US Food Safety Recalls and Tips

Archive for the ‘Sausage’ Category

Bobak Polish Sausage Review

Bobak Sausage Review“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.

(Got a craving for Chicago foods?  Get hot dogs, pizzas, and more delivered to your home!

Bobak Sausage ReviewBobak’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 Sausage Review

Bobak Grocery


Bobak Sausage Review







Bobak Polish Sausage Review

Sunday Brunch Recipe

Before Mrs Burgerdogboy passed, we lived in Portland, Oregon, for a number of years, which celebrates the complete and utter silliness of Sunday brunch on so many levels;  in short, you’ll wait in line a really long time to overpay for pretty normal fare.

The television show “Portlandia” did a pretty funny bit on it, which is closer to reality than satire, IMHO.


There were a few places I liked, but they most certainly weren’t on the brunch “a-list”; greasy spoons like the Tik Tok,  but mostly Sunday breakfast was an en suite deal for us, which was always enjoyable.

Mostly, I’d rather have people over for brunch and I’m always interested if someone has a new brunch recipe or approach beyond quiche or eggs benedict. One of my “off-beat” ones is a “reuben strata,” which is usually fairly popular.

Today I had some folks over, and one of them produced this baked egg concoction, which I really enjoyed.  It was simple and fast to prepare, and could be easily customized for each diner’s choice.

To wit:

Greased ramekins with chopped tomato, fresh spinach, cumin, black pepper, brie, sweated diced onion, crack an egg on top, bake for 15 minutes at 350.   Great taste, beautiful presentation. Add breakfast meats or bread on the side if desired. You might want to garnish with some greenery, too.

Burgerdogboy Recipe


Read more about what’s going on at the BurgerDogBoy condiment ranch.

Trader Joes Truffle Salami Review

Trader Joes Truffle SalamiI gotta tell ya, products that I have NOT liked from Trader Joes are few and far between.  While the company does not make product themselves, they contract with top manufacturers in the US and overseas to bring fine quality foods with an international flair the to snooty grocery shoppers like me.

Trader Joe’s frozen pizza,from Italy and France, are some of the best available.  The mushroom flatbread  and the truffle flatbreads are a-ok, too.

For their Truffle Salami, they went to one of America’s biggest processors, Busseto, parked on the edge of America’s garden (the San Joaquin Valley) in Fresno, CA.   TJ’s description of the product is thus:  “Overseen by an esteemed salumiere from Como, Italy, the pork is seasoned simply with salt, pepper and garlic, and then infused with the black summer truffles. Stuffed into casing, the Truffle Salami is air dried in a delicate process that takes 3-4 weeks.”

It’s a lean product, with a very mild earthy flavor from the truffles, and a distinct salami flavor from the dried pork.   It’s a really excellent  product, but Busseto only makes quality,whether under their own label or companies they do contract production for.  To me, there is such a taste difference between really good salamis and the ones from the mass produced giants.  Wish I could accurately describe what I think that is.

Listed ingredients are pork and salt.  A few other ingredients at less than the 2% level, including the truffles, and celery juice, which is becoming the new “MSG.”

According to the packaging, the product comes out of USDA Establishment 9882, and if Google maps is correct, a pic one of their Fresno operations is below.

Busseto makes a wide array of processed pork products, available packaged and in deli counters most everywhere in the U.S.  Not for nothing, but Busseto also makes uncured salami for Applegate, which I have tried before.

Trader Joe’s aren’t everywhere yet, but probably will be someday.  For now, find your nearest store here.  In the meantime, if you’d like to try some of Busseto’s great salamis, they can be shipped right to your door.

Trader Joe's Truffle Salami

Trader Joes Truffle Salami

No Loitering!







Truffle Salami Review

Portland, OR – Veritable Quandary

The name literally is a contradiction, “Veritable” means ‘something of certainty”, and “Quandary”  means ‘difficult to predict, or uncertainty,’  and the restaurant of the same name near Portland’s waterfront, is anything but.

VQ, as locals refer to it, was created in 1971 and for decades has consistently hammered out some of the most innovative takes on America’s regional fares while utilizing local ingredients.

The menu varies from time to time, and can be found online.

I was meeting some pals for a quick lunch, and VQ was geographically desirable to their office location(s).

One of my friends said in advance he had been jonesing for the seafood stew, a rich broth full of fish, mollusks, and shellfish.  From the smile on his face and the interruption in the conversation, I can only surmise it was delicious and I have made a note to try it next time.

And me?  Why, I went with the highly-acclaimed VQ burger, Cascade Range beef on a ciabatta that leaned towards the softer side, accompanied by some pickled vegetables, and house-cut fries.

It was cooked to my medium rare preference, and plated beautifully.

One of my companions said it was one of the best burgers in Portland, and opined he thought they put some sausage or sausage-like seasonings in the meat.   I wouldn’t disagree on his judgement, but I don’t believe the burger had any sausage (pork) in it, or the menu or waiter would have stated so.   Wait-service was great, by the way.

The beef was seasoned, and the flavor reminded me of burgers I have had in the  Caribbean, tho I cannot pinpoint the flavor for you.  It’s not strong or unplesanant at all;  I may guess that the seasoning is onion-related.

The ample meat patty was crowned with a slab of medium white cheddar, and the entire experience was on the high end of the scale.

Definitely now one of my top 5 burgers in Portland.  I shall return.   A nice hot lunch for another dreary, rainy December day in Portland.

It’s said the VQ has a great weekend brunch, and it’s within an easy hike of most downtown hotels, as well.  Brunch offerings vary,  and are surprising, like this month’s blackened catfish, or pumpkin and brie quiche!

Veritable Quandary


Veritable Quandary on Urbanspoon

Klements Garlic Summer Sausage

Klements Garlic SausageI’ve talked about this fine Milwaukee company in the past, opining on their cocktail sausages, and fresh Hot Italian.  Klement’s  makes great natural casing weenies, too.  A number of stores had their summer sausage on sale this weekend, regular or garlic, for less than $2.50 a pound.  A fabulous deal.  This is a pork and beef product, a little more than 2″ in diameter, and the meat / seasoning slurry is packed into an inedible casing before going on to hardwood smoking (peel before eating!).  The garlic is fairly mild, it’s a high quality sausage from a quality maker, who has been around a long time.  We have a few Klement’s products in our little estores.   It does not need to be refrigerated until after it is open.

It’s such a good deal, I’m tempted to buy a bunch for the freezer, but really have no idea how that would work out.  Here’s how you can get some Klement’s  shipped to you.

Ingredients:  Beef and Pork, Salt, Contains less than 2% of Flavorings, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Lacic Acid Starter Culture, Granulated Garlic, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. 

Klement’s Garlic Summer Sausages are made in the Milwaukee factory pictured below, according to the package’s USDA code (Establishment 2426B).

Klements Garlic Sausage


Klements Garlic Sausage

Milwaukee Factory


Klements Garlic Sausage

Milwaukee Factory





Klements Garlic Summer Sausage  Klements Garlic Summer Sausage

Chicago Hot Dog Recipe

There are few things in “food-dom”  as iconic as the Chicago style hot dog.  And in 2014, Murphy’s Red Hots in Chicago has been proclaimed as the ‘best of the best.’   Here’s a video on how they slap them together at the eatery, your choice of “old school” or the “new way.”


 Unfortunately Murphy’s doesn’t sell their food online, but if you have a craving for Chicago grub delivered to your door, these guys can hook you up.

Murphy’s Menu  and location.


Chicago Hot Dog Recipe

Lunch Mate Hard Salami Review

Aldi Salami ReviewAnother bargain from Aldi’s (locator)  this week was their “Lunch Mate” brand hard salami at $2.99 for an 8 ounce resealable pack, making is $6 per pound.  Compare with your grocery deli counter, and you almost always save 30-50%.

The product is made by Patrick Cuhahy’s Wisconsin plant, USDA establishment 28.    Cudahy, founded in 1888, is a brand that is part of the John Morrell Food Group, which is in turn, owned by Smithfield, which is now owned by Chinese investors.  Many, many Smithfield/Morrell sub-brands come through this factory, here’s just a few:

Armour Food Company, Armour-Echrich Meats, LLC Butterball, Carando, Carolina Turkey, Cook’s Ham, Inc,. Country Lean, Curly’s Food Inc., Decker Food Company, Eastbay Packing Co,. Farmland Foods, Inc., Farmstead, Gwaltney Hunter, Krey Packing Co,. Hunter Packing Co., John Morrell & Co., Kneip, Krakus Foods International, Kretschmar Brands, Inc., Krey Packing Co. Lakeview Lundy’s Maple River Brand Mohawk Provision, Inc. Moseys, Northside Foods OhSe Partridge Meats, Inc. Patrick Cudahy Peyton Packing Co., Inc. Premium Farms, Premium Pet Health, Premium Standard Farms, Quick-To-Fix, Racorn, Inc., Rath Blackhawk, Inc., RMH Foods, Rodeo Meats, Inc., Roegelein Selective Petfood Services, Inc, Smithfield Foods, Inc., Smithfield Packing Co., Spring Hill Brand, Stefano Foods, Tobin’s First Prize Meat Co., Valleydale, Inc.

The salami is a thin sliced, slightly-smoked,  pork and beef product with seasonings and the usual curatives. It’s quite flavorful, and I said above, a really good value.  Cudahy makes a pepperoni (under their name) I like, too, which is often value-priced at the market.

Cudahy is currently planning to expand the plant, located just between the Milwaukee airport and the shore of Lake Michicgan.  Pictures of the plant below from Google street view (if accurate).

Hungry now?  Here are some salamis that ship.

Aldi Salami Review


Aldi Salami Review







Lunch Mate Hard Salami Review

Home Cookin’ – DiGiorno Frozen Pizza Review, Pizzeria Style (new product)

Busman’s holiday. A funny phrase. It means I’m taking time off from my job as a write to write this, which is supposed to be a hoppy, but has turned into a second job. No rest for the wicked, as they say.

Developed originally by Kraft, the DiGiorno frozen pizza line now calls Switzerland based Nestle “momma”, and markets their pies under the DiGiorno name in the United States, and under the Delissio label.  No idea why the split.

DiGiorno has long used the advertising tag line “it’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno” as a reference to there being a frozen pizza product that is every bit as good as a pizza delivered from a shop.

They have a host of types of pizza products and configurations; from classic thin crust, to flat bread – garlic bread pizza and rising crust. One of their more interesting products is the “pizza and sides” concept, emulating the offerings of the budget delivery chains, from DiGiorno you can get a frozen pizza and boneless chicken “Wyngz” in one box. A little sauce as well. Or pizza and breadsticks.

Nestle’s latest offering is “Pizzeria style”, which strikes me kind of funny, since the previously mentioned tag line would seem to indicate the manufacturer thinks ALL of their pies are “pizzeria style.”

The difference, apparently, according to the fat cats in Vevey, is that this pie has a “crust that’s crispy, yet soft and airy on the inside, a flavorful sauce and premium toppings.”

I guess it’s too much that we hope all frozen pizzas are crispy and flavorful with premium toppings. I wonder what the opposite would be?

Nevertheless, I picked one up to give it a whirl.

DiGiorno Pizzeria StyleThe box is designed and shaped to give the impression of a large pizza than actually comes in the box.  The frozen pie is pictured to the left, and yes, I DID rearrange the pepperoni for the photo. Yes, of COURSE it came out of the box with all the toppings on one side of the pie.

The box states this is ‘primo pepperoni pizza” and it is “created with care.” (Which Nestle has trademarked.  Are their other pies created with not so much care?)

Further there are “no artificial flavors.”  I’m not really sure what that means.

375 at 18-20 minutes say the operating instructions, with a cautionary ” not ready to eat – cook thoroughly” warning. Thanks for telling me!

I am a  bit predisposed to not favor this pie, pizzeria style or not. The crust is going to be a little too thick for me.

The first thing I noticed when the pie came from the oven was the aroma, or rather lack of it. No pizzeria smell.  Not like local product Vito and Nicks II which we tried last week.

The crust?  Yes, while it is ‘crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside’, it’s too thick for my personal preference. It would definetly be labeled “thick crust” at any pizzeria.  The sauce is rather non-intrusive, not imparting any particular flavor one way or another, but the cheese is good, albeit sparse, and the pepperoni flavor is nice, but the slices cupped during baking, which generally indicates a higher fat content.  I know, I know, some people insist real flavor comes from fat.  Each slice of pepp here is dotted with some herbs.

Overall?  Nothing new, tastes like dozens of other frozen pizzas.

See, here’s where I don’t get it.  Why can’t these giant multinationals make a good frozen pie?  For goodness sake, Nestle is the largest food company in the world!  Yet lots of little guys kick their butts when it come to making a good frozen pizza.

I have a suggestion for Paul Bulcke, the current CEO of Nestle.  On your next trip to the US, step inside a Trader Joe’s grocery store. Trader Joe’s imports frozen pizzas from France and Italy, and have several different varieties including flatbreads.  The truffle one is out of this world.

Now skedaddle back to Europe and buy the companies supplying Trader Joes.  Now rebrand those pizzas with the DiGiorno name, and toss out your current recipes.

Just a thought.  Wanna try a great frozen pizza?

DiGiorno Pizzeria Style

















DiGiorno pizza review

Tennessee Pride Sausage Reviews

Today part of ConAgra, Odom’s Tennessee Pride was started in the mid 40s by two brothers whom combined their knowledge of the meat business and home delivery (from earlier jobs). Headquartered in Madison, TN, with plants in Tennessee and Arkansas, Tennessee Pride makes sausage in rolls, links, pre-cooked, and packaged sausage gravy. They have recently expanded into the heat and eat breakfast sandwich segment, with sausage biscuits, turkey sausage biscuits, and chicken biscuits.

Today I’m cooking up their 1 pound hot sausage roll, sliced into patties, on a cast iron skillet. Their websites frequently features recipes and coupons. Ingredients are straight forward:  Fresh Pork (including fresh ham and tenderloins), seasonings, water, sugar, salt and MSG). Nutritional information is not on the site, but I found this elsewhere:

Country Sausage : Per 2 oz – Calories: 200 kcal | Fat: 17.00 g | Carbs: 0.00 g | Protein: 9.00 g.

I often buy fresh ground pork and season it myself when I’m in the mood for breakfast patties, but once and awhile, I prefer getting it from the pros, like Tennessee Pride.  It’s a lean, fine grind, nicely seasoned, with a little bit of kick in the ‘hot’ variety.  Need some Odom’s sausage or sausage gravy shipped to your house?

Tennessee Pride Sausage

Cookin’ Up




Tennessee Pride Sausage Reviews

Barrington, IL – Sergios Pizza Review

Sergios Barrington ReivewSome years ago, we relocated from Los Angeles to this Norman Rockwellian idyllic Chicago suburb. It was for our daughter’s benefit, we wanted her to have a great education in a safe environment, and grow up with midwestern values. For the most part, it was a successful move. At the time, after local exploration, (and my previous choice burning down, not my fault), my “go to” pizza became the thin crust at Sergio’s. They’ve moved a couple times since then, and changed owners, but they are still grinding out great pies for the past thirty years.

Passing through the burbs this summer, on a mission to look at some horses for sale, it was appropriate to re-sample Sergio’s, and see how my memory compared to reality.  While most people identify Chicago with “Deep Dish Pizza” (except Jon Stewart), the thin crust pies are really excellent, cracker crusts, mounds of real cheese, excellent sausage, and square cut.

This is the 16 incher. They have larger, smaller, thick crust and stuffed – a full menu of other goodies, too, sandwiches, ‘cue,  pasta, salads, and small bites.

Sergio’s crust is flaky, the sizable  hand-pulled sausage chunks are flavorful, and the pie has spectacularly high quality cheese.  You’ll also notice a distinctive difference with the tomato sauce; all of their sauces are made in house, and the pizza sauce is very hearty with a full tomato flavor.

Another upside with Sergio’s is they charge 15-20% less than local competitors.  A welcome respite.

Here’s the Sergio’s menu.  Got a craving or miss Chicago foods?  Here are some companies that ship pizzas, dogs, and more.

Sergios Pizza Barrington Review


Sergio's Pizza on Urbanspoon
Sergios Pizza Review

Buy Me a McDouble or Two?

Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!

I Needa McRib!

Protected with Antivirus