Boar’s Head Hot Smoked Sausage

I love it when I’m able to find a decent sausage product at my local grocer but unfortunately, those finds are few and far between. That said, Boar’s Head Hot Smoked Sausage is one of my go to products when I’m in between reviews and looking for a nice afternoon of spicy sausages and beer.

This is a fine grind, skinless, pork and beef product and as the label says, it contains crushed chili peppers which are clear to see even through the packaging. There is an adequate amount of the peppers and they provide a great subtle heat unlike some hot sausages that try to overwhelm you with cayenne.

At $5.19 a pound for 5 links, the price is reasonable and Boar’s Head products are widely available in grocery stores so if you see these, pick up a pack and give them a try. I’m sure you’ll like them!

Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Kielbasa

If you’ve been around the world of sausage, the Nueske name is one you’ve heard before. Purveyors of fine smoked meats for close to a hundred years, Nueske’s is a Wisconsin family tradition and now you can purchase their fine products online. They were kind enough to send us two products to review including their traditional applewood smoked Kielbasa so let’s get on with it!

While the word kielbasa refers to a general family of various sausage products from European countries, the term here in the U.S. generally refers to the Polish variety and that’s what we received from Nueske’s.

I received a package of 6 large links which appears to retail on their site for $22.95 and proceeded to grill them with indirect heat for about 20 minutes until the skin was just starting to split.

These had a fabulous aroma both going on and coming off the grill, sweet and smoky pre-grill and sweet and porky coming off. Knifing my way through a medium thick casing into a relatively fine grind, there were flecks of spices with the pepper standing out the most in this pork and beef sausage. The flavor was spot on for the variety and they were smoked perfectly. Not too heavy but enough to satisfy the olfactory senses on each bite.

This was a fine sausage, free of grit, bone, or anything else that might detract from the firm well seasoned meat. Nueske’s is paying attention to the details and if you’re a fan of kielbasa, I highly recommend you pick some of this up for now and to store. Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Kielbasa was great by itself and I’ll be using it in some bean soup later this week.

Guinness Beer Brats

I saw this product as I was walking through my local Kroger grocery store so being a fan of Guinness and a fan of brats, this product made perfect sense to me. I quickly picked one up and headed home to give them a try.

A pork sausage with a strong beer flavoring, I thought these were ok. Their main competition is probably the Hillshire Farm Miller Beer brat that we reviewed some time ago.

The Guinness brat had a stronger beer flavor and in fact was a little strong for my taste. I think the Hillshire product was better seasoned and had a milder beer taste.

If you like Guinness and you like brats I would say give these a shot (maybe even as a hair of the dog). I probably won’t buy them again but would rate them a 2.5 on a scale of 5.

Southside Market Elgin 1882 Hot Recipe Sausage

Today we’re taking a bite of Southside Markets Elgin 1882 Hot Recipe Sausage. Here’s a quick blurb from their website about this product:

If you’ve been familiar with Southside Market for many years, you may think the sausage isn’t as hot as it once was. And you’re right! Many moons ago Ernest reduced the pepper so everyone could enjoy it. But after all these years, people keep asking for the old “hot” sausage. Thanks for your persistence. Here’s the old original recipe, with all the pepper you remember.

1882 Hot Recipe Sausage

Southside Market has a long and interesting history dating back to 1882 and has been owned continuously by the same family since 1968. They generously shipped one package of each sausage variety for our review so be sure to check back for more from Southside.

So on to the review of their 1882 Hot Recipe Sausage. Apparently the company removed some of the cayenne from their hot sausage recipe back around 1970. But with folks clamoring for it’s return, they brought it back. I heated 2 links of this sausage in a pan with a small amount of olive oil and then took the other 2 and placed them on the grill for about 20 minutes. Both cooking methods turned out about the same with the grilled sausages being a little leaner when finished.

This is a classic Texas beef sausage (some would say it’s THE classic Texas sausage meaning possibly the one that started it all) with a course grind and a thick casing. The meat was lean and there was just the right amount of fat with primarily juice instead of fat running on my plate when the sausages were sliced. This sausage had a nice beefy flavor and the seasoning was nice.

I had two small issues with this product. The first link I ate had two bits of bone about 1/4″ in length which I found to be quite large. I finished off an additional link with no more bone issues so I’m thinking it was just a fluke. If you eat enough sausage you’re going to get some links with bone and gristle from time to time so this isn’t a big issue.  In addition,  while the overall flavor was good, I didn’t find the sausage to be hot. I would have loved some more cayenne and more black pepper..probably almost twice as much as the sausage contained. I’m a big fan of the black pepper heat that you tend to get with Texas sausages.

So overall this sausage had a nice grind, nice seasoning, the perfect casing for a Texas sausage, and it was fabulously lean. With a little more heat I think this would be a 4 on a  scale of 5 but as is, considering “Hot” is in the name, I’ll give this one a 3-3.5

Johnsonville Italian Sausage Four Cheese

This is our first review of a fresh Johnsonville sausage product, the Johnsonville Italian Four Cheese Sausage.

I was not a fan of the Johnsville 3 Cheese pre-cooked sausage, finding it both confusing and bland but this is a different beast altogether. I pan fried this for about 12 minutes and it browned up very nicely. My first reaction when slicing this sausage open was, that’s a lot of cheese, but I’ve been fooled by a lot of tasteless cheese in past reviews so did this cheesy Italian make the grade?

No doubt. This sausage was fresh, porky, and cheesy and it was a very nice cheesy that provided good flavor and nice texture and mouthfeel. In fact, I would say that this is one of the top 5 commercial sausages I’ve ever eaten. Quite frankly, I was shocked at how good this was!

This would be a great sausage for eating straight up or on a nice bun. I wouldn’t bury it in anything simply because the flavors do just fine on their own.

If you haven’t tried this Johnsonville sausage I recommend you pick some up.