Andouille, according to Wikipedia: Andouille (.; English: , AHN-du ee) is defined as “a coarse-grained smoked meat made using pork, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. Andouille is French in origin, but has also been brought to Louisiana by French or German immigrants. In the United States, the sausage is most often associated with Cajun cooking.” Andouille sausages are sometimes referred to as “hot link” sausages.
In addition to my mother, Paul Prudhomme, the New Orleans chef, was one of my earliest cooking influences, and it was through his work I first became enthralled with Andouille. I’ve eaten it all over Louisiana, was in and out of sausage factories there, and have also sampled local versions in a variety of countries.
In France, they tend to grind much coarser, than in the US, and use more offal; the US version is a fine grind with more of the pork meat that suits American tastes and aesthetics. I personally don’t care for the French version.
There are a gaggle of manufacturers of true Andouille in Louisiana, the larger the company, the more shortcuts they take, in quality of ingredients, fillers, how the sausages are smoked. (Andouille is traditionally HEAVILY smoked). Many places in the US sell a sausage they call a “Louisiana Hot Link”, which isn’t true Andouille, the real thing is a complex blend of flavors, not just “heat.”
I can that without a doubt say, if you are looking for mass-produced Louisiana Andouille, that the people at Savoie’s make the best, highest quality pork, real wood smoking process. If you aren’t aware, some “smoked” meats are merely given a shower of liquid smoke in the oven; so if a natural casing is used, the flavor doesn’t penetrate to the actual meat.
Not so at Savoie’s. No short cuts there. Even tho they are a fairly large company, they still make their sausage the way Ms. Eula started making them in her family kitchen, back in the day.
You can order many of Savoie’s products online, including their sausages, gumbos, soups, and roux. Occasionally, they have a venison sausage that is quite tasty as well.
In Portland, the fine folks at “Eat-An Oyster Bar“, also make some of the finest Andouille I have had anywhere. Tho a bit spendy at 2/$5, in my opinion, it’s well worth it.