August 21, 2017

Though the overall sausage market has declined in recent years, most consumers still consider sausage, or a similar meat, to be the center of the plate. Innovative restaurateurs are also looking to spice up their entree options without simply adding more steak or chicken, the two most common meat mainstays. Enter: sausage.

For culinary students throughout the Colorado region, tapping into the latest sausage trends is instrumental in the learning process. And with millennials now being the largest cohort of consumers in the U.S., they’re throwing out the familiar idea of what a sausage is or isn’t. Plus, many younger foodies are reimagining the possibilities of conventional meat products they grew up on, such as burgers, pizza and tacos.

To inject your culinary expertise into the sausage trend takeover, experiment with new recipes that are big on flavor, spice and versatility.

Let your global sausage tastes flourish

The days of thinking of sausage as just a tubular meat you toss on a bun or chop up for a stew are gone. Newer restaurants are relying more on chef innovation to stand out from the pack, as opposed to focusing only on prices, location or menu staples. This has allowed chefs from all over the world to infuse their regional tastes into sausage charcuterie boards, which shines a new light on meat products and how they are prepared and presented.

As the Journal Sentinel noted, smoked and fresh links are enjoying a new wave of success in restaurants and marketplaces. That’s because there are more than a thousand varieties of sausage to choose from – historically, most chefs opted to work with only five sausage types. You’ve got 995 other delicacies at your fingertips!

Further, fermented or seaweed sausages are becoming more prominent features on menus, selections that the average American consumer hasn’t been exposed to. The same goes for African, Jamaican and Hawaiian links, which are typically prepared with spicier oils, sauces and rubs, or served with sides such as plantains, poblano chili and even gluten-free options.

Perfect your breakfast, lunch and dinner sausage

Sausage diversity and versatility is unparalleled, which makes it a perfect choice for every meal of the day.

Chefs and diners are finding sausages provide a stronger and more flavorful protein option than chicken or shrimp, thus they’re making sausage the centerpiece of breakfast dishes, sandwich entrees and dinner plates. As a chef, you can complement sausage with virtually any form of pasta, vegetable, broth or sauce.

Trending dishes at the moment include:

  • One-pan garlic parmesan sausage and veggies.
  • Sausage-stuffed portobello mushrooms.
  • Sausage, zucchini and brown rice skillet.
  • Cheesy Italian sausage and basil penne.
  • Jamaican jerk sausage and Joloff sauce.
  • Spinach, egg and sausage link skillet.

Deconstruct the idea of encased sausage

As any top chef will tell you, don’t be defined by a cookbook – you’ve got bigger dreams!

Sausage isn’t relegated to just its Polish, Italian or bratwurst monikers, and millennial consumers are making sure of it. A few creative sausage arrangements that are popping are:

  • Chorizo breakfast hash.
  • Loose pork burgers.
  • Sausage and pastry wraps.
  • Crumbled sausage pizza.
  • Puerto Rican morcilla.
  • Lamb merguez.
  • Kimchi brats.

Leftover sausage from previous dishes also allows you to explore additional culinary expeditions by pairing links with other sides and sauces that may not have made it into your first dish. By changing the format of your sausage cuisine – dicing, sauteeing, grilling, searing, stewing, wrapping, etc. – you can experiment with hundreds of new meat masterpieces fellow chefs have yet to try.

Test the limits of what you can incorporate sausage into, and don’t be limited by yesterday’s link standards.