Conecuh Cajun Smoked Sausage

A small regional purveyor of smoked meats, Conecuh Sausage Co in Evergreen Alabama, became our next sausage review when I picked up a package of their Cajun Smoked Sausage.

conecuh cajun sausage reviews

I’m a fan of regional sausage makers and usually find them to offer a solid product and Conecuh certainly rose to the challenge with their Cajun variety.

When I think cajun (or cajun spiced) sausage I think flavor and heat. Unlike a regular hot sausage, the cajun sausage should offer less heat but expand on the flavor profile to include garlic, a little onion, maybe some oregano, and of course a little cayenne.

The Conecuh Sausage version provided nice flavor in a medium grind sausage that would work great on the grill, in your favorite recipe, or straight up wrapped in a tortilla with some peppers and onions. If I had one issue with the sausage it would be that for my pallete it was slightly over smoked but that’s not a deal breaker and this is a sausage I would purchase again. You can check availability in your area on their website or just order directly through their site.

Ingredients: Pork, water, salt, sugar spices, dextrose, MSG, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite

Hillshire Farms Gourmet Creations – Beef and Jalapeno with Monterey Jack Cheese Sausage

Some of the large (national? multi-national?) sausage companies are spinning out some products that, by name at least, are premium products. I for one applaud any effort to make a better sausage but I suspect that many of them will be much like Budweisers attempt to produce a premium beer. Pretty much tastes the same, just costs me more. I however will not rush to judgement and will review each sausage on its own merits.

Here we have a new product from Hillshire Farms labeled under their (new) Gourmet Creations collection. This collection includes the following:

  • Sweet Italian with peppers and mozzarella
  • Beef and Bacon with monterey jack cheese
  • Chicken Apple with gouda
  • Beef and Jalapeno with monterey jack cheese

hillshire farms gourmet creations collection sausage reviewFor my first foray into this collection I went with the Beef and Jalapeno, cooking it to browned on one side and then turning the sausage over, covering, and turning off the heat. The grind on this sausage is ok but overall the flavors are weak and muddled with no real Jalapeno flavor. If you’re going to put cheese in a sausage, which I personally like, the cheese should be good enough to make a dent in the flavor and texture. Unfortunately this cheese did not.

I’d love to list the ingredients and packaging information but unfortunately the wife tossed out the packaging and email to Hillshire went unanswered except for the $1 off coupon I received in the mail 4 days after requesting more information from the company about the ingredients, etc for this product.

So eventually, when I get back to the store, I will get back to this post and fill in the blanks but for now suffice to say that this edition of the Gourmet Creations Collection is a miss and not a sausage that I would purchase again.

 

Ok, in just a shade under 3 weeks I heard back from SaraLee, the parent company of Hillshire farms. Here’s the ingredient list for this sausage:

INGREDIENTS: BEEF, WATER, CORN SYRUP, PASTEURIZED PROCESS MONTEREY JACK CHEESE (CULTURED MILK, WATER, CREAM, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SALT, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: SORBIC ACID [PRESERVATIVE], LACTIC ACID, ENZYMES), JALAPEN?O PEPPER, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: PASTEURIZED PROCESS SHARP WHITE CHEDDAR CHEESE [CHEDDAR CHEESE (CULTURED MILK, SALT, ENZYMES), WATER, CREAM, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: SALT, LACTIC ACID, SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVE)], RICE BRAN, SALT, DEXTROSE, NATURAL FLAVORS, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, BROWN SUGAR, POTASSIUM AND SODIUM PHOSPHATES, YEAST EXTRACT, CILANTRO, SODIUM ERYTHORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE. CONTAINS MILK

Esposito’s Chicken Sausage with Broccoli Rabe & Mozzarella

Historically I’ll admit that eating chicken sausage has generally left me feeling luke warm about the experience. Chicken itself is such a bland meat and most all the chicken sausage I’ve tried in the past hasn’t overcome that blandness regardless of the spice profile or ingredients.

espositos chicken sausage with mozz and broccoli rabe

 

This is a thin, rope style sausage from Esposito’s in NY and is one of 13 varieties they make as of this writing.

I wouldn’t place this sausage in my top ten favorite sausages but I will say that this is a quality sausage that has a fabulous flavor profile led by a mozzarella cheese product that is as good as any I can recall. When sliced open you can see the juicy pockets of cheese and that rich mozzarella flavor makes this a luxuriously creamy sausage. So much so that you really forget that it’s chicken.

The broccoli rabe was abundant but the star of this sausage (besides the nice fine grind and texture of the chicken) was the mozzarella. To date, this is the best chicken sausage I’ve eaten.

Meat: Chicken

Other major ingredients: Mozzarella Cheese and Broccoli Rabe

Ingredients: Chicken, Mozzarella, Broccoli Rabe, Salt, Water, Spices

Casing: Sheep

Cooking method: In a pan, browned on one side then turned over, turned heat off and put a lid on until cooked through.

Description from Espositos website: Lower in fat than our traditional pork sausages, yet full in flavor, our all natural chicken sausages allow us to provide the best of both worlds. Utilizing the same proprietary blend of fresh mozzarella as its pork cousin, this best selling sausage is one to savor.

Bottom Line – This is one of the few chicken sausages I’ve sampled that I would purchase again.

SausageReviews.com

Welcome to SausageReviews.com – Much like beer, the national sausage market in the US had become boring as large conglomerates pushed out mostly bland and boring products with little taste and imagination. But also like beer, the sausage has become the darling of craft(y) chefs and small producers who are developing fabulous artisan products locally, regionally, and even some for the mass market. After all, what goes better with your favorite craft beer then a great well made craft sausage? Continue reading “SausageReviews.com”