A review of almost 200 sausages, bread and sauce products found on supermarket shelves revealed that one single sausage sandwich at a barbecue contains an adult's daily recommended dose of salt, and double that suggested for a child.
Only two per cent of the 44 sausage and hotdog brands, and 16 per cent of the 43 white bread products matched the recommended guidelines.
The researchers found that some sausages contained over three times as much salt as others.
Even dozens of tomato and barbecue sauce brands failed to make the cut.
"That's an incredible salt overload on its own, let alone with everything else you eat in a day," the Age quoted Dr Bruce Neal, research director at The George Institute for International Health in Sydney, as saying.
"I know it's an icon of the Australian diet but if people knew what they were eating and what it's doing to their health they might well think twice about it," he added.
"There's very clear evidence that eating more salt raises pushes the blood pressure up and that increases your risk of stroke and heart attack.
"You're obviously not going to fall dead as you bite into the sausage but you're going to pay for it down the track.
The government now needs to make salt a national health priority and lead negotiations on maximum salt targets for different products," he added.