About Sausage and Weenies

I have to correct misimpressions about our encased meats about once a year as new customers come on board and are learning the rules of the road to good and wholesome eating. Some are surprised that JVF, a clean, wholesome and local farm would offer sausage and weenies. That’s understandable since these products have a deserved reputation that is less than savory.

Let’s start with the easiest one, link sausage, usually found in your cooler as bratwurst, andouille or Italian. What is the problem with commercially produced sausages? The answer is twofold. Long time manufacturers add all of the organ meats to their links. Organ meats are good but are also the quickest to spoil especially when being handled in huge quantities and then shipped all over the planet. Secondly, nitrate preservatives must be added to act as a failsafe against bad bacteria. Both of these hazards can be triggered by any number of intermittent failures. E.G., the coolers at the plant, on the truck, on the plane or in the grocery can rise above safe temperatures and trigger an outburst of bacteria. Not good.

How is our sausage different? We do not use organs, only meat and the animal fats and since we do not cook or even smoke the sausages, there is no regulation requiring the addition of preservatives. So what you have is meat and fat with seasonings in a pure protein wrapper. Clean and wholesome meat like everything else in your cooler from JVF. End of story.

Weenies are a bit different because they are a cooked product. All weenies wherever found are emulsified, explaining the more homogenized texture. The process of emulsification also cooks the meat simultaneously and this is when the big bad USDA steps in, mandating that all cooked meat products shall contain nitrates. No matter that we are not Oscar Meyer and our weenies only travel from Schulenberg to Houston. So, our weenies contain the minimum dose of nitrates considering how close they are to our eaters.

So what about the alternative to nitrates, substituting garlic powder and celery seed? Turns out the combo of natural ingredients form exactly the same result – nitrates. Molecularly indistinguishable. Same result in the weenie and in your body. So what’s the point? There is none.

Our last analysis involved researching the alleged harm of nitrates. The short answer is this: don’t eat 10 of our weenies a day, year after year. If you did, there could be a correlation but no demonstrable causative effect from consuming our weenies. We think you are fine, we eat them, our children and grandchildren eat them and they are very popular with our customers. We only send a 4-pack about 7 months of the year. You’ll be fine and you will enjoy an unadulterated weenie occasionally. Hot dogs almost define us as a nation! Teddy Roosevelt served them to world leaders visiting the White House for goodness sake! How could Teddy be wrong?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.