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.

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.

 

Simply Sausage Sweet Italian Sausage

Another product from one of our favorite sausage makers, this sweet italian sausage is one of the most interesting italian style sausages I’ve ever eaten.

simply sausge sweet italian sausage

Italian sausage is one of my very favorite sausage products and we have sampled some of the very best for reviews in the past. Simply Sausage out of Landover Maryland is one of our favorite sausage makers. But when we combine those two things, we ended up with unexpected results. Initially at least.

As usual, Simply Sausage has a clean list of high quality ingredients and the finished italian sausage was meaty and not greasy. Upon first bite, this sausage was underwhelming when compared to the great italian sausages from places like Espositos in New York and Pontrelli and Laricchia in Los Angeles. But as I finished up the first half of a link, I started to pick up on all the spices and flavors that I expect in an italian sausage, and by the end of the link, I was blown away by the subtlety of this product.

It had all the flavor of the great sausages, just not in a big robust fashion. This delicate sausage was flavorful yet sophisticated and hit on all the right notes.

If you haven’t ordered from Simply Sausage, you’re simply missing one of the great sausage makers in the US. I urge you to give them a try.

 

Pederson Farms Uncured Smoked Bacon and Pork Sausage

After an OK start with Pedersons products, they came roaring back with their excellent Andouille product. So how about the Uncured Smoked Bacon and Pork Sausage?

I put these puppies on the grill and they came out beautifully charred with juice oozing out of slightly split casings – watching them cook reminded me of some of the high quality natural casing hot dogs that I really like on the grill. The folks at Pederson’s have a real winner on their hands here.

Typically I will pass on buying products that are uncured and/or the label shouts at me about how the pork was raised and no gluten and no nitrates, etc – so many of this type of product in the past has been, well, gimmicky in the way that soy sausage is gimmicky. It never tasted right and in my mind, was for people who didn’t really like sausage.

Not this one. Forget about all the good things on the label (and they are good things). This sausage hands down is flavorful, juicy, and meaty. The bacon and pork flavors really shine and the sausage is mildly spiced in a way that doesn’t get in the way of the porky goodness.

I would give this a strong 8 on a scale of 10 and can highly recommend you give this a try. This is the second Pederson’s product we reviewed in the past 3 days and both received a score of 8. In my book, that’s a great score and is only enhanced by the fact that they start with great ingredients and then let those products speak for themselves.

 

Kiolbassa Beef and Cheddar Smoked Sausage

When I think about states I like to visit just for a good sausage sampling run, several come to mind.

New York – great neighborhood meat markets, many offering their own version of various primarily fresh sausages.

Louisiana – again with the neighborhood stores and meat markets turning out boudin and andouille made from everything from pork to alligator.

Ohio – lots of great polish, slovenian. german, and czech sausages in Ohio

Wisconsin – Brats of course!

Texas –  If you’re a sausage fan and you’ve never been to Texas, you need to set some time aside and make the trip. You could spend months visiting smokehouses and local sausage makers of all styles and varieties and still come away wishing you had time to get to that one last place that somebody told you about at what you thought was your final destination. Texans take their sausage seriously.

One thing that Texas does well is Beef sausage and today we are reviewing a Texas staple brand, Kiolbassa Provision Company of San Antonio. Kiolbassa has been in the sausage business for over 60 years and their sausages are readily available throughout Texas.

kiolbassa smoked sausage beef and cheddar

This is a medium grind lightly smoked beef sausage with cheddar cheese. Kiolbassa retails their sausage both in stores all over Texas and of course online – at $9.95 per package this is priced as a premium sausage but each package is 1.25 pounds so they are packing in a little more sausage then average.

This had a nice beef flavor with just a hint of smoke compared to your typical smoked pork sausage. No fillers or gristle in any of the sausages and the cheddar added a nice if not slightly muted touch to the flavor profile. I find some beef sausages to be a little greasy from time to time but that was not a problem with the Kiolbassa beef and cheddar. The casing on this sausage was thicker then you would normally get from your typical pork sausage also but it is appropriate for the style of sausage and personally I like the extra snap and texture.

I have 3 other varieties from Kiolbassa to sample later but if they hold up to this one, I would say that Kiolbassa provides as fine a product as you will find in your grocery store and it can hold it’s own with many of the fine beef sausages I’ve had at some of the best smokehouses in the state.  I expect Texas beef sausage to have a nice dose of black pepper and this did not. That didn’t detract from the overall flavor or the quality of the sausage, it just was different then what I expected in that area.

I would purchase this sausage again and recommend it as a good example of Texas beef sausage.

Ingredients: Beef, water, pasteurized processed cheddar cheese, salt, potassium lactate, flavoring, sugar, garlic, sodium nitrate, sodium diacetate.