Sausage & Mustard Pairing Guide
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council and National Mustard Museum Unite to Identify the Perfect Pairings
On a warm spring day, a group of ten accomplished chefs gathered at an undisclosed location to answer an age old question: “What mustard should I put on a sausage?” Going into this task, we all thought it would be easy. Pairing sausage with a mustard using our 400+ years of combined culinary experience shouldn’t be that hard, right? Seventeen delicious sausages later along with sixteen of the best mustards the world has to offer and we were…stuffed! We put in the hard work for the greater good of mankind and we have the results here to share with you.
We began by sampling the mustards provided by the National Mustard Museum of Middleton, Wisconsin…these included some of their Grand Champion mustards from the annual World-Wide Mustard Competition, and we could taste why! Next, we dived into the heritage of each sausage variety provided by Usinger’s of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We located all of the traditional methods of preparation for each and then revved up the stove!
First and foremost, it was important to taste the sausage by itself before adding a condiment… and it truly was love at first bite.
What we learned from our process was important: while flavor is very subjective from one sausage eater to the next, the science in balancing fat, heat, acid and salt is fairly universal and provides a good starting point for your taste buds. While you don’t necessarily need to have a full shelf of good quality mustards in your fridge to enjoy with sausage, a door pocket with a nice variety of six to eight mustards will definitely liven up your pallet.
Also remember that food is something to be celebrated. Our sampling adventure was certainly a culinary celebration and we hope this guide will help make your own celebrations even better (suggested mustards are linked to the Gift Shop online store).
Now, on to the chefs’ pairings…
SAUSAGE + MUSTARD PAIRINGS
If you aren’t able to take a trip to Madison, Wisconsin over the Memorial Day weekend to take part in the world’s largest bratwurst festival — “BratFest” — don’t worry. Grilled and on a bun, this sausage is sure to please with its bright flavors which are typically gained from a little lemon zest. While you can take many directions with toppings ranging from sauerkraut to tomato sauce with onions and peppers, our choice was served best with a Sweet-Mild Mustard. Not too overpowering with sugar, this mustard really enhanced all those flavors we love in a Bratwurst without overpowering them.
These pork beauties linger on your taste buds long enough to remind you of that last visit you made to New Orleans. We found an exotic mustard that let the heat shine through while still making you want to joyfully endure a second or third bite. This exotic mustard had a sweet side with the addition of maple syrup and we found that all the spicier varieties of sausage benefited from a little sweetness.
Pork, fat and fennel…what could go wrong? Well, you might go wrong with a horseradish mustard on this easy to find variety. But, we found a medium hot pepper mustard to be just right. After all… Italians like it a little spicy, right?
Course ground meat and smoky flavors from Poland are a delicious subject for pairing, but it’s easy to over do it and end up feeling a bit stuffed. We found that a veggie herb mustard (in our case it was a dill variety) lightened the load a bit and helped cleanse the pallet so you don’t end up with the meat sweats. Deli Brown Mustard also took the stage here…sometimes you just can’t beat the classics.
Milwaukee Braunschweiger Liver
You can be like the masses and enjoy this smoked pork liver sausage hot or cold with mayo and butter or the red condiment Mustard Museum doesn’t like to talk about, but we are quite sure you will find the magic of a classic hot pepper mustard a winning topper.
This hot Latino treat comes in cured and not cured versions dictating if further cooking is necessary, but WOW!… pork fat has never tasted so good! We took several rounds on this one and with such a bold smokey flavor profile we felt it went best with a drizzle of yellow mustard. And while the other spicy links did good with sweeter varieties…the vinegar zing in the yellow mustard really shined here. The results will surprise you!
Portugal deserves a gold star for this Calabrian pepper smoked sausage. While it’s a common ingredient in many dishes, it can hold its own on a charcuterie board with a delicious Sweet-Mild Mustard.
Veal and pork play well in this natural-cased beauty speckled with fresh herbs and gently steamed. You can’t find a better tasting delivery vehicle for getting horseradish mustard into your mouth. Keep it simple…let the flavors sing!
Ours had a natural casing, garlic and smoke. When you find a gem like we did it’s important to give it the respectable condiment it deserves. We tried yellow, deli brown and whole grain mustards and all finished well but, in the end, it was the Yellow Mustard who pulled ahead for the lead.
Short and stumpy, these German hog casings are stuffed with veal, pork and garlic and have a powerful punch of seasonings. Many mustards sing well on this stage, but the main act from France — a Dijon — was the true show-stopper in our books.
Smoked Polish Sausage
What do you do when you have this course ground, juicy garlic flavored treat? Pair it with a Garlic Mustard! You might not get too many kisses afterwards, but if you were concerned about that, perhaps you should be reading “Sausage for Lovers”.
This is not your average b-o-l-o-g-n-a! And while a classic yellow brings you back to your childhood…this Pennsylvania Dutch treat deserves a more sophisticated shmear, which we found in a Honey Mustard.
An all-time classic! Similar to the beef frankfurters we sampled, but with a bit less garlic, wieners provide a lot of latitude for sampling a range of not-so-classic mustards, but Yellow Mustard really comes out of its shell when served up with a good, steamed wiener.
Beef Salami with Garlic
This semi-dried summer sausage really goes down easy. A perfect pairing with cheese, our whole judging panel was surprised to see how well a sweet-hot Mustard exhilarated the senses and brought out all the goodness this smoked chub had to offer.
Beef Summer Sausage
Classic and clean, your backyard guests will insist you make it a tradition. A mustard mild enough for the kids and complex enough for the adults was difficult to nail down so we chose THREE! Herb (Dill) Mustard, Garlic Mustard, and Fruit Mustard all had something great to talk about — which is exactly what you want everyone at your backyard BBQ to be doing!