26 May, 2010

The Dogs of Summer 2 - Virginia Smoked Link Sausage


Virginia Smoked Link Sausages aren't really "hot dogs."  They're short, fat, bright red sausage links made by T. O. Williams Inc. in Portsmouth, Virginia, and there are three of them in a nine-ounce package, for a dollar at Dollar Tree - that works out to $1.44 per pound - a real bargain.

The ingredients are kind of sketchy - the list includes mechanically separated turkey and pork spleens - and although they have casings I doubt that they're natural hog or sheep casing from the way they almost instantly char and curl over the coals.  But it may surprise you to find that they really aren't all that bad.  

I wasn't sure what to expect from these cheap red-hots.  I've had pork spleen - it's very commonly available at Asian markets in the fresh meat case - and it tastes very much like liver, but with a slightly different texture.  Made into Virginia Smoked Links, though, the livery taste disappears.  Combined with the other spices - including some kind of red pepper which gives them a pleasant spicy burn in the back of the mouth - the overall flavor is quite standard.

T, O, Williams labels them "The Red One!" and that is no exaggeration.  They're as red as can be, from the skins to the center.  On a hot grill, the outside browns quickly and chars easily, developing an enjoyable smokiness.  They were very good served with a decent brown mustard.  I'd buy them again.

Checking for T. O. Williams online didn't lead to a website, so unfortunately I can't provide a link (no pun intended ha ha.)

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