Andouillette or… The Dish Of Death

I love a good sausage, whether it’s wurst, chorizo, or a good ol’ British banger (stop that tittering at the back). I love ‘em all. So, when I came face to face with a cabinet of sausagey curiosities during a recent trip to Lille, I couldn’t resist.

I walked out of the impressive Wazemmes market with a big bagged stuffed with all manner of meaty goodies, chief among them boudin blanc, a mighty Lyonnaise sausage and two andouillette. They may have smelt a little funny, but boy they looked good.

Dark brown and full to bursting, the andouillette brought to mind dense gamey goodies, were it not for the strong scent. Once home, I scoured the recipe books for an andouilette recipe. All the while ignoring that sharp, pungent smell leaking out of the fridge.

I looked online, in my books and everything indicated that yes, they may smell foul, but they sure taste great. “That’s lucky” I thought and carried on looking for a recipe, ignoring the sharp, increasingly foetid fumes leaking out of the coffin – er – fridge.

Having finally found one, I set to work. I slathered mustard on them, I poured over wine, I sliced onions and it all looked (if not smelled) promising. Right up to the moment that, still ignoring that eye watering scent of death, I sliced into meaty sausage and took a bite.

Mrs GW put down her fork, worrying that I might have poisoned us with bad meat. I, having partaken of a number of stomach related dishes recognised the clearly faecal hint of intestine. Never one to shy in the face of a culinary challenge, I swallowed hard, tried not to breath in and carried manfully on through the taut bag of innards.

Some intestine I’ve eaten has had me rhapsodising (I’m look at you Chilli Cool). But this? This was bad. I had to admit defeat two thirds of the way through. It was really really bad. It wasn’t off, it didn’t make us sick, in fact I felt fine, apart from sections of my nose and tongue that seemed to have died in protest at what they encountered.

The sausage of dish of death
Feeds one hungry bin or two brave diners

This is from the otherwise admirable 365 good reasons to sit down to eat by Stephane Reynaud. The man is a great cook, but even he can’t make these taste good.

2 bags of doom/Andouillette
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1 tblsp soft brown sugar
Four shallots
4 tablespoons of grain mustard
1 large glass of white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 160oC.

Spread the andouillettes with the mustard and put them in an oven proof dish.

Put the sugar in a non-stick pan over a low heat until it liquifies into caramel. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan.

Peel and cut the shallots in half and put them in the oven proof dish and tuck in the thyme and bay leaf. Pour over the wine.

Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Serve, hold your nose, supress a shudder and try to eat.

44 Responses to “Andouillette or… The Dish Of Death”

  1. Kavey

    NO ONE can make andouilettes taste good.
    They do, as you so accurately describe, taste like faecal flavoured intestine.
    They make me gag.

  2. Mr Noodles

    I’ve had cold slices of andouillette before, and they weren’t bad. Or at least I think it was andouillette cos it looked nothing like what you rustled up!

    From your description, I doubt I could’ve managed two thirds of the sausage. You’ve definitely taken one for the blog, Aaron!

  3. The Grubworm

    @Kavey – i’d give ‘em a go again (if cooked by someone else) but even then i’m not sure i’d like them…

    @Mr Noodles – thanks, it’s good to know i didn’t kill off my tastebuds in vain ;)

  4. TomEats

    Haha – for some evil reason my fav recipe posts are always the non successful/ lesson learnt type.

    The problem is, no matter how trendy or rustic it might become, tripe is rank!

  5. The Grubworm

    @TomEats – I’ve had good tripe and good intestine, I’ve even eaten tasty chitterlings from St John. None of them even came close to the taste of this. Wow. It, quite literally, took my breath away.

    @meemalee – you are so right, i should have asked you, “bumhole sausage” is about right. The really evil thing is that it looks so innocently tasty sitting there on the counter…

  6. Nordic Nibbler

    Yikes! You’re a brave man indeed, and I salute you. I think I did a little sick in my mouth just reading this. Kang at London Eater similarly described the taste of the andouillettes he had at Les Deux Salons as “like a fart in the mouth,” which I thought was quite apt. Are they still eaten/popular nowadays? Just curious as to whether there are people that actually derive pleasure from eating them!

  7. Tori @ eat-tori

    Andouillettes were one of the few things that have absolutely broken me. Made it through half in Lyon. My husband threatened to move to another table :) . Brave and valiant effort.

  8. The Grubworm

    @Nordic Nibbler – not so much brave as ignorant, and if anything, Kang understated the effect (or might have had more subtle sausages) . Judging by their ubiquity in the market, they are till popular, at least in France!

    @Sasa – you distilled my entire post into two letters – “Ew” indeed

    @Tori – I think Mrs GW would move to a different city if i try this again ;) Thank you for the recognition of my brave attempt…

  9. Brawn « The grub worm

    [...] one to back down from any sort of culinary challenge (except one) I rolled up my sleeves, went in search of a pan big enough to hold an entire pigs head, and got to [...]

  10. Francophile

    Sorry folks, but I love them. What is funny is the smirk on the waiters’ faces when I order them. And I know of one restaurant that has translated them on to the English menu as “sausages”. I’d like to be a fly on the wall to see the unfortunate tourists who fall into this Gallic trap.

  11. David Jenkins

    I’ve eaten both andouille and andouillette in many parts of France – and I love them! Too many comments above from people who would probably eat burgers full of who knows what swept off an abbatoir floor – but this wonderful French sausage is good, honest, delicious grub!

  12. Morgandorffer

    I am SO incredibly glad I read this as we are off to dinner in Lille tonight and I might otherwise have been tempted to order the local sausage dish.

  13. David Knight

    So, a nice, recommended restaurant in St Valerie-sur-Somme, a most civilised and agreeable holiday destination and, in a spirit of adventure I ordered the Andouillette dish. I must disagree with some of the foregoing comments – I didn’t detect a rancid or otherwise off-putting odour at all, but then we were sitting outside. So in went a mouthful – good grief – this has to be the VILEST taste in the world. I tried a piece on my brother-in-law – he may never forgive. Surely, this cannot be an aquired taste. It really should come with a warning. From now on, I think that all pig’s colons should be left where they are.

  14. The Grubworm

    @David – your poor brother-in-law (I did the same to Mrs Grubworm, sometimes you just have to share the joy). Even as I lover of offal, it was too much for me. Even this much later, the horror is seared onto my brain. It was a traumatic experience!

  15. Jezza

    I have a new ailment…PCT…Post Culinary Trauma ! I thought I was ordering some kind of sausage. The taste AND smell of my Andouillette was VILE beyond description and four days later I re-live the moment constantly. My God how could ANYONE be serious about this alleged food? Monsieur Joe Publique, I am after revenge!!!!!!

  16. Elred

    I had the misfortune to try this as a local dish in Reims, France in September. It arrived looking like a turd floating in a sea of yellow mustard sauce. That was the best part the smell is enough to put one off but I bravely ate about three-quarters before my own innards said enough is enough. It really is a vile dish yet popular as I saw it being consumed in several other villages during my visit to that region. My advice – don’t do it!

  17. Judith and Tom Burns

    Wish I had read this before . . smell vile and taste worst. We’ve had the best of meals and the worst of meals in Honfleur. No, non, ixnay to this nasty sausage:(

  18. Garry

    I had one as an entree at a French restaurant in Toorak, Australia last night, it did look a bit like a turd on a plate, when I cut it I thought thats odd ( the spongy feel) then the odour reached me and I thought for $23-00 I will give it a go. The sauce did little to hide the odour and chunky bits inside but having eaten other strange delicacies from Africa I soldiered on. Finished it, every last bit, still alive today and wear my medal of honour for finishing it with pride. The stomach is feeling a little out of wonk today but hey could have been the wine C’est la vie

  19. David Battanbong

    Sigh. I chime in with those who love andouillettes and I am
    happy to live in SW France where they are easy to find at the local
    saturday market.

  20. Commentlediable

    I have just returned from France and this is the first time
    I have realised that other people do not like Andouille and
    Andouillette My wife and myself always eat them at least once every
    French holiday

  21. engelsing

    Whenever I ask for andouilettes in France, the waiters are reluctant to take my order. They are tired of les anglo saxons who are dismayed by these sausages, and ask that they be returned to the kitchen. I tell them that despite my American accent, I know exactly what I am ordering, and that andouilettes are one of the reasons I come to France ( and rognons are another ).

  22. Neil Martin

    I had this in a street cafe in Paris. The waiter very
    kindly asked me if I knew what I was ordering. I described the dish
    and then we discussed how it would be served. He suggested a
    mustard sauce but the menu had it with a plain salad, so I asked
    for it to be served as was. It came quickly as the waiting staff,
    kitchen staff and proprietor all came out to watch. It was
    delicious, and as I had expected smelled just a little bit like
    poo. I asked my butcher back home in Scotland if he could get it or
    prepare it, and we have haggis for goodness sake, but to no avail.
    It looks like a trip back to France. Quelle damage?

  23. John Wimpress

    How encouraging that, after a chain of comments from some pathetic and ill-informed respondents, this site is now attracting comment from braver souls. I have been eating andouillettes in France for many years, I bring them home with me and ask friends to bring them too. I had one this evening! I have never had one that smelled remotely of ‘poo’, try eating them in Troyes where they have a rating system and where they were invented. France would not be the same without them and, even better, they don’t cost a fortune.

  24. Vetinari

    I first had andouillettes paysanne in Paris (served with a mustard sauce) and I thought I didn’t like it. A few weeks later I realised that I wanted to eat it again but had to wait for another Paris trip and I didn’t know if I liked it or not. I’m now waiting for my third trip when I shall probably love it. Andouillette is definitely an acquired taste and there is a subtle hint of more outré adult entertainment.
    I can understand how the French are proud of this sausage and it demonstrates their commitment to food.

  25. Gary Siddall

    Like several of the recent comments, I must also stand up to defend the Andouillette. Having just returned from a trip to France last week, I had my first experience of Andouillette (a la mutard) in a lovely little restaurant in Beaune. I will admit that I wasn’t exactly sure what it consisted of when I ordered it – and as others have said, it *did* resemble a turd when it arrived… But the most important thing is that it tasted wonderful !! A couple of others in my group also thoroughly enjoyed the same dish – and all without any hint of the “infamous” bad smell. In fact, after seeing ours, several others in our group also ordered the same dish when we returned to the same restaurant several days later – and again, all enjoyed it ! Maybe we were somehow “lucky” on this occasion – but I will certainly have no qualms ordering it again next time we’re in France !

  26. Mark Goodson

    I was at a chestnut festival in La Garde Freinet and enjoyed a steaming andouillette roll. Fab. I really enjoy andouillette! It does smell peculiar but I wouldn’t say it smells if s*>t.

  27. Heehonheehon

    A bit late after the original article but thank you for giving me a nice break from work and a good giggle! I am from Lyon, and live in Scotland (where people drink Irn Bru, eat Lorne sausage, haggis and turn their noses at the wholesome andouillette…). I am drooling in anticipation of a steaming hot dish of… andouillette tonight, brought back from my last trip home. Whenever people visit from back home I ask them to bring me some andouillettes so I can replenish my stocks. MIAM MIAM! Or rather yum yum.

  28. Tim

    Stumbled into one of these bad boys skiing. Repeated on me for a few hours afterwards. Ate 3/4 but was wishing I’d know what I was getting myself into …

  29. Tom W

    My 6 and 8 year old boys insisted on ordering an andouillette sausage pizza whilst on holiday in France despite the very concerned objections of the waitress. I’m rather proud that my kids are adventurous when it comes to food, but this was a taste they failed to acquire, at least at this attempt. I was also unable to help them finish their largely untouched meals. They and I love chitterlings, pressed pigs ear and offal of various kinds but this totally defeated us.

  30. Carol

    Took 2 collegiate grandkids to Paris where 1 ordered this sausage despite waiter’s warning that it’s VERY STRONG. We each took a bite. Mind over matter? We gagged! Nauseating. We still laugh about his andouette sausage. The smell!

  31. Rich

    I can’t help thinking that it is the variety in andouille / andouille the that catches the unsuspecting out. I’ve had the large (admittedly turdlike) version floating in sauce and enjoyed it – that was a few years ago in Lyon. No hint of odour! Encouraged (and unaware of this blog and associated warnings) I have tried it again this week in Brittany. Except this came as part of an assiette de charcuterie, was thinly sliced and looked layered like an onion. And it was as vile as many of the commenters suggest. To me, it smells like the inside of a bag of household rubbish left out in the sun for a few days. So, my summary would be … If it’s a turd, and doesn’t smell, go for it. If it’s a smelly onion, then avoid like the plague.

  32. Carh

    I am rarely moved to writing about life experiences in this fashion, but my first encounter with this dish in a lovely rural Auberge in Tours this August has really done the trick.
    I hitherto had regarded myself as being fairly resilient about my palette’s sensibilities; being a tripe/oyster/snails-type admirer and all the culinary offerings of France had always formed much of the pleasure of going there to me.
    So imagine my astonishment then, at my body’s physical reaction when I put one single mouthful of the so charmingly named Andouillette into my mouth. A huge reflex balk took place and I lost the ability to swallow. Every sensory part of my being screamed out “NO” and I was unable to eat anything for hours, having to leave my meal, even the kind offer of my husband’s entrecote as substitution.
    It smelt like disease itself, bad breath, dirty underwear etc. etc. I felt unclean for the rest of the day and after subsequent research, feel almost violated. This is going too far, I’ve been quite unable to look at any pork product since and feel I’ve had a part of my spirit crushed.
    What a scream reading all the articles though…… what a dish!

  33. will

    Really appreciate all the comments here – and, if I had read them first, I wouldn’t have chosen the dish that I ordered in Le Mans back in October.

    Naively, I thought that andouillette was a premium sausage, maybe a local speciality to be sampled …. Luckily, it came as a gratin and was, essentially, a bit like an andouilette-based shepard’s pie.

    As such, it was actually quite edible and I must have had the less stinky version of the sausage, as it tasted meaty and not unpleasant, but with a strange texture. Not something that I would rush back to, but, in contrast to what I can read elsewhere, the gratin seems to be a relatively unchallenging introduction to this potentially tricky item.

  34. Rod Andrews

    Someone said that they could still taste this vile sausage four days after…it must be about ten years for me, I can still taste the bloody thing.

  35. Robert B

    I came across this looking for a recipe. Its been 14 years since I had this in France, at a uni canteen of all places. I was in the line with colleagues and went “what the hell is that” at the smell. They said its andouillette and it smells bad but tastes nice. I ordered it an fully agreed with them.

  36. Martin

    We had some for the first time in a little village restaurant in Vaux near Macon in Burgundy. The waitress looked at us in consternation and said “are you sure” to which we assured her we were. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and I think the chef set Al were relieved! It is a rich and pungent dish, but not for the squeamish I guess.

  37. Grancis Kavanagh

    I had one in Lille just last week. Gamey flavour, yes, but fecal? Hardly.

  38. James Williamson

    Poo sausage is the best description I have heard. Had misfortune to try one for lunch lst week in Loches. Every other thing we ordered was great so it wasn’t the cooking. I managed about a third, rest went in a napkin and into bin outside as I didn’t want to offend. I’ve eaten many weird things but andouillette is peerless if not pooless

  39. The Grubworm

    Hah, yes, I know what you mean. I am off to Lyon in a couple of weeks and tempted to see if it is as bad as I remember… If it is, then that might be a story enough to reopen the blog and talk about…

  40. The Grubworm

    Yep @Rod, I will admit that I can still clearly remember the flavour five years later

  41. Mark Goodson

    I spend 2 months per year in France and love and love andouillette. Pan-fried in mustard sauce seems to be the favoured method in the south. Usually served in “workman-like” cafes for relatively little and ideally washed down with a half-litre pitchet of the local vin de table.

    I think like many interesting foods their reputation precedes them. If most people at them without knowing they were made from pigs’ colons they would wolf them down, but having that prior knowledge they are expecting the worse!

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