“Polish” Sausage is the Americanization of a smoked beef / pork sausage from Poland that is commonly called kielbasa. The American version is generally milder than the original, depending on the manufacturer. Many Chicago companies call their polish sausage “Maxwell Street” (style), as an homage to a sandwich that was commonly sold to the immigrant settlers in one of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods, Maxwell Street, a major east-west thoroughfare; a lot of that area now is home to the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.
Back in the day, Maxwell Street was home to a large open air market, where one could buy nearly anything, legal, or illegal, and the Maxwell Street sandwich was common fare in the market – a grilled split sausage, with grilled onions and yellow mustard, served on a bun, sport peppers on request. Today’s “New” Maxwell Street market is a very vibrant giant flea market, held on Sunday’s year round, with a decidedly international flair.
Bobak’s, a Chicago area sausage maker, has been around for more than fifty years, and makes all manner of smoked and fresh sausages and deli meats, as well as operating a large grocery with their own products and imported European groceries. The grocery, pictured below, is at 5275 S. Archer Ave.
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Bobak’s appears to share a production facility with another Chicago brand, located on the West Side. Based on the low double digit number assigned to the plant by the USDA, this plant, in some form, has been around a very long time, and probably dates back to stockyard days.
The Bobak Polish come in to different lengths, 8″ for buns, 12″ to heat and eat as a dinner sausage. It has a very mild flavor, and the bun length ones have a great ‘snap’ and a nice smoke. Ingredients are: Pork, Beef, Water, Corn Syrup, Potassium Lactate, Sat, Natural Flavors, Sodium Phosphates, Dextrose, Sugar, Sodium Diacetate, Garlic, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.
The bun length ones are five to a 14 ounce package, I paid around $4.00, which is a good value, but that was a sale price. I prefer my Polish on a bun with kraut and yellow mustard. When I used to travel to Poland on business, the local employees would treat me to a sausage soup, which was absolutely terrific. (Polish soup recipes).
Bobak Polish Sausage Review