While recently trolling the encased meats section of a large retailer, I ran across a couple of new sausages. One from Jack Links (yeah, the beef jerky people) and this one from Eddy Packing out of Texas. Harley Davidson Green Chili and Cheese Smoked Sausage. I figured with Harley attaching their name, this must be a pretty stand up product.
I was wrong. If this product was marketed as a smoked sausage (just a smoked sausage) it would receive a 3 for being a decently meaty, not fatty, and well smoked sausage. I didn’t experience any fillers, bone, or gristle and the casing was a nice slightly thick model with a good little snap.
The problem is with the green chilis and cheese. I’m a big fan of green chili and when I can’t get them freshly roasted I buy them by the can just to have some around for various dishes (especially morning eggs). I couldn’t detect even a hint of green chili here. Nothing. As we have discussed on several sausages in the past, the cheese was there in name only. The label said cheese. I could see pockets of cheese. But no cheese flavor and very little hint in the mouth feel that there was any cheese present in this sausage.
What remains after those two main ingredient disappointments is a pretty decent smoked sausage. But not a green chili and cheese smoked sausage. This one gets a 2 star for coming up short on flavor. I would not buy these again.
The good folks at Shiner sent me a nice variety pack of their products and while I planned to start some reviews later this month, I tend to get ahead of myself whenever jalapeno and cheddar “meat”. So I jumped right in sampled their Spicy Jalapeno and Cheddar smoked sausage.
The official name of the company is Patek’s Shiner Smokehouse and they’ve been in the meat business since 1937 in Shiner Texas..apparently Shiner has more then beer. Who knew?
Often when you purchase a jalapeno and cheese product there is a tremendous letdown when dinner time rolls around and you find a sausage on your plate with no heat and/or no cheese. Jalapeno should provide a nice mellow heat, building slightly as you eat and the cheddar should add a nice cheesy taste and smooth out the mouth feel of the ground meat without burying the nuanced flavors of the various spices that go into the making of a good sausage. I might be over-thinking that but that’s exactly what I am looking for in a sausage labeled jalapeno and cheddar and very few companies get it right.
The Pateks’ version is a pork and beef semi-course grind with a pretty clean list of ingredients. At first bite you get what I would call essence of jalapeno. You can sense the presence of what seems like a slightly pickled jalapeno but you don’t get blasted by heat. After you finish the second bite a very nice mellow heat starts to kick in. Not over powering like a traditional southern hot sausage we reviewed here and really exactly what you’re looking for in this style. As you cut into the sausage you can see plenty of nice chunks of cheese but as we have found in previous reviews, the appearance of cheese and the actual taste of cheese are two different things.
This sausage has a nice thick casing that you generally expect in a good Texas product, the spice notes were spot on, and the cheddar was present in both taste and mouth feel. The pork/beef mixture was juicy without being greasy and while the casings split a little as they cooked (my fault..heat was a little high), there wasn’t this huge mess of grease that you get with some pure pork products that create flare-ups on the grill.
This is a sausage that lives up to it’s name and I recommend you pick some up. If other jalapeno cheese sausages have let you down, get some of this and you won’t be disappointed. I would rate this as a 4.5 on a scale of 5 but I’m going to give it a 5 just because it meets all of my requirements and expectations for this style of sausage.
The company has been branching out as of late with some of their products finding homes in some Texas locations of Kroger and (starting April 1st) Safeway. If you’re in Texas, you can search for a store near you here. For the rest of us, they offer online ordering at their website. Thanks again to Keith Patek and the family for sending us some products for review. I’m looking forward to sampling some of the other sausages that are included in their variety pack.
That’s a big ol’ long name for a sausage!
We have reviewed some of Hillshire’s past attempts at making a sausage that would compete with some of the better regional brands. Unfortunately as you can see here and here, their Gourmet collection fell short of being a good product so how did their new series called American Craft fare in our taste test? Quite well actually.
I purchased two different varities at my local Kroger grocery store and decided to give the Jalapeno and Cheddar a try first only because it has been awhile since I reviewed a spicy cheesy sausage of any kind.
This sausage had a nice casing, little to no grit, bone or gristle, and the ratio of jalapeno and cheese to smoky pork was just about perfect. If I had my druthers, I’d add a little more jalapeno but opinions on heat vary so this product walks a pretty decent line between hot and mild.
Overall this was a fine sausage and one that I would certainly buy again. At $4.99 for almost a pound (5 links), the product was priced spot on and although I ate these sans bun, this would be very nice grilled and on a bun.
If you can find these, I would pick up a pack and give them a try. I’d rate them a solid 3.75
The good folks at Teet’s Food Store sent me a fine selection of their products including some smoked sausages and boudin. Pictured is their Pork Jalapeno Cheese Sausage.
Louisiana is a great smoked sausage state because there are so many local meat shops and independent groceries that make their own smoked products and there is always an argument about whose is best with most folks defaulting to the product they knew in their neck of the woods when growing up.
Teet’s is a grocery store located in Ville Platte La just a bit above Lafayette. If you’re going to Louisiana to eat specialties like boudin, cracklins, and smoked sausages, you want to be down in the southern part of the state in my opinion for the authentic stuff. And Teet’s is about as authentic as it gets.
This sausage hit all the right notes with a great smoky balance of jalapeno and cheese without hiding the good porkiness of a fine smoked sausage product.
One of the great things about Teet’s is you can order all their best products right off their website. I recommend you not delay and get your order in today. You won’t be disappointed in any of their products. (I’d recommend some variety of the smoked sausage, some boudin, and some cracklin to get an idea of what you’ve been missing. If you have some budget left, grab some stuffed pork chops – delicious!)
I requested (and received!) a sampling of the sausage products from Pig of the Month Club. Monthly club programs have been around for some time now and they are hit or miss so frankly, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of quality and flavor from this product.
I was wrong on both counts. Both the Garlic Sausage and the Hot Italian were fine products that can hold their own in the highly competitive sausage world. There is no doubt in my mind that upon receiving these products as a part of any purchase, you would be in full agreement. The ingredients list is clean and short resulting in a fine sausage that you would be proud to serve…or keep for your self. Click here to check out their site and products.