Andouille, the Americanized version, originated on the German coast of Louisiana as a smoked coarse ground pork sausage, mixed with spices, garlic, and wine, in a natural (hog) casing. German immigrants and Acadian exiles collaborated on it at first, and today, you’ll find literally hundreds of small manufacturers in the state, and nearly as many recipes.
The French version, which I had on occasion when I lived in Paris, is an even coarser grind, and made up of offal, rather than ground butts or shoulders. My first experience with it was rather startling.
The version that is manufactured for the masses in the US is sometimes labeled as “Hot Links”; Johnsonville’s is labeled as “New Orleans Brand Andouille Style Smoked Sausage.” Like most US sausages, the grind is fairly fine, and Johnsonville’s is packed in a collagen casing. Collagen casings are produced from the hides of hogs and cattle, bones, and tendons, and provide a more consistent appearance and production process than using natural casings.
Johnsonville started in Wisconsin in 1945 and today is one of the largest sausage manufacturers in the US. They sell their bratwursts seasonally in some McDonalds, and their sausages can be found in many 7-11s and NFL stadiums.
One odd thing – branding a food that is Cajun in origin as “New Orleans”, as the Cajuns didn’t live in New Orleans. A common error.
I picked these up today because they were on sale, $3.49 for a 14 ounce package, six sausages. That’s a good deal.
I prefer a natural casing, which is certainly de rigueur in Louisiana, but collagen aren’t so bad. They give you the requisite “snap,” in any case. One thing I really appreciate about Johnsonville is that there package is resealable.
My presentation would shock Cajuns and Louisianans alike, I’m eating these puppies on a bun with kraut! The sausages? A-OK. Very mild, without distinct flavoring beyond the smoked flavor. Not “hot”, and even milder than your typical Polish.
But a quality sausage, and a good value. The full line of Johnsonville products listed here.
Johnsonville Andouille Sausage Review