What Is ‘Nduja Sausage?

I haven’t met a meat I didn’t like. Except for head cheese, which played a cruel joke on me by pretending to be cheese. The horror…  Sorry, I was staring into the void for a minute there. Anyway, when I learned about the ‘nduja sausage, I said, “Oh! New meat!” I got it, I tried it, I loved it. And now I’m here to spread the good word. What is ‘nudja sausage? Read on to find out. 

What is ‘nduja sausage?

Based on the name alone, I couldn’t even guess where ‘nduja is from. I was shocked to learn it’s an Italian meat. Specifically, it’s from the Calabria region of Italy—the toe of the boot and the Southernmost part of the mainland. More specifically, its origins are attributed to a Western coastal town named Spilinga. A quick Internet search will show it’s quaint and it’s near beaches so beautiful they’ll make you puke. Add the ‘nduja sausage to the mix, and the place sounds just like heaven.

‘Nduja is made from various cuts of pork minced together with Calabrian chili peppers. It’s then put in a casing and smoked. The unique part of ‘nduja is how it’s served. You can cut it in slices, but it’s far more commonly used as a spread. It is a unique addition to your typical salami-based charcuterie board.

But ‘nduja isn’t just for charcuterie boards. It can be added as an ingredient to pasta sauces, soups, or scrambled eggs. It can be a garnish for meat dishes and even as a pizza topping.

Is ‘nduja sausage spicy?

I think ‘nudja can best be described as “fiery.” The Calabrian chili pepper is no joke. According to Mr. Scoville, they are about sixteen times hotter than your typical jalapeño pepper and just shy of the spice levels of a cayenne pepper.

Can you eat ‘nduja sausage raw?

Here for your daily reminder that you should never, ever, eat raw pork. Even if a guy in a van pulls up next to you with promises of free raw pork, you should just say no.

Thankfully, ‘nduja sausage, by definition, is not raw. It is smoked. And that means it’s cooked. Even though it’s so soft you can spread it, it’s still cooked.

How do you pronounce ‘nduja?

Here’s some fun for the fellow word nerds: The letter J is, technically, not a part of the traditional Italian alphabet. This mirrors the Latin alphabet which also didn’t have a J. Fellow Classics majors may recall having to constantly write Iulius instead of Julius. Anybody? Just me? Ok, moving on.

Even so, the letter J can still pop up in Italian words, just with a different pronunciation. For ‘nduja, that winds up being EN-DOO-YA. As in, “and do ya want some of this delicious sausage?”

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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