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Archive for the ‘Sausage’ Category

StoneRidge Natural Casing Wieners Review

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StoneRidge Wieners ReviewI love hot dogs. In natural casings, please. The “purer” the better, IMHO. And I love to make them as “coney island style” hot dogs, which have nothing to do with the place Coney Island. A Coney Island hot dog is strictly an upper midwestern thing, popular in Michigan, Ohio, pockets of Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. By all accounts,they were invented by a Greek immigrant in Detroit in the early 1900s. BY some peculiarity, many coney island hot dog shops were started by, or are owned by Greek immigrants or their descendants.

While the ingredient recipe varies a little, basically a coney island hot dog is a natural casing wiener in a bun, with yellow mustard, diced onions, and meat sauce. Not ever to be confused with a “chili dog” as coney sauce is not chili.

My own personal coney sauce recipe is a winner – it took me years to perfect. For me, nothing makes a perfect coney, or hot dog any way you choose to cook or dress it – than a quality natural casing frank. They are hard to find, as we natural casing lovers only make up about 5% of the national hot dog buying public!

StoneRidge’s version is perfect, an ideal combination of pork and beef, with no fillers,  and the right spices and length of smoking to give it perfect flavor and just the right amount of “snap” when you bite into it. In other words, you want a dog that when you bite IT, it bites right back!

No matter how you choose to cook a natural casing wiener – on the grill, in hot water, on a griddle, low and slow is the key, lest you split the casing open and all the delicious meaty juiciness spills out! You don’t want that.

You can purchase StoneRidge’s exceptional hot dogs online, and pick up some other points and recipes on their Pinterest page!  Anyone who purchases online from StoneRidge this month will be automatically entered to buy $50 worth of products! Winner will be notified by email on March 1.

StoneRidge Wieners Review

                 Place your StoneRidge dog on mustard                                                         lathered bun

StoneRidge Wieners Review

                        Ladle on the coney sauce

StoneRidge Wieners Review

          Add diced onion and another swirl of mustard

 

 

 

 

 

 

StoneRidge Natural Casing Wieners Review

(Ed. Note:  StoneRidge furnished products for me to try)

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StoneRidge Meats Chorizo Review

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StoneRidge Bratwurst ReviewChorizo is a type of sausage that originated in the Iberian peninsula (Spain/Portugal), made up of pork, spices, and smoked pimento peppers, which gives it a bright red color. It’s available in a smoked/cured version for eating or including in dishes, and raw, to be used as a cooking ingredient. There are variations of chorizo one finds as they travel the globe, in  Portugal it’s called chourico, in Mexico, the item is closer to the Spanish raw version, and is used in tacos and other Mexican treats.

The Portuguese version, which is also called linguica, is a popular item in Hawaii, and is even available in sliced medallions served with scrambled eggs and rice at McDonald’s!

If you’ve traveled to Louisiana, the Cajun and Creoles have their own version of Chorizo, called “Chaurice,” which is found in  local favorites like red beans and rice, and some gumbos.

StoneRidge has taken the wonderfully complex  global flavors of Chorizo, and packed them into a natural casing pork bratwurst style sausage, perfect for grilling or sauteed on the stove top. Enjoy them on a bun, as a dinner entree, or incorporated into your special recipes.

Personally, I like slightly spicy sausages for breakfast, and it’s my habit to par boil them, (tho this is not needed) before slicing and pan frying to serve along side of eggs,instead of the usual pork breakfast meats.

I LOVE this product. It’s undoubtedly one of the most flavorful sausages I have had in a long time. When it’s too cold to grill outside, I do my sausage in a cast iron skillet, put a little char on it. This morning I had it with cheese scamble with Cajun seasoning (pictured below). Yum.

Should you prefer to use StoneRidge’s Chorizo as an ingredient, to spice up a casserole, hot dish, scrambled eggs or stews, simply slice the casing open and saute the ground pork to your preference before adding to your recipe.

StoneRidge makes over 40 varieties of pork and  chicken bratwursts, as well as specialty cheeses and if you don’t see them at your grocery, order direct from the smokehouse in Central Wisconsin, where they are carefully crafted using old world recipes.

One other thing that impresses me about StoneRidge is their value proposition. You’re going to pay 20-30% less for StoneRidge than comparable product from the “big brands.”

If you want to carry some of the dozens of StoneRidge sausages or specialty cheeses in your market or deli, whether under their label or your own, or to purchase bulk quantities for your event, contact the StoneRidge wholesale department for pricing.  Check out some recipe ideas from StoneRidge by following them on Pinterest

Should you find yourself traveling in Central Wisconsin, stop in at the StoneRidge Market, open 7AM – 9 PM daily, at 975 E. Main St., Wautoma, WI 54982. Wautoma is just 30 minutes west of Oshkosh, if you’re visiting for the annual air show, less than an hour from the Dells, or about an hour and a half drive from either Madison or Milwaukee.

StoneRidge Bratwurst Review

      StoneRidge Chorizo with Cajun Seasoned Eggs

(Ed.Note – StoneRidge furnished sample products for us to try)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

StoneRidge Meats Chorizo Review

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StoneRidge Meat Snack Sticks Review

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StoneRidge Bratwurst ReviewAn affinity for all things butchered and old world sausage making brought together the principals that started StoneRidge Meat and Country Market, now known as StoneRidge Piggly Wiggly.

Located in mid-Wisconsin, thirty minutes west of the Fox River Valley, the market serves grocery shoppers and sausage aficionados from a wide radius. Why sausage lovers? StoneRidge has built a superb in-house meat department, specializing in a wide variety of cured, uncured, and flavored meats, and are particularly known for their dozens of bratwurst flavors.

StoneRidge produces a widely-enjoyed meat snack sticks, also made in flavors, including original, pepperjack, habanero, honey BBQ, teriyaki and more. I tried out their .Bacon and Cheddar variety.

I think that a Philadelphia entrepreneur, Adolph Levis, who had built a business selling specialty foods to bars and delis, is credited with ‘inventing’ the beef snack stick in the 1940s, though I believe it was probably inspired by the German snack “Landjager.” Levis thought America was in need of a portable, ready-to-eat version of sausage.

There are certainly companies much larger than StoneRidge that make beef sticks, but probably none that produce a product of this quality. The “big guys” tend to have “mechanically separated poultry” as a prime ingredient, but in the StoneRidge variety, you’ll find beef, pork, and flavor seasonings. Period.

What I liked about the StoneRidge product is the distinct flavoring, a coarser grind than most competitors, meaning there’s no doubt in your mind this is a real meat product.

There are a lot of other reasons to enjoy StoneRidge snack sticks:

  • They are extremely portable – take hiking, camping, tailgating,   have in your office drawer, or the kid’s school lunches.
  • They are a high protein, low carb snack.
  • They are gluten-free.
  • Ounce for ounce, they are one-third the price of beef jerky.

Great taste. Good value. Get yours at your local grocer, or browse the online catalog and order direct from StoneRidge.  While you’re waiting for your package of deliciousness to arrive, follow StoneRidge on Twitter and Facebook.

StoneRidge Bratwurst Review

        Bacon & Cheddar Meat Snack Sticks

 

 

 

 

 

StoneRidge Meat Snack Sticks Review

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Daisy Hot Dogs Review

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Daisy Hot Dogs ReviewHad a hankering to make coney island style hot dogs, with my ho-made delicious sauce (recipe), so I needed some natural casing hot dogs.  Gotta have that “snap” when you’re dripping coney sauce down your shirt. (BTW, in the industry, that “snap” is referred to as “knack” – from the German word for “crack.”)

Alas, one grocery had no natural casing dogs, across the street, where they usually have three or four options, today they had only one, “Daisy Brand,” a Chicago product, “since 1925.”  Made by the Crawford Sausage Company, a few miles southwest of the Loops.

It’s a pork/beef product, very mild, with a minimum of additives. Tasty. All natural casing dogs run very close to the same price, unless they are on sale. They’ll cost you about a buck a dog. Well worth it.  What I like about them over some competitors is they are “pure savory,” you can’t taste any added sweetener which seems to be so common these days.  Full ingredient list: PORK, BEEF, WATER, NONFAT DRY MILK, SODIUM LACTATE, SEASONING (DEXTROSE, SPICES, SALT, PAPRIKA, HYDROLYZED PROTEIN FROM SOY, FLAVORINGS, CARAMEL COLOR), SALT, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM ERYTHORBATE, PAPRIKA, SODIUM NITRITE.  (No corn syrup solids, yay!)

These pups are made in the Crawford factory on South Pulaski, pictured below. Looks like they are working on setting up online ordering.

And oh yes, the coneys turned out JUST fine….

Daisy Hot Dog Review

Daisy Hot Dog Review

 

 

 

 

 

Daisy Hot Dogs Review

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Art & Almas Century Inn – The $100 Breakfast, Burlington, IL

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Art * Alma's Century Inn

                      Exterior

The “$100 hamburger” is a concept, excuse, private pilots use for the equivalent of a leisurely Sunday drive; fuel up the private plane, fly someplace, eat a burger, dessert, or whatever. The $100 refers to the cost of operating the plane for that trip.

This weekend, I “discovered” a morning meal worthy of being called the “$100 Breakfast,” and whether you’re out for a Sunday drive or flight, Art & Alma’s Century Inn, in Burlington, IL, is worth your money, time and effort.

Burlington is roughly 50 miles west of Chicago’s loop, and 40 miles east of Rockford.  (There are actually a half dozen airports within five miles, if you’re actually contemplating a flight, map below).

The restaurant has been open in one form or another since 1908, and currently serves dinner six nights, and breakfast/brunch on Sundays.

This breakfast may well deserve the ‘subtitle’ of “the $35 breakfast,” as that’s about what you would pay for it at any fine hotel.  Start off your Sunday with one of the Inn’s 25 unique Bloody Mary recipes, before launching into perfectly cooked to order breakfasts, including a half dozen varieties of “Benedicts.”

I went with the “Country Boy,” which had diced sausage and bacon, a generous slab of ham, poached eggs with country gravy atop biscuits.  My pal opted for the “Mein Schatzi,” bacon, swiss, poached eggs, hollandaise and sour cream resting on potato pancakes.  There are ‘cakes, hash, french toast, and plenty of sides to choose from – later in the morning, they add sandwiches to the Sunday brunch menu.

The food was presently promptly, nice plating, cooked to perfection and the taste and flavors reflected quality ingredients. Two breakfasts, two coffees, less than $25.  Pleasant, historical ambiance, and great service, as well.

No question, hands down, my best meal of 2015, at any price.  Can’t wait to get back and try the dinner. Classic fish fry on Friday nights, and Prime Rib special, Wed, Fri, Saturday while it lasts.

Great job, Chef!

 

Art & Almas Century Inn

                        Country Boy Benedict

Art & Almas Century Inn

                               Hand Crafted Bar

Art & Almas Century Inn

                                Nearby Airstrips

Art & Alma's Century Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Art & Almas Century Inn

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Johnsonville Andouille Review

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Johnsonville Andouille ReviewIt’s not real easy to find true Andouille sausage up here in the winter wasteland. The Louisiana version is a pork, coarse-grained smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. It’s stuffed in a natural casing and smoked again.  There are hundreds of sausage makers in Louisiana, and so there is a lot of variation in taste and texture, but most can be described as flavorful to the extreme.  The French version (pictured below) is more coarse; when I lived in Paris, I ordered it at a local bistro, and the offal bits were clearly identifiable, which was a little bit of a put off for me. Most Americans are used to their sausages being made from a smooth slurry.

As is with the Johnsonville Andouille, a smoked pork/beef sausage made for the masses.  Ingredients are Pork, beef, and less than 2% of blah blah blah including corn syrup, in a collagen casing.

I think Johnsonville’s New Orleans Spicy Smoked Sausage might be a closer match.

Anyway, I had a hankering to make gumbo today, and grabbed the Johnsonville Andouille.  It didn’t add anything to my recipe, nor detract.  Most people will find it to be an ordinary smoked sausage, and that’s OK under a lot of circumstances.

Johnsonville Andouille Review

                               Fine grind in collagen

 

Johnsonville Andouille Review

                              And into the gumbo!

 

Johnsonville Andouille

                    French Andouille

 

 

 

 

 

Johnsonville Andouille Review

 

 

 

 

 

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Jewel Italian Sausage Review

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Jewel Italian Sausage ReviewPicked up a package of fresh hot  Italian sausage at my local Jewel-Osco; the chain is part of the Albertsons et al grocery empire owned by Cerberus Capital.

The store brand sausage is packed for Jewel stores by a Chicago area meat company called Randolph Packing, which also sells products under their own brands.  (Factory picture below).

It’s a medium heat, nicely flavored sausage; my own personal method of cooking fresh sausages is to par boil them and then do a little pan fry action.

Here I’ve got a few of them swimming in Italian beef broth, ready to join the seasoned slices of beef on a French roll for a Chicago favorite, an Italian Beef “combo” sandwich.

Jewel Italian Sausage Review

 

Jewel Italian Sausage Review

 

 

 

Jewel Italian Sausage Review

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Aldi Braunschweiger Review

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Aldi Braunschweiger ReviewYou know I am generally OK with ALDI, the German owned budget grocery chain across the US.  They create their own brand names and go to top manufacturers to have the product made.  They retail for 25-50% of the “big name” brands.

“Deutsche Kuche” (translator: “German cuisine”) is the brand name they cooked up for some of their lunch meats and sausages.  They braunschweiger (liverwurst) is made for them by Washington, Missouri based Frick Meats.

It comes in a chub, and ingredients are straightforward: Pork liver, pork fat, water, potato starch, salt, dextrose, natural flavoring, sodium citrate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Besides being a great value, what I like about this brand is they actually use liver as an ingredient, and the taste comes through, as it should.  It’s a very fine emulsion, and spreads easily.  Good deal.

Aldi Braunschweiger Review

Aldi Braunschweiger Review

Frick Meat Plant

 

Aldi Braunschweiger Review

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Fresh Picked Pizza Review – Shoreview, MN

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Twin Cities Bureau Chief Lauren popped in to Fresh Picked, in the far northern ‘burbs. Had the sausage pie as an eat-in, but observed the take out, including take and bake business was brisker than the inside diners.

“Thinish” but with a thicker crust, she reports it was good, but not great.  Exterior of the crust was unevenly cooked, as well.

If you’re ever looking for Shoreview, look for the two 1000+ foot TV towers.  Menu.

Fresh Picked Pizza Review

 

 

 

 

Fresh Picked Pizza Review

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Farmer Johns Sausage Review

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Farmer John Sausage ReviewI’ve never been much for “brown and serve” type breakfast sausages; to me, they have always represented one of the main components of civic group and church pancake breakfasts, huge chafing trays of the little pork links.

But it’s hard to pass up any processed pork product that is selling for around $2 a pound these days, less than half what you would pay for other breakfast meats, whether your favorites are bacon, ham, or smoked or patty sausage.

Farmer Johns Original Breakfast sausage are always a buck for a 1/2 pound package at Dollar Tree and most club stores.  Fairly often, they are on sale for even less.  So that’s a deal.

They are “skinless,” and they are not pre-cooked, so prep will take you 10-15 minutes on the stove top or under the broiler.  No one recommends microwaving them.

Farmer Johns is an L.A. company, located in Vernon, just south of downtown LA. They’ve been around since 1931, and make the full range of processed pork products: bacon, sausage, hot dogs, lunch meat, hams…….including the local favorite “Dodger Dog,”  sold at Dodger stadium and in retail outlets.  The factory (USDA est. 360) (pictured below) is “famous” for its extensive murals depicting rural life. They are now part of Hormel.

The ingredients for the breakfast sausage are straightforward: Pork, water, sodium lactate, less than 2 % salt, dextrose, surgar, flavorings, BH, propyl gallate, citric acid. I’m happy that list doesn’t include any configuration of corn syrup solids, or mechanically separated poutltry.

This product may have changed my mind about having them in the regular breakfast rotation, especially at this price.  Plus, since they are not in casings, if they are thawed, you can smoosh them into patties, if you prefer your pork intake in that shape!

The flavor is good, not very seasoned, so great appeal for the mass market.  They also offer  a “maple flavor” variety.

Farmer John Sausage Review

In the box

Farmer John Sausage Review

In the skillet 10 minutes

Farmer John Sausage Review

Dodger Dogs Retail Packaging

Farmer John Sausage Review

Farmer John Factory

 

 

Farmer Johns Sausage Review

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