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.

Esposito’s Sage Sausage

I’ll admit that I’m a fan of a good Sage Sausage but before I go any further I want to say that Esposito’s is the absolute best sage sausage I have ever eaten and is easily one of my top 10 sausages of all time.

espositos sage sausage

Ok, now that’s out of the way. People seem to divide into categories when it comes to sage sausage. Many love it. Many hate it. Some think it’s a breakfast sausage. For others it’s a seasonal thing. I happen to think that a good sage sausage should be enjoyed year round, any time of day and like some of my other food favorites (corned beef, spare ribs, and blt sandwiches for example) it is just as good for breakfast as it is for lunch, dinner or snack.

Esposito’s Sage Sausage is a fine grind, thick sausage with great texture and flavor.

I don’t think I have anything else to say about this review except I would buy this again and recommend you do the same if you’re a fan of really good sage sausage.

Ingredients: Pork, water, salt, sage, pepper, msg, dextrose, flavorings, bha, bht with citric acid.

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.

Homestyle Foods Hot Smoked Sausage

One thing I’ve noticed over the years..when it comes to what is “hot”, opinions vary. Greatly. Judging by the spice level in their Hot Smoked Sausage, the folks at Homestyle Foods understand hot.

homestyle foods hot smoked sausage

I picked up a package of their Hot Smoked Sausage on a recent trip to Kroger. This is a medium grind sausage that has the right amount of smoke and a large dose of heat. In fact, if you like your smoked sausage to be spicy, this is your sausage. After cooking and slicing off a few pieces, I decided the heat was a bit much for my palate and slapped two pieces on a nice roll I had picked up at Panera’s earlier in the day. I added some sauteed bell peppers and some mayo to cool things down a bit and quite frankly, it was still almost to spicy hot for me. One note. I’m a fan of sage sausage and since sage is listed as the number 3 ingredient, I expected a little more sage flavor but I didn’t pick up on any.

Considering that I find most sausages that are labeled hot to be anything but, I would buy this product again whenever I’m looking for that extra heat.

Ingredients: Pork, salt, sage, red pepper, msg, dextrose, sugar, black pepper, flavorings, sodium nitrite.

Conecuh Cajun Smoked Sausage

A small regional purveyor of smoked meats, Conecuh Sausage Co in Evergreen Alabama, became our next sausage review when I picked up a package of their Cajun Smoked Sausage.

conecuh cajun sausage reviews

I’m a fan of regional sausage makers and usually find them to offer a solid product and Conecuh certainly rose to the challenge with their Cajun variety.

When I think cajun (or cajun spiced) sausage I think flavor and heat. Unlike a regular hot sausage, the cajun sausage should offer less heat but expand on the flavor profile to include garlic, a little onion, maybe some oregano, and of course a little cayenne.

The Conecuh Sausage version provided nice flavor in a medium grind sausage that would work great on the grill, in your favorite recipe, or straight up wrapped in a tortilla with some peppers and onions. If I had one issue with the sausage it would be that for my pallete it was slightly over smoked but that’s not a deal breaker and this is a sausage I would purchase again. You can check availability in your area on their website or just order directly through their site.

Ingredients: Pork, water, salt, sugar spices, dextrose, MSG, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite