Hillshire Farm Gourmet Creations – Beef with Bacon and Monterey Jack Cheese Smoked Sausage

Before writing this review I went back and looked at the last review we did for the Hillshire Farms Gourmet Collections brand and the first thing that struck me is the length of the name of their products. It takes 13 words to accurately record the name of this particular sausage. That reminded me of the old Lance Crackers commercials where the guy says “we have 12 scientists creating our products and one drunk guy naming them”. That was a funny spot.

This was a medium to fine grind sausage with slight hints of bacon. The cheese, while visually present in small pockets, added nothing in mouthfeel or flavor. Slightly smokey and just a hint of spice, overall this was not a bad sausage, it just needed more flavorful cheese.

I would rate this a 4 on a scale of 10. It wasn’t greasy and the texture was fine. The overall flavor lacked any punch so it had that “getting by for the masses” appeal that you often find in mass produced products.

 

Hillshire Farm Beer Brat (Miller Beer)

I’m always a little cautious about purchasing this type of product because as sausage goes, this is not a product for sausage snobs. And while I don’t consider myself to be a sausage snob, the facts of this particular sausage still make me feel uneasy.

hillshirefarms beer brat

Here are the facts:

  • This seems to have no casing. Which is fine but the sausage is so soft it’s like it has an anti-casing which is weird.
  • It has Miller Beer on the label. I am an admitted beer snob and Miller is something I haven’t tasted in at least 30 years.
  • This simply is not a brat in my opinion. It’s more like a mildly seasoned pre-cooked pork breakfast sausage that could serve as a hair of the dog on the morning after a binge drinking session when you’re looking for a plate of food and some red kool-aid to cool things off.

Ok, now that all the weirdness is out in the open, let me say that this mildly seasoned hot dogg’ish product actually has a decent flavor profile and I enjoyed the flavor. I didn’t like the feel of the product, I didn’t like the mouth feel of the product, I didn’t like the odd pre-cooked color. But somehow after all that hate, the “sausage like” product was decent. One more thing that concerns me. When reading the ingredients there was something called “Flavor”. Yikes.

I would buy this abomination product again. 😉

Ingredients: Pork, water, corn syrup, potassium lactate, beer, dextrose, salt, natural flavor, sodium phosphate, pork stock, flavor, msg, lemon citric acid, beef collagen casings.

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