Janik Sausage Company, my hometown kiebasa makers, have introduced an awesome new product, Janik Juniors Kielbasa Dogs. They're the same delicious kielbasa I've been eating since I was a kid, except in fat foot-long form.
The first time I saw them, it was at Arnold's Meats in East Longmeadow; I bought a package and couldn't wait to get them home to try out. I was not disappointed. The meat and spice blends were the same as the full-sized kielbasa that is famous around here, and the natural casing gave the dogs an excellent snap. The only difference between the Juniors and their regular kielbasa (other than size) was that the Juniors have a slightly finer grind to the filling.
I've bought them a couple of times since that first trial, and have not yet been disappointed. They're great on the grill, and they're just as great made in a skillet with kraut.
I probably don't have to explain how to do this to anyone, but just in case you've never experienced the joys of kielbasa and kraut, here's how I do it:
Heat up a skillet.
Put in the kielbasa dogs and keep the heat on medium high. Turn the dogs frequently as you brown them. You might want to poke a hole or two in them with a fork, so they can leak out some of the fat into the pan. If you're lucky, your kielbasa will whistle at you as steam jets out of the holes.
After browning the kielbasa dogs to your satisfaction, dump in the sauerkraut of your choice. Give it a quick couple of stirs and then turn the heat down to medium low. Let the kraut sizzle in the pan with the dogs as you stir the whole thing around a couple of times. The juice from the sauerkraut will deglaze the kielbasa bits from the skillet, and everything will taste even more excellent than you will be imagining from the aroma.
When the sauerkraut is sufficiently heated, tip the lot onto a serving platter and lift it to the table.
There is one other thing I'd like to mention about the Janik Juniors. I have yet to find a package with all of the sausages of uniform size. I think this is because they are filling them with a continuous length of casing, and there is some kind of taper to it by its nature. I would like to see the company develop a little more consistency with the sizing, but I expect that will come with practice and experience. For the moment, though, I am really happy to see one of my favorite local food producers introducing a new product to the market. Janik makes an excellent kielbasa, and I hope the new Juniors coax more people to give it a try.