Jambalaya is a dish originating from New Orleans that is technically a stew. It usually consists of sauteed meat (usually sausage, chicken, pork, or seafood), vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and celery, some sort of meat or vegetable stock, and white rice.
It’s important to choose the best sausage for Jambalaya, because it will make the difference between a good and a bad recipe.
It’s just a simples ingredient that will change the flavor of the entire recipe. So, check out our recommendations.
What Kind of Sausage Goes in Jambalaya?
If planning to use sausage for your jambalaya, the most common is andouille sausage. Andouille sausage originates in the United States, and it is ‘different’ from other sausages because in the preparation process it is smoked twice for a distinct flavor. It is made with pork shoulder and blended with spicy seasonings.
While andouille sausage is the common denominator in most jambalayas, if you do not have the option of using this sausage or would like to try something new, there are plenty of other options as well.
Best Sausage for Jambalaya: 9 Great Alternatives
Like andouille sausage, chorizo is packed with flavor which makes it a great candidate for jambalaya. The chorizo is a great pork sausage that is highly seasoned, much like the andouille with Cajun seasoning. Chorizo is typically made with vinegar, Chile peppers, and garlic. Chorizo is a dark red color which will add to the coloring of the jambalaya beautifully.
With that being said, again Chorizo is spicy and full of flavor, but for some, the flavoring may be too overwhelming.
Chorizo is smoked, just like andouille, but has more of an intense flavor. If you love the spicy flavoring, then this is perfect for you. However, if you find the flavor too intense you can opt for a milder sausage and season it yourself.
Kielbasa is made from pork, salt, garlic, pepper, and on occasion red peppers if you like it spicy. Kielbasa, like most sausages, has a casing that some people may take off. However, for jambalaya, the casing is usually left on and the kielbasa is sliced into thicker pieces.
There are several different types of kielbasas (as the term means sausage), but the best bet for jambalaya would be Polka Kielbasa. Polka kielbasa is Polish but is also smoked, which is great for a replacement of andouille.
Kielbasa Weseina can also be used in jambalaya as it is double smoked. It carries hints of garlic and is a much darker color than some other options. However, Kielbasa Weseina can be difficult to find depending on your area of residence.
3) German Bratwurst
German Bratwurst is a sausage that originated in Germany that is made from either pork, veal, or beef. Unlike the other sausages mentioned, bratwurst sausages carry a heavy garlic flavoring and are also inclusive of pimentos, cloves, and marjoram.
They are typically white in color which means they are not smoked and have a different flavor profile altogether from the above sausages.
While the flavor may be different, it doesn’t mean that the German bratwurst is not a good option for jambalaya.
It is perfect for someone who loves garlic and is not a fan of spicy meat. This is also a great option is there will be kids eating as well and many do not like spicy meals. You can add more spices and seasonings to taste as well.
4) Summer Sausage
While this may seem like an odd choice for jambalaya, there are actually rave reviews on using summer sausage as opposed to the original andouille.
Summer sausage is made of a mixture of pork and beef (or venison) and has a tangy flavor compared to smoked. You will also find summer sausage that has yellow specs in them, but they are actually mustard seeds that give the sausage this tang. Summer sausage is compared to salami but can be cut into thicker slices for jambalaya.
This is a great option if you do not want to kick up the heat in the jambalaya and are looking for something a bit more unique. Summer sausage is compared well with all other ingredients in a typical jambalaya, and if you want a small kick, you can even add some red pepper flakes into the mix.
5) Polish Smoked Sausage
While we know kielbasa is smoked sausage from Poland, polish smoked sausage is a bit different. While the flavor profiles are similar, the main difference is the amount of garlic used. In Kielbasas the amount of garlic added is much more than regular polish smoked sausage.
Therefore, the flavor is not as intense, and you can mix some other seasonings to achieve the taste you are going for.
Polish smoked sausage is also a little bit more course and kielbasa which is great for people who love some added texture in their jambalaya.
6) Hickory Sausage
Hickory sausage is a great alternative to use in jambalaya if you like the flavor of all-natural hickory wood.
Often comparable to eating outdoors in a campfire, this sausage has a great flavor profile and is great for people who don’t like the meat too spicy in the jambalaya or will be using multiple types of meat. If you are using seafood as well, you will want a sausage that doesn’t overpower the rest of the flavors.
You can often find hickory sausage already prepackaged in the local grocery store which is perfect and will make your jambalaya unique. If you have bacon lovers, this is the perfect sausage to use as well. It tastes like bacon, and everything pairs well with that!
7) Mesquite Sausage
Mesquite sausage is comparable with hickory sausage but has more of an earthy taste to it (woody). As opposed to the other sausages, It is commonly made with venison only but is great for the flavor.
You can also find mesquite sausage already prepacked in your grocery store which is convenient, and you do not have to worry about adding any extra spices.
Since it is earthy, you would not want to pair it with seafood of any kind, but just have a plain sausage jambalaya.
8) Mild Italian Sausage
Mild Italian sausage, also called Sweet Italian Sausage, usually contains spices such as fennel, garlic, parsley, oregano, and red wine vinegar.
This is perfect for someone who wants to have a flavorful jambalaya but does not want one flavor to overpower the other.
You can find mild Italian sausage prepackaged in the grocery store as well, but it is also very easy to make homemade. You can add any spices you would like to compliment the rest of the ingredients in the jambalaya.
9) Hot Italian Sausage
Hot Italian sausage has the same ingredients as mild Italian sausage, but with an added kick of heat with some red peppers. Again, you can find this in your local grocery store or make it homemade.
If you are looking for a sausage that is similar to the original recipes of jambalaya and wants that New Orleans flavoring, then this sausage is a good option. It does not have that smoky flavor that some people are not a fan of but does not lack any of the heat.
This sausage may be too hot for a child eating it, but great for adults who want a spicy jambalaya and to have a drink with a few friends.
What is the Best Smoked Sausage for Jambalaya?
The best-smoked sausage for jambalaya is the original andouille sausage.
Most recipes will call for andouille because it pairs well with any other elements in a common jambalaya.
However, if you do not have andouille readily available, chorizo and kielbasa are great options as well. Remember that chorizo does have an intense flavor so may not be the best option if you are using other meats in your jambalaya as well, but great if it is the only meat you will be using.
What are the Best Vegetarian Sausages for Jambalaya?
Thankfully, there are now many options when it comes to vegans and vegetarians. Many of these options are inclusive of tofu that can be seasoned to mimic any type of sausage.
The only main difference is the texture. However, if you make tofu correctly it will be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside which would be a perfect contrast in the jambalaya.
If you have a great vegan section at your local grocery store, you can often find prepackaged vegan sausage links as well that are already preseasoned to taste. Often the plant-based sausage available in stores is inclusive of either pea protein, soy protein, oils, and spices.
Can I Make My Own Sausages?
Yes, you can always make your sausages by using ground meat, most commonly ground pork.
This is a great idea if you are cautious of what you put into your body, or if you want full control of the number of spices you want in your sausage.
You would just have to quickly fry the homemade sausage patties prior to putting them in the jambalaya so they do not fall apart.
While andouille is the most popular choice for jambalaya, sometimes you may not be able to get your hands on it or want to try something new! All of the above sausages are great options for this and will guarantee you the perfect jambalaya.
So, do you already know what is the best type of sausage for Jambalaya? Please, feel free to share your opinion in the comments below!
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9 Best Sausages for Jambalaya
- 1) Chorizo
- 2) Kielbasa
- 3) German Bratwurst
- 4) Summer Sausage
- 5) Polish Smoked Sausage
- 6) Hickory Sausage
- 7) Mesquite Sausage
- 8) Mild Italian Sausage
- 9) Hot Italian Sausage
- Choose your favorite type of sausage.
- Prepare the Jambalaya with the chosen sausage.
- Enjoy your meal!