Aidell's Sausages on Grill
Perfect on the grill or in the pan, Aidells Gourmet Sausages are spot-on for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.


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June 2005

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Meat & Poultry

Aidells Gourmet Sausage

Smoky And Flavorful


In 1983, a young Jerry Garcia-type, working on a graduate degree in a central California coastal town, finds bliss while slaving away behind a hot stove of a Bay Area charcuterie. His passion? Feeding the masses with well-seasoned meats. His muse? The ordinary sausage, once relegated to the role of scrambled egg side dish or baseball park snack.

Decades pass, and the young man’s beard is a little more grey. But his name—his first name—has become synonymous with the sausage products he sells. No longer stuck with the UCSC-graduate-student-turned-sausage-maker storyline, Bruce Aidells has crafted the kind of brand recognition and good will any company could desire. Aidells gourmet sausages, a line of delicious smoked sausage, have a huge fan base.

Most of the line uses a base of turkey and chicken raised without hormones, mixed with chunks of vegetables and fruits and seasoned with fresh herbs and original spice blends (no MSG), all in a natural casing. They are fired in specially-designed smokehouses which pre-cook them, so all you have to is heat and eat.               

We must emphasize: These are smoked sausages. You need to like the flavor of smoked meat. Smoked poultry is lighter-flavored than smoked pork—but it’s smoky nevertheless. That is both one of the joys and challenges of smoked sausage: In some of the milder-seasoned sausages, the other ingredients can get overwhelmed by the smoke. This doesn’t make for a faulty sausage—all are very tasty. It does mean that if you’re looking for a mouthful of artichoke or portobello, there are possibly better items with which to experience the flavor.

The Mild Group

  • Artichoke and Garlic. This mild sausage, inspired by the Basilica region of Southern Italy, has large chunks of artichoke throughout. The garlic is powerful and, at times, overtakes the subtle flavor of artichoke, which remains a visual and textural treat.
Sausage on roll
All the sausages make tasty sandwiches. Just add your favorite trimmings and a quality mustard.
A good choice for pasta salad or any dish that pairs well with garlic, it also can be scattered on pizza with roasted eggplant, added to pasta sauce, or used to stuff large glove artichokes.
  • Chicken and Apple. Another mildly-seasoned sausage, intended to accompany eggs and pancakes on the breakfast plate. Chunks of apples are discernable and four different fruit juices are in the mix; but their sweetness takes second place to the smoked meat.
  • Maple and Smoked Bacon Breakfast Links. The maple shines through in this sweet and powerful link. The other fillings—smoked bacon and sweet potato—are lighter notes that complement and enhance the syrupy maple essence. Don’t let this sausage's name hold you from eating them at any time of day. We enjoyed them for dinner alongside a tomato pie.
  • Portobello Mushroom. Like the other mild blends, this sausage contains large chunks of portobello, plus champignons and porcinis, in a smoky cloak. Luckily, the seasoning is enlivened by sage and caramelized onion.  In addition to the portobello mushroom, the sausages also contain a hint of porcini.  Recommended for omelets, tossed in pasta or on a bun with sautéed onions and melted cheese.  

The Full-Flavored Group

When seasonings and smoke are in optimum balance, great sausages result:

  • Mango. Chunks of ripe mango provide lots of tropical fruit flavor, which is enchanting when mixed with the Smoky meat. popular Chicken & Apple Sausage, but with a note of the tropics. Pan fry for breakfast with French toast, grill and wrap in a flour tortilla with a mango salsa or serve with a papaya/macadamia nut pilaf.
Portobello Sausage in Package
  • Pesto. A classic sausage, well seasoned with fresh basil, Romano cheese and lots of garlic. We tried this with a spinach frittata, and found it to be a perfect pairing. A popular choice for kabobs with chicken and mushrooms or slicing chunks into a pasta or a risotto for a simple lunch or dinner with tons of flavor.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato. A beautifully flavored sausage, despite no recognizable bits of sun-dried tomato. Sun-dried tomato, basil and garlic are in harmony, It pairs with any sort of grain: it found it delicious with red beans and rice (the traditional Andouille, below, is for those ready to take a leap of faith.) A good choice for pasta or pizza, soups and stews.

The Seriously Seasoned


For those who like it smoky and spicy, several of the sausages provide it in spades:

  • Cajun Style Andouille. is a pork sausage, following the classic recipe. richly flavored pork sausage with a serious bite of pepper is a must for Cajun cooking. Use it in traditional dishes like jambalaya, etouffée and gumbo. Try it in a po' boy sandwich or just toss it on the grill with shrimp or chicken.
Latin mix
The Latin Mix: Black Bean, Mango, Roasted Red Pepper & Corn, and Smoked Chorizo.
  • Habañero and Green Chile. A sausage-made with fire roasted green chiles, tequila, jalapeño and habañero peppers-that packs a punch. The seasonings are not for the faint of heart. The green chiles add a color splash to any plate. We tried them with cheese quesadillas, which had a soothing effect.

The nice thing about tasty sausages is how easy they make food preparation. Just heat and slice to add excitement to breakfast, main courses, or snacks. Since they’re smoked, Aidells sausages have a long shelf life. Keep a package in the refrigerator, and you can pull a rabbit out of a hat when you need to. There are scores of easy-to-make recipes on Aidells’ website covering and a nifty search tool enabling you to find ideas by meal, theme (Asian or Mexican, e.g.) prep time, and flavor of sausage.

Sausage and eggs Pappardelle Pizza
With Breakfast Pappardelle Pizza


Miniature sausages are available in three flavors: Cajun-Style Andouille, Chicken and Apple, and Sun-Dried Tomato (alas, the Mango minis we first discovered and cherished seem to be available no longer). We love the little minis: they afford the opportunity to have a smaller portion with breakfast foods and mixed grills. They also make easy hors d’oeuvres:

  • With toothpicks and a spicy mustard dip or sweet-and-spicy dip
  • As superior-tasting “pigs in blankets” (in this case, “clucks in blankets”)
Mini sausages are perfect for smaller portions, snacks and hors d’oeuvres.
  • In mini-rolls as mini “furters” (if you can’t find tiny rolls, you can easily make them from refrigerated dinner roll dough).

Aidels makes 15 different flavors of sausage for consumer purchase. You’ll have fun tasting and finding your own favorites.


Artichoke & Garlic, Cajun Style Andouille, Chicken and Apple, Cuban with Black Bean, Duck, Habañero & Green Chile, Hot Creole, Mango, Maple & Smoked Breakfast Links, New Mexico, Pesto, Portobello Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper with Corn, Smoked Chorizo, Sun-Dried Tomato

  • 13-Ounce Package
    Four Jumbo Links
  • Themed Gift Sets
    Links Around the World,
    Some Like It Hot!, The
    Italian Collection, The
    Orchard Collection, The
    Super Sampler,
    What’s For Breakfast?
    $35.99 Each
  • Super Sampler
    One Package Each,
    Top 12 flavors

Aidell's sausages
Individual packages.

Gift Set
Gift set.

Purchase online at or telephone 1.877.AIDELLS.

Prices and flavor availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

Find a retail store near you that sells Aidells Gourmet Sausage.

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