Andouille sausage is a popular meat sausage that features prominently in Cajun and Creole cuisine. Like most sausages, it is made of pork and flavored with a special blend of herbs and spices.
But what does it taste like?
Is Andouille Sausage Spicy?
Andouille sausage is spicy, with a sharp and smoky flavor. Due to the Cajun and Creole influence, andouille sausage uses a lot of chilis and spices in its ingredients which makes it a hot and spicy sausage.
What is Andouille Sausage?
Andouille sausage is a type of pork sausage that originated in France, although the andouille sausage as we know it in the U.S. was influenced by an eclectic mix of people that settled on the German Coast or La Cotes de Allemands in Louisiana.
People of French, Acadian, Spanish, German, African, and Creole origins all settled in this area and probably influenced how our type of andouille sausage evolved.
German immigrants from the 1700s likely brought with them their knowledge and tradition of making sausages, and it became an integral part of the culture there, with each family having their own unique way of making andouille.
Combined with French and Cajun flavors and cooking know-how, it evolved into something that’s uniquely American.
Andouille sausage is made of pork, but cuts and consistency differ by region, and some ingredient variations exist. Its taste is strong and spicy, with a characteristic smokiness.
It features prominently in dishes like Gumbo and Jambalaya.
Difference Between Traditional French Andouille and American Andouille
The amazing thing about food is that it adapts and evolves, and changes depending on the culture of those that consume it.
You may introduce a specific type of food to a group of people, but over time, depending on the availability of ingredients and the prominent tastes of that specific group, the food will eventually change and reflect their culture.
Perhaps not too dramatically, although in certain cases this happens, but it definitely ends up reflecting the general preferences of that group of people.
Andouille sausage is no different. Traditional French andouille sausage was brought to the U.S. but over time, marked differences appeared between the French andouille and American andouille.
We’ll explore some of the differences below.
Traditional French andouille sausage is made from the chopped-up parts of the pig’s stomachs and intestines, stuffed into the casing of its large intestine.
It basically uses the pig’s entire digestive tract. The meat is mixed with onions and seasonings and at times, rounded out with French wine.
French andouille is usually grey in color and has a very distinct smell, which may be off-putting to some people. A smaller version called Andouillette also exists in France.
In the U.S., andouille sausage is made from other parts of the pork, typically pork shoulder or thighs. It is mixed with onions, seasonings, wine, and a notable difference in the French version, garlic. Herbs like thyme may also be added, as well as other herb mixes.
The casings of most commercial andouille sausages in the U.S. are also not made with pig intestines. Often, it is made with synthetic casings.
Andouille sausage in the U.S. is typically spicier than its French counterparts, owing perhaps to the use of garlic and other spices like cayenne pepper and other peppers in the meat stuffing.
Method of Preparation
Traditional French andouille sausage may be smoked or unsmoked (in case it is just a large “andouillette”), but American andouille is double smoked.
The meat stuffing is smoked on its own first, and then once the sausages have been made, they are smoked again. This is what gives them that deep, smoky flavor they are known for, and the reason why spiciness and smokiness are more associated with the American version than the original French version.
While they are both called Andouille sausage, where it comes from and how it is made play a big role in the specific flavor profile you are going to get.
French andouille sausage may have more of the pronounced pork taste due to its ingredients and cooking method of choice, while American andouille sausage would be spicier and smokier due to the heavy use of spices and its double-smoked cooking method.
Is Andouille The Same As Andouillette?
Andouilletes are similar to the French andouille in that it is made from pig stomach and innards and is stuffed in their intestines, but it is a smaller sausage and it is unsmoked.
In France, “andouille” may also pertain to a large andouillete, and to the uninitiated, this may be very off-putting due to the very distinct smell of the sausage that is not masked by any spices or any smoking.
Andouillettes are definitely different from the American version of andouille. Actually, the French andouille and American andouille might as well be different sausages altogether.
The Difference Between Andouille and Sausage
The main difference between andouille sausage and regular sausage is that andouille is made from chopped pork meat rather than minced meat as in most sausages. This results in a courser, chunkier sausage.
Andouille is also double smoked and uses a lot of heavy spices in its flavorings, resulting in a spicer, smokier sausage.
What Are Good Substitutes for Andouille?
There are often no perfect substitutes for the real thing, and this goes for andouille sausage as well. With its unique spicy and smoky flavor and texture, it’s hard to replicate in an exact way in recipes.
However, if you can’t find it, some substitutes may work for your recipes, though the flavor of course will be a bit different.
Below are some options you can use in case you do not have andouille sausage:
Spanish chorizo or Portuguese chourico
Chorizo or chourico can be great substitutes for andouille. The flavor profile might be different but it will give your recipe that smoky and spicy flavor that is similar to andouille.
This Polish sausage is made of pork but can be made with beef, lamb, turkey, or veal. It can be smoked or unsmoked and contain a variety of different spice and herb seasonings.
It is not as spicy as andouille but can work as a substitute, if necessary, especially if you get the smoked variety.
Another possible substitute is bratwurst. German bratwurst is typically made of pork but can be made with beef and veal as well.
Typical spices to make it include marjoram, ginger, paprika, nutmeg, sage, and caraway. Getting the smoked variety can give you that smoky flavor similar to andouille.
To know more about bratwurst, check out What Is A Bratwurst – A Helpful Guide.
Other Smoked Sausages
Other types of smoked sausages may be used as substitutes for andouille in recipes although especially if they use different spices, it may change the flavor of your recipe.
Andouille sausage is unique and distinctive in its use in recipes and gives dishes an authentic spin. No substitute would perfectly replicate its taste, however, there are some options you can use if you cannot find it or source it.
Read Next: 6 Best Substitutes for Andouille Sausage
Frequently Asked Questions to Is Andouille Spicy?
What Is Andouille Sausage Made Of?
In the US, andouille sausage is made of chopped-up pork shoulder, chilis, garlic and spices. Traditional French andouille is made of pig stomach and intestines.
Is Andouille Sausage Smoked?
Andouille sausage is double smoked, first when the meat and stuffings are mixed, and then again after the sausage is made.
Is Andouille Sausage Spicy?
Andouille sausage has a strong, spicy and smokey flavor.
Conclusion to Is Andouille Sausage Spicy?
The American version of andouille, arguably the more popular version, is spicy because it is heavily flavored with chili and other distinctive spices. It is also smokey and sharp in flavor, which adds a unique taste to dishes.