Not everyone grew up learning how to cook the perfect pot of gumbo. This dish can be challenging to pull off for beginners, but it’s certainly not impossible. We’ve prepared some of the most notorious mistakes to avoid when making a sausage gumbo to give you a leg up when you’re cooking your first or second pot. When it comes to cooking gumbo, don’t do these things.
Roux is the starting point and the foundation of many gumbo recipes. You can make a roux by mixing flour and a fat, such as butter or oil. The tricky part is that roux tends to burn easily, especially if you use butter as your fat ingredient. Make sure to keep an eye on this step, stirring the mixture almost constantly. Otherwise, you could opt for a neutral oil, as these have a higher smoke point and burn less easily. Either way, make sure you stir consistently and cook the roux long enough to reach a dark golden-brown color without burning.
Another one of the mistakes to avoid when making a sausage gumbo also starts with the roux: don’t make the flour-to-fat ratio too watery. You can see just how important the roux is for a good pot of gumbo. If the roux is too runny, your gumbo will end up more like a soup. A good rule of thumb for adding flour to make the roux is to aim for a one-to-one ratio. However, you can also use the good old-fashioned “eyeball it” technique and stop adding flour as soon as your roux reaches a paste-like consistency.
The rule of thumb for cooking gumbo is not to rush the process. Particularly when you’re making a sausage gumbo, you want to give the ingredients plenty of time to stew in all the flavors. Give the meat plenty of time to cook through and disperse its rich flavors to the rest of the dish. If you are planning a sausage gumbo and want only the best Italian sausage butchers can stock, try Vincent’s Meat Market for the best in quality meats.
Don’t fret, beginners—now you know the kitchen hacks for the best-tasting gumbo. Just keep these in mind for your next gumbo recipe. Avoid these common mistakes, and your gumbo will taste like it came straight out of Louisiana.