by David Cecelski
When I ordered a homemade pickled hot sausage at Moore’s Grocery and Grill, my waitress picked the sausage out of the fiery red brine with tongs and brought it to me on a napkin. “They’re very popular,” the grill cook told me.
My waitress was not impressed. I’m pretty sure that I saw her wince and turn a little pale at the sight of them.
I was on US 41 in Comfort, a little community in Jones County, between Trenton and Beulaville. You can get a homemade hot pickled sausage there for a dollar.
One of the grill’s other cooks makes the pickled hot sausages. She wasn’t there that day, but the grill cook on duty told me that she makes the old-fashioned delicacy by steeping sausage in Texas Pete (vinegar, hot peppers, salt) and adding extra cayenne pepper. The sausage marinates in that sauce for weeks and months.
A 5-gallon jar of the hot pickled sausages sat on the grill’s counter. I saw 3 or 4 more big jars in a cabinet by the stove. Pickling is an ancient way of preserving pork sausage, but it’s not something I see every day.
Holding the sausage at arm’s length, my waitress put mine on the napkin and set it in front of me. She said that a lot of people eat them with white bread or a hot dog bun, so they can sop up the dark red brine.
I decided that I’d try mine straight— maybe a mistake. Before me, I found a long link sausage that reminded me of a giant Vienna sausage. The red brine quickly soaked my napkin. And the flavor, well, all I’m going to say about the flavor is that they’re really hot and really juicy and not for the meek of palate.