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 than 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.