Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sausage in a can revisited

I wrote about canned sausage last week, but I have a confession to make: that was an old scan from a few years ago. It had been so long since I ate that stuff that I really didn't remember what it tasted like. So, I bough another can. But, I didn't just buy another can of Prairie Belt Smoked Sausage. Nope. I also bought a can of Vienna sausage since the one thing I did remember about the Prairie Belt sausage was that it reminded me of Vienna sausage.

I used to eat Vienna sausages when I was little, but they always reminded me of little penises. Somewhere along the line I stopped eating them. I guess one day I realized that they just don't taste that good. It's been a couple of decades probably since I've eaten the things.

When I opened the can they smelled and looked just as unappetizing as I remembered them. The liquid reminded a bit of hot dog water, but not as appealing. The taste? Bland. Not horrible, just bland. It's hard to describe. Imagine a hot dog, but just not as good. (Which isn't much of an endorsement since I don't really care for hot dogs either.) They looked just like lengths of hot dog, but the texture was much softer. Maybe if they were browned in a skillet or cooked on a charcoal grill they would be worth eating. Maybe not.

Ingredients: mechanically separated chicken, chicken broth, water, beef, pork, less than 2% of: salt, sugar, spices, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate and garlic powder.

Printed on the can was the following, "Libby's Vienna Sausages in Chicken Broth are ready-to-eat plump, delicately seasoned sausages. Enjoy them heated, chilled or right out of the container as a snack, main dish or sliced and added to casseroles and soups." Or just buy some real food.

On to the next can.

The Prairie Belt Smoked Sausages were a little shocking after I dumped them onto a plate. The liquid was a distressing yellowish color. They looked exactly like Vienna sausages, except darker. The smell was mainly sort of smoky. The taste? Worse than Vienna sausages, but not entirely inedible. The Viennas were more tolerable because they were so bland, while the Prairie Belt sausages had an unsettling tang to them.

Ingredients: mechanically separated chicken, water, chicken skins, pork skins, corn syrup, pork spleens, salt, no more than 2 percent of: soy protein isolate, natural flavorings, pork stomachs, sodium phosphate, oleoresin of paprika, sodium nitrate, smoke flavoring.

I really find it hard to believe that there was no more than 2% of smoke flavoring because the main smell and taste by far was smoky. The only other flavor I could identify was salt. Lots of salt.

After I ate a few of the Prairie Belt sausages, I decided I'd had enough. They're pretty awful, but not in any way I can describe. But I still had to finish both cans for lunch, which was my big plan for this weekend. (Yes, I know how sad that is.) The way I saw it (and I was deranged at this point from salt and pork spleen), the only way I was going to be able to finish them was to put the remaining six sausages between two slices of cheese and bread, then nuke it in the microwave for a bit. One side of the sandwich was Vienna and the other side was Prairie Belt. I ate the Vienna side first, and much to my surprise, it wasn't bad. In fact, it was almost good. I expected the Prairie Belt side to be an improvement over eating them plain, but I was sadly mistaken. Vile things these Prairie Belt Smoked Sausages. I made myself eat the whole sandwich, but it was more than a bit nauseating.

After I was done, I noticed that the serving size for each of these was half a can, so I had quadrupled the serving size. Now I can go another twenty-five or thirty years without eating this kind of stuff again.


JAMIE said...

When i was a kid my uncle gave me some prairie belt sausage.To my surprise they tasted very good.Here
it is 20 years later and i still love to eat them,i always tell my friends to try them.My father like
them too.I guess it,s an african american thing because we love them.I fry them, put them between two pieces of bread and pour syrup all over.It,s so good.God bless the man or woman who made them!

doo said...

all my grandmother ate late in life was vienna sausages, lays potato chips and chocolate ice cream. i'm getting a vienna sausage tattoo in memory of her. she died in august of last year. i like to smush them and spread them on saltines...i really enjoyed your article by the way. i am a journalism student/editor so i read a lot of shitty writing. your writing was very entertaining.

Jeff Price said...

Prairie Belt Sausages- I LOVE these things. Slice them length-wise, fry 'em up, put them between two slices of bread (with mayo)- and you have an awesome sandwich.

I am not fond of Vienna sausages, but I can eat them too.

Anonymous said...

I like to take the Prairie Belt sausages on float trips. I call the 'spleenie weenies'. They somehow just seem to taste better in a canoe in the Ozarks.

Anonymous said...

Man....sorry comments about those that didn't like them...In my eyes, these are the best tasting little sausages I have ever eaten!!! The beat the old Vienna sausage 500-1%...I get them and they are gone almost immediately...Love them!!!