Thursday, February 27, 2020

Sausage of the Month Club — Johnsonville Andouille Chicken Sausage (February 2020)

It’s like literally licking Louisiana — you know, except without having to worry about being shot and all

By: Jimbo X

For all of you damned Yankees, it’s pronounced “Un-Dewey,” and no, I have no idea what the hell it’s supposed to be a reference to, either. According to the Wikipedia, traditional Cajun andouille sausage is made out of pig intestines, with a considerable amount of garlic and pepper thrown into the mix to kinda’ sorta’ get you to forget your eating a deep-fried pig’s poop chute for dinner.

Now, I don’t know what our Sausage of the Month for February 2020 is actually supposed to be made out of. Alas, since this offering from Johnsonville is comprised of chicken protein, I’m just gonna’ go on ahead and guess that it AIN’T made entirely out of rooster guts — that is, unless they have some big ass roosters roaming around in the wild in the exurbs of Baton Rouge. Still, the ingredients list on this product does seem suspiciously nondescript, with chicken, water and corn syrup listed as the primary ingredients and a goulash of onion powder, sodium nitrate and paprika making up the balance. Of course, they never tell us WHAT part of the chicken is being used here, but hey, this ain’t no conspiracy theorist website — as far as I’m concerned, we’re just gonna’ take the fine folks at Johnsonville for the word and simply assume we’re not eating processed poultry sphincter here. 

As you likely deduced for yourself, this offering from Johnsonville is considerably more calorie-conscious than its regular assortment of pecker-shaped proteins. The whole meat log is barely 540 calories, taken as a whole, with the entire sausage containing about 300 calories from fat. Of course, the cholesterol tab is pretty high — the complete link will give you about 78 percent of your recommended daily intake — and in terms of sodium, this bad body right here will EASILY put you at 102 percent of the RDA for salt all by its damn self. Just something to keep in mind while you are patting yourself on the back about those 48 grams of protein you’re dumping into your system here.

So by this point, you should know how to fry a successful sausage. All you gotta’ do here is douse a pan in olive oil, or if you’re really, really poor, Pam, plop that sumbitch in there, crank the heat all the way up to high and avoid any ensuing wiener grease from splashing into your cornea. As the case with the Johnsonville Kielbasa I tried out last month, you can expect at about 20-30 minutes to get this thing charred to perfection.

Yes, it is fairly time-consuming, but that’s kinda’ the joy of the craft here —indeed, preparing sausage is just as much an art form as it is a means of ingesting high volumes of nitrates in cylindrical form. 

Of course, as we here at TIIIA have been trying to tell your unlearned asses for years now, you really can’t have a dandy sausage entree without also pairing it with a nice, scrumptious, savory sauce of sorts. And if we’re going to be eating some fine Cajun dick-shaped delicacies this evening, that means we HAVE to partner it with a condiment with a similar Nawlins’ flavor, don’t we? 

Enter Zatarin’s CREOLE MUSTARD, ya’ll. Not only is this shit the perfect complement to our Andouille chicken sausage main attraction, really, it’s the only sauce that seems practical for the circumstances.

Now, as for what makes Creole mustard any different than regular mustard, I’m not quite sure. A gander at the ingredients list on the back of the glass vial indicates we’re mostly working with vinegar, brown mustard seed and salt here, so maybe the secret is in all that xanthan gum? And for you health-conscious sorts, you don’t have to worry about the caloric density too much — as a matter of fact, you can safely consume the entire container and only get 150 calories out of the culinary experience. And that’s called being health-smart, people — I mean, probably.

While the packaging commands you to test the readiness of the meat via a thermometer, such inventions are for the bourgeoisie class, and they can go fuck themselves. At TIIIA, our official policy is your sausage ain’t ready for ingestin’ ‘til at least 3/4th of said wiener looks like an immolated pecker, which is really weird in this case, because it would be an immolated pecker with two penis heads. Regardless, make that sucker black and beautiful and I assure you, the extra cooking time will be well worth it in the long haul.

As for the taste of this particular sausage, it’s kinda’ hard to pinpoint an exact taste or texture or mouthfeel (or even flavor) that makes it stand out so much. If the standout attribute of kielbasa is its reliance on garlic and black powder, I guess the compositional dasein of Andouille resides in the one-two punch of garlic and paprika.

I also reckon they do something really different with the sausage sock casing, since it’s way chewier than with most rival sausage varieties. It’s going to sound weird, but the best way to put it is like this. You know how when you eat most sausages, the outside shell is kinda’ neutral and all the flavors are inside the meat? Well, with this sausage product, it’s the opposite — the interior meat is just kinda’ meah, while all of the spices and punchiness resides on the outer layer. Not that I’m complaining or anything, because it certainly provides for a unique gustatory experience. But at the same time, I also understand why this stuff is more commonly used as accoutrements in other other Cajun dressings; it’s a good supporting cast member as far as proteins go, but it’s just not robust enough, I’m afraid, to be a standalone star player.

And with that in mind, a good sauce is especially important here, and thankfully, this creole pudding didn’t disappoint. It was quite as tactilely-pleasing as the stone-ground Germanic shit we tried out last time, but Zatarin’s mix here is undoubtedly satisfying, providing precisely the kind of culinary kick we need to make the whole chicken sausage log a meal unto itself. Without the sauce, this thing is a pretty ho-hum, five-out-of-ten affair, but with a jar of this shit on the side, it easily gets bumped up to a easy 6.5 — hell, maybe even a straight seven-out-of-ten, pending you’re hungry enough. 

So, on the whole, I ain’t gonna’ bullshit you people and tell you I was the biggest fan of this here Andouille chicken sausage, but on the whole, it was decent, if not perfectly passable.

Really, the chicken flavor was pretty weak and I guess the white meat doesn't do as good a job as soaking up all the idiosyncratic spices as well as the pork and beef does. But on the plus side, even with the special mustard sauce the entire package only nets you about 700 calories or so overall, which is a downright stellar tradeoff for what almost feels like a whole pound of sausage. 

To sum up? Johnsonville’s Andouille Chicken Sausage isn’t great, but it ain’t terrible either. You know what you’re getting into any time you buy chicken sausage, so be forewarned — unless you’ve got a really, REALLY solid dipping sauce on the side, you’re bound to be disappointed, no matter the brand name ...


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