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Posts Tagged ‘Sausage’

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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Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa Review

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Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa ReviewI should read my own past reviews before I buy groceries.  I had a previous review of Johnson’s kielbasa, and gave it a fairly innocuous rating.  When I cooked heated some this week, I really didn’t like them, and if I remember that, won’t be likely to buy it again.  Any Eastern European version of kielbasa is a savory link, generally smoked, and highly  seasoned with garlic and/or pepper.

The predominant flavor in Johnsonville’s is not the smoke or spices, but a sweetness that probably comes from corn syrup as an ingredient, which doesn’t appeal to me and certainly doesn’t seem necessary.

(Day 2)  I tried these a second day, loading them up with condiments, one with yellow mustard, onion, dill  relish, another with sauerkraut and strong mustard.  Didn’t help, still the predominant taste to me is “sweet,” and that’s not what a polish should be.

If you’re buying groceries for young ‘uns, note that the fat content of each link is 30% of the RDA.  I’ll pass on these in the future.

Pictured below, Johnsonville’s Sheboygan Falls, WI plant, USDA est. # M34224-P34224.

Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa Review

Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa Review

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Fairfield Inn Roseville MN

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Fairfield Inn Roseville ReviewDesigned to compete in the category the hospitality industry calls “added value economy”, the Marriott Corporation created the Fairfield Inn brand in the late 1980s. This category of motel offers amenities, but limited “service,” at “value pricing.” Pricing, of course, varies depending on location.  “Limited service” generally means, no on-site restaurant, bell staff and the like.

As with most hotel brands, Fairfields are franchises, and franchisees are bound by a set of rules and standards required by the brand to give the impression of standardization. In other words, guests at one Fairfield Inn should be able to expect the same type of accommodations, services, and amenities from one location to another.

Brands do a fairly good job of policing this policies, in order to protect the value of the brand.

Small business operators being what they are, however, guests should not be surprised to find some variance in quality of operations (plus or minus).

The Fairfield Inn in Roseville, MN, a suburb of St. Paul is operated by TMI Hospitality, a Fargo, North Dakota based operator of nearly 200 hotels/motels of different brands. The company was recently sold to Starwood Properties for over a billion dollars, media reports state.

TMI seems to one of the operators that gives more than required of a franchisee. There wasn’t a single aspect of a recent stay at the motel that didn’t exceed my expectations for the segment. Every member of the staff that I encountered was friendly and accommodating. The motel and rooms were antiseptically clean, as was the swimming pool and pool area.

The complimentary hot breakfast was well supplied and tasty. The first hotel I remember offering this option (in a chain) was the Hampton Inns, in the mid 1980s. It’s rather standard now, in the economy and economy plus segments, and as I mentioned above, because the motels are franchisees, service and quality can vary. I know the menu choices are dictated, as I own a social media company and this year we wrote home pages for more than 400 motels of a couple different brands and the paragraph on hot breakfasts was nearly the identical language.

What I don’t know, however, is whether or not franchisees are required to buy from a central commissary designated by the franchisor, or whether they have latitude on picking their own suppliers and/or offerings.

I didn’t inquire who the supplier was for this Fairfield, could have been a local company, Sysco, US Foods, or someone like that. The breakfast bar was open for four hours daily, and offered (this is similar to the language from the websites we did) “breakfast meats, breakfast breads, cereal, fresh fruit and juices, yogurt, eggs, and hot waffles.”

This particular bar stood out as the attendants had it fully stocked prior to the posted opening, and kept it refreshed and clean. An addition to the offerings was biscuits with sausage gravy.

All food was heat and eat (it comes prepared from the supplier and is just thawed, warmed at the hotel), and was really tasty. The scrambled eggs were light and fluffy, and the gravy was flavorful and had nice chunks of sausage.

Some franchisees make a minimum effort in this area, and may put out the breakfast once, and when it’s gone, it’s gone, and there is no effort to maintain order or cleanliness during the serving hours.

The Fairfield in Roseville not only exceeded my expectations in this area, but they also get kudos for having a full array of condiments and a variety of toppings for the toasts and bagels available, something they surely wouldn’t have to do.

Fairfield’s have done away with vending, instead offering a “market” at the front desk, with a variety of snack food and beverages.  Prices are a bit spendy, but the concept does give you a wider choice and is available 24/7.

Another surprising service? There was a 4-5 inch snowfall overnight, and a hotel employee when out and brushed the snow off every car in the lot. I’ve never seen that, anywhere, and thanks!

Complaints? My nit picky stuff. Pool water was a little chilly, and I suspect the sausage was turkey based. LOL.

I travel an incredible amount, and I’m not loyal to any one brand or another, usually choosing my accommodation by convenient location.

While I can’t say you should start choosing Fairfield Inns to get this level of service, I can expect that any motel managed by TMI will probably have the same standards, and I will definitely  look for TMI properties in the future. Locator here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairfield Inn Roseville MN

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Trader Joes Truffle Salami Review

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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

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Lunch Mate Hard Salami Review

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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

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Worlds Oldest Sausage Restaurant – Nuremburg

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Seventy years ago this month, the only Americans around Nuremberg were 10,000 feet over it, dropping bombs to break the industrial backbone of the Third Reich; 90% of the city was destroyed and 100,000 people killed.

You can’t tell.

The city has been rebuilt to look exactly as it did before the bombing. From photographs, paintings, and architectural plans, Nuremberg, like many cities in Europe, wanted to preserve its heritage.

The inner walled city is curiously reminiscent of the Old City of Jerusalem, with the wall running the perimeter of the central business district, guarded by a moat now used only as a pedestrian walkway.

Three large churches border the town square, which is daily the scene of a local vegetable, fruit, bread, and cheese market. Scattered through the marketplace are sausage stands and pretzel vendors.

To commemorate the awful events of seven decades ago, billboard sized posters of the destruction have been erected outside the restored buildings. The devastation, memorialized in black and white seems horrible.

This is probably a good time to be here; the city is quaint and surely throngs of tourists must crowd the streets in the summer. The natives are friendly and accommodating. At a restaurant last night, we were invited to sit with a local family (there were no empty tables), and they were anxious to hear about the US. They have a daughter who lives in Fresno, and wanted to know if I had ever been there, and what it was like.

The train travel reminded me of what I like about Europe, but also what I miss about the US.

Since 1419 (that’s right) Zum Gulden Stern has been serving Nuremburg’s special “Rostbratwurst.” They are available starting from a fresh or smoked version, and prepared on a grill. It’s the oldest sausage restaurant in the world. (Duh).

I seldom journey someplace without trying a local specialty or two, and here would be no exception. I wondered in the restaurant, which was “casually busy,” and found a table. I figured I’d try one or two of the sausages and be on my way, satisfied with my outing.

Frau Henrietta, a woman the size of a picnic table, rolled up to the table to inquire about my order. I noted on the menu that the little tubular delights were sold in denominations of six, and I knew they were small, so I uttered that I would take six, thinking that’s more than enough of a sample, and I’d be on my way.

She looked at me crossly I thought she was going to spit on me, but she only spit out her words: “Six is a child’s order!”

I reconsidered my order and said an even dozen it was then, but Henrietta would have none of it: “Twelve is a woman’s order!”

Can you guess what happened next? Yes, I ordered EIGHTEEN, and she beamed and said “That is a man’s order!”

Next up was the drink selection, and I hardly wanted to go through the inquisition again, so I told her to bring me an appropriate beverage, and she was back in a second with an over-sized pitcher of a local beer that is mixed with lemon. A seasonal thing. Back before there was a craft brewer on every block trying to make beer taste like chocolate or emeralds or whatever.

I managed to get thru a dozen sausages and two glasses of beer. Everything at the restaurant is very locally sourced, with ingredients coming together from nearby fields to make fresh horseradish, sauerkraut, and potato salad on a daily basis.

Incredible.   Wanna try the sausages?  I have seen them at Aldi’s, else you can order online.

Take a virtual tour of the restaurant.

Zum Gulden Stern

Zum Gulden Stern Exterior

Zum Gulden Stern

Sausage Plate with Sides

Worlds Oldest Sausage Restaurant

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John Morrell Little Smokies Review

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John Morrell Little Smokies ReviewI continue my quest for the world’s tastiest Little Smokies.  So far, by a wide margin, Hillshire Farms Beef are my favorite….in the number two slot is the in-house brand at discount grocer Aldi.   It’s not a close second as far as the primary criteria, flavor and texture, no, Aldi places for value… regularly nearly half the price of the big brands.  (Hillshire Farm are usually $4.99, sometimes $4.49, and Aldi clock in at $2.99 always.

Today I tried out John Morrell; a product that the package promises “Plump Meaty Bites.” Morrell is a meat company that traces its roots back to 1827 England.  They sell products under a number of brand names that they have acquired over the years:  Ekrich,  Armour, Kretschmar,  Krakus.   Morrell itself is now owned by Smithfield, which of course, became a Chinese owned company recently.  (Not sure if it’s a good idea for US food companies to sell out to Chinese, just sayin’).

There can be some confusion between “little smokies” and “cocktail franks.”  Cocktail franks taste like mini wieners and are most often found floating in a chafing dish full of barbecue sauce at a party or event you wished you hadn’t attended.  Little smokies are more “sausage-like” in both texture and flavor.

I grabbed the Morrell package because it was substantially discounted compared to Hillshire, maybe $3.49.  Although the package says ‘little smokies,”  these are clearly cocktail franks, an extruded type sausage with the same fine grind and ingredients, and seasonings of one of Morrell’s hot dog products, I am sure.  Not only do they taste and feel like a frank, they are a much lighter color than the Hillshire Farm beef products.

What is an extruded sausage?   A slurry of ingredients is produced, and squirted into a collagen casing, which can be edible or non-edible.  If the latter, it is stripped off in the last state of manufacturing (fascinating to watch).  Newer technologies offer ‘spray on’ collagen casings, the operator can designate different thicknesses, in order to emulate the feel of a natural casing (intestines).

Morrell’s product is pork and mechanically separated chicken.  Hillshire Farms, ain’t.

Does the Morrell product place on my ‘consider regularly’ list?  Nope.  If I wanted little wieners, I’d buy wieners and chop them.  My taste in Little Smokies requires a resemblance in flavor and taste akin to “real sausage”, so I’ll suck up on the purchase price and stay with Hillshire Farms.

The Morrell package does not indicate a USDA plant number.  I don’t understand why some packages must have it, others don’t.  I asked the USDA and got pawned off from one department to another – ultimately not receiving an answer.

I generally don’t care for any ‘sausage’ product that contains chicken or turkey.  Yeah, I know they are supposed to be better for you, but the taste and texture just doesn’t appeal to me.

Speaking of confusing?  The regulators could help me out by coming up with definitions for “franks,”  “wieners,”  and “hot dogs.”

John Morrell Little Smokies Review

In the pan,, unheated

 

 

John Morrell Little Smokies Review

 

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Eckrich Lil Smokies Review

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Eckrich Lil SmokiesI’m a fiend for “little smokies” – give me a mess of good quality, fine tasting ones, and I’ll pass on the rest of breakfast.  You never see them on a restaurant menus, not really sure why.

Like all pork (and meat in general) products, they have gotten really spendy lately, pushing over $6 a pound. While I have some very specific favorite brands, determined by taste and texture, I am a sucker for sale priced ones, and that’s why I picked up a pack of Eckrich “Li’l Smokies” yesterday.  They were half the price of the other brands.

Eckrich is part of John Morrell now, and according to the USDA plant number on the package, these babies were made at the Morrell plant in Cincinnati (pictured below).

How were they?  OK, especially at the price.  A pork and chicken product (I prefer all beef), they aren’t as flavorful as some brands I prefer, tasting more like cocktail franks, which should be an entirely different recipe than smokies.  I’d buy them again tho, at the sale price.

Why the ‘char?’  I prefer sausages with natural casings, and you’ll never see little smokies in a casing. Too expensive, troublesome for mass production I imagine.  For me, putting a little char on the baby weenies gives them a texture more again to a casing product. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 Eckrich Lil Smokies

 John Morrell Cincinnati

 

 

Lil Smokies Review

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Eckrich Lil Smokes Review

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Eckrich Lil SmokiesI’m a fiend for “little smokies’ as a breakfast meat.  Give me enough of them of good quality, and I’ll skip the eggs, toast, and potatoes. You never see them on restaurant menus, though I don’t know why.

My personal preference is for the all beef variety, though I am motivated by price point too, and that’s why I grabbed a package of Eckrich’s yesterday, which were on sale for half the price of the other brands. Like all pork products, the price of smokies has skyrocketed lately, and they easily tip the $ scales at $6 a pound, plus.

Cooked them up this morning and they were ok, especially considering the price.  They aren’t as flavorful as some of the other brands, and taste more like “cocktail franks”, which should, and usually are, a totally different product than little smokies.

Why the ‘burnt’ appearance?  I am predisposed to prefer sausages with a natural casing, and as far as I know, there are no little smokies with casings. Too difficult and expensive for mass production, I imagine.  So the ‘char’, presents a texture that more closely resembles a natural casing sausage.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I’d buy them again at the same price, but at the same price point as other brands, I’d opt for my usual favorites. According to the USDA plant number, these babies are manufactured at John Morrell’s plant in Cincinnati (pictured below).

 Eckrich Lil Smokies

 

 John Morrell Cincinnati

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eckrich Lil Smokes Review

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Reuben Chowder Recipe

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Pickwick Duluth

Reuben Chowder

My brother was telling me about some reuben chowder he had the other day at a restaurant featuring “Octoberfest” dishes, and it sounded pretty good. By coincidence, the Food and Wine newsletter this morning included a recipe, which is reprinted below.  I’m not sure about the andouille in this, it would add some unattractive fat if left to cook too long.  I might try substituting corned beef to make it more authentic, but I wouldn’t let that cook long, either, it would probably get a little tough.  So I’d add it about five minutes before serving. Another variation on this might be to use potato soup as a base.  Hier ist heute Suppe für Sie!

 

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  2. 1 large onion, very thinly sliced
  3. 3/4 pound smoked ham, diced
  4. 3/4 pound andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  5. 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  6. 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  7. 1 pound sauerkraut—drained, rinsed and squeezed dry (1 1/2 cups)
  8. 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  9. 1/4 cup snipped chives
  10. 6 slices of rye bread, cubed and toasted
  11. Prepared horseradish, for serving

Preparation:

  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and sausage and cook uncovered, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the broth and sauerkraut and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche and chives. Serve in deep bowls with the rye croutons and horseradish.
MAKE AHEAD The chowder can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Reuben chowder recipe original link at Food & Wine.
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