The Different Types Of Sausages, Explained

We've got the missing link to decoding sausages

We're gathered here today to talk about sausages.

While they're primarily known as a summertime favorite and staple of many a backyard barbecue, sausages are also incorporated into many dishes all year long. Sure, you can generally break them down into two categories (spicy or sweet), but the other spices and meats used to make sausage vary widely from region to region. And with more than 1,200 different types of sausages in Germany alone, navigating through all your options makes for one tough case.

Luckily, we've done the hard work for you and selected the top seven you're most likely to encounter—and broken down what they're all about.

① Andouille
While andouille sausage is mostly associated in the U.S. with Cajun dishes such as jambalaya and gumbo, a quick history search reveals the pork sausage actually originated in France. This choice is a great way to add smoke flavor and heat to any dish.

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② Bratwurst
We can thank Germany for gracing us with more than a dozen different types of bratwurst. In the U.S., it's most commonly made with pork and veal, and seasoned with ginger, nutmeg, coriander or caraway.

③ Chorizo
This popular pork sausage, typically flavored with chiles, garlic and spices, is a great addition to any dish, whether tacos, soups, stews, burritos, eggs, mussels and so on. Though chorizo is commonly sold in casings, that part is usually removed and the meat is sautéed separately before it's added to a recipe.

④ Italian
Whether you prefer hot or sweet, Italian sausages can be prepared in a variety of ways. Traditionally, hot sausages are made from pork and are seasoned with garlic, red pepper flakes and fennel or anise seeds. The sweet kind includes similar flavor profiles, just without the red pepper flakes.

⑤ Kielbasa
The word kielbasa is fairly well-known around the world, but most people don't realize it's actually the Polish word for "sausage" and refers to many types of sausages in Poland. In the U.S., you'll likely see a pork country sausage version wrapped in a horseshoe shape.

⑥ Knackwurst
This German sausage, which also goes by the name of knockwurst, is usually made from ground beef or pork (or both), and flavored with garlic. Fun fact: The word knack translates to "snap," which refers to the sound it makes when you bite into its natural casing.

⑦ Weisswurst
Don't be fooled by its exterior: It may not look like a traditional sausage from the outside, but its inside is made up of ground pork and veal, and is usually flavored with mild spices such as parsley, lemon, onions and ginger.