Hot Smoked Sausage by Sunset Farm

Sunset Farm Brand is out of Valdosta Ga and has been making fine meat products, smoked and otherwise, for many years. They were kind enough to send me a very nice sampler pack of their sausage products.

Today were going to start out with their Hot Smoked Sausage product. As you can see by the label, this is a pretty clean product with a little color added. Southern hot (spicy) smoke sausage is the very sausage I was weened on and it was, in one form or another, present at every grilling or smoking session that took place in my youth. The quality of hot smoked sausage varies greatly and Sunset farms has some fine consistent products.

On the plus side, as mentioned earlier, the ingredient list is fairly clean. And if you prefer a looser fill in your sausage, this fits the bill. It’s hard to find a loose fill pork hot sausage and most of them are packed like a bologna. One last thing. No byproducts, gristle, or bone so the fine folks at Sunset are paying attention to the quality details which always adds to my enjoyment of a good sausage.

I would call this a 7.5-8 out of ten and recommend you give it a try on your next cookout.

Polish Style Smoked Sausage by Kiolbassa

Another review for the good people over at Kiolbassa, you can see our last one here. We have tried 4 products from this company and they continue to impress.

One thing we have found over the years is that if you start with quality ingredients and keep it simple, you should turn out a very fine sausage. The other thing we found is that this isn’t always the case. The devil is in the details and with sausage there is a lot that can go wrong like a finished product devoid of flavor, over or under smoked, or a sausage that is very greasy or has an odd mouth-feel because the texture is wrong. And don’t get me started on gristle and bone.

Of the 4 Kiolbassa products we have sampled, every one them including of course the smoked polish above, got it right. From the medium to fine grind, the spicing, the smoke levels, the heat levels (where applicable), even the cheese flavor and texture (again, where applicable), all right. No gristle or byproduct to screw up the experience and no puddle of grease on your plate when you’re done.

We mentioned before that this is a premium sausage that is available in your local grocery. If I were in Texas, I would probably get over to a really good smokehouse for sausage. But quite frankly, you just can’t go wrong with Kiolbassa.


Highly recommended, this is as good as a commercially available sausage gets and rivals a good smokehouse product.

Pederson’s Natural Farms Sweet German Smoked Sausage

The fine folks at Pederson’s shipped us a suitcase full of their many different styles of sausages for us to review. Thanks!

Pederson’s is in Hamilton Texas and they specialize in all natural meat products including various sausages, bacon, and hams. Click here to read more about the company.

First up for us is their Sweet German Smoked Sausage, a single large link (or loop) sausage made primarily from pork. This sausage has a very clean and simple list of ingredients and it contains no nitrates, nitrites, hormones, or antibiotics. It’s good to see a manufacturer committed to proper and natural animal husbandry. I think it’s often easier (although more expensive) for smaller meat markets and butchers to commit to good natural products then a larger company so it’s encouraging to see Pederson’s leading the way on this issue.

Having said that, I found this sausage to be both underspiced and under smoked. I cooked this in an open pan, heating it through to 145 degrees.I sliced it open to reveal a nice medium to fine grind that was tightly compacted. Often a smoked sausage tends to be one note of either smoke or in the case of a spicy smoked sausage, heat. Unfortunately I found myself looking for (longing for actually) something…some unique or even standard smoked sausage flavor and just could not find anything that was sausage satisfying to my palate.

Now that’s not to say this sausage is bad because it’s not and if you often find your sausage to be to smoky or hot, this sausage is high in quality, has great texture, and would probably be perfect for you or dinner guests.

I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the Pederson’s Natural Farms styles!

Kiolbassa Beef and Cheddar Smoked Sausage

When I think about states I like to visit just for a good sausage sampling run, several come to mind.

New York – great neighborhood meat markets, many offering their own version of various primarily fresh sausages.

Louisiana – again with the neighborhood stores and meat markets turning out boudin and andouille made from everything from pork to alligator.

Ohio – lots of great polish, slovenian. german, and czech sausages in Ohio

Wisconsin – Brats of course!

Texas –  If you’re a sausage fan and you’ve never been to Texas, you need to set some time aside and make the trip. You could spend months visiting smokehouses and local sausage makers of all styles and varieties and still come away wishing you had time to get to that one last place that somebody told you about at what you thought was your final destination. Texans take their sausage seriously.

One thing that Texas does well is Beef sausage and today we are reviewing a Texas staple brand, Kiolbassa Provision Company of San Antonio. Kiolbassa has been in the sausage business for over 60 years and their sausages are readily available throughout Texas.

kiolbassa smoked sausage beef and cheddar

This is a medium grind lightly smoked beef sausage with cheddar cheese. Kiolbassa retails their sausage both in stores all over Texas and of course online – at $9.95 per package this is priced as a premium sausage but each package is 1.25 pounds so they are packing in a little more sausage then average.

This had a nice beef flavor with just a hint of smoke compared to your typical smoked pork sausage. No fillers or gristle in any of the sausages and the cheddar added a nice if not slightly muted touch to the flavor profile. I find some beef sausages to be a little greasy from time to time but that was not a problem with the Kiolbassa beef and cheddar. The casing on this sausage was thicker then you would normally get from your typical pork sausage also but it is appropriate for the style of sausage and personally I like the extra snap and texture.

I have 3 other varieties from Kiolbassa to sample later but if they hold up to this one, I would say that Kiolbassa provides as fine a product as you will find in your grocery store and it can hold it’s own with many of the fine beef sausages I’ve had at some of the best smokehouses in the state.  I expect Texas beef sausage to have a nice dose of black pepper and this did not. That didn’t detract from the overall flavor or the quality of the sausage, it just was different then what I expected in that area.

I would purchase this sausage again and recommend it as a good example of Texas beef sausage.

Ingredients: Beef, water, pasteurized processed cheddar cheese, salt, potassium lactate, flavoring, sugar, garlic, sodium nitrate, sodium diacetate.

Johnsonville Three Cheese Italian Style Smoked Sausage

I found this sausage to be a little confusing. Am I getting an Italian sausage with 3 cheeses? Am I getting a smoked sausage with fennel and 3 cheeses? Am I getting 3 cheeses in a smoked sausage and if so, what’s Italian Style about that?johnsonville three cheese italian style smoked sausage

Apparently it’s a smoked sausage with 3 types of cheese (Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano) that are of course Italian cheeses (or at least they each originated in Italy). Quite frankly I was expecting some fennel but if there was some it wasn’t apparent to me when eating this product.

This is a fine grind sausage mildly spiced and nicely smoked. There is cheese but it doesn’t stand out in any way and in fact, it was almost tasteless. As far as I could tell, the cheese brought nothing to the table which was a bit disappointing.

Overall this is a basic smoked sausage that is being sold as a premium sausage product. The packaging is two large sausages, individually wrapped which probably just adds a bit to the cost but served no purpose for me. If you can find it on sale and you are looking for a decent smoked sausage I would say this fits the bill but if you are looking for a really good smoked sausage and cheese experience this is not it.

I would not purchase this product again.

Ingredients: Pork, water, mozzerella, parmesan, romano, salt, corn syrup, sugar, garlic powder, spices, beef, sodium phosphate, dehydrated red bell pepper, onion powder, dehydrated garlic, tomato powder, yeast extract, sodium erythorbate, natural flavors, sodium nitrite, collagen casings.