For the best flavors, variety and freshness, leave the prepackaged processed links to the amateurs and follow this guide to genuine handcrafted sausages made by real butchers.
2900 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento; 916-443-6881, www.taylorsmarket.com
Meats: Pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, beef
Best-sellers: green chile, Parmesan-herb and Italian; meatloaf-stuffed in the summer, duck-cherry and Swedish potato in the fall and during the holidays. “We have a pretty good trade in people bringing us their family sausage recipes, and we’ll do a 5- or 10-pound batch,” co-owner Danny Johnson said.
Most unusual: seafood sausage, with salmon scraped from bone, salad shrimp and sometimes scallops (availability depends on how many salmon the store can source at any given time). “People ask about it, we tell them and they buy it immediately,” he said.
V. Miller Meats
4801 Folsom Blvd. Sacramento; 916-400-4127, www.vmillermeats
Sausage varieties: 12 to 14 at a time, with a rotating repertoire of about 45
Meats: pork, lamb, beef and chicken, with duck, turkey and game birds in the fall and winter
Best-sellers: Track 7 Bee Line honey blonde ale-infused bratwurst, chile verde (with Hatch green chills) and the Overlord (Hungarian style, with paprika, garlic and caraway). “One of my favorite things is to put on the genie hat and experiment,” owner Eric Miller said.
Most unusual: Dried cherry-juniper-pork from mangalitsa pigs, basil-peach-white wine pork sausage, and a smoked hot link with ghost chilies, nicknamed the Mother of Dragons. “It’s not unpleasantly hot, but it is uncomfortably hot,” he said.
Morant’s Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen
5001 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento; 916-731-4377, no website
Sausage varieties: 12 fresh sausages, and 14 smoked sausages and other smoked meats, all in various international styles
Meats: pork, beef, chicken
Best-sellers: Sheboygan bratwurst, garlic-heavy Chicago-style Polish (from a customer’s grandmother’s recipe), Louisiana hot link (“It’s like major fire,” owner Dirk Muller said)
Most unusual: 80/20 pork-beef South African boerewors; 10 percent of the volume is seasoning
Adam’s Meat Shop
850 E Bidwell St. Folsom; 916-496-3020, www.adamsmeatshop.com
Sausage varieties: 25 at any given time, with a repertoire of 35. Hunters bring in their game for processing.
“Our raw sausages are quickly chilled, vacuum-sealed and frozen,” owner Adam Abramowski said. “”They fly out within a week.” Also: three flavors of smoked wurst, plus eight flavors of slim, eat-by-hand smoked pepper sticks.
Meats: pork (with 10 percent added beef), beef, chicken, elk, venison
Best-sellers: Waikiki (sweet ‘n’ spicy pork), bratwurst, jalapeno-cheddar (choose from pork, venison and elk)
Most unusual: Pork-beef South African boerewors
Corti Bros. Market
5810 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; 916-736-3800, www.cortibros.com
Varieties: The deli counter is stocked with raw and smoked Schwartz sausage, but six housemade sausages are at the meat counter – coils and links of mild and hot Italian, corned beef hash, 50-50 (half ham, half sage sausage), salmon from fillets, and feta-spiked North African lamb merguez (with domestic lamb)
Meats: pork, beef, lamb, ham, salmon
Best-sellers: Mild and hot Italian, and fiery feta-spiked lamb merguez, a North African sausage that migrated to France. Corti’s uses only domestic lamb.
Most unusual: Corned beef hash with house-cured beef, potatoes, onions, salt and black pepper. “Literally everything you put into hash,” Butcher Tristan Gallo said. “It’s popular for breakfast.”
Whole Foods Market
Palladio center, 270 Palladio Parkway, Folsom; 916-984-8500, www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/folsom
Varieties: Ten, all containing fresh herbs and/or vegetables.
Meats: pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey. “We do have ground duck, and if a customer asked for duck sausage, we could accommodate them,” said Matt Sutton, meat and seafood team leader.
Best-sellers: Pork bratwurst, chicken-apple, mild and spicy Italian (pork or chicken), North African lamb merguez
Most unusual: lamb merguez