Posts Tagged ‘@Aldi’
Seemed like a no muss, no fuss opportunity to me, and often a lot cheaper than raw bacon.
Lately, I’ve noticed that most all of the pre-cook brands the slices are nearly translucent, and I like my bacon a little thicker.
Of course, there’s a certain joy of having that aroma waft through the house; it was one of the few ways I could motivate my ex to get out of bed. (At home anyway).
Applewood Farms is the in-house brand for bacon, sausages and ham at Aldi stores, a global chain of discount grocers. Aldi is part of the same German company that owns US lux foods retailer, Trader Joes.
This bacon was more than satisfactory. Thick enough, flavorful, nice smokey aroma. I cooked the whole package at once, I bake bacon (350 for about 12 minutes) on cookie sheets (some people cover their sheets with foil for quicker clean up). There’s no flipping, less shrinkage, and your slices stay perfectly flat.
So I was happy. I’ll buy it again, as long as it stays price competitive, and with Aldi, you never have to worry about that.
Aldi contracts with established manufacturers to make products to its own recipes and specifications. This bacon is produced in the Elkhart, Indiana plant (pictured below) of Plumrose USA, the American division of the European food company of the same name. Plumrose USA was sold in the past few weeks to the giant South American meat processor JBS.
They paid $230 million and picked up five plants and two distribution centers in the deal.
What did I do with my bacon? Why made a monster BLT of course!
Applewood Farms Bacon Review
It’s seasoned with hot peppers and pimento. Chorizo found in Mexico and Mexican-American dishes in the US, tends to be ground meat and fattier. It generally doesn’t have the ‘heat’ that the Spanish variety does, as it uses a different kind of peppers.
In an effort to expand their market, traditional US sausage manufacturers like Johnsonville and Hillshire Farms, are adding different spice combinations to traditional smoked sausage (bun size), and giving them different varietal names, like Cajun Andouille, “New Orleans Style,” Polska Kielbasa, “Italian,” “Texas Hot Links” and so on. To me, there isn’t a whole helluva lot of difference in how they taste, and certainly they are all the same in the grind and texture of the non-natural casing.
“Parkview” is Aldi’s in-house brand of some of their sausage products, and I’ve written about quite a few of them before.
This week I noticed a new one “Chorizo Smoked Sausage,” and I picked it up to try. Like many of Aldi’s smoked sausage products, there are manufactured by Salm Partners in Denmark, WI.
As I referenced above, most of these types of smoked sausage are indistinguishable from each other, with the exception of a slight variation in taste. With the “Chorizo,” Parkview is heavy on the peppers, and this one is hot. Hotter than similar products.
Great on the grill or in a fry pan. I liked ’em.
Parkview Chorizo Smoked Sausage Review
I’ve written about Appleton Farms products before; it’s the in-house brand that Aldi has. This is about their “Butt Portion Bone In Ham Water Added.” To me, it’s significant that “water added” is part of the main product description, and in the ingredients you’ll find a host of “salts.” Salt + water = brine = increased product weight = deterioration of meat muscle and texture.
At least to me. Anytime I run into a brine injected muscle meat, the texture puts me off. I’m sure it’s fine for the masses, tender, soft, but to me, it’s lost all connection to the animal flesh it started out as.
This ham is smoked and otherwise, the flavor is good. I was able to “save it” a pleasurable experience for me by pan frying slices of the ham, removing most of the water. Aldi contracts with Gusto Packing, outside of Chicago, to produce this ham. Gusto also makes boneless hams and bacon on a contract basis. The Gusto plant is pictured below.
Gusto was purchased by Butterball a couple years back. When searching for info on the company, I saw this story about one of Gusto’s executives getting kidnapped a few years back. For ransom. You don’t see that much anymore.
Appleton Farms Ham Review
Appleton Farms is one of the in-house brands for the Aldi grocery chain. I’ve written a lot of posts about Aldi products, which I generally find to be of good quality and terrific value. Their fully cooked bacon is no exception, a package of which sells generally for less than two bucks. I’ve become a convert to pre-cooked, you can usually find one brand or another on sale for less than the raw product, plus you know exactly what you are getting, meaning, you don’t open a package and find pieces that are mostly fat, mostly broken and the like. There is some really crappy bacon out there.
This was flavorful and the slices come staggered on wax paper, so they are easy to remove. You can serve nice intact whole slices, or chop/cut as desired.
The contract manufacturer that Aldi uses for this product, is Shelby County Cookers, out of Harlan, IA, about 70 miles west of Des Moines and 10 miles north of I-80.
Shelby because a subsidiary of Monogram Foods a couple years ago. Monogram has its own brands and makes some licensed product, too. They are big in the meat snack business.
Picture of the Shelby plant below. Yes, I’d buy this again.
Appleton Farms Fully Cooked Bacon 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
Under their own brand name of Deutsche Kuche, Aldi sells a smoked knackwurst sausage manufactured for them by Salm Partners, of Denmark, WI.
In Germany, “knackwurst” can refer to a wide variety of sausages, depending on the region of manufacture. In the US, it generally refers to a plump, mildly seasoned pork sausage in a natural casing.
Aldi’s are VERY mild, similar to a hot dog, and they are packed into beef collagen casings. It’s a very fine “grind.”
I like more flavor and/or spice, so these aren’t for me, but they are a good value.
Aldi Smoked Knackwurst Review
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
I have written about a lot of Aldi products; Aldi is the global discount grocer owned by the same German family as Trader Joes. At Aldi, you won’t find many big brand names, but rather Aldi concocted brand names that are manufactured under contract to Aldi’s specifications. (Also it will cost you a quarter to rent a cart, refunded when you return the cart to the line. Oh, and bag your own).
Where as my spawn professes to be a “ham hater,” I am a genuine ham lover, and adore it all. Except honey glazed. My domestic favorite is the slow salt cured beauties from the Carolinas; internationally: jamon serrano, prosciutto and the like.
Much of the ham in grocery stores isn’t very good, tho, and so it’s nice to run into one that isn’t full of fillers and other bits. The Appleton Farms Ham Steak is ham, water, salt, seasonings, and that’s about it.
It’s made for Aldi by a packer called “Gusto” and they’ve been running a ham and bacon operation west of Chicago for over forty years. Gusto was purchased by Butterball in 2012, Butterball is owned by Seaboard, a diverse firm dating back to 1918 and a single flour mill in Kansas.
They run a 200,000 sq foot facility in Montgomery, IL, capable of grinding out 6 million pounds of product weekly. Wow.
Their Appleton Farms Ham Steak? Superb. Highly recommended for real ham taste and texture.
Appleton Farms Ham Steak Review
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Garlic Summer Sausage from one of my favorite meat processors, Klement’s of Milwaukee. I enjoyed the product, and it was at a deeply discounted promotional price, which was even better. Today I was zipping through Aldi’s for staples, and noticed they had a garlic summer sausage as well, and fairly inexpensive. Their in-house brand name is Simms. Many of their other processed meat products use the brand name of ParkView. Not sure why the distinction.
This product is made for Aldi at Abbyland Foods, (USDA est. 1633) in Little Chute, WI. Little Chute is almost dead center of the state, halfway between Chippewa Falls and Wausau. They kill cattle and hogs up there in Little Chute, make a gaggle of processed smoked and fresh meat, and still find time to run a truck stop, c-store, and a couple restaurants. Abbyland started in 1977, and today has over 1000 employees and sends product all over the USA. Google Earth pic of the plant, below.
Besides the value pricing, what I liked about this sausage was the garlic was more pronounced than the Klement’s product, but they are both good. Either one of these brands are much better (and considerably cheaper) than Hickory Farms, scourge of every shopping mall in the land at this time of year. Ingredients with the Simms are straightforward, pork, beef, salt, and the list of the “less than 2% stuff.” (Various flavorings and preservatives). It’s a fine grind in an artificial casing. Nice flavor and texture.
Simms Garlic Summer Sausage
Another 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.
Lunch Mate Hard Salami Review