Monday, November 19, 2007

Portuguese Sausage Fried Rice Taste Test

A couple of weeks back, I was reading The Great Portuguese Sausage Shootout by Pomai of The Tasty Island. Ever since our trip to Kauai, the Mister and I have been on a fried rice with Portuguese sausage kick. So of course after reading the Shootout, I was inspired to try my own little taste test.

The only place I know to get Hawaiian Portuguese sausage in San Diego is Orient Bowl Market on Convoy, in the same corner as Jasmine's. The street address is 4625 Convoy St., San Diego, CA 92111. The last time I was there, I notice they were carrying several brands: Rego's Purity Hot and Mild, Gouvea's (Linguica), Frank's Foods Hot and Mild, Redondo's Hot and Mild. There might have been more since there were some empty space on the shelves. (Postscript: Marukai San Diego also carries a variety of Portuguese sausages.)

Since I know I'm not a big fan of Redondo's, I decided to leave that brand out of my taste test. I was hoping to get several brands' hot variety since that's what we like in our fried rice. But there were only 2 other brands available in Hot other than Redondo's, Purity and Frank's. Since a comparison of just 2 brands seemed a bit lopsided, I decided to get 2 other brands I've never tried in the mild: Frank's and Gouvea's.

I started with my basic fried rice: white rice, carrots, peas, eggs. I like this basic recipe as a side dish. But as a stand alone meal, I like to have meat(s) in it. For loco style, I like to add lop cheong (Chinese sausage) and Portuguese sausage, usually Rego's Purity Hot. Chinese bbq pork is also good but I don't usually have that lying around and often too lazy to drive down to Convoy to get it.

This is the fried rice I made for the taste test. Enough for leftovers! =)

I cut 6 slices on the bias of each sausage. Cooked them up separately in a clean pan (to avoid cross contamination of flavor, of course). Then served them up!

On the plate starting from the left:

A - Frank's Hot
B - Purity Hot
C - Frank's Mild
D - Gouvea's

The Mister was a true blind test since he did not know which was which. We made our way from left to right and noted our findings. Now remember, we were judging taste as part of a fried rice dish. So it was all about how it complimented the fried rice. And the ruling was...

Ranked from Best to Least:

#1 Purity Hot - spiciest, full flavor, greasiest, firm texture, nice caramelizing
#2 Gouvea's - good grease, nice flavor, good marbling
#3 Frank's Hot - not very hot or spicy, decent flavor, least greasiest, firm texture
#4 Frank's Mild - smokiest, tasted like Little Smokies, least spiciest, very distinct paprika, good marbling

It wasn't surprising that Purity Hot ranked #1. Maybe you can say we were a bit biased since we're so used to the taste. But even Frank's Mild at #4 was still a very good sausage and I would take any of the runner-ups if Purity Hot was not available. The reason why I really like Purity Hot for fried rice is because of its grease. It was the greasiest out of all 4 and you would think normally, that wouldn't be good. But, I like the grease that's left in the pan and with adding just a wee bit more canola oil, I can fry up the rice with it. Not only does it cut down on the total amount of oil I use in the dish, the sausage grease really adds a nice spicy flavor to the overall fried rice. Love it!

A few other things I noticed about some of the other sausages, Frank's Mild reminded me of Lil' Smokies, although not as greasy. It also was the slowest to caramelize, most likely due to the less grease it produced, which was interesting because it had really good marbling. Gouvea's had the softest texture, most likely because it's linguica style. Frank's Hot might be really good grilled and served on a roll with sauteed onions and mustard (or ketchup in my case).

So that was my little taste test. When I first told the Mister that I wanted to do the taste test, he kind of did his eye roll. He's found the food blogging part of my hobby interesting and sometimes a little embarrassing, especially when I stop him from digging into his meal to take a picture of it, in a crowded restaurant. But as with everything else I do, he's getting used to it and has found some personal benefits from it, hehe. He actually enjoyed this little taste test. As a matter of fact, he's been my guinea pig for a new blueberry crumb pie recipe, and soon-to-be for my most recent obsession with finding and making the perfect lobster tail pastry with cream center.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. This is a short week at work for me, woop woop!!! Can't wait for Thanksgiving because this year, I get a break from cooking the turkey. The MIL is taking care of that!! All I have to worry about is the candied yams!

Have a terrific (short) week. Now go and eat well!!!


KirkK said...

I'm not our household, Purity was to Portuguese Sausage, what Coral was to tuna, and Best foods was to mayo! But I'm sure that having a port sausage shoot-out was much better than say, the mega-mayo taste test...or the great canned tuna taste test! ;o)
Oh, sorry I'm late, but I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Barefoot Plumies said...

Thanks, Kirk! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too.

I don't think I've ever had Coral tuna, just Bumble Bee or Starkist. Not sure if I could even tell one brand from another. But no substitute for Best Foods (or Hellmann's for those on the East coast). Although a mac salad shoot-out with various mayo might be interesting. But that would probably put me off of mac salads for a very long time. :P