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Ultimate Sausage Guide

Inspired by the spate of new sausage restaurants, F&W’s Grace Parisi creates easy condiments for the four major kinds of links.

Fresh or cured, mild or smoky, sausages are now adored by some of the country’s most creative restaurateurs. At New York City’s Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System, the cooks nestle all-natural sausages inside fresh-baked baguettes like haute corn dogs. For the new gastropub DBGB Kitchen & Bar, also in Manhattan, Daniel Boulud has designed a global menu of a dozen house-made sausages. Joseph Pitruzzelli and Tyler Wilson of Los Angeles’s Wurstküche (“sausage kitchen” in German) offer an eclectic mix, from pork bratwurst to smoked alligator andouille. To distinguish bratwurst from bologna, we define four types of sausage and Grace Parisi provides ingenious toppings, each an homage to an iconic grilling condiment: mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise or pickles.

A Cook’s Sausage Fundamentals

Fresh sausage
© Tina Rupp

Fresh

Any sausage made with uncooked meat, from spicy Mexican chorizo to North African merguez.

How to Cook

Fresh sausages can be pan-seared, grilled or steamed. Prick the casings to release moisture; cook until no pink remains.

German-Style Sausage
© Tina Rupp

German-Style

Wursts and frankfurters are most often made with blended, smooth fillings.

How to Cook

Most are precooked, but pan-searing and grilling boost their flavor; keep the heat moderate so the sausages stay tender.

Smoked Sausages
© Tina Rupp

Smoked

Kielbasa, andouille and even some kinds of bologna spend time over hot coals.

How to Cook

These need no cooking but can be pan-seared over moderately high heat for flavor. Thickly sliced, they’re great on sandwiches.

Cured Sausages
© Tina Rupp

Cured

Spanish chorizo and most types of salumi are salted, then air-dried for weeks.

How to Cook

The curing process essentially cooks the sausages. They’re wonderful thinly sliced and stirred into eggs, or eaten on their own.

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Published June 2009
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