Gourmet sausages are made with gourmet ingredients, such as fruits, meats and spices. Many types of gourmet sausages specialize in the flavor of a particular place in the world, such as Italy, Mexico or Hawaii, by including locally grown flavors from that part of the world into a sausage mix. Other types of gourmet sausages may use seafood, including shrimp, crab and crayfish to produce uniquely flavored sausages. Other sausage products might include wild game in the sausage mix, such as deer, elk and buffalo.
Several different methods are used to create gourmet sausages, from adding fruit and nuts to placing exotic vegetables and cheeses into the sausage mixture. Wines and liquor are often used to flavor the gourmet sausages, and once the alcohol cooks off, all that is left is the flavor that the liquid shared with the sausage. One of the most popular methods of producing gourmet sausages is to replicate special flavors found in countries of the world. Italian sausage is made gourmet by the addition of fresh olives, pancetta and other foods commonly associated with Italy. Hawaiian sausage may include pineapple, mango and papaya to impart a taste of the island into the sausage.
Occasionally, exotic meats are used to create gourmet sausages. Wild game, such as elk, moose and venison, are some of the exotic meats often used in making sausage. Typically, pork is mixed with the exotic meat to provide fat and moisture due to the very low fat content of the wild game. Without the added pork fat, the sausage would be dry and could burn when cooking. These types of wild game sausages are often best when cooked in a gourmet beer or wine, or when simmered in pure maple syrup. Wild turkey, feral hog and other wild game can all be used to create gourmet and specialty sausages.
Many forms of the gourmet links are created by using chicken and turkey in order to reduce the sausage's fat content and make the meat more heart-healthy. For these types of sausages, other flavor ingredients, such as gourmet cheeses and fresh vegetables, are used in the ground meat mixture to add a gourmet flavor to the sausage. Seafood-inspired sausages combine fish and other edible creatures from the ocean with fresh, garden-grown vegetables to create gourmet sausage that is both calorie-conscious and better for the heart and body than comparably proportioned pork sausages or bratwurst.