[Sca-cooks] cooking sausage

Phil Troy / G.Tacitus Adamantius adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Sat Nov 4 06:42:49 PST 2006

On Nov 4, 2006, at 12:53 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Adamantius said:
> <<< Generally, yes. Look for cool spots on your griddle or in your  
> oven,
> test there. Trichinosis and e. coli are both killed at temperatures
> which leave you with rare meat.  >>>


> The feast was cooked over an open fire with open grid grills and
> metal tripods. The sausages were grilled on the grill while the pork
> and the venison was grilled on rotisseries between the iron tripods.
> I'm wondering if it might have been a good idea to test each sausage
> link with a meat thermometer. I know that several hanks of sausages
> had not thawed completely and were being thawed/cooked on the grill
> before the rest got cooked. They sausage train? had to be moved
> around the grill and rotated to make sure all the links cooked evenly.
> At the feast the first sausage I got was rather gooey/liquidy while
> the others were okay, even close to being too dry. While it is
> possible this difference was due to differences in processing, I
> doubt it since they were made ahead of time in batches in the
> headcook's kitchen.

It's not impossible that there might be minor variations from batch  
to batch based, theoretically, on the same recipe, and unevenly mixed  
fat content, looser stuffing of the links, or any of several factors,  
including the undercooked meat scenario you mention, might account  
for the effect you describe.

> So I suspect they were handled very similarly. So
> my suspicion is that the first link I got may not have been cooked
> sufficiently. This could have been because it was one of the sausages
> that was thawed and cooked at the same time or that getting an even
> heat to all sausages in a string was difficult or that it was
> difficult to see how well the sausages were cooking because of the
> smoke. I doubt the latter though since the sausages were cooked
> during the day, and I seem to remember the outside was browned.

Well, note that I said "generally", you shouldn't have to test every  
link. What you seem to be describing as site-specific variations on  
cooking conditions includes no heat in some locations, which, some  
cooks might argue, is not so much an indictment of the cooking method  
as a polite questioning as to whether there's an actual cooking  
process happening at all ;-).

This might have been a good time to parboil all the sausages to a  
minimal state of doneness before the event, and then reheat them on  
the grill.

> What *is* a "Taylor Pork Roll"?  I saw something labeled as this at
> the grocery or at Sam's Warehouse recently, but since they wanted $12/
> pound for it, I chose something cheaper. (Maybe after I get a job...)

That sounds pretty expensive. Even online merchants sell the stuff  
for about $5-10/lb.

Taylor Pork Roll is alleged to be one of those Northern/Western New  
Jersey/Philadelphia things, but we saw it frequently at our house in  
New York when I was a kid. It is essentially ground-up pork made into  
a large, coarse sausage, cured like a ham and traditionally wrapped  
in a canvas casing that looks kind of like a sack. Maybe it's cured  
before processing into the sausage shape, but on a chemical level  
it's similar to ham or bacon, but with a texture I'd call similar to  
Lebanon bologna or kielbasa. I remember it as being... tangy,  
probably as a result of a combination of lactic fermentation and  
smoking. There is apparently a "Trenton-style" product that is  
milder, and probably has less of both of these.

The most common applications seem to be slicing and frying the stuff  
like ham or bacon, for breakfast, but there are also partisans who'll  
only eat it for lunch on a hard roll (I assume still sliced and fried).

Apparently New Yorkers and other posers have been known to refer to  
this product as Taylor Ham (we always did), but Real New Jerseyans  
tend to refer to it as Pork Roll, and there are other brands that are  
popular, locally, but Taylor is the big one. It's probably an  
inexpensive Depression-era staple that became absorbed as a quirky  
part of the local culture, one to which expatriates wishing to  
remember and honor their roots attach great sentimental value --  
which is probably why it's $12 a pound at a Texas Sam's Club ;-).

There's a nice article about the Taylor Pork Roll phenomenon in last  
May's issue of Weird New Jersey magazine, the flagship publication of  
the guys responsible for the Weird US series on The History Channel a  
while back. It included three late 50's, early 60's recipes involving  
pork roll, complete with those lovely, distinctive, Gallery-Of- 
Regrettable-Food-type photos, including one of a lordly presentation  
of a whole, baked, glazed Pork Roll.


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