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The Best Artisan Sausages to Throw on the Grill This Summer

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pork sausage grill mushrooms Photo: courtesy True Story Food

The dog days of summer are here and we mean sausage (sorry, we couldn’t resist). While burgers get a lot of love and we’re definitely fans of steak around here, we certainly enjoy firing up the grill and getting some beautiful char on high-quality encased meat. Fortunately for all of us, there are plenty of great options out there right now, especially from chefs who used the pandemic to develop new sausages or make their already outstanding links available to a wider audience. As you get ready for your next cookout, you’d be well advised to add any one of these sausages to the menu.

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Underbelly by Chris Shepherd Smoked Pork and Bacon Sausages

pork bacon sausage links

Photo: courtesy Julie Soefer

From the mind and palate of Houston-based chef Chris Shepherd comes a line of sausages that solves the age-old question of “what if my sausage could taste like bacon, too?” Developed with Belville Meat Market, the sausages are made with cured pork bellies that are ground up, stuffed in casing and then smoked. They’re salty and unctuous without ever seeming oily, and the smoky flavor really coming through so that even if you’re not grilling, you get that hit of smoke in the link. The packages were first available at a Houston-area supermarket chain HEB, but now ship nationwide through Goldbelly.

Buy Now: $59

Seemore Meats and Veggies Loaded Baked Potato Sausages

Seemore Sausages grill green onions

Photo: courtesy Seemore

Cara Nicoletti comes from a long line of butchers. She’s the fourth generation of her family to take on the profession, and part of her mission is to get people to eat less meat. Not quite the sales pitch we necessarily want when considering a butcher or a sausage. However, she’s not taking away meat and replacing it with cheap filler; instead, she’s finding ways to add flavor in interesting ways. Like her Loaded Baked Potato Sausage that combines pork with potatoes, cheddar, chives and bacon bits. Or there’s La Dolce Beet-A, which starts with a pork sausage and fills it with beets, garlic and fennel. For those unable to choose between the flavors, there’s always the variety pack.

Buy Now: $65

True Story Foods Parmesan, Shiitake and Truffle Kurobuta Pork Sausages

True Story Foods Kurobota Sausage

Photo: courtesy True Story Food

These tender, delicious, umami-packed sausages are made using Kurobuta pork, a high-quality breed of hog that originated in Japan and has excellent marbling. The meat is sourced from farmer Russ Kremer, who raises the antibiotic-free pigs on small family farms in the Missouri Ozarks. These sausages—along with other flavors offered like Chile Relleno, and Sherry and Shallot—are versatile enough to deploy many ways in your cooking, from chopped up in your pasta to topping a grain bowl. But we especially love it nestled into a bun with a nice brown mustard where the acid cuts against the earthiness of the link.

Buy Now: $59

Hebert’s Specialty Meats Boudin and Sausage Sampler

cajun boudin sausage louisiana

Photo: courtesy Goldbelly

The mad geniuses in Louisiana who created the turducken back in the early ’80s have a few more aces up their sleeve. In Maurice, just south of Lafayette, Hebert’s serves up Cajun classics like gumbo, étouffée and, of course, the classic pork and rice sausage boudin. In this sampler they’re also serving up a seafood boudin packed with shrimp, crab and crawfish, as well as a pork and beef sausage with green onions and a fresh alligator and pork link, too. If alligator isn’t quite your speed, you could always just opt for the packs of sausage they create with their seasoning blend and ribeye steak.

Buy Now: $99

Heritage Foods Sausage of the Month Club

sausage sampler

Photo: courtesy Heritage Foods

You don’t have to confine your love of sausage just to the summer if you join Heritage Farm’s Sausage of the Month Club. In each shipment you’ll get 3 lbs. of encased goodness made from antibiotic-free meat that’s raised by independent farmers. Each month gives you a new adventure in which you may receive lamb merguez, bison, bratwurst, kielbases, andouille and more.

Buy Now: $59

Bludso’s Hot Links

Bludso's bbq holy trinity

Photo: courtesy Goldbelly

Down in Compton, Kevin Bludso’s eponymous barbecue joint served up some of LA’s best barbecue for nearly a decade. Hailing from Corsicana, Bludso specialized in Texas-style ‘cue that made him a staple on beloved critic Jonathan Gold’s annual 101 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles list. And many people may recognize the pitmaster as a judge of the Netflix series The American Barbecue Showdown. The original location is closed but you can still get your fix via Goldbelly of his brisket, ribs and, for our purposes, his all-beef hotlinks that are a cinch to finish on the grill.

Buy Now: $99

Fossil Farms Sausage Sampler

sausages grilled on a plate

Photo: courtesy Fossil Farms

Let’s break away from the ordinary a little bit. Let’s move away from beef or pork or even chicken to try something different. At Fossil Farms, they breeding alternatives to conventional meat by raising game like venison, wild boar, pheasant, bison and more. And if you really want to treat yourself, give the duck sausage a try, which is taken over the top with foie gras mixed in, making it an uncommonly buttery and creamy link.

Buy Now: $36

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