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.)
I love red hots. No so easy to get if you live all over the country, but surely a genuine southeast coastal gem. I can remember serving them up on Saturday mornings, circa 1979... with yellow mustard and white bread folded over. Soul food!
Not too bad if fried and served on a kaiser roll but don't put these in split pea soup. There's enough red dye to make it look like tomato soup.
If you get pass the color of it, it ain't half bad, with eggs it improves the taste
I grew up with these little gems. Can't get anything like this anywhere else. This is one of my comfort foods.
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