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Best Italian Sausage?

A regular Summer activity for my family is to purchase fresh Italian sausage and cook it on the grill. It's eaten on as a sandwichon fresh Italian rolls with butter, lettuce, cucumber, onion and a simple dressing of mayo, cider vinegar, olive oil, and water.

Right now the best sausage we've found is at Borrelli's in Methuen. My favorite is the tomato and cheese, though we also like the sweet and hot varieties. It tastes like sausage my grandfather used to make, and is chock full of sharp provolone and high-quality pork.

Second in my book is Gene's in Milford. It's different and they don't have tomato and cheese (seems to be a Lawrence/Methuen area specialty) but Gene's seems extra meaty and toothsome, and has great flavor. It also shrinks less than other sausage I've bought - possibly lower in fat content?

So where do you get great sausage? How do you serve it?

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  1. I like Borrelli's tomato and cheese as well as thier sweet and hot italian sausage but I been going to Fowle's Market in Newburyport lately for their tomato & cheese, and other sausages. I'm not sue if one is better than the other but they are both excellent.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac

      Hail Hail to Borellis T&C sausages! Props to you again for pointing me to them infomaniac.

      1. re: Infomaniac

        speaking of tomato and cheese - how about Thwaits Market in Methuen -
        I grew up on them for breakfast with eggs (Lawrence-bred) - they also make some decent kielbasa and pork pies as well.

        1. re: MABMAQ

          Good call, I think I'll try them out...I love their pork pies and my daughter has been asking for kielbasa lately. I haven't been to Thwaits since this past winter. I love having their pork pies available in my freezer. My daughter loves to grill slices of kielbasa and squeeze lemon on the slices when thier done. It's not bad.

      2. DePasquale's in Newton - in summer, on rolls w/grilled onions and peppers. In other seasons, in sauce w/pasta or in lasagna. I also use it in my Thanksgiving sausage stuffing (if you call ahead, they'll do a bulk order for you).

        1. depasquales is at 325 watertown street (rt. 16) in the nonantum section of newton. often when you go maria will be making them, cant get fresher than that. they also have multiple italian items (canned tomaotes, pancetta, sopressata, frozen ravioli, pasta) they are closed sunday and monday and dont stay open real late on saturday, you may want to call 617-244-7633. worth the trouble.

          1. If you are going through Manchester NH or want to have it shipped - you will love Sausage Heaven!!
            http://www.sausageheaven.com/

            email me about covington: pattibezz@yahoo.com

            6 Replies
            1. re: lexpatti

              For a true Italian sausage you cant beat Bianco and Sons sausage
              in Revere..they do retail and wholesale you wont find a juicier more flavorful sausage.they make several varieties I think the best is the garlic, cheese and broccoli rabe

              1. re: jvish

                I really like Bianco's, too. I've only had the hot. Wilson Farms in Lexington sells both hot and mild. I do have a hard time deciding whether I prefer Bianco's or DePascuale's, so I just get whatever is more convenient. Both are great. Last night I was really pressed for time and grabbed some hot pork Italians from Whole Foods in Fresh Pond. They were on sale at 40% off. Someone must have dumped the entire can of paprika into the batch, though. That was all you could taste, and everything I cooked them with turned orange. It was more like a poor chorizo than an Italian. Lesson learned. Wait for the good sausages to satisfy a craving.

                That garlic, cheese and broccoli rabe might just be worth taking a trip to Revere for, though. Jvish, do you know of any other retail places that sell them outside of Revere, since I'm almost never in that area?

                By the way, Sessa's in Davis Square makes a really good sausage, too.

                1. re: bear

                  Bianco's is the only sausages I buy. I went to Bianco's in Revere Saturday morning and picked up a 5lb box of sweet sausages ($12). You can also find Bianco's at McKinnon's in Everett and at Rosebud Farms in Malden. I also saw them once at Stop&Shop in Somerville but I'm not sure if they still sell them.

                  1. re: buffet king

                    Fresh Cheese also offers Bianco's and I have bought the 5lb boxes at a huge discount from time to time. However, while there you have to buy some from Sulmona also. I did always enjoy Sessa's, particularly the hot, and never complained about anything from their deli counter (the bread and a lot of packaged goods can be old), but the last few times I have bought them its been a less than fresh product. Dom's is also worth being on the list, although just don't buy their lunch sausage and peppers unless its off the grill outside -- its overcooked in the sauce. Overall a bit more pricey and their steak tip prices seem off the chart recently ($9.99/lb?).

                    1. re: buffet king

                      Bianco's in Revere also sells garlic & provolone sausages and broccoli rabe sausages. The garlic & provolone sausages are very good. I didn't care for the broccoli rabe sausages. They were a little dry.

                    2. re: bear

                      We just had some sweet Bianco's from Wilson Farms and we have no trouble deciding which we prefer- De Pasquale's is superior. We didn't like Bianco'ss texture - very fine grind with several chips of bone. The seasoning was good but not as good as Maria's.

                2. Don't laugh but DiLuigi's makes an EXCELLENT broccoli rabe and cheese sausage.. I buy them in bulk at BJ's because when you cook, grill or smoke them, a dozen just won't be enough after the crowd gets the first bite. I grew up in a Sicilian family and I take my sausage very seriously...this stuff is good.

                  1. Not a contribution; a question. Has anybody tried Karl's Sausage Kitchen's Italian sausage? I know they've sweet, cheese and hot but I've only bought their excellent Polish & German wursts and sausages whenever I've been there.

                    Harp

                    -----
                    Karl's Sausage Kitchen
                    142 Broadway, Saugus, MA 01906

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Harp00n

                      With a name like Karl it's gotta be great Italian sausage :)

                      1. re: pondrat

                        Spoken like a true Philly Goombah! :-0)
                        They really make some nice stuff here, pondrat.

                        Harp

                        1. re: Harp00n

                          After Infomaniac's review I withdrawl my charges and now find myself looking on Google maps for the most direct route to Broadway in Saugus...Although history tells me my wife might doubt the veracity of a so-called trip to Saugus to test a sausage kitchen on Broadway...She's still getting over the time I ran out to the same area for a shipment of "golden bananas" :)

                          1. re: pondrat

                            You should also check-out Angela's Coal Fired Pizza for yourself whilst in the area. It's also on RT.1 Northbound about 1.75 miles south of Karl's. So you might want to start at Angela's and finish at Karl's. Regarding your last sentence, Omerta.

                            Harp

                            -----
                            Angela's Coal Fired Pizza
                            880 Broadway, Saugus, MA 01906

                            1. re: Harp00n

                              I see a great sausage pizza in this somewhere !

                      2. re: Harp00n

                        I've had Karl's hot Italian sausage which was very good...nice kick. I was suprised they made them in-house. Their house made Hot Chorizo is really good...some of the finest I've had.
                        I have not tried their sweet or sweet with cheese yet which I guess they make also.
                        I also want to try their Andouille next time I'm there.

                        1. re: Infomaniac

                          Thanks for the feedback Infomaniac,
                          I've added Karl's website on "Links to a Place".

                          Harp

                          1. re: Infomaniac

                            We had Karl's hot Italian sausage on this past Thursday...9/ 11 and I have to say -we never noticed The Kick. Lovely and fresh but not very spicy. We grilled them with sliced green & red bell peppers, onions, and sliced hot cherry vinegar peppers. Karl's is a short drive from where we are and we go frequently. But more often for their lucious Liverwurst, and wonderful rye bread. It's a good place to find very fresh wurst of all kinds and tons of imported things.

                            1. re: Gio

                              I've only bought the hot italian sausage twice at Karl's. Both times I was probably there for Liverwurst and Bratwurst. Both times I liked their hot italians though Karl's is not my go to place for italian sausage.

                              Tried a new variety from Fowle's Market in Newburyport today...Steakbomb Sausage...for all you steakbomb lovers out there, you'll love this sausgae. I enjoyed trying it, and it was good, but I don't think I'd go for it over a hot sausage. I might try their Kitchen Sink sausage next weekend....i wish I wrote the ingredients down on that one.

                              1. re: Infomaniac

                                Had the Fowle's Steak Bomb sausages a month or so ago. They were a HUGE hit at the party we brought them to. The flavors are fantastic.

                                1. re: TomH

                                  That Steak Bomb sausage was good, almost better than a real SB sub. I got a request to bring some this weekend to a friend who was over last week, and is having us over to watch the Pats this Sunday.

                        2. I never had sausage with "stuff" in it, like cheese or broc-rabe. Just plain old saw-seege, preferably hot, Perri's or even Stop&Shop's brand, grilled as slowly as I can, with sauteed onions and peppers, on a hard roll, maybe a slice of tomato

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                            I tend to agree especially with chicken sausages that have various fruits stuffed into the casing. But the spicy sausage with Broccoli rabe is a natural "portable" extension of the Italian classic dish with the same ingredients...and if you could stuff some orecchiette in there, even better !

                            1. re: pondrat

                              I'm not a big fan of stuffed sausage in general, but I think in the case of chicken sausage cheese does help counteract any inherent dryness.

                              Harp

                          2. I buy most of my sausages at Sulmona. They have sweet, hot and occassionally a very flavorful liver sausage.

                            Paces has a pork/rabe that I like.

                            I like Bianchi; and glad to learn they're available at Fresh Cheese.

                            Used to go to DePasquale when I spent more time in that area. They use to do a sweet "Chinese" sausage that was very good.

                            Usually grilled with pepper/onions or sauteed with rabe.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: 9lives

                              Pace also has chicken/rabe sausage that's excellent!

                              1. re: Gio

                                Pace's NE doesn't carry the chicken sausages. They told me that they just don't sell in that location. Available on a day's notice.

                                Haven't tried them yet.

                                1. re: 9lives

                                  Didn't know that - we get them at the Saugus location. OTOH my brother who lives at CRP had them recently. Perhaps they were discontinued after that????? There are several locations in Boston...yes?

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I go to the Paces in the financial district..which is not really a grocery store and the Cross St/NE branch.

                                    I don't think they've discontinued the chicken; just that they don't generally carry them in that location. They have them in Saugus and apparently at the CRP location..and will bring them to the NE store on a day's notice.

                              2. re: 9lives

                                Has the Pace pork/rabe and hot italian sausages at Pats tailgate over the weekend. Those rabe sausages were phenomenal. I will be paying a visit to Pace VERY soon!

                              3. Anyone tried the Tutto Italiano sausages? They look decent, but I'm not sure about the turnover at the Lexington store, which is the most convenient for me. The bread and prosciutto have been good, though.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: bear

                                  Have had them from the Wellesley store. They're very good but don't really stand out in the crowd as a "destination sausage". Agree on the bread and the prosciutto. Also the Sicilian special sandwich and their dried hot sopresatta's are something I'd drive out of my way to get.

                                  1. re: pondrat

                                    Thanks for the info. I'll give them a try since it's pretty convenient for me. What's on the Sicilian? Also, can't beat good sopresatta on a homemade Italian, the hotter the better.

                                    1. re: bear

                                      I actually have him make a custom version with ham, mortadella, salami, sliced sopresatta, and sharp provolone..it's done on a pointy shaped crusty roll that gives the teeth a workout in only the best of ways...

                                      The dried sopresatta is a separate buy....It's a smaller dried version made by a sausage maker down in Jersey...

                                      1. re: pondrat

                                        Sounds fabulous. That may be my next takeout sandwich.

                                  2. re: bear

                                    I've had them many times from the Hyde Park location - very good, somewhat different in style tham most. Coarse, almost chunky grind, very subtle seasoning, less fat than you'd expect (or maybe want), so care must be taken not to overcook. FWIW - Hyde Park doesn't have them every day, and when they do they sell out quickly so turnover isn't an issue.

                                    1. re: stoptime

                                      Thanks, stoptime. That's quite helpful. The Lexington store isn't terribly busy, but everything does seem fresh and they do bring their bread in fresh (made by them in one of their facilities...Hyde Park maybe.I asked but can't remember.) everyday.

                                      1. re: bear

                                        To ask another question, can anyone comment on the quality of Pace's in the North End and Saugus vs. any of the recomendations above? I don't claim to be an expert on Italian Sausage but we bought some on a whim the other night from the Saugus location (we were mostly buying steaks) and enjoyed it. Basically my question is whether it is just average and I ought to run out and try one of the recomendations above.

                                        1. re: drbangha

                                          My experience...and it's recent; was that the Pace sausage is a little leaner than Sulmona...lower fat content. Doesn't flame up or shrink as much when cooking. Noticeable enough that Ms 9 and I commented on it.

                                          Can't comment on any of the others mentioned.

                                          Re Tutto, I haven't tried their sausage but I'm generally very pleased with whatever I get there...and they are great at making "custom" sandwiches as Pondrat mentioned. My only experience is the NE branch.

                                          1. re: 9lives

                                            I enjoyed grilled from Pace in Saugus over the weekend. (broc rabe and traditional.) The consensus in our group was these were among the best we'd ever tasted, fresh, meaty, perfectly seasoned and sizable links. Good stuff!

                                  3. Try Nappi's on Salem Street in Medford!!! My favorite and I have tried Pace's, Sulmona and Tutto Italiano. All of those are good but I like Nappi's the best.

                                    Nappi Groceries and Meats
                                    370 Salem St, Medford, MA 02155

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: marcusnaz14

                                      The description of bianco sausages as having a fine ground, and bone chips..is odd..no doubt the ones you had were that way..but I grew up on them and have been eating them for 25+ years and have never found a bone chip and also find the meat to be a fairly coarse ground...

                                      Sulmona are very good as well..as for other retail locations I know the Stop and Shop in Swampscott carries them maybe some other S&S do as well...

                                      Karls is great..a HUGE selection of cold cuts and meats, many homemade..but they are mostly eastern european style meats and sausages..polish..german etc....but a really unique high quality place

                                      1. re: jvish

                                        Maybe the batch we had was made by the B team. The 2 bone chips were a real turn-off. We are huge Italian sausage fans and went on a holy grail for the perfect sausage back when Roth's Market in Brookline Village closed. They made a tomato sausage without fennel seeds that was our favorite. We found DePasquale's and they have become our new gold standard but we are always happy to try a new pork sausage- no fennel seeds please.

                                    2. My enthusiastic vote is for Vermont Smoke & Cure's sweet or hot Italian. I've seen it retail only at the Harvard General Store in Harvard, MA. Wait - here's a link to where it's available:

                                      http://www.vtsmokeandcure.com/stores.php

                                      1. I'm still looking for the traditional Italian sausage I grew up with. The meat is very coarsely ground and quite fatty, with or without fennel seeds, no garlic and sometimes, a very subtle hint of minced provolone (ideal, but not necessary). I think most places making them these days over grind the meat and there's just not enough fat.

                                        Any idea where I can find this ideal of my youth? (My father used to make his own and they were sublime.)

                                        Thanks,
                                        Joanne

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: JoJo5

                                          Borrelli's in Methuen or Fowle's in Newburyport makes very good coarse ground italian sausage. You can see the chunks of pork through the casing. These sausages are not links, They are cut from a rolled up sausage that could be 3 to 5 feet long.

                                          1. re: Infomaniac

                                            Thanks Infomaniac. Those sound like the real thing, but I should have given my geographic preferences in my oroginal post. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with either area. I don't mind driving far (up to 20ish mi. from Newton) as long as I know the area. I traveled to Malden to Dom's that is often recommended here but they weren't what I was looking for Not really traditional Italian sausages, too finely ground, not fatty enough and the fennel seed was ground rather than left whole.

                                            Does anyone know of any other places closer to Newton (not DePasquale's), or in the Medford/Somerville/Everett area that have the sausauge I crave?
                                            Thanks again,

                                            Joanne

                                            1. re: JoJo5

                                              Hi JoJo - Borrelli's in Methuen isn't too hard to find though it will probably take you 45 minutes to get up there. It's on route 110 right off of 495.

                                              1. re: JoJo5

                                                Try
                                                Nappi Meats & Groceries
                                                Boston Area - 370 Salem Street (Route 60) Medford, MA. 02155 - Haines Square

                                                (781) 391-7900

                                            2. Hello,

                                              I agree with Pondrat about the Deluigi's broccoli rabe sausages at BJs. These are the best "retail" sausages available.

                                              However, Pace's makes an OUTSTANDING boutique version, either chicken or Pork. Very, Very good.

                                              Locations in North End, and Near Mass General Hospital. I work/park near Mass General so this is where I pick them up.

                                              1. I go to McKinnons in Everett and they have at least 7 different varieties of Italian Sausage that I can remember. I just tried the brocolli rabe one, the onion and pepper one, and the garlic and cheese one recently. I loved them all.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Johnresa

                                                  count me in as a DePasquale fan and also a Karl's fan. There is a nice little place on Newton street in Waltham, Casa Italia, that makes good sausage and good sandwiches as well.

                                                2. depasquales in newton has great sausages. Great hot Italian but my favorite are the garlic and cheese. Fresh during the weekend. Frozen during the week.

                                                  1. Bianco's Hot Italian from Wilson Farms was really delicious in the chard-butternut squash soup I made last night. Definite fennel taste, lots of flavor in general. I also made a vegetarian version for my son, so I could taste the difference between the two.

                                                    There was definitely whole fennel seed in the hot sausage, which makes me think the sweet probably has plenty also, which might make jojo5 happy. The meat wasn't a particularly coarse grind, though, but not overly fine, either.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bear

                                                      Thanks, Bear, I'll check them out. Wilson's is pretty close to me and I used to shop there when I lived in Belmont all them time.

                                                      JoJo