Well, naturally, some days have more time than others. Monday was one of those nights that, between picking up the wife at work, getting her home and then having dinner together before she headed out babysitting for the evening, a quick dinner was in order. Well, that certainly doesn't mean you can't grill. I realize it's not the same art or time commitment as, say, making a rack of fall-off-the-bone ribs (not sure I could pull that off anyways [not that I would eat them-Sandy]) , but I relish every opportunity to get the CharBroil all smokey, so some TJ's Spicy Italian Chicken Sausages seemed like a good idea for a quick bite.
Hot sausage has to be one of the best meats ever invented. Has to be. It's right up there with bacon, buffalo chicken, *good* meatloaf, and medium-rare steak in the meat pantheon, Mt. Meatmore if you will. Love it, and like any good meat, a little variation with it is always welcome.
The Spicy Italian Chicken Sausages certainly fit the bill. Even though I enjoy pork and beef links quite a bit, the chicken for these made for a good stray-from-the-norm taste that's undoubtedly healthier. They're leaner, lighter, and less greasy but still pack plenty of tenderness, taste, and even a little good gristle in them. One aspect to that is they seemed to burn a little quicker than regular sausages, so keep an eye on them. And unlike other TJ products that claim to be spicy, these actually are. There's no spice-o-meter on them but instead depict a couple chile peppers on fire. I'd say compared to other stuff with the spice-o-meter, it's an accurate depiction, and thankfully, no hint of vinegar that plagues so many other purportedly spicy TJ products. It's just good, straightforward, chile heat. It's so welcome. It probably won't set your mouth on fire, but you'll notice it, no doubt.
About the only thing the two of us didn't like was the pork casing surrounding these guys. Maybe it was because of the overall tenderness and juiciness of the chicken inside, but it seemed, in comparison, kinda fake and rubbery. Sometimes, when the grill is buried under two feet of snow in February out here, we've been known to broil up some sausages in the oven. That's a method that seems to blacken and burn up the outsides all the way around a link, and with this casing, I'd imagine they'd turn revolting if made that way. Definitely I recommend these for grilling only.
Anyways, we both liked them and are happy we kept to the serving of one each so we can have another grill go around with them soon. Sandy went ahead and gave them a four, with the biggest demerit based on the casing. I'll go ahead and agree with her. I know I'd like them slightly better if I had some cheddar to wrap a slice around inside a good bun. Yeah, okay, that's not TJ's fault, but it was the only thing missing for me to give them a full pass. Oh yeah, and the casing. Next time...
Bottom line: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons