Hotdog? 

Technically yes, bologna is a type of flat hot dog. Here’s how.

When bologna is initially prepared, the ground meat is put into cylindrical and round casings. Then, this hotdog-shaped bologna is sliced into thin pieces. There are different styles of bologna; one is a large hotdog cut into slices. 

Is Trail Bologna an Ohio thing?

Trail Bologna originally came from a small settlement called Trail in Ohio. The origin of this famous midwest sausage is from Ohio. The territory “Trail” became well known to all because of the popularity bologna earned over the past few years.

Trail Bologna is unique because it does not rely on typical fillers used for mass bologna production.

Another thing that makes ring bologna different is that it is made with leaner meat. So, trail bologna has a pretty firm structure.


  • What is the difference between trail bologna and kielbasa?

Kielbasa is far more different than any other sausages available these days. Its coarse texture, heavy garlic flavor, and polish preparation set it apart from other meat delicacies. It’s traditionally lightly smoked or not smoked.

In addition, Polish kielbasa is made with ground pork only. Some manufacturers have introduced kielbasa made with turkey, but they are not authentic.

On the contrary, trail bologna sausages, on the other hand, are cooked and then smoked. Artificial smoke is also added for more flavor. It is exclusively made with ground beef with a variety of seasonings.

  • What’s the difference between bologna and trail bologna?

The primary difference between the two is meat types. While bologna can be made of pork, beef, or turkey, trail bologna is only made of lean beef. In addition, the meat in trail bologna is leaner than regular bologna.

  • Why is bologna not good for you? 

Well, for starters, a huge amount of nitrate can be very detrimental to your health. It contains a lot of salt and fat. A slice of bologna has around 7.9 grams of fat and 302 milligrams of sodium which is 13 percent of your entire daily intake. This is why bologna is not healthy for you.

Bottom Line 

So, trail bologna vs. summer sausage: which is more delicious?

Trail bologna and summer sausages are both a type of meat delicacy. But they are not entirely similar. The significant difference is that trail bologna is exclusively beef, while summer sausage is made of any meat. The texture, taste, and amount of nutrients also differ. But, they still fall under the same category of food.

Apart from this, trail bologna is made of leaner meat and has a firmer texture. You can eat it cold or smoked.