Reviewer’s Note: Samples of the products discussed here were provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
When Premio Foods recently sent me samples of its Sweet/Mild Italian Sausage and Hot Italian Sausage, I was excited to have been contacted by a brand whose products were at least visually familiar to me. Having seen them on many a trip past the meats and deli departments of local supermarkets, I’d nonetheless never taken the opportunity to try them. This is not due to any conscious avoidance of the brand on my part; there remain hundreds of food products that I have yet to sample, simply because I haven’t found myself plagued by that recipe that would otherwise taste like the perfect alignment of celestial bodies but for the absence of (insert a product that I’m sure is perfectly lovely, but that I haven’t yet made my way around to tasting.) That, and while it’s rare for me to dislike any dish containing some form of sausage, I don’t buy a great deal of it, instead treating myself to some links on a more occasional basis than other household food staples. Having said as much, this most recent product review has left me confident that the next time I do purchase a sausage product, it will be made by Premio.
My first sample was of the Sweet/Mild Italian Sausage. This I prepared it in a skillet with a few tablespoons of water, cooking over medium heat. Within 10 minutes or so, I was slicing into a pork sausage that was juicy and well-seasoned. Among the more savory sausages I’ve tasted in a long while, these are characterized by an umami essence that is comfortable and gratifying in the way of all things tasting of umami. Underlying this are well-integrated notes of sweet spices that hold their own when the sausage is but one ingredient among many. Endless seems the range of dishes to which these Sweet/Mild sausages would be a substantial contribution, or preparation methods that push this product’s best attributes onto center stage. Whether chopped and tossed with pasta and wilted greens, sliced for serving with crackers and assorted cheeses, or halved and added to egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, they made a good meal better in every instance.
In the Hot variety, paprika’s subtle smokiness marries crushed red pepper to delicious effect that well suits these pork sausages to the grill or barbecue or just enjoying on a bun with grainy mustard. Their piquant quality feels right at home in chili or stew or, much like the Sweet/Mild variety, diced atop homemade pizza or crumbled into lasagna. And whereas some manufacturers of hotter sausages seem almost preoccupied with delivering a palate-scorching burn at the expense of further flavoring, I found Premio Hot to display a good balance between salt, spice, and allowing the flavor of the meat to tell its tale. Premio is a product line I am glad to have finally taken the opportunity to sample, and is one I am certain to revisit.