Pan sausage is very common in Texas. Joyce Gibson Roach, in the book Texas and Christmas: A Collection of Traditions, Memories, and Folklore, remembers how they “had the usual pan sausage and biscuits, but this morning we could also have a small slice of cake or pie.”
Pan Sausage Trivia
- Candy Wagner and Sandra Marquez, in the book Cooking Texas Style: Traditional Recipes from the Lone Star State, wrote about pan sausage. They explained that some of the sausages were not “put into casings, but saved for pan sausage. This would be fried in patties or crumbled and mixed with scrambled eggs or added to beans.”
- New in Elgin and looking for a great pan sausage? There is no better place in Texas since Elgin is considered the Sausage Capital of Texas.
- Indiana State Board of Health’s Monthly Bulletin in 1914 contains a list of prosecutions of different people charged with “selling pan sausage with cereal added.” Cereals were used as extenders, and consumers were misled into thinking they are buying 100% meat pan sausage.
Pan Sausage Buying Guide
Grocery diligence in buying frozen or preserved meat applies to buying pan sausage. Consider some of these buying tips.
If you want an artisan, freshly-made, locally-produced pan sausage and you don’t have a trusted vendor yet, ask for recommendations from family, friends, or colleagues who have experience buying this kind of pan sausage. It helps if you can also do some research on the vendors near or around you. This could prove useful and valuable – check for feedback from customers and read product reviews. Talk to butchers and shop owners, or those waiting in line waiting for their turn to order (it is always a good sign if a store or shop is regularly packed with customers willing to wait to purchase meat here).
Always check the best before date or expiration date on the pack, or ask the butcher or storeowner how long you can keep the pan sausage before it is not ideal and safe for consumption. Another reason to check the best before date or expiration date is to make sure you are buying pan sausage that is fit for consumer purchase. If this part of the packaging is scratched off or covered (with a sticker, pen, marker, or anything that covers the details indicated in this part of the package), that is a big red flag. The store may be trying to sell packs of frozen pan sausage that should’ve been removed from the shelf or freezer because it is past its best before or expiration date.
When buying frozen pan sausages sold in vacuum-sealed packs, always check the integrity of the packaging. Examine and make sure there are no tears or holes. This is important because any damage to the packaging can affect the contents inside, possibly making these unsafe to eat.
Do you need to buy a lot? No. Unless you need a lot for catering, or if you have guests and you need more than usual. But normally, you need just enough to last the family until the next grocery day. It is best to buy freshly-made pan sausages or buy from a fresh batch. Pan sausages are available all year, so there is no need to hoard them.
Don’t be confused when buying pan sausage. While there are products sold in the market that has “pan sausage” on the label or packaging, you’d also find breakfast sausage or country sausage, and it’s basically the same thing. The term pan sausage is used interchangeably with “breakfast sausage” and “country sausage” and you will notice how all of these sausages look the same: disc-shaped like a burger patty but smaller.
Pan Sausage Production & Farming in Texas
There are many farms and ranches in Texas that produce the meat necessary to make pan sausages. There are many locally-made pan sausages that you can buy in different parts of Texas, sold in the market, butcher shops, and other specialty stores.
Buy pan sausages in the market. Here are some of the markets in Texas that sell pan sausage: The Groves Marketplace in Humble, Bay Area Farmers Market in Friendswood, and Burt’s Meat Market and Cajun Foods, a full-service meat market and convenience store in Houston.
Butcher shops and meat market
There are many butcher shops and meat markets in Texas that make pan sausages. Try Bay Area Meat Market and Deli in Seabrook, The Country Meat Market in Tyler, Rock Bar Meatworks in Hooks, Thorndale Meat Market in Thorndale, Johnny G’s Butcher Block in Austin, Dai Due in Austin, Ainsworth Meat in Magnolia, Moody’s Quality Meats in Corpus Christi, Miiller’s Meat Market & Smokehouse in Llano, C&J Butcher Shop in Granbury, Rendon Meats in Burleson, and B&W Meat Company in Houston.
Merchandise and specialty stores
You can also find pan sausages sold in merchandise and specialty stores like Bluestem in Shiner; and on farms and ranches like in GrassField Farm in Hondo, KD Bar Cattle Company in Caldwell, and Barbecue restaurants like Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton.
There are many food trucks all around Texas selling cooked and prepared meats, including pan sausages. Try Derek Allan’s Texas Barbecue in Fort Worth.
Artisan shops and stores
Pan sausages are also sold in select artisan shops and stores, like Beaux Boudin in Bedford.
The production of pan sausages in Texas and the love affair of Texas with this delicious type of sausage also opened up other business opportunities, like making the seasoning mix for a more customized flavor of pan sausage. Linda West Eckhardt, in the book The Only Texas Cookbook, wrote: “The Bernhards sell a pan sausage seasoning mix which can be used for venison sausage or pure pork sausage.”
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals
It is possible to find different additives in pan sausage. This is common, especially in pan sausages made in factories, which are expected to have a long shelf life and display consistency in taste, texture, and appearance, among others.
If you want to know what artificial ingredients are found in your pan sausage, read the label. Manufacturers are required by law to indicate in the packaging the ingredients used in making pan sausage, including artificial ingredients.
- Artificial color
- Artificial flavor
- Artificial preservatives
- Potassium nitrite
- Sodium chloride
- Sodium nitrate
- Sodium nitrite
While pan sausages are popular in Texas, it is not the only place where pan sausages are found. Terry Thompson-Anderson and Sandy Wilson, in the book Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State, wrote about pastry “filled with Czech-style pan sausage.”
Pan sausages are made in different parts of the world. People may refer to it using a different term, like breakfast sausage or country sausages, or another local term.
Pan sausages are sold in plastic vacuum-sealed packs or trays covered in plastic wrap. Fresh, small-batch, artisanal, or smoked pan sausages made in local butcher shops and meat stores are sold in butcher paper.
Enjoying Pan Sausages
Pan sausages are typically eaten in the morning, which is why it is also called breakfast sausage. It is commonly eaten alongside other foods, like eggs, toasted bread, beans, vegetable side dish, mashed potatoes, and other kinds of red meat, like bacon.
Should pregnant women eat pan sausages? Yes. Provided the meat is cooked very well. It’s also better to opt for pan sausages with the least amount of salt, sodium, and preservatives. Last but not the least, eat in moderation. Nutrition is important, especially for pregnant women, and a diet consisting mainly of pan sausages is far from healthy or ideal, both for the mother’s sake as well as for the unborn child’s too.
It is important to read the storage instructions found on the packaging.
Josephine Ella White, in the book Sunbonnet Angels, shares a very interesting way of storing pan sausages in South Texas:
“Another method of preserving sausage that worked particularly well, even in South Texas, was to take fresh “pan sausage,” shape it into little patties, cook the patties until well done and very brown, and then pack them into a crock or a keg, between layers of lard. The keg was stored in a cool place. The sausages kept well for months. Grandmother had only to dig into the lard and remove what she needed. The only preparation was to thoroughly heat in hot lard. The sausages were delicious.”
Linda West Eckhardt, in the book The Only Texas Cookbook, reminds consumers to refrigerate pan sausage.
Pan sausages are commonly cooked as breakfast patties. Others break apart pan sausages and mix them with their scrambled eggs or beans.
Dotty Griffith, in the book The Texas Holiday Cookbook, gives the readers an idea of how to use pan sausage with beans and peas, giving the suggestion of sautéing “onions, garlic, ham, barbecue, and smoked or fresh pan sausage with jalapeno.”
Pan sausages are not just delicious, they are nutritious as well. Just make sure you do not eat too much or an unhealthy amount of pan sausages and you will be fine.
Pan sausage is a great source of protein to help those trying to build and grow muscles. The phosphorus in pan sausages helps the body’s kidney function. It also helps keep our bones and teeth healthy. The selenium in pan sausages helps keep our thyroid healthy, our immune system strong, and our heart free from the risk of heart disease. Pan sausages also provide the body with vitamin B12 and iron.