1. How do I cook a ring of Schmeckfest sausage?
We think it is best on the grill. Our free sausage samples are grilled. It also works well to simply put a ring of sausage in an oven-safe glass baking dish (no water) and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour. As our label specifies, please cook the sausage to at least 170 degrees although some think it tastes best to cook it to 180 degrees. Of course cooking a ring in boiling water on the stove is a fast and easy option too. In a hurry? Slice it open and cook on a George Foreman Grill. This works great for leftovers.
2. Where do you get the meat? Is it produced locally?
We purchase USDA inspected pork shoulder meat through our local grocer. Shoulder meat is darker in color and richer in flavor than many other cuts of pork. While it meets USDA and pork industry standards, we cannot determine its source.
3. How much sausage do you make each year?
We usually make between 8,000 and 10,000 pounds a year. We started in 1969 with 500 pounds. This year we will reach a grand total of 300,000 pounds of sausage. That’s about 450,000 feet or 85 miles! Come see it happen.
4. Is it gluten free?
Yes, our sausage is gluten free. Our ingredients are listed on the label and they include pork, water, salt, pepper, allspice, garlic, and potassium nitrate, an old fashioned preservative. This is an old Swiss-German recipe which we have used since 1969.
5. What are the casings made of?
We use natural, commercially processed hog casings. These casings are still widely used in the sausage industry. A hog casing is the small intestine of a pig and can be up to 30 feet long and hold up to 25 lbs. of meat. Natural hog casings are strong enough to hang in the smoker overnight yet tender and edible.
6. Is this the same sausage served at the Schmeckfest meal?
Yes, the Schmeckfest meal uses about 250 pounds of our smoked sausage each night. It's cooked on a large wood pellet grill.
7. Do I need to preorder my sausage?
No, preorders are encouraged for 20 pounds or more, but are not required. Purchases of any amount can be made at Schmeckfest.
8. Do I have to place an order of 20 pounds or more prior to Schmeckfest?
No. We do encourage orders for amounts of 20 pounds or more, but they are not required. We do this as a convenience to our customers and to smooth out our work flow. If you decide at the last minute that you would like a large amount of sausage, we would be happy to find a box and weigh it out for you.
9. Can I get uniform packages of a specified weight?
Since the sausage is in natural casings of varying length and diameter, it is not possible to be precise on weights per package. Per government regulations, all of the sausage is weighed and priced on a certified scale. We do have packages of various weights in our retail cooler. You are welcome to sort through them. You could also purchase large rings and cut them to desired portions.
10. How do you smoke the sausage?
Our pork sausage is hung in the smokehouse in three foot lengths draped over stainless steel pipes. We use apple wood and hickory sawdust over a bed of charcoal to generate the smoke. Our smoke pot is outside of the smokehouse, and an exhaust fan draws the smoke through. We begin the smoking process after we are done making sausage for the day and continue smoking it well into the night. We would be glad to show you the smokehouse, just ask. We fire up the smoker around 6 p.m.
11. Can I buy smoked bulk sausage?
Bulk sausage cannot be smoked. Only sausage in casings can be hung in the smokehouse.
12. Is the smoked sausage fully cooked?
No, the sausage is cold smoked and is raw meat. Cook to 170 degrees.
13. Can I buy frozen sausage?
No, due to time and space limitations, we are unable to freeze sausage for sale during Schmeckfest.
14. Can I purchase Schmeckfest Sausage later in the year?
Schmeckfest Sausage is only made one time a year, during Schmeckfest. Occasionally, we make too much and have some left over. If we do, we freeze it and sell it later. If you want to be sure to get your sausage the motto is “Only in Freeman. Only at Schmeckfest!”
15. What should I do for long term storage?
Freezer bags or vacuum packaging works well for long term storage. This makes buying Schmeckfest sausage for those family reunions, church potlucks, the Fourth of July, or even for wedding meals possible. If you are repackaging your sausage for long term storage, we can put your sausage in a lined box without putting it in bags. This is easier for you and for us, and reduces wasted plastic.
16. It looks like fun, can I help?
Absolutely! We’ll let you help for free! Let us know if you would like be on our volunteer list by contacting us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Making the best of the wurst since 1969!
We should have plenty of famous Schmeckfest Sausage for visitors to the event on March 24, 25. Please stop by our sausage demonstration and storefront to pick up any amount from 1pm to 7pm. Advanced orders for sausage can also be picked up from 1pm to 7pm on the 24th and 25th.
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