Taste Test: The Best Sausages

We taste-tested dozens of sausage links from the grocery store and online to find our favorites -- they're all worth relishing.
sausage
sausage crepes

BEST ITALIAN

Johnsonville Mild

This "moist, delicate" sausage indulged our meat cravings without leaving our taste buds greasy. The "bright bursts of herbs" and notable fennel flavor made one taster say, "Now this is what Italian sausage tastes like!" ($4.99 for 20 ounces, at grocery stores)

 
sausages

BEST CHORIZO

D'Artagnan

This Spanish-style pork sausage caught tasters' attention with its "bright orange" coloring. (That's thanks to paprika, chorizo's signature flavoring ingredient.) Judges also loved its "smoky spice," leading one to call it "an ideal choice for paella."($7.99 for 20 ounces, dartagnan.com)

 
casserole

BEST OF THE 'WURSTS

Shady Brook Farms Turkey Bratwurst

This "moist and hearty' turkey brat goes by two names -- shoppers outside of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions should look for the Honeysuckle White brand name. No matter what you call it, the thigh-meat link's "smoky sweetness" and "warm spices" reminded tasters of breakfast sausage. ($3.35 and up for 20 ounces, at select stores including Wal-Mart)

 
soup

BEST KIELBASA

Hebrew National Beef Polish Sausage

Although Polish sausage is typically made with pork, this beefed-up version had everyone begging for a side of sauerkraut. Tasters noted its "meaty goodness" -- Hebrew National's select cuts of beef have no artificial colors or flavors. The grill-perfect "crackling skin" also wowed judges. ($4.99 for 12 ounces, at select stores including Wal-Mart)

 
waffles

BEST ODDBALL

Dietz & Watson Buffalo Chicken

This "hot wing in sausage form" may be a new flavor, but the Dietz family has been crafting sausage from old-world recipes for more than three generations. The "true hotsauce flavor" left a "healthy heat" on our tongues. The one missing link? As one taster said, "It just needs blue cheese!" ($3.99 to $4.29 for 14 ounces, at grocery stores)

 

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in October 2008.

 

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