26 January, 2010

Farmland Sausage Links: A Dollar Store Breakfast Treat

Dollar Tree recently had a selection of Farmland brand sausage links in 8-ounce packages. Buying them seemed a good idea at the time - the price worked out to just two dollars a pound, and Farmland isn't a bad brand - their deli ham is decent, and there's nothing wrong with their bacon.

I first started having misgivings, though, when I opened up the packages and found that they were "skinless" sausages, not links. Links should be in casings, twisted into individual sausages and linked together. That's why they're called "links," Farmland, get it? No, these were extruded cylinders of bumpy stuff bearing a strong resemblance to those nasty "brown and serve" things they sell in the supermarket.

Although leery of them by now, I fried them up anyway.

Original were fairly standard-tasting, with typical spice and herb aromas and flavors. The texture was bad, though: spongy and soft and oozy.

Pork and Bacon had an amazing bacon flavor and such an intense bacon aroma as it was cooking that the whole house smelled delicious as I made breakfast. They were the best of the three, though still somewhat hampered by the off-putting texture.

Hot and Zesty smelled wonderful as we cooked them, but unfortunately the spiciness was provided by cayenne pepper, which added a rough and scratchy heat without enhancing the flavor of the sausage in any way. That meant two strikes against this flavor because of that texture issue again.

In the time since I first tried these sausages, Farmland seems to have discontinued the Pork and Bacon flavor, and introduced several others (Honey & Maple, Cider House, and Lower Sodium) which I haven't had an opportunity to try. I think they have a great concept here, and for the most part the flavors are spot on (well, except for the misplaced heat in the Hot & Zesty) but the mouthfeel and sponginess of the final product just puts me off of them. I have no idea why they should be like that, since there aren't any fillers or junk listed on the ingredients list, but despite the evident quality of the ingredients, I can't recommend them.

You might want to look for them in the supermarket anyway, though, because of the box art. Check out this closeup of one of the boxes and tell me what those sausages look like. Especially the ones I've pointed out with arrows.


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