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Archive for the ‘Talk’ Category

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!

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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?

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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)?

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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!

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No Mystery in This Meat

Freshly Ground Isernio's Sausage

A certain fast food chain has been in the news lately because their “seasoned beef” taco filling actually contains a substantial amount of non-beef ingredients including binders, fillers and unnecessary sugar, and they’re being sued for it.

Reactions to this news has been across the board – from being disputed by Taco Bell, to experts claiming this is par for the course, to just plain disgust from the public.  Regardless of your opinion, there’s no denying that controversy over processed meat products has been all over the place in recent years.   As a meat producer we take this very seriously, and our stand is simple:  Real food makes for a healthier you.

  

Here’s the ingredient listing for that “seasoned beef” filling:  
Beef, Water, Seasoning [Isolated Oat Product, Salt, Chili Pepper, Onion Powder, Tomato Powder, Oats (Wheat), Soy Lecithin, Sugar, Spices, Maltodextrin, Soybean Oil (Anti-dusting Agent), Garlic Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Caramel Color, Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali), Silicon Dioxide, Natural Flavors, Yeast, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Smoke Flavor], Salt, Sodium Phosphates.

 

As a contrast, here’s the ingredient listing for Isernio’s Italian Chicken Sausage: 
Chicken, water, salt, fennel, spices (including pepper), bell pepper, paprika, dehydrated garlic, parsley, natural flavor, lemon juice concentrate.

 

Which one would you rather eat?  We feel it’s important to know what you’re putting in your body, and that eating “real” food and ingredients is key to a healthy lifestyle – which is why we’ve never used any sort of fillers, binders, extenders, artificial colors or flavors, or unnecessary sugars and corn syrup. 

We have no problem showing you there’s absolutely no mystery in our meat.  In fact, here’s a photo taken of a whole chicken thigh in our plant right before it was ground and combined with spices to make our sausage: 

Skinless chicken thigh - just like you'd buy at the supermarket

 

Nothing too mysterious there – ours is really the sausage you want to see made!  For more info on our company and production processes, check out this video that takes you behind the scenes.  We’re proud of what we make, and hope you and your family enjoy it too!

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The USDA has just released their 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, urging us to basically eat less, drink more water than sugary drinks or alcohol, lower fat and sodium intake, eat more fruits and veggies and balance our calorie intake with physical activity.  Seems fairly obvious…?   Maybe that depends on who you ask, but in any case we’re pleased to see the USDA encouraging healthy habits to help combat obesity and related health problems.

Not to toot our own horn (ok, maybe a little), but Isernio’s sausage products are a fantastic lean protein option that we feel have always been a good fit into a healthy diet, and are indeed a good fit with these new USDA guidelines as well.  Our chicken sausage is made from 95% lean skinless chicken thigh – that’s only 5% fat; just 3.5 grams of fat per link.   Plus, the premium seasonings we use add a ton of flavor to any dish, so even a little can go a long way. 

Now that we have the horn-tooting out of the way, we’re interested to know your thoughts – will you and your family be making any changes to your diet as a result of these new guidelines?   Or is this all just old news to you now?

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Don’t know about your neck of the woods, but around here the weather is GORGEOUS, which of course means we want to sit outside with a nice cold one, and grill up some sausage.

What kind of summer drinks go well with sausage?  Here are some favorites from Isernio’s employees:

Frank and Margaret Isernio: Nothing goes better with grilled sausage on a hot day than cold beer or white wine.  We prefer Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Frank’s preferred beer is Stella Artois.  As for cocktails before a meal, we like Campari & Soda with a wedge of fresh cut Orange squeezed in. 

Mary Ann Peterson:  Wine spritzer, seltzer with a slice of lime, or a Blue Moon Belgian ale

Mike Durand:  Stella Artois (maybe he’s just copying Frank?)

Scott Mayhew:   If it’s hot out, I’m either having a Gatorade or a beer!

Tony Rodriguez:  Mike’s Hard Lemonade

Ingrid Harger:  A nice cold glass of Riesling – Chateau Ste Michelle is one of my favorites. 

What’s YOUR favorite beverage to have on a hot summer day with some grilled sausage?

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