Andouille, the Cajun-style sausage, is the key ingredient to some of our favorite meals from the Pelican State (Louisiana). However, is there a sausage that comes close in terms of taste?
If you’re wondering about the chorizo vs. andouille comparison, it really just boils down to personal taste. If you prefer a spicier treat, then the Spanish pork sausage is the right pick for you.
However, culinary puritans claim andouille is the only suitable ingredient for an authentic Cajun-style dish. In other words, if you’re merely looking to fill your meat tray, feel free to take your pick. But when making jambalaya, the only choice is the raging Cajun sausage. Keep reading to learn more.
What is Chorizo?
The high concentration of paprika in the spice blend gives the chorizo a distinctive red tint.
The many regional varieties differ in taste, texture, size, shape, and preparation methods.
As mentioned, the spicy sausage is either entirely or semi-cured and can be sliced and eaten straight away. However, some chorizo, for example, the Mexican variety, is sold raw and requires further preparation.
The consensus is that chorizo originated in Spain. The Spanish variety is cured, and the rough, fatty sausage is made from coarsely chopped pork.
Spanish chorizo can be spicy or sweet, depending on the kind of paprika used for the blend. Before adding it to the mixture, the paprika is almost always roasted, giving the sausage a rich, smoky taste and dark red coloring.
Other ingredients vary from region to region, but the standard condiments include garlic, red or white wine, and various herbs.
The curing process usually lasts several weeks, with the final product thoroughly dried. That means you can munch on the sausage right away without having to cook or fry it.
Spanish pubs or tavernas often serve sliced chorizo as part of a meat tray or tapas assortment. It’s also used in fried dishes such as stews and paella, commonly served at festivals.
Mexican chorizo is somewhat different from its Spanish counterpart. The sausage is typically sold raw, so it requires cooking before consumption.
Since the meat is ground rather than chopped, you can either cook it in the casing or prepare it like ground beef.
Pork fat is also sometimes included in the meat mixture, along with spices and vinegar.
Also, unlike the Spanish variety, Mexican chorizo gets its red hue from the Guajillo pepper instead of smoked paprika. The fiery red pepper is a critical ingredient in Mexican cuisine and an essential cultural staple.
The Mexican sausage is common grilling meat and a favorite addition to Tex-Mex dishes such as tacos, burritos, and burgers. It also works well as a substitute for ground beef, so it’s not uncommon to find it in soups and other cooked meals.
Both Spanish and Mexican chorizo are sold in most large grocery stores, thanks to the popularity of global cuisine in the United States. You can usually find them in the deli section next to similar spicy sausages like salami or pepperoni.
Since Mexican chorizo isn’t cured, it’s kept in a refrigerator with other frozen meat products.
What is Andouille?
Andouille is a sausage made from a single pig’s digestive tract. The distinct flavor is achieved by combining the garlic-based seasoning with diced or sliced pig stomachs and small intestine strips.
After preparation, the mixture is placed in a casing made of pig’s large intestine, poached, and left to settle.
The sausage comes in two varieties, the first being French andouille. Typically, it’s greyish and has a very distinct odor.
The traditional ingredients of andouille, especially in Brittany and Normandy, are pig chitterlings, tripe, onions, wine, and various herbs and spices.
At first, you might be put off by the strong smell, but try to power through since the exquisite sausage is worth it.
Fun fact: if you ever find yourself in France, be careful of how you use the term. The word “andouille” is a slur used to describe something inherently stupid.
However, in the States, Andouille is an absolute staple of Cajun cuisine. The town of Laplace in Louisiana has the reputation of being the “Andouille Capital of the World,” much to the disappointment of French meat lovers.
It was most likely introduced by French immigrants who settled in the area some centuries ago. The Cajun-style meat treat is a coarse-grained smoked sausage made with pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasoning.
Most commonly, it’s smoked twice after being stuffed into the casing, so you can eat on its own or as part of a meat tray.
Louisiana andouille has a recognizable pinkish color due to the high percentage of pepper and garlic in the spice blend.
Typically, it’s hot and grilled with sugarcane and pecan wood for that extra flavor.
Although the sausage may have originated in France, it’s best known as the key ingredient of signature Cajun dishes. I’m talking macaroni and cheese, shortcut chicken, and, of course – jambalaya. Overall, andouille is a pretty versatile ingredient that works great with many recipes.
But wait, do you have to travel to the Louisiana to get hold of andouille? Of course, not. The sausage can be found in your grocery store and your local butcher shop. You can also order it online, although it’ll most likely arrive frozen.
Chorizo vs. Andouille: How are They Similar?
Mexican chorizo is probably the closest equivalent to andouille, as opposed to Spanish chorizo.
The sausage is on the spicier side, but the sharp smokey taste is similar to the Cajun sausage. If you’re making gumbo or jambalaya, you can probably use Mexican chorizo instead of andouille.
The nutritional values are another thing chorizo and andouille have in common. Both sausages have a high protein content and similar levels of saturated fats, sodium, and carbohydrates.
A word of caution: since we’re talking about processed meat, it should be consumed in moderation.
Chorizo vs. Andouille: How are They Different?
At first glance, the two bear no resemblance whatsoever.
Chorizo has a dark red color, while andouille is usually light pink, especially before cooking. The texture is also quite different, as is the spice level.
When compared to andouille, chorizo packs a much greater punch. Besides, the Louisiana sausage can sometimes contain fillers like potato or rice, while chorizo is made entirely with meat and spices.
Chorizo can be fermented, cured, or roasted, while andouille is typically smoked. The way they’re served is also slightly different. Chorizo is commonly served as finger food, with or without frying, and sometimes added to other dishes for an extra kick.
On the other hand, andouille is mainly used in Creole and Cajun cuisine and is rarely eaten alone.
|Spices||Smoked Red Paprika, Chili Pepper (Guajillo in particular), Garlic, Wine (Red or White)||Pepper, Onions, Garlic, Wine|
|Preparation||Cured, Fermented, or Smoked||Smoked|
|Consumption and Usage||Most varieties are eaten fresh as finger food. It can be added to dishes as well.||It’s a common ingredient in Cajun cuisine and rarely eaten on its own.|
When comparing chorizo vs. andouille sausage, Mexican chorizo is more similar to andouille sausage than Spanish chorizo is.
Both come from pig, though different parts of the animal. They vary in their color and spices, and chorizo has more variations in how it’s prepared.
Both are great to eat for their own specific occasions and dishes. What’s your preference?
Interested in how other types of sausages compare to chorizo? Check out my other articles that compare chorizo to: