1576 Forest Ave., Portland
Shortly after our Smokin’ Sausage Showdown was published in the premiere issue of The Bollard‘s magazine, we learned of the homemade sausage at Moran’s Market, a small butcher shop and grocery on outer Forest Avenue. In our continued pursuit of sausage excellence, we decided to give them a try.
Moran’s’ sausages are sold in refrigerated packages of five or six links. We chose the hot Italian, mild Italian, and a variety called Montreal. Tasters included Bollard editor Chris Busby, art directors The Fuge and Sean Wilkinson, and myself.
Although marbled with plenty of fat, these plump sausages smoked quickly. In just under three hours, two of the three varieties had achieved the deep amber color and firm texture that let us know they were ready. (The mild Italian needed some extra time, likely due to its placement on the grill.)
We started with what turned out to be the best of the three – and, arguably, the best of all the sausages in the Showdown, according to some tasters: the hot Italian. This sausage was spicy, flecked with plenty of red pepper specks. It was also incredibly juicy. The texture was almost as meaty as the sausage at Colucci’s, but with the grainier texture of the offerings at Pat’s Meat Market and Fresh Approach.
After such a triumph of sausage-making, we had great expectations for what lay ahead. But our hope was crushed by the Montreal and the mild Italian.
None of us were able to come up with a reasonable explanation of this sausage’s relationship to the city or the seasoning. The Montreal was less juicy and very salty – salty to the point of inedibility. There were bits of freshly minced ginger in every bite, as well as some garlic, but the saltiness killed any subtleties that would have made this unique flavor palatable.
The mild Italian was a bland, boring waste of sausage casing. The texture was there, as was some of the juiciness, but the complete lack of character was a big letdown.
Hot Italian: A
Mild Italian: C–
— Mort Viande