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11 Breakfast Sausage Brands Made With The Highest Quality Ingredients

Sausages on breakfast plate
Sausages on breakfast plate - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Americans consume many different types of sausage, but few are as universally liked as the breakfast sausage, otherwise known as fresh country sausage. Traditionally made from pork and flavored with mild seasonings, this sausage is incredibly versatile and is available in small links, coils, and everything in between. Breakfast sausage is popular for the simple reason that it has become the de facto morning sausage, a time when three out of four Americans prefer to eat their sausage, as revealed in a survey commissioned by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

Given breakfast sausage's popularity, it's no surprise that many different variations of the product abound. In an attempt to differentiate themselves, many companies claim to use only the highest quality ingredients. Here, we highlight those that do, spotlighting sausage brands -- in no particular order -- that make their products from humanely raised animals as well as other fresh, flavorful ingredients. Further details on our methodology can be found at the end of the article. Until then, enjoy discovering some of America's highest-quality sausages.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

1. Waseda Farms

raw Waseda Farms' sausages
raw Waseda Farms' sausages - DowntownDePere/X, formerly known as Twitter

This Wisconsin-based company raises a variety of livestock on its 500-acre farm and nearby partner farms, including Berkshire pigs. Originally from the United Kingdom, the Berkshire is a heritage breed that produces incredibly flavorful meat, perfect for sausages. Waseda Farms capitalizes on this by producing sausages with a variety of flavors and seasonings, all made with Berkshire pork. These pigs are reared without the use of hormones or antibiotics and live in humane conditions with access to the outdoors and plenty of room indoors. The animal's diet consists of organic grains.

Similar standards are displayed during the production of the sausages themselves. The sausages contain no fillers or nitrates and are only flavored with the highest quality ingredients such as local Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Other products include a bloody mary-flavored pork bratwurst which contains horseradish, tomatoes, and many other ingredients associated with the classic breakfast cocktail, making it a standout breakfast sausage.

2. White Oak Pastures

Pigs at White Oak Pastures
Pigs at White Oak Pastures - White Oak Pastures Farm/YouTube

White Oak Pastures is a meat-producing company that has gained acclaim for its innovative farming methods, including the grazing of lamb amongst Georgia's huge solar farms. The company's pigs are raised in similarly impressive conditions, living their whole lives in the shade of the farm's trees. Here, they eat a natural diet of foraged foods that's supplemented with unsellable vegetables and eggs from the farm, as well as non-GMO grain feed.

As with all of White Oak Pastures' animals, the pigs are raised without the use of antibiotics, steroids, or growth hormones. Even more impressively, White Oak Pastures also owns two USDA-inspected abattoirs on-site, meaning all animal processing is conducted in a humane, calm manner. The process is completely zero-waste with all blood, bones, and viscera being put to use.

Three breeds of pig are reared by White Oak Pastures: Tamworth, Berkshire, and Gloucester Old Spots. These heritage breeds are renowned for their flavor which is demonstrated in the sausages such as Pastured Pork Sausage Mild Italian. The scarce use of spices and the use of natural pork casings in this sausage allow the flavor of the pork to shine, making for an excellent breakfast sausage. Other more powerful options are also available including a hickory smoked pork sausage and a Cajun-spiced pork sausage.

3. D'Artagnan

Four D'Artagnan venison sausages
Four D'Artagnan venison sausages - D'Artagnan Foods

D'Artagnan made a name for itself by being one of the United States' first domestic suppliers of organic poultry. Since being founded in 1985, D'Artagnan's reputation for brilliant tasting, humanely-raised meat has seen it develop relationships with some of America's premier restaurants including Thomas Keller's The French Laundry, a restaurant loved by the late Anthony Bourdain. This is thanks to the company's insistence that farmers rear their animals to much higher organic standards than those outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture. It has previously been reported that, aside from being given vast amounts of space, D'Artagnan animals have even been fed scraps from acclaimed restaurants.

While specializing in poultry, D'Artagnan has branched out into sausage making and produces a host of innovatively flavored products. D'Artagnan's Venison, Pork & Cherry Sausage is the product that most closely resembles traditional breakfast sausage. This sausage is stuffed with grass-fed venison and humanely-raised pork, both reared on a range of independent family farms that never use antibiotics or hormones. What's more, D'Artagnan guarantees that these sausages do not contain any nitrates, nitrites, or artificial ingredients.

Another fantastic sausage produced by D'Artagnan is Wild Boar Sausage. As the name suggests, this sausage is made from the meat of wild boars that've been humanely trapped in Texas in an effort to control their ballooning numbers. As a wild animal, this boar conducts a completely natural life and eats a completely natural diet, ensuring this is a breakfast sausage of the highest quality.

4. Olympia Provisions

Olympia Provisions factory in use
Olympia Provisions factory in use - Eater/YouTube

Olympia Provisions is a respected charcuterie company based in Portland, Oregon. Here, high-quality products are produced using animals that have been raised to a Global Animal Partnership standard of GAP 4. In terms of pigs, this means the animal lives continuously outdoors while still having access to shelter. The reason for using animals reared in this manner was explained to Vice by the co-founder of Olympia Provisions, Elias Cairo: "The vast majority of the meat industry is a miserable, dirty place that has a horrible impact on the environment. That's just a fact ... To get away from that, you have to put in the effort to find audited, pasture-raised sources."

All of the farms Olympia Provisions sources meat from do not use antibiotics on their animals. Teeth pulling and tail docking -- two practices associated with hog farming -- are also not performed. What's more, each farm undergoes a third-party audit every 15 months to ensure that the high animal welfare standards are being upheld. All of this results in pork of the highest quality being produced.

Olympia Provision's Breakfast Sausage is the perfect vehicle to demonstrate the excellent quality of this pork. Flavored with fresh sage and maple syrup this sausage has a classic, semi-sweet flavor profile. The sausage does not contain any nitrates or nitrites and is gently steamed over various hardwoods for extra flavor.

5. Northstar Bison

Bison on pasture
Bison on pasture - Northstar Bison/YouTube

While breakfast sausages are traditionally made with pork, a variety of meats can be used in its place. Northstar Bison is proof of this, producing excellent sausages from animals including elk and bison. Producing sausages from such hardy animals has its benefits. The bison, for example, are raised entirely outdoors in their native environment, eating a natural diet of vegetation that's free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The bison are even field harvested; shot in the field without warning instead of being transported in and processed to an abattoir. This is a much less stressful experience for the animals.

Meat from these lifetime grazed, hormone and antibiotic-free animals is used to make Northstar Bisons' Bison Bratwurst. Aside from being naturally low in fat, these sausages are 100% preservative free meaning no nitrites or nitrates are added during production. Only water, salt, and various herbs and spices are added to the sausage before the mixture is encased in natural beef or pork casing. In other words, these sausages are an incredibly pure, high-quality demonstration of bison meat.

The bison used by Northstar Bison is supplied by 10 independent farms. To ensure standards are maintained year-on-year, Northstar requires that all suppliers sign a yearly affidavit that confirms the animals are being reared as required.

6. Caggiano Company

Bundle of Caggiano Company's sausages
Bundle of Caggiano Company's sausages - Caggiano Company/Instagram

Caggiano Company has a long history of producing impeccable sausages. This is largely thanks to founder Richard Caggiano's extensive training that involved stints with both Sicilian butchers and prestigious American restaurants. Caggiano continues to employ the lessons he learned throughout his career when making sausages today; the company bones all pork butts by hand and only uses fresh herbs and spices. What's more, the meat is humanely raised and is not treated with chemicals or antibiotics.

The sausages themselves do not contain additives or nitrates and nitrites. Instead, sausages are made fresh to order and no meat is ever frozen. The high standard of production results in some exceptional sausages including Caggiano Company's Country Breakfast Sausage which displays the classical flavors of thyme, pork, and sage. What makes this product standout, however, is the addition of wine. This adds an extra layer of complexity and richness to the sausage, making it a brilliant option for anyone's breakfast.

7. Fossil Farms

Cooked Fossil Farms sausages
Cooked Fossil Farms sausages - marbledmeatshop/Instagram

Fossil Farms is a company known for selling the meat of exotic animals and game. This includes ostrich, bison, and even alligator. While the company sells whole cuts, co-founder Lance Appelbaum has found that sausages offer a great entry point for nervous consumers as he explained to Meat + Poultry: "I believe sausages are a great way to introduce consumers to new meats and new flavors. It's not hard to make a great-tasting sausage. What makes the product good is the ingredients you use."

This approach is typified in Fossil Farm's Elk Sausage with Apple and Pear. While dominated by elk, the sausage also includes pork and beef to make this slightly leftfield meat more approachable. As per Fossil Farms' standards, all animals used in the production of this product are reared on pasture. What's more, the use of subtherapeutic antibiotics, steroids, and growth hormones is banned. While the consumption of natural foods dominates the animals' lives, those that require additional grain are only fed non-GMO feed.

Many of the animals used in Fossil Farms' sausages are reared on the company's 118-acre farm located in Lafayette, New Jersey. Those that are not are sourced from family farms that follow Fossil Farms' ethos, ensuring only the highest quality meat is used in Fossil Farms' sausages.

8. Alderspring Ranch Provisions

Alderspring cattle on the ranch
Alderspring cattle on the ranch - Alderspring/YouTube

Alderspring Ranch Provisions proves that exceptional breakfast sausages can be made with humanely raised beef. The beef used to make Alderspring Ranch Provisions' sausages comes from its black Angus herd. This breed of cattle is known for producing meat with excellent marbling, which gives it a great amount of flavor.

While many companies on this list take animal husbandry seriously, few can compete with Alderspring. Not only are the black Angus cattle completely grass-fed and finished, they are raised on the largest certified organic ranch in the country. During the summer months, the cattle roam as they please, eating a range of plants. During this time, they are managed using an inherding process that sees employees live in camps alongside the cattle. By keeping all cattle together and under supervision, the company not only limits cattle loss to predators but also allows areas of the ranch to have many years between grazing periods. In the winter months, the cattle remain outside and are fed Alderspring's own hay. All cattle are USDA Organic and Real Organic certified with no growth hormones or antibiotics being given to them unless an animal's life is in danger.

The immense quality of this beef is best demonstrated in the Grass Fed Organic Beef Sausage Bratwurst. This fresh sausage only contains a few light seasonings such as salt, lemon juice, and garlic, and is packed inside an organic hog casing.

9. Organic Prairie

Organic Prairie breakfast sausage
Organic Prairie breakfast sausage - Organic Prairie

As its name suggests, Organic Prairie prides itself on organic farming practices. All animals used to make Organic Prairie products have access to pasture and are raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones. All meat is certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture, including the pork used to make Organic Prairie's breakfast sausage. As such, the pigs are only provided with feed that has not been tainted with pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers.

Unlike other breakfast sausages included in this article, Organic Prairie's sausage does not come in links but in a chub. This gives customers greater control over the sausage, allowing them to cut it to the thickness that suits them best. As a result of this packaging method, the high-quality sausage can be easily used for a variety of culinary purposes, making this one of the most versatile breakfast sausages on the market.

10. North Country Smokehouse

Two pigs on pasture
Two pigs on pasture - North Country Smokehouse/YouTube

North Country Smokehouse is a New Hampshire-based, family-owned company that sells a range of slow-smoked products, including sausages. The pork for all these sausages is sourced from duBreton, a Canadian company that is known for maintaining extremely high welfare standards. This is proved through the company's certifications which include USDA Organic, Certified Humane, and Canada Organic. These certifications ensure that the pigs have access to the outdoors all year round and are only fed vegetarian feed.

The meat from these animals is coarsely ground and stuffed inside natural sausage casings, made from sheepskin or intestine. Flavorings, such as natural, locally-made maple syrup are also included in the mixture alongside herbs and spices like sage and nutmeg. Many of the sausages including the company's Uncured Smoky Maple Breakfast Sausage are smoked over applewood embers. Aside from giving the sausages a great deal of flavor, this process also means that the sausages are completely cooked by the time they reach the customer. As such, they only require heating before being consumed. Finally, customers can rest assured that these sausages do not contain any fillers or dyes, no nitrates or nitrites, and have not been flavored with liquid smoke.

11. Josef's Artisan Meats

Sausages from Josef's Artisan Meats
Sausages from Josef's Artisan Meats - simple_meals_with_shalz/Instagram

Owned by master sausage maker Josef Brunner, Josef's Artisan Meats produces a host of award-winning sausages. All of these are made without the use of fillers or additives with flavor coming from the inclusion of high-quality, hand-trimmed meat, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The quality of these sausages is indisputable. At the IFFA, a prestigious, week-long meat competition in Germany, Josef's sausages have been awarded a perfect score of 100 on multiple occasions.

One of the award-winning sausages was Josef's Artisan Meats' Bangers. These British-style sausages are only made with a handful of ingredients including pork, breadcrumbs, and dried vinegar. The simple yet impressive flavor profile engendered by these ingredients makes this sausage the perfect accompaniment to many different breakfast foods. Other, more flavorful options are offered by the company, including a pork and veal sausage that's flavored with white wine sourced from New York state's renowned Finger Lake area.

Methodology

Sausages on chopping board
Sausages on chopping board - Zu Kamilov/Shutterstock

As meat is the predominant ingredient in sausages, we focused on companies that use the meat of humanely-raised animals. Many of these animals are raised organically and in regenerative farms that have been certified by exterior organizations. Aside from the meat itself, we prioritized companies that did not use additive, fillers, or unnatural flavorings in their products. All information was gleaned from the supplier itself or respected media brands such as Forbes and Eater.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.