Author Topic: Italian Sausage Shootout!  (Read 2711 times)

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Offline ThunderStik

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Italian Sausage Shootout!
« on: February 19, 2010, 02:48:42 PM »
About a month ago I noticed one of our local stores started carrying a few new types of Italian sausage so I decided to try them out.

While I feel safe in saying that none of these will replace a home/hand made sausage I was just looking for something I could go and buy at the local store that had a decent flavor and would be easy to obtain. I usually just buy my toppings from my favorite local joint. But that’s 30 miles away.

Crust. 4 pies @ 16"
Typical Lehman 2 day ferment nothing special.
60% hyd
All crusts were from 1 batch.

Sauce was home made.
Cheese was 100% PSLM mozz made 3 miles away at a fresh dairy.

All sausages were prepared the same way. Sauted in a black cast iron skillet until a little crusty brown. Skillet was wiped out and cleaned in-between brands.

Pies were baked in the order the sausage was cooked so they all spent about the same amount of time in-between the skillet and the oven.

Testing was done in 2 parts.
1) Tasting when fresh out of the skillet and cool enough to eat. Only water was used to drink during all testing.
2) After baked on the pie when cool enough to eat.

My wife
My brother
Oldest son (eight)
Youngest son (seven)

Both my boys have a decent palate; the oldest can identify spices and can articulate what he likes as well or better than most non-foodie adults. I take his opinion as serious as anybody else’s when it comes to pizza testing.

Through all the testing I was the only one who knew what was what and said nothing to influence anybody. I gave my scores last.


Johnsonville, I have used this before and never really cared for it at all but I figured I would throw it in the mix.

Jimmy Dean.

J.C. Potter


The Potter, JDean and Owens are packaged like breakfast sausage and found in the same area. The Jville is in link form.

Phase 1. Best to worst.
There was a kind of tie here so there will be 1A and 1B as 1 tester (me) could not pick one over the other.

1A. JC Potter
1B. Jimmy Dean
3. Owens
4. JohnsonVille.

After cooking on the pie it was a whole different story.
Best to worst.

1)   Owens
2)   JC Potter
3)   Jimmy Dean
4)   Johnsonville

After being Baked on the Pie.

Owens.  It really came to life and retained if not gained flavor during the bake. This was first in a 4-1 score.

JC Potter. It lost a little flavor in the context of a pizza but was a solid second (4-1 for second place. The 1 person that did not vote it second (wife) voted it first).

Jimmy Dean. This sausage just seemed to get really lost in the context of a pizza. By itself it seems to have a good almost “smokey/bacon” type of flavor added in. On a pie though it fell quite a bit with a 3rd place vote at 5-0.

JohnsonVille. This seemed to be the mildest sausage of the bunch. In a clear cut vote of 5-0 this was last place in both phases.

Once again this was just my family’s opinion so try them for yourself and see what you think. But if you had to pick 1, either of the top 2 would be my pick. If you can get some homemade of course that would be tops im sure.


« Last Edit: February 20, 2010, 12:25:26 AM by ThunderStik »

(in my house)

Offline TXCraig1

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    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Italian Sausage Shootout!
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2010, 06:16:05 PM »
I've been using Owens or our local store made stuff lately. In either case, I sprinkle on a little fennel seed and crushed red pepper, mix it up real good, roll it up tight in plastic wrap, and let it rest in the fridge overnight before cooking. I think it really helps the store bought stuff a lot.

I stay away from Kroger brand Italian sausage. I don't know what they put in it, but it has a very artifical-chemical taste.

"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline ThunderStik

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Re: Italian Sausage Shootout!
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 08:10:40 PM »
Thats a darn good idea, I will try that. Thanks for the tip.

(in my house)

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Italian Sausage Shootout!
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 08:17:25 PM »
Try out some homemade spice blends on small batches and come up with your own. Google "sausage formulations" or more specific "italian sausage formulations" and you'll get a bunch of stuff to play with. Len Poli has a great site with lots of info. It's a bunch of fun too. Been making my own sausage for years. Our biggest batch was 600 pounds of venison sausage with a few buddies and a lot of beer!!

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”            -Mark Twain

If you don't think you're getting what you should out of life.....maybe you're getting what you deserve       -the Root Beer Lady

Offline ThunderStik

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Re: Italian Sausage Shootout!
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 08:35:39 PM »
Thank you sir I will check that out.

(in my house)