Let me be frank about links: I love Italian sausage. In a casing, bulk, sweet or hot, hard for me to find one that I don’t like. And certainly that would not be the case with the Northwest’s own Isernio’s, which I recently was able to try, and (spoiler alert) – in a word, or three…. I love it.
They have been around since 1932, and were one of the first vendors in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. They make a variety of sausages, besides the Italian(s), look for Italian’s made from chicken, breakfast links, ground chicken, ground pork, and specialty sausages like bratwurst, chorizo (the Western hemisphere version, not the hard, dry ones from Spain, and the favorite of all England, Bangers. Bangers are lean pork, wheat rusk, and very mild seasonings. One of the least ‘intrusive’ sausages one can consume, in my opinion.
But back to the Italians. Most manufacturers offer a choice of “sweet” or “hot” in their Italian lines, and Isernio’s is no exception. Manufacturer’s differ on their definitions of “sweet” and “hot” however, and with the Seattle Sausage Saute-ers, sweet means “Mild” and is pork sausage seasoned with sweet fennel and garlic.
Their hot recipe isn’t really “hot’ per se, tho it does have a mild kick to it from adding a touch of red pepper to the fennel and garlic. Some manufacturer’s “hot” Italian really IS hot, with excessive peppers or pepper flavoring. Fred Meyer’s house brand comes to mind. I tried it once, won’t again.
I particularly like Isernio’s hot because of the fennel, which is very flavorful, and one of my favorite herbs to use at home in Italian cuisine. Or other cuisines. Or on my cheerios. You see, I like fennel. I like the grind Isernio selects, as well. Not knowing sausage trade lingo, I would call it a ‘medium’, not too coarse, not too fine. Ultimately, what it is called doesn’t matter to me, the point is, it’s to my preference.
Isernio’s goes the extra mile by using all natural meats, and there are absolutely no preservatives, additives, fillers, nitrates or nitrites, artificial colors or flavors, or MSG. With the exception of the Bangers (obviously) the sausages are gluten free. They employ both sheep and hog casings, depending on which variety of sausage you select.
Isernio’s are in fairly wide distribution, at least in the Northwest. Use their handy zip code locator to find a store near you.
I’d like to try them all, but Mrs. BurgerDogBoy has put me on a strict sausage budget these days. The economy you know.
PLEASE NOTE: Isernio’s are a fresh (not frozen) sausage. I had these in my freezer, thus the appearance.