FOR THE CHEFS
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Smoke Signals Blog
In New England, February is still deep winter. Pay no mind to the groundhog: it’s still another month before we get the slightest taste of spring, and hearty winter foods are all we want to eat.
Harsh winters are in our DNA so we embrace all the season has to offer. New Englanders have a unique sense of artisanship, respect for tradition, and strong values. We attribute some of that to overcoming the obstacles that come with a long winter. As New England natives ourselves, we share in stubborness required to do a job and do it well.
We stick to our guns, making sure our sausages are hand-crafted and smoked low and slow, true to Old World traditions. Long gone are the days spent standing over simmering stove tops to get the rich flavors you’re craving. Our authentic sausage recipes are fully cooked, meaning you can get the mouthwatering taste you crave in less than 15 minutes, simply heat & serve.
New England is a mecca for craft beer. We searched our favorite local brews to find the perfect pairing for our savory sausages: Here are three matches made in heaven - at least we think so.
Zero Gravity Green State Lager and Chorizo with Brandy Sausage
This crisp, fresh, and clean pilsner strikes a perfect balance in washing down the Mexican spices and subtle heat found in the Chorizo. Red pepper, cumin, and other Mexican spices are blended to conjure up some southwestern heat. The Brandy softens the profile just slightly, creating a well-rounded flavor.
The pilsners easy drinkability is the perfect refreshment for our zesty chorizo.
Stone Corral Chocolate Maple Porter with Andouille Cajun Style Sausage
For those with a sweet tooth, we introduce the Maple Porter and Cajun Sausage. The Andouille is both our best-selling and spiciest sausage – delivering and authentic Louisiana flavor that combines black, white, and red pepper spice, we smoke our sausages for hours on end, lending a deep, rich flavor.
Our spiciest sausage profile pairs with the delicately sweet, chocolate maple notes found in Stone Corral’s Porter. This beer is dark and rich, but not heavy. Made with fair-trade cacao nibs from Middlebury Chocolates to keep it extra local. The balance between spice and sweetness is inexplicable.
Lost Nation Mosaic IPA with the Whiskey Fennel Sausage
The juicy fruit flavors and a subtle hop bitterness in this IPA plays nicely with the distinct flavor found in this tasty sausage. Our Whiskey Fennel variety is warm and aromatic, pairing the subtle, licorice notes of fennel with the distinct flavor of Tennessee whiskey.
Lost Nation’s IPA is brewed with Mosaic hops, which mean a clean and crisp flavor balanced with just the right amount of bitterness. This combination provides all the bold flavor you could ever ask for.
We’re proud to collaborate with local brewmasters to bring the best possible products to the table. What are your favorite North Country Smokehouse pairings?
Perfectyl Portioned, Sweet & Savory Kabobs
Made with 3 fresh ingredients and a few flavorful pantry staples, the samoky sausage does the talking with this winning dish.
- 1 12oz package of North Country Smokehouse Natural Polish Style Kielbasa, sliced into ½ inch coins
- 10oz fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into large chunks
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 15-20 toothpicks or small kabob skewers, soaked overnight
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for marinade and set aside
2. Cut up sausage, pineapple, and peppers. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with marinade until everything is evenly coated. Using the toothpicks, skewer a piece of pineapple, pepper, and sausage. Place finished skewer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Continue with remaining ingredients until everything is used up.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until peppers are cooked through and sausage if slightly browned on the outside
4. Serve warm!
Creamy with Bold Cajun Flavor
Break free from your usual party food ideas and take your menu to the next level with this fan favorite.
- 1 (12 ounce) pkg. North Country Smokehouse Andouille Sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, split
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded, split
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, well drained
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 green onions, sliced, split
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Chop the North Country Smokehouse Andouille Sausage into small pieces. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove as much grease as possible from the pan with a paper towel. (See Notes)
3. Combine the softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, half of the green onions, and 3/4 of the Andouille Sausage in a large bowl.
4. Spread the dip into a baking dish and top with the remaining shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with the remaining Andouille Sausage and green onions. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.
Be sure to drain as much grease as possible from the sausage before adding it to your cheese mixture. Pushing a paper towel around the pan to soak up the grease works very well.
Be sure to thoroughly drain the tomatoes of as much liquid as possible.
This dip is best eaten fresh out of the oven. When reheated, the sausage releases additional grease and the dip separates.
We’re foodies from way back. Our love for fresh ingredients and local flavor keeps us close to the region's best restaurants, resorts and cafes who use our products in their kitchens. Sometimes, they share their mouth-watering creations with us, putting their own twist on classic comfort foods that are a staple in New England. Since food is better shared with friends, we thought you might enjoy crafting some of these dishes for your own table.
The best chefs know the secret is simple. An exceptional meal is all about the ingredients. That’s why we use pure NH made maple syrup from Mac’s Maple Farm to create our siganture smoked bacon, sausage and hams. It’s also why the chefs of these three restaurants choose the elements they do.
Take a look at these local recipes and give them a try. Be sure to tag us on Facebook and Instagram for a chance to be featured on our blof or social channels.
Classic Mac and Cheese
The all time comfort food classic teaches us that the simpler a meal is, the more of an influence ingredients play on flavor. We don’t claim to know the recipe for the all-time greatest mac & cheese ever invented but if we were to make a list of most valuable mac and cheese players, it probably wouldn’t look much different from Chef Nessad’s lineup: Cabot Butter, King Arthur Flour, Kimball Brook Farm Dairy, and North Country Smokehouse Bacon.
Traditional Ham & Cheese Croissant
This jaw-dropper came across our food feed not too long ago. In this spin, Birch Tree Bread Company pairs their freshly made croissant with our Applewood Smoked Boneless Ham and Vermont's own Cabot Cheddar. Hearty, warm and truly tasty, there's no better way to start your day.
Fresh Cobb Salad
Of all the salads in the world, Cobb is the most comfort-driven, packed with protein and healthy fats, thereby earning a spot on our list. Mont Vert Cafe sources their Cobb Salad ingredients from yours truly, Black River Produce, and Red Hen Bakery. This salad deserves to be seen, complete with our Certified Humane Fruitwood Smoked Bacon crumbles.