Posts Tagged ‘Smoked Sausage’
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
Right off the bat, even before trying them, I liked these better than the McCormick’s Grill Mates sausages I looked at this week (scroll down to next story). Reason? First two ingredients are pork and beef, and not a mechanically separated poultry bit in sight. Also? No “corn syrup solids.” Sam’s Choice Original Smoked Sausages come in a 14 ounce package, four ‘larger’ size links, and retail for about three and a half bucks.
According to the USDA establishment number, (4800), they are made for WalMart/Sams by Eddy Packing, Inc., of Yoakum, TX. Eddy has been around since the early 50s, and now operate a 300,000 square foot; the company is now in the hands of private equity investors, and cranks out processed proteins of beef, pork, turkey and chicken. Eddy sells its own retail product under the “Eddy” and “Yoakum” brnads. (Pics of the plant below). Yoakum is about 20 miles south of I-10, about midway between Houston and San Antonio.
As these are “smoked,” they are fully cooked, and only require heating, if that’s how you prefer your sausages. I lightly pan fried. This is a very mild sausage, suitable for a large bun sandwich, as an entree, or as a breakfast meat. The flavor/aroma of smoke is slight. Consumers will find it more flavorful as bits of fat, which contributes to flavor, are evident in the mix. In short, I like it.
Sams Choice Original Smoked Sausages Review
I’ve previously puked out a lot of words on the Jack Link company, which went from a teeny tiny country butcher shop in a teeny tiny Wisconsin town to a global powerhouse manufacturers and distributor of meat snacks. I even stopped by their outlet store, near their original factory in Minong, Wisconsin last year. It’s about 30 miles south of Duluth-Superior on U.S. 53.
The company has prospered and prospered, and grown despite all the odds against them, their small town origin and the usual family in-fighting and lawsuits that often occur in a closely held company.
Jack Link’s has come out with a line of smoked sausages in different flavors. They’re pretty good-sized, four to a 12 ounce package and sell for around $4.00. So they are about a buck apiece, which is also about what I pay for my favorite natural casing wieners.
I picked up the ‘regular flavor’ rolled a couple in the cast iron to heat them up. (Smoked products are generally full cooked, as are these).
I have an opinion or two about the sausages. They are made for Jack Link by a contract manufacturer near Green Bay called Salm Partners; the company was started by four brothers and a co-hort in 2004, to take advantage of ultra-new technology in the sausage and wiener business, including ‘spray out’ collagen casings and cooking in the package technology. In a video on their website, Salm says these processes make a product preferred by customers and that have a longer shelf life. The factory is located at 70 Woodrow Street, Denmark, WI .
Sidebar: the package makes a couple of claims: “no fillers” and “hardwood smoke.” These are some of the undoubtedly unregulated terms in the food industry,
To me, some of the stated ingredients (corn syrup solids, hydrolyzed corn protein) ARE fillers. Hydrolyzed corn protein is a kind of MSG, but to my understanding is rarely used in foods, due to its strong fermented flavor. As for “hardwood smoked?” The manufacturer’s video clearly shows the ‘smoking process’ at their plant is a shower of liquid smoke, which to me, isn’t “hardwood smoked.” There are plenty of manufacturers out there still smoking with wood.
It’s the same problem I have with restaurants who have “Kobe Hamburgers” on their menu, or that call California sparkling wines “Champagne.” Bullshit.
The collagen casing on this sausage is very light, not much snap, which is why I prefer natural casings. The flavor? Kinda weird, to me. In my opinion, smoked sausages should be ‘smokier’ and have a distinctive flavor from spices. The biggest flavor I get out of this sausage comes from the soy sauce powder ingredient. Just doesn’t fit.
There are dozens of choices for smoked sausage buyers; this one (nor Guy Fieri’s) shouldn’t show up on your shopping list.
Jack Links Smoked Sausage Review
Andouille, the Americanized version, originated on the German coast of Louisiana as a smoked coarse ground pork sausage, mixed with spices, garlic, and wine, in a natural (hog) casing. German immigrants and Acadian exiles collaborated on it at first, and today, you’ll find literally hundreds of small manufacturers in the state, and nearly as many recipes.
The French version, which I had on occasion when I lived in Paris, is an even coarser grind, and made up of offal, rather than ground butts or shoulders. My first experience with it was rather startling.
The version that is manufactured for the masses in the US is sometimes labeled as “Hot Links”; Johnsonville’s is labeled as “New Orleans Brand Andouille Style Smoked Sausage.” Like most US sausages, the grind is fairly fine, and Johnsonville’s is packed in a collagen casing. Collagen casings are produced from the hides of hogs and cattle, bones, and tendons, and provide a more consistent appearance and production process than using natural casings.
Johnsonville started in Wisconsin in 1945 and today is one of the largest sausage manufacturers in the US. They sell their bratwursts seasonally in some McDonalds, and their sausages can be found in many 7-11s and NFL stadiums.
One odd thing – branding a food that is Cajun in origin as “New Orleans”, as the Cajuns didn’t live in New Orleans. A common error.
I picked these up today because they were on sale, $3.49 for a 14 ounce package, six sausages. That’s a good deal.
I prefer a natural casing, which is certainly de rigueur in Louisiana, but collagen aren’t so bad. They give you the requisite “snap,” in any case. One thing I really appreciate about Johnsonville is that there package is resealable.
My presentation would shock Cajuns and Louisianans alike, I’m eating these puppies on a bun with kraut! The sausages? A-OK. Very mild, without distinct flavoring beyond the smoked flavor. Not “hot”, and even milder than your typical Polish.
But a quality sausage, and a good value. The full line of Johnsonville products listed here.
Johnsonville Andouille Sausage Review