Archive for the ‘Sausage’ Category
Picked 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
You 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
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
I’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 Johns Sausage Review
I like things, places that came into existence the same year I did. I had a Seeburg Jukebox of that vintage, and Broadway Pizza and I were born the same year. Back in the day I used to visit the establishment, they had one location, in Northeast Minneapolis (which isn’t northeast, any more than mid city in New Orleans is in the middle of the city!), and it included an assemblage of old railroad cars.
Today they have over a dozen locations around the Twin Cities, and I visited the one in Richfield, which is a ‘southern’ suburb out near the airport and the Mall of America.
I ordered my usual, sausage and olive, thin crust, of course, and the very pleasant server delivered the goods (and numerous soda refills) promptly. The crust was crispy and chewy at the same time, if that’s possible. Toppings and cheese were very generous, and the sausage had some (to me) unidentifiable spice that made it unique (different from traditional Italian “hot” sausage (which isn’t hot) or Italian “sweet” sausage (which isn’t sweet)). This makes Broadway’s sausage in a class by itself.
I liked Broadway decades ago, I like them today. They have become my Twin Cities old-timey go to place, since the demise of the venerable Cafe di Napoli in downtown Minneapolis. Sniff.
In addition to pizza, Broadway has subs, salads, appetizers and pasta dishes available; eat in, take out, or use them for catering.
Menu is online. (Pizza photo is mine, exterior photo above is from Broadway’s website).
(The Hmong are members of mountainous tribes across Southeast Asia, but many of the refugees come from Laos).
Today there are nearly 80,000 Hmong living in Minneapolis- St. Paul, and of course, any indigenous group (and this is the largest urban population of Hmong in the world) needs to conduct commerce.
To that end, a couple of different Hmong marketplaces have sprung up in St. Paul, and I visited one on Como Avenue within sight of the state Capitol. Spread throughout and outside several buildings, inside you’ll find narrow, winding corridors with shops selling all manners of goods, like DVDs, CDs, clothing, home remedies, and of course, food. There are at least two meat sellers and many fresh vegetable stands (think of them as Asian farmer’s markets) and the produce is an unusual addition for the home cook and very economically priced.
Should you feel a might peckish during your shopping, rest assured there are many hot food stands, whether your taste leans toward pho, noodle dishes, rice plates, or giant sausages on a stick, you’ll find something to satisfy your appetite.
The Hmong Marketplace is open 8AM – 8PM seven days at 217 Como Avenue. You should check it out.
Hmong Marketplace Review
This small VFW post does whatever it needs to in order to maintain their solvency and funds for projects; they have found a niche with breakfast, dinners, and events for the community and environs.
The third Sunday of each month, they have an AYCE breakfast, loaded up with French toast, biscuits, hash browns, SOS, sausage gravy, two styles of eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, milk, and coffee – all for $7. You also get the congeniality of getting to talk to the volunteers – seemingly all vets of last century’s wars. Nice guys, we should all be thankful for their service, of course.
Every Saturday, the post holds a burger and bratwurst cookout, and on selected Friday nights, they follow the local tradition of an AYCE fish fry. There’s also bingo and pull tabs.
Let’s all do what we can to support our vets. God knows the government isn’t doing much to help them! The post is located at 311 S. Washington St.
Genoa, IL 60135 United States. (815)784-5967. www.genoavetshome.us
Genoa Illinois VFW
Here’s another great product from global discount grocer Aldi. Germany based Aldi sells staples and fresh grocery items, under (mostly) their own created labels, at substantial discounts compared to national brand names. I’ve written about several of them in the past. These sausage, in the refrigerated section, also come in “Polish” and “Sun Dried Tomato” varieties.
The Hot & Spicy type are a mild pork and beef smoked sausage, with natural flavorings, a couple of different sugars and different preservative salts. The sugar content slightly elevates the carb count.
The spicy “bite” is more evident in the after taste than when you’re chewing, and most consumers will find these to be a very satisfactory product, whether grilled and on a bun, or sliced and pan fried for breakfast or other meal entree.
As I have explained in the past, Aldi’s contracts with national manufacturers to make the products to Aldi’s specifications and price point. These sausages are made in the Chicago plant of Owensboro, KY based Specialty Foods Group. USDA establishment M17S-is at 4550 W. Jackson Blvd, about four miles west of the loop (pictured below). SFG makes a number of different brands of processed meats, including Scott Petersen bacon, and Field Liverwurst.
As with most mass-produced sausages, this one is a very fine grind, and it’s in a thin hog casing. I wonder what determines the thickness of a casing? Diet? Exercise?
I generally find brand name natural casing sausages and hot dogs priced around a buck a pop when they aren’t on sale. These are more like 65 cents each as packaged. Worth adding to your shopping list.
Parkview Hot & Spicy Smoked Sausage Review
It may not be delivery, it’s “Digiorno,” but for me, another “d” word motivates me to buy this brand: “desperation.”
Translation? I’m in the mood for a frozen pie and happen to be someplace where this is the only thing available. In the case of last night, at a 7-Eleven, where the self-rising pepperoni was priced at $6.99.
Opening the box, right away I don’t like it, there’s a weird “chemical” smell from the box, which isn’t from the vacuum sealed pizza, but rather ingredients or ink in the cardboard? In any regards, it’s unappealing to me.
Pie-wise, I’m not a fan of thicker crusts. I prefer more cheese and toppings make up the calorie count, rather than bread.
Digiorno is owned by Nestle, along with Jack’s, Tombstone, and some other brands, it was part of a 2010 $3.7 billion acquisition from Kraft, who needed to raise money for other acquisitions. Regardless of what I personally think, apparently Digiorno is the number one frozen brand in the U.S. There’s a reason, I’m sure and it’s not to do with ‘value pricing,” though I did see a woman earlier in the day at a grocery picking up a half dozen, as they were on sale for less than $4 a pop.
It’s a very “non offensive,” pizza, mild toppings, mild sauce, fairly adequate cheese, and it’s probably very filling for a family meal, due to the calories in the bread.
In all fairness, before this pizza hits by pie hole, it has been seriously altered at home, with more toppings, spices, and herbs. So it’s not a very unbiased ‘review.’
The pies are made at a massive factory in Little Chute, Wisconsin, at USDA establishment M5754. Little Chute is parked along the Fox River adjacent to the Appleton-Neenah area. (pix below).
The pies have a whole raft of ingredients, including the dreaded mechanically separated chicken, something I try and avoid.
INGREDIENTS: ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, LOW-MOISTURE PART-SKIM MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), PEPPERONI MADE WITH PORK, CHICKEN AND BEEF (PORK, MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, BEEF, SALT, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SPICES, DEXTROSE, PORK STOCK, LACTIC ACID STARTER CULTURE, OLEORESIN OF PAPRIKA, FLAVORING, SODIUM NITRITE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, PAPRIKA, NATURAL SMOKE FLAVOR, BHA, BHT, CITRIC ACID), TOMATO PASTE, SUGAR, 2% OR LESS OF WHEAT GLUTEN, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN OIL AND/OR CORN OIL), DEGERMINATED WHITE CORN MEAL,YEAST, SALT, DEGERMINATED YELLOW CORN MEAL, SEASONING BLEND (SALT, SPICE, DRIED GARLIC), BAKING POWDER (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE), DATEM, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, ASCORBIC ACID (DOUGH CONDITIONER)
CONTAINS: MILK, WHEAT.
Digiorno Self Rising Pizza Review
Kookers has served the posh Chicago suburb of Barrington for at least thirty years, that I am aware of, perched on US Highway 14. It was previously in a smaller facility on the north side of the road, and within the past few years, moved to a larger facility across the street. It was for sale for awhile before the move, not sure if it changed hands or not, but based on visits years ago, I would guess it has different owners.
They serve a typical “Chicago” menu of fast food, burgers, hot dogs, Italian beef, gyros, fried sides, plus some extended offerings in different day parts. Menu.
I so wanted to come away from my latest visit bubbling over with enthusiasm, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
I popped in mid afternoon and was the only customer, except for a man engaged in conversation with the counter person, apparently a conversation so engaging that it was more important than waiting on me. Strike one.
I place my order, for a cheeseburger (they have many cheeses to choose from, I went with blue) and walked into the bathroom. Wasn’t antiseptically clean and parts of it seemed to be held together with scotch tape and wire. The entrance to the men’s room is through a hallway which was stacked floor to ceiling with boxes of various restaurant supplies. Strike 2. I don’t want to see that. I fear that standards of (lack of) organization or ‘cleanliness’ extends throughout an establishment.
It didn’t take long for the burger to be ready, but it really wasn’t anything special, a machine-formed patty and put together with a not very aesthetically pleasing appearance. Strike 2.5?
I gathered up some sections of newspaper that were laying around, perused them while eating my burger, which I finished in short order. Got up to leave (still the only customer) without any acknowledgement from the employee (“thanks!” “come back soon”).
My recollection of the previous long-time owner was people supported him for a couple reasons; one, he made a point to ‘know’ every customer and be hospitable, and two, he prided himself on quality ingredients.
Neither appears to be the case at the “new” Kookers, sadly.