It’s back to school time, and (dare we say it) the holidays are just around the corner, so it’s a great time to stock your freezer with quick, easy meal ideas for the busy days ahead! Don’t forget, select Costco stores are now carrying an exclusive 3-pack of our all-natural, low fat Italian Chicken Sausage Rolls at a great price ($8.99 for 3 – that’s just $3 a roll!). Thaw one out in the refrigerator overnight for a healthy, delicious dinner or breakfast the next day. This bulk sausage is perfect for use in spaghetti sauce, quiche, omelets, or even as a substitute for ground beef or turkey (it makes a fantastic burger). We have plenty of recipes on our website at www.isernio.com/recipes. Look for the exclusive 3-pack of Italian Chicken sausage at these Costco locations (and if you go on the right day, you might get a free sample too!):
Covington, WA
Issaquah, WA
Kirkland, WA
Marysville, WA
Puyallup, WA
Seattle, WA (4th Ave)
Sequim, WA
Tukwila, WA
Tumwater, WA
Woodinville, WA
Bend, OR
Anchorage, AK (Dimond Blvd.)

A recent ground turkey recall due to an outbreak of Salmonella has been in the news, which reminded us that it’s always important to keep food safety top of mind when preparing any food in your home, especially fresh meats like our pork and chicken sausage.  Whether it’s a grilled sausage sandwich or a savory pasta sauce, the peace of mind from knowing you handled and cooked the sausage properly will make it that much more enjoyable!

The USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service recommends the following guidelines for preventing Salmonella:

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry.
  • Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.
  • Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
  • Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for ground meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.
  • Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

A lot of this is common sense, but it’s always a good idea to remind ourselves of these guidelines once in a while.  We also think one of the best tools you can have in the kitchen is a good digital thermometer – get one that will give you an instant temperature reading (we like this one).   Making sure your fresh sausage is cooked to the proper temperature will help you and your family enjoy the meal worry-free!

Celery juice or powder is a source of natural nitrates - thought to be just as risky as chemical nitrates!

We found this article about all the concern AND confusion out there right now about nitrates in sausage very interesting.  Did you know that even “natural” or “organic” sausages or hot dogs can contain just as much nitrates as the traditional versions?  The natural products are just using celery juice or celery powder to create a “natural” nitrate.  But, those natural nitrates are thought to be just as dangerous as chemical nitrates, possibly increasing the risk of diabetes, heart attacks and colon cancer.

Many food manufacturers are actually trying to convince the USDA to require more specific labeling when it comes to chemical vs. natural nitrates – which we think is great.  But we would rather just avoid the issue all together, and we have been for over 30 years now with our fresh pork and chicken sausages.  Our all-natural chicken and pork sausages are made from fresh, whole cuts of meat, ready for you to cook and incorporate in your family’s favorite dishes.  No chemicals, no preservatives, and no nitrates or nitrites whatsoever to worry about.  Pretty simple!  We don’t have the need for nitrates in our products, and yes sometimes cooking a fresh or raw sausage like ours takes a few extra minutes, but we think the end result is well worth it.  (Hint:  if you need help in the kitchen, Frank has a video showing you how to cook fresh sausage perfectly every time!)

Tell us what you think:  Do you try to avoid nitrates in your diet?  Do you find the labeling of “natural nitrates” to be confusing?

Gadgets can make grilling easy (and fun!)

The 4th of July is just around the corner.  What are your grilling plans for the weekend?   We hope it will include some Isernio’s sausage!  (don’t forget to check our website for tons of sausage grilling recipes).   

Really it’s all about the fire and the meat, but grilling can be a lot more fun (and easier) with some useful tools.  Here are some of our favorites:


Digital Thermometer

The best way to ensure your meat is grilled to juicy perfection and not overdone is to use a good quality digital thermometer.  We love the Super Fast Thermapen from Thermaworks.  It has large digits and gives you an accurate reading within 3 seconds.  Well worth the investment. 

(It’s always important to cook meat to the proper temperature.  The USDA website Is it Done Yet? is a great resource for the proper and safe cooking temperatures for different types of meat.)  

Chimney Charcoal Starter

If you’re grilling over coals, you need a good chimney charcoal starter to get things going.  It’s faster and easier than using lighter fluid (and safer for the environment).  Just crumple some newspaper in the bottom of the chimney, add coals on top and light the newspaper.  Fifteen minutes later you have hot coals ready to be released into the grill.

A Good Basting Brush

Whether you’re spreading your favorite barbeque sauce on a burger or a simple glaze of olive oil over some chicken sausage, a good basting brush is essential.  We like silicone brushes, as they are heat proof and clean up easily. 

Sausage Grilling Basket

This is a handy tool if you’re grilling up sausage for a crowd.  Place the sausages in the Sausage Grilling Basket over the grill, and you’ll be able to turn all six sausages at once! 

(By the way, we highly recommend pre-cooking sausage prior to grilling, and then simply browning the sausage over the grill to preserve juiciness and ensure the sausage is done all the way through.  Frank has a video on How to Properly Cook Sausage .  Follow along his instructions to pre-cook in water, then just finish them on the grill!)

Cedar Grilling Planks

If you’ve never had cedar plank salmon, you are in for a treat!  Soak these planks in water and then grill your fish – or chicken or steak – on top of one to infuse smoky deliciousness into the meat (sure, throw some sausage on there too while you’re at it!).  The planks can be found in many grocery store meat departments, or online like these at Williams Sonoma.  There are many great recipes out on the internet for cedar planked salmon, but we love this simple Cedar Plank Salmon recipe from Bobby Flay.

Grill Brush

And then, of course there’s the cleanup.  Luckily outdoor cooking leaves very few dishes to be done, but it is always a good idea to give your grill grate a scrubbing before you use it again.  There are several good grill brushes out there (and some people even swear by just using a balled up piece of aluminum foil!).  We like this Grill Wizard Grill Brush, which also received great reviews from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.

What are your favorite grilling tools?  We’d love to hear about your must-have grilling gadgets!

We recently found this article from the hospitality industry that discusses how polled consumers say they eat chicken more frequently than any other type of meat, and they feel there are still opportunities on menus for even more poultry items.  Twenty five percent said they would likely order chicken breakfast sandwiches at restaurants if they were available.

Since we specialize in fresh chicken sausage, this is of course great news to us!  What do you think?   If there were more chicken items on restaurant menus, including breakfast sandwiches like the article mentions, would you choose chicken over other meats (like pork sausage)?

Grilled Sausage & Vegetables - the perfect healthy summer meal! Find the recipe on our website.

May is national barbeque month!  What better way to celebrate the warmer weather by heading outdoors to enjoy some good food with good friends and family. 

The Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association recently took a poll of Americans about their grilling habits, and the consensus is that outdoor cooking is as popular as ever!  We thought this statistic was particularly interesting:

Seventy percent of Americans say cooking out gets them in a healthier routine, specifically by encouraging time spent outdoors instead of cooped up in the house. Outdoor cooking also encourages adults to make smarter food choices such as eating fresh rather than frozen foods (54% agreed) and cooking healthier food on the grill overall (40% agreed).

We agree that cooking fresh food outdoors is a smart, healthy option.  Our chicken sausages are a great choice for the grill:  95% lean and available in many versatile flavors.   Whether it’s a sausage & pepper sandwich, sausage burger, grilled pizza, or simply a colorful platter of grilled sausage and vegetables, we hope you can find ways to fit our lean, healthy sausage into your outdoor cooking plans this summer.

What are your barbeque plans for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend?  Do you have any favorite sausage grilling recipes to share? 

Discover sausage grilling techniques and recipes from Frank on our YouTube Channel

Don’t forget to check out Isernio’s website for recipe ideas, and Frank has some great sausage grilling tips and recipes on our IserniosSausage YouTube Channel too.  Happy Grilling!

$1.00 Coupon!

Save $1.00!

We have just put a coupon up on our website for $1.00 off any package of Isernio’s sausage links!  Our links are available at many grocery stores in WA, OR, AK, MT and ID, including Fred Meyer, QFC, Top Foods, Safeway and Metropolitan Market.

This coupon will only be available for a limited time, so head over to our website HERE to print the coupon and find some recipe ideas!