I want four things from my Italian Hot sausage.
1) Fresh pork flavor
2) Nice heat
3) Nice fennel
4) No gristle or other non-meat products.
While that seems simple enough, I’ve had far too many Italian Hot Sausages that failed to deliver on what would seem to be the fundamentals of a decent Italian sausage.
Just this week I received a shipment of various sausages from Nick Pontrelli at Maestro Sausage Company in Vernon California. His family has been in the business of making Italian sausage for about 90 years and let me say right upfront, they knock down the fundamentals and then some. I have several varieties of their sausages to review over the next month but I wanted to get started with their Hot Italian sausage so I broke out a few links for breakfast this morning.
This is a very nice mid-course grind with noticeable whole fennel seeds and flecks of red pepper flakes. Excellent fresh italian sausage taste and texture to this with perfect levels of fennel and red pepper so each bite is similar in flavor with just a touch of varience created by the amount of fennel seeds or red pepper flakes. I’m often disappointed in the heat level of hot italian sausage but the heat in this was just right to me. It was a fabulous natural heat that you get in different areas of your mouth instead of that un-natural, almost chemical like heat you get when to much cayenne is used in a sausage. Nice but very subtle mouth burn (I’d say a 5 on a scale of 10 which for an italian sausage is about right imo) even 10 minutes after finishing this one.
Slicing it open reveals exactly what you want to see in a well made fresh Hot Italian sausage. Plenty of fennel seed (I’ll take whole over ground any day) and red pepper flakes surrounded by course ground meat. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Hands down just a great example of what a Hot Italian Sausage should be. I would buy this again and highly recommend you give it a try.
Ingredients: Pork, Seasoning (spices, salt, dextrose, msg, flavorings, paprika, extractives of paprika), water