Those of you not from the Big Island of Hawaii probably never tried nor heard of the ‘Mountain Apple Brand®‘, which is KTA Super Stores‘ house product line; same as ‘Signature’ is to Safeway, and ‘Kirkland’ is to Costco. That said, KTA Super Stores — a locally owned supermarket chain — only has locations on the Big Island of Hawaii, hence its exclusivity.
I had the good fortune to have this otherwise island-exclusive brand of Portuguese Sausage hand-delivered direct from the Kailua, Kona KTA on the Big Island by Tasty Island reader “Kona” Wally, who proclaims KTA’s Mountain Apple Brand® tastes like how the original MIKO brand Portuguese Sausage tasted when they made their stuff locally. However MIKO brand now makes their Portuguese Sausages in California, which Wally claims isn’t as good as the original Hawaii-made product. Mainly because the meat’s texture is not as chunky, but more finely ground-up.
So here we have KTA’s Mountain Apple Brand Porguese Brand Sausage, weighing in at 10 ounces for $3 each. The ingredients are: pork, water, beef, salt, garlic, paprika, sugar, monosodium glutamate (msg), sodium phosphate, natural smoke flavor, spices, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.
It’s touted to be “MADE IN HAWAII WITH BIG ISLAND BEEF!”.
It’s packed for KTA Super Stores at 50 east Puainako Street, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720. My dad’s home turf!
Let’s unpack it…
It doesn’t state in the ingredients what the casing is made of, whether it be natural or collagen, however the appearance of the HOT version looks to be “natural”.
One thing I notice is the Portuguese Sausage from the Big Island all are U-shaped, while most of the brands on Oahu — except for Kukui — are straight-shaped, such as this example of Rego’s Purity…
The cross-cut shot…
Its measurements are 1-3/8″ diameter across its “shaft” x 6.5″ in length spanning its U-bend, with a total length of 14″ stretched out.
While grilling it would be ideal, the usual way most folks at home cook Portuguese Sausage is to pan-fry it, where you don’t need cooking oil, as the ample pork fat in the sausage will provide plenty of lube to keep it from sticking. I like mine where it’s just reached a caramelized, slightly browned “crust”, but not “papa’a” where the edges are blackened-burnt.
Normally I’d serve it as Podagee Sausage, Eggs ‘n Rice, however I have another plan for them today, so I need to reserve my appetite, however trying it by itself, here’s the verdict:
The MEDIUM version still has a subtle spiciness to it that teases your tastebuds. Overall, the seasoning blend tastes very similar to Oahu’s Gouveas brand, which must be noted has ZERO sweetness to it. An attribute that Rego’s Purity brand that I like so much because it has that hint of sweetness, and an overall what I think perfect blend of spices.
Back to this Mountain Apple Brand, once again, the label touts, “”MADE IN HAWAII WITH BIG ISLAND BEEF!”, however in reality, I think it tastes more porky than beefy.
Speaking of blend, its “chunkiness” is about “medium-small” in how large the meat is ground up. It’s not as chunky as I was expecting, which “Kona” Wally claimed this brand retains, reminiscent the Miko brand when it was originally made in Hilo, not California, as it is now.
It’s also states “Smoke flavor added”, however I tasted ZERO smoke flavor. Zip-O.
The HOT version has all those same attributes, while being as advertised, spicy HOT. Enough so where I needed some water to chase it.
Oh, they’re also both VERY salty. A little too much, in my opinion, especially if you’re eating it straight-up without rice as a palate buffer.
So my idea this time is to make what may be the world’s first Portuguese Sausage Banh Mi Vietnamese style sandwich!…
My Portuguese Sausage Banh Mi “build” goes like this:
- French Baguette (provided by La Tour at KCC Farmers Market), sliced along its length in a “V” shape
- Generous slathering of Best Foods Mayo’
- Line with thin cucumber slices
- Lay a bed of sauteed red onions
- Pan-fried Mountain Apple Brand Portuguese Sausage (HOT version), cut length-wise in half to length of bun
- Top with generous helping of fresh Thai Basil & Cilantro
- Finish with Do Chua (Vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots)
- Top the bun
And? Well, it tastes like a Portuguese Sausage Banh Mi. No question, absolutely delicious, especially of course with that contrasting flavor of the pickled carrots & daikon, which is what gives an authentic Banh Mi its unique taste. However the Portuguese Sausage flavor wasn’t a cause for an epihany, having me saying “Wow, I’m only making Banh Mi with Portuguese Sausage from now on!” Nah, it was good, but I’ll stick with eating Portuguese Sausage the classic way, with eggs and rice.
Yet, hey, you gotta’ me cred’ for the effort! And I already know my friend Ken is gonna’ chime in with “Pomai , you shoulda’ done this” or “You shoulda’ added that”, yada, yada, yada. lol
What: Mountain Apple Brand Portuguese Sausage
Where did you get it from and how much was it? KTA Superstore (a supermarket chain exclusive to the Big Island of Hawaii only), $3 each (mahalo to “Kona” Wally for the personal air shipping!)
Big shaka to: Classic Hawaii style Portuguese Sausage flavor; decently chunky; KTA having their own Mountain Apple Brand, featuring all made in Hawaii products; making friends with Tasty Island readers from outer island so they can bring “stuffs” when they visit Oahu. lol
No shaka to: Not sweet enough; too salty; Not can taste smoke flavor.
The Tasty Island rating: 2 SPAM Musubi (good)
The Tasty Island related links:
• The Great Portuguese Sausage Shootout
• The Great Portuguese Sausage Shootout Hana Hou: Mainland vs. Local
• Ah Fook’s No-Ka-Oi Brand Portuguese Sausage
• Kiawe-Smoked Patrami Ba-Le Banh Mi
• “BLT” Croissant Banh-Mi
P.S. Since we’re throwing out yet another idea for a Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich, here’s what The Pig & the Lady has to offer at the weekly farmers market…
The Pig & the Lady “Vegetarian French Dip” Vietnamese Sandwich: grilled lemon grass tofu, cucumbers, house pickles, sauteed bean sprouts & onions, topped with roasted peanuts, lemon grass tamarind au just. $11.
Here’s my cartoon for today’s review…
Podagee Sausage Fest. Cartoon by Pomai. Logo courtesy of Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand.