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Posts Tagged ‘Sausage’

Gramma Pearls Sausage Review

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Gramma Pearls Sausage Review

Home made sausage pizza

Don’t bother trying to find anything out about this product online, I spent a bunch of time doing that and came up pretty short.  I can’t even tell you exactly where I purchased it, other than a suburban Chicago grocery.  So a lot of this should be prefaced with “apparently.”

This product is made in Harvard, IL, it seems by Jones Packing Company, which started in 1952.  Harvard is the most distant NW suburb reached by commuter rail in the Chicago area.  A pic of (apparently) Jones is below.

According to the USDA establishment number of the package, the product is actually produced at Roma Packing, Inc., in Chicago. (pic below).

This is a pure pork sausage, described on the package as “hot.”  It comes in a clear vacuum pack, and contains the same types of herbs and spices one would find in traditional “hot” Italian sausage, i.e. fennel.

I split the package in two, and fried half of it until it was crumbles, and used it to top a home made pizza last night.  The balance was made into patties for breakfast this morning.

In both cases, the product pleased me very much.  It’s a very fine grind, so it is easily chewable. (Some pork sausages seem “tough”).  The flavor is outstanding, and there is a little bit of heat, as advertised.

I’ll buy it again if I can find it.  One story I read referred to Jones Packing having their own retail store, which I’ll go check out.

Gramma Pearls Sausage Review

Jones Packing, Harvard, IL

 

Gramma Pearls Sausage Review

Roma Packing, Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gramma Pearls Sausage Review

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Sujuk Sausage Review

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Sujuk Sausage ReviewCouple weeks ago, I wrote about my visit to the Bulgarian grocery in Chicago.  One of the items I picked up was “Sujuk” sausage, which wikipedia defines as “a Sujuk is a dry, spicy sausage which is eaten from the Balkans to the Middle East and Central Asia.”

It has slightly different spellings by country. This is a pork, beef, seasoning link in a natural casing, sold raw. The label suggests it’s perfect for the grill or breakfast.

I really enjoyed it.  It’s full of flavor which resembles the source muscle, with a firm and chewy texture.  Much like the Spanish dry chorizo, but without the heat.  The density makes me think it might not be so manageable on a bun, but it was sure delicious pan-fried and sliced.

 

Sujuk Sausage Review

Pan fried and sliced

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sujuk Sausage Review

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StoneRidge Italian Sausage Review

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StoneRidge Italian Sausage ReviewIn the U.S, the term “Italian Sausage” refers to an uncooked pork sausage, seasoned with various herbs and spices.  You’ll see them labeled at “hot” or “sweet” (also sometimes mild).  The primary difference is the “hot” may have some red pepper flakes added, or in many cases, a dose of fennel seeds. I must prefer the “hot” variety.

StoneRidge sent along some of theirs for me to try, their recipe is (thankfully) very basic, and ingredients include: pork, water, salt. spices, pepper, dextrose, paprika, fennel, BHAk BHT, in a natural hog casing. Although it is not required, I par-boil the sausages, prior to putting them to saute in a cast iron skillet, on a grill, or on the grill.  As these are in a natural casing, and you’ll want to retain all the flavor and juices, low and slow is the key to cooking, otherwise the casing may burst, and you’ll lose all that deliciousness inside.

Today I’m using them in a spaghetti sauce, actually burning up canned tomato sauce I made last fall, have to use up the inventory before the tomato season starts for this year.  My sauce is very basic, onions, garlic, cooked down tomatoes, basil, oregano, fennel and red wine. Cook for a day or two and reduce by half.

After the fry pan, I’ve sliced the sausages on a bias (angle) just for aesthetics.  You can incorporate the sausages into the sauce, or serve them whole as a side dish. Even better?  Throw them on a firm hoagie roll, add a dollop or two of sauce, and melt some provolone or mozz over them.

I am very particular about my Italian sausage, and StoneRidge makes some of the best I have ever had, and I will be a regular customer; I can purchase them online and have them shipped right to the kitchen!

If I run out of my own ideas, I know I can pick up some pointers from StoneRidge’s Pinterest site.

StoneRidge Italian Sausage Review

                                 Parboiling

 

 

StoneRidge Italian Sausage Review

                                     Saute

 

StoneRidge Italian Sausage Review

                            Into the sauce!

 

 

StoneRidge Italian Sausage Review

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StoneRidge Andouille Sausage Review

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StoneRidge Sausage ReviewHaving lived in New Orleans for a decade, and Paris for a couple of years, I’m very fond of andouille (on-doo-ee) sausage, a U.S. transplant/evolution from France.

The French version consists of very rough chopped organ meats, onions, wine, and seasoning. They usually have a fairly distinctive odor and are gray in color.

The French Canadians that settled in Louisiana developed their own version, a finer ground sausage using smoked pork shoulder, garlic, peppers, wine, onions, spices and herbs, in a natural casing and smoked a second time.

In Louisiana, andouille is most often used as an “ingredient,” and particularly in gumbos or crawfish boils. You’ll rarely see it consumed on its own, and that’s a shame, cause it’s a nice flavorful change from ordinary smoked sausage.

StoneRidge’s own recipe calls for quality pork, onion, red pepper, and spices in a natural casing, smoked for hours over wood. The effort they put into making it shows in  appearance, texture and flavor.

These are good sized sausages, about four to a pound, and today I am using them as a dinner entree. I have parboiled them (although this is not a required preparation step), sliced them on a bias, and then pan-fried in cast iron as it’s too cold to go outside and grill!

I serve ’em with sauerkraut for a hearty winter dinner!  (But they would be terrific off the grill and onto a bun!)

StoneRidge Sausage Review

StoneRidge Andouille Sausage Review

(Ed. Note – the manufacturer provided product for us to sample)

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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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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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Aldi Smoked Knackwurst Review

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Aldi Smoked Knackwurst ReviewUnder 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

 

 

 

Aldi Smoked Knackwurst Review

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McCormick Grill Mates Sausages Review

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McCormick Grill Mates Sausage ReviewWith over 8,000 employees and $4 billion in revenue, McCormick & Company is one of the undisputed leaders in the production and sale of spices and herbs.

They have been on an acquisition and strategic partnership tear as of late,which really appears to have been jump started in 2003 with the purchase of New Orleans based Zatarains. The union also gave McCormick an entry into the prepared meals arena.

In addition to their core brands, McCormick also owns Old Bay, Adolphs, Lawrey’s and others.

They are now (apparently) looking at expansion through licensing the use of their spice formulations and associated names. I noticed this at the market with a new product of “Montreal Seasoning” smoked sausages, which carry the McCormick label, but the reverse of the package informs us the links are distributed by Mexican food monster Sigma Alimentos’s US division, Bar-S, based in Phoenix. Bar-S markets over 250 meat products under eight brands, manufactured at five of their own production plants, as well as contract manufacturers.

This particular product was made at USDA Est 32009, Salm Partners in Denmark, Wi (near GreenBay). We previously took a look at them during our review of Jack Link’s (new) sausage line.There is a video of their plant in that review. (Pictures of plant below).

I didn’t look at the fine print on the packaging; had I been thorough, I might not have picked them up, as it clearly states these sausages are a “pork and turkey”product. The ingredient list goes on to say they use “mechanically separated turkey,” usually a no-no for me, and corn syrup and corn starch, other ingredients I’m not crazy about.

The links were around $3.00 (WalMart sale price) for six, total of 14 ounces.

Out of the package, there is no distinctive flavor-related odor, other than a slight hint of smoke.  The presence of the spices is evident in the picture below.  I chose the “Montreal Steak” flavor, because I am an enthusiastic user of that blend on burgers. and the McCormick website lists the blend having the following ingredients:  Coarse Salt, Spices (Including Black Pepper And Red Pepper), Garlic, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, And Extractives Of Paprika. Not sure what the “natural flavor” component would be.

I pan fried the sausages at medium low in cast iron for about ten minutes, until they achieved a little char, which is my personal preference, as the char emulates the texture (sort of) of a natural casing on the link.

There is less of a distinctive flavor than I imagined their would be.  On the plus side, there is a little bit of ‘heat,’ and also, the presence of the corn syrup is not overpowering as it was in the Jack Links product.

I’d buy them again, if they are on sale, but otherwise, I don’t see any competitive advantage over most “Polish” or smoked sausage brands.

 

McCormick Grill Mates Sausage Review

Prior to heating

McCormick Grill Mates Sausage Review

After heating

McCormick Grill Mates Sausage

Salm Partners Factory

McCormick Grill Mates Sausage

Salm Partners Factory

McCormick Grill Mates Sausages Review

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Vernon Manor Pepperoni Review

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Vernon ManorOne of my local groceries seems to get more than their share of ‘scratch and dent’ foods.  That’s my term for products that aren’t regularly stocked or are on the shelf at a deep discount.   They do have a close-out bin, as well, which is odd, because the products in there are rarely products that one regularly sees on the shelves/coolers at thes tore.   My favorite is “meat ends,” chunks of chubs from the deli, apparently too small to go through the slicer without the potential for significant loss of limb to the deli workers.

In any case, yesterday they had a pile of these two pound packages of pepperoni from “Vernon Manor,” a brand manufactured by Fresh Mark of Ohio, also the parent of Sugardale meats.

Two pound packs of pepperoni, in and of themselves, are unusual, these more so by the fact they were only $2.99 each.  At a buck and a half a pound, that’s about 90% off the big name brands.

I only bought one, for as much processed pork as I consume, I knew I would have to attempt to freeze some of this, not sure if that will work, but I put the pork slices in baggies in 1/3 – 1/2 pound increments. Sort of.

It is a pork and beef product, and there are some ‘cracker jack like surprises’ in the pack – in addition to 95% traditionally thin sliced pieces, there is also an occasional chub end or six, perfect for snack noshing.

I’m picky about my pepperoni, I want a flavorful slice, not all that fatty, as high fat pepp is what causes your charring and cupping on a pizza.  There are some that say that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t appeal to me.  I like this one, good flavor, a nice little kick.

It’s made at the Canton, OH factory pictured below.

Fresh Mark Ohio

Fresh Mark Factory

Fresh Mark Factory

Fresh Mark Aerial

 

Vernon Manor Pepperoni Review

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Klements Polish Sausage Review

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Klements Polish Sausage ReviewOne of Milwaukee’s largest and oldest sausage companies, Klement’s is often my ‘go-to’ purveyor when I’m looking for processed meats.  When I’m not in their distribution area, I even order care packages online.  The company has a wide variety of fresh and cooked sausages, as well as deli and sandwich meats.   I am fond of their summer sausage, corned beef, cocktail sausages,  and liver sausage.

Today I’m cooking up some of their Polish for breakfast. This is a natural casing sausage (YAY), and the company website lists the following ingredients: Pork, water, Beef, Salt, Contains less than 2% of Flavorings, Corn Syrup, Potassium Lactate, Isolated Oat Product, Dextrose,
Sodium Phosphate, Paprika, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Erythorbate, and Sodium Nitrite.

I’m not one of those consumers that gets all bent out of shape about certain ingredients, too late in my life cycle to worry about any of the alledged effects at this point in time.

Anyway, these are great, for  a breakfast side, or any meal,  on a bun, or on the grill.  I’d be careful on the grill to watch the direct heat, if the casings split, you’re gonna lose a lot of flavor.  My preferred method is to simmer in a cast-iron skillet until the water is gone, and then put a slight char on the sausages.

Perfection.

These beauties come out of the Klement’s plant at 207 E Lincoln Ave in Milwaukee, according to the USDA establishment number on the package.

Klements Polish Sausage Review

Klement’s Polish Sausage

 

Klements Polish Sausage Review

Factory – Aerial View

Klements Polish Sausage Review

Milwaukee Factory

 

 

Klements Polish Sausage Review

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