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Nascimento’s Maui Styled Linguica & Keke Ling

Mark Nascimento contacted me several months ago, asking if I’d be interested in tasting and reviewing his very first batch of Maui Styled Linguica for mass production and sale when they were completed. To which I was more than honored, hence what we’re showcasing here today!

Mark Nascimento’s Story

“Small kid time, I’m sitting on top of the chest freezer in the corner of the kitchen so i can see what the grown-ups are doing. They had a pig on the table and the men were using a saw and cleaver to break it down into smaller pieces while the women sliced it into little cubes and put the meat in a large tub to marinate in a spicy Vinho D’alhos (pronounced Ving-la-doish)which is a traditional Portuguese meat marinade over night.

The morning found me on my vantage point, watching the women stuff the meat into casings with a funnel while the men tied the sausage into rings and set them on sticks to go into the smoke house. The smell of the sausage cooling on the table still lingers in my mind!

The scene would repeat itself a couple times a year throughout my youth until my dad (George) and my uncle Louie got the use of a grinder/stuffer which was less labor intensive and more fun!
Uncle Louie was also the sausage maker for the Ulupalakua Ranch Cold Storage and produced the AKAHI brand of Linguica and “The red hot dogs”. I remember his red fingers from the dye he used on the casings.

I grew chili peppers while in the Future Farmers of America for uncle Louie and he would trade me hot dogs and linguica for them. It wasn’t until we moved to the mainland and I was out of the Marine Corps that i decided to take sausage making seriously. My dad and I made numerous batches and recorded all our measurements so the linguica would turn out the same every time.
He used to say a piece of fried linguica “should dance on your tongue and hit every taste bud.” That’s the kind of linguica we make today!”

The picture of the two men are Louie on the left and my Dad, George on the right. The other zip is from my uncles time with Ulukalakua and Akahi…………
Fried some up and the smell is awesome and it dances on one’s tongue, stuffing, and smoking tomorrow.

If you don’t mind we will test one of our shipping modes with you. I’ll be sending you about eleven pounds of product to share with your friends”

Sample some, Cuz

So there you go. Some serious history Mark has in the heritage of Hawaii’s unique style of Portuguese Linguica Sausage. And he wasn’t kidding when he said he’d send me 11 pounds worth. I was like “Damned! That’s a lot of sausage!” And I thought I was packin’! lol

What you’re looking at there are eight vacuum-sealed packages of Nascimento’s Maui Styled Linguica (the red colored ones), with most being “hot” and a couple not labeled “hot”. Each package of two sausages weighs about .65 pounds (give or take), and are priced at $9.25/lb., for a total price of about $6/package of two.

The tiny brown sausages below them are 4 packages of Nascimento’s Maui Styled Keke Ling. “Cute” name, if I might say so myself, and one I’ve NEVER heard of before. Each package contains 9 Keke Ling “weiners”, with a total weight of about 1/2 pound, priced at $9.99/lbs., for a total price of $5/package.

The ingredients for Nascimento’s Maui Style Linguica are: Pork, water, salt, binder (wheat flour, yellow corn flour, rye flour), whole garlic, red wine vinegar, spices, crushed red pepper, paprika, sodium nitrite, sodium erythorbate and monosodium glutamate.

Unpacked and sliced up, Nascimento’s Maui Styled Linguica have a distinct red color of the casing, providing an attractive contrast to the light tone of the spiced ground pork filling. This is the first Portuguese Linguica I’ve ever tried that’s been colored this red.

On to the Keke Ling, the casing has a more smoked color tone to it, while the spiced ground pork filling looks very similar to the Linguica, down to the size of the grind, as well as marbleization of fat.

The ingredients for Nascimento’s Maui Style Keke Ling are exactly the same as the Linguica as listed above.

Speaking of ingredients, it must also be noted that according to the label, Nascimento’s sausages are processed by Hamilton Packing Co., a meat processing company based in Hamilton, Montana.

Oh, and If size matters to you, each Linguica measures 9″ length x1″ diameter, while each Keke Ling measures 3½”Lx3/4″D. <—Awe, pooh’ ‘ting. lol!

All’s next is to pan fry them bad boys until golden crispy, and serve ’em up how, now?


Nascimento’s Maui Styled Linguica and Keke Ling sausage, pan-fried, served with eggs ‘n rice, along with Maui style Takuan and Beni Shoga.

Yep. That’s how… Podagee Sausage, Eggs and Rice! You know da’ rules, cuz! Or if you’re Samoan, “Cush”. Or if you’re “Moke” “Cush’in”. LOL!!!

OK, let’s do this…

See, when you eat Podagee Sausage, Eggs and Rice, da’ egg gotta’ be Sunny side up. Gots ‘da! You NEED that runny, tasty, protein-rich yolk to “bust” all over da’ rice and coat the sausage. It’s kinda’ like, oh never mind. lol  Also notice I drizzle small ‘kine shoyu action on top da’ rice, laddat’. You know it, braddah. I bet when I talk Pidgin (in writing), half you guys who read this shake your head, like “Oh brother, here he goes again. Stop it!” LOL!! Why? What? Hah? What? Boddah’ you? lol

Nah, kay, kay, seriously. EXCELLENT. Mark,  you da’ man! You got a winner here my friend!

The Hot Linguica has just the right amount of salt and spices, which the latter of I might note that I taste what I think is Chinese Five-Spice in in there, as I swear I taste a hint of Star Anise. That said, if you’re a fan of Chinese style sausages, this is kinda’ like that, and a Portuguese Sausage all rolled into one.

The pork grind could be a little more course, yet there’s just enough fat content in the marbleization to keep it moist and flavorful, so not really a complaint, but more a suggestion.

As for heat, I didn’t really get that, and I tried the one labeled “Hot”. And trust me, my palate is very sensitive to Scoville units, but this didn’t come across as hot to me at all. So Mark, you might want to add more Chili pepper into the ones  you label “Hot” in future batches. I also think it could use some sugar (or honey, or perhaps mirin!) to balance it out and enhance the flavor of the pork, and the very reason why I like Rego’s Purity brand so much.

As for the casing, I’d like more “snap” to it, which typically most collagen casings such as this don’t have. Yet it still works. I’m not really a fan of the red food dye coloring the casing, however the contrasting color to the filling does make for an interesting presentation on the plate.

All that said, I give Nascimento’s initial production run of Maui Styled Linguica 4 SPAM Musubi. Add a little sugar and perhaps try a snappier casing, and this would be a solid 5. I’m a fan! Braddah cuz! lol

As for Nascimento’s Maui Styled Keke Ling “mini weiners”, being the color they are, I expected them to taste smokey, but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, they basically taste like a shrunken down version of the Linguica, no more, no less. Everything I described about the Linguica above applies here. That said, I’m going to give them 3 SPAM Musubi (Excellent), where if Mark smokes them, they could easily win the highest 5 SPAM Musubi award. They’re still excellent, and you shouldn’t kick them out of the bedroom, err, I mean kitchen anytime soon.

Ah, well that was a mighty tasty, slightly naughty fun “session”. Now to get second and third opinions of the remaining (TON of) Nascimento’s Maui Style Linguica and Keke Ling sausages I have from family and friends.

P.S. Mark, in honor of your father, and now you in your contribution in keeping the Hawaii Linguica tradition alive, I created these logos for you…

The idea is that it looks like a vintage Polaroid photo. The Stencil font is meant to give it a military look in honor of your service in the Marine Corp. Semper Fi!

15 thoughts on “Nascimento’s Maui Styled Linguica & Keke Ling

  • August 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm
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    Hope a local market picks them up.

    Reply
    • August 2, 2015 at 12:38 pm
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      Pat,

      As noted in the review, Nascimento’s sausages are processed at Hamilton Packing Co., a meat processing company based in Hamilton, Montana. Hopefully the exposure on this blog will help get the word out!

      It’s good to know Frank’s Foods brand Portuguese Sausage from the Big Island are now available on Oahu at Marukai at Ward Farmers Market, which you may remember, won the original “Great Portuguese Sausage Shootout”. I still like Rego’s Purity though, again because of the sweetness in it. I really think Mark should sweeten this one up just a bit, which would make it just about perfect.

      Reply
  • August 2, 2015 at 4:23 pm
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    Pomai,
     
    Nascimento’s Maui Styled Linguica & Keke Ling is as “RED” as State of Maine style red hot dogs! I’ve never seen Portuguese Linguica that red before! Hawaiian style Portuguese style sausage is a finer grind than the Portuguese sausage made on the East Coast in Portuguese neighborhoods where the pork is left chunkier. As a matter of fact the home-made Portuguese Linguica and chourico that I really loved was a rusty black natural casing from smoking hand-made by the little ladies in hair nets hand chopping and packing in the back on a big stainless-steel table at JC Portuguese American Market, 65 Brookside Ave., West Warwick,  RI  02893-5056. You could purchase your Portuguese sausage any way you wanted based on how hot the heat level and how much fat to make the red gravy; 100% Portuguese Azorean.
     
    As you already have discovered Hawaiian Portuguese sausage is not a typical copy of sausage made in mainland Portugal or the distinct separate islands of the Portuguese Azores. I gave you Gaspar’s linguica and chourico to try out but you let the sausage dry out in the freezer beyond the use by date. In New England Gaspar are the leanest less fatty and most expensive linguica and chourico also the largest supplier in the USA. Depending on what I am cooking I’ll use Gaspar’s or Mello’s (Chef Emeril Lagasse uses and recommends Mello’s). Mello’s is more spicy hot and fatty than Gaspar’s but your personal pallet has issues with heat and spiciness.
     
         
     

    Reply
    • August 4, 2015 at 10:42 am
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      Ken, I agree that Gaspar’s Linguica is quite different from Hawaiian style portugese sausage. As I told Pomai a while back, I ran into Gaspar’s at our local Publix supermarket here is Huntsville AL. So I gave it a try. It was much leaner and therefore less red grease for my rice, but is was meaty and delicious, with the flavor profile that made me homesick for the Hawaiian brands. Biggest drawback to Gaspar’s was the price ($7.00 for a 1 lb. package). But whenever my frozen stock of Hawaii sausage runs out, I do indulge myself! Wish they stocked Mello’s here so I could give it a try, I’ll check out if they take online orders…  Aloha for now!

      Reply
      • August 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm
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        @KeithF,
         
        Yes Gaspar’s is expensive and one the leanest Portuguese sausage on the market priced at $7.25 per pound.
         
        Mello’s North End Manufacturers Inc. makes spicier with more fat in its linguica and chourico which Chef Emeril Lagasse highly recommends. Mello’s has been in business since early 1900s. I like Mello’s and the price is $5.99 per pound. They have a website you can order from. They do add only the FDA preservative Sodium Nitrate and the rest of ingredients are all natural.
         
        Amaral’s Lisbon Sausage Company Inc. has been in business since 1928 and they make great linguica and chourico which also forms red gravy. Their price is $6.40 per pound ordered through their website.
         
        Michael’s Provisions Co. makes great linguica and chourico and they have been in business since 1940. Their price is the lowest of all the Fall River, MA Portuguese sausage makers at $5.29 per pound. You can order through their website.
        Don’t forget, traditional Portuguese linguica is made in a thin long rope style using hog casing and chourico is made in fat links using beef casing.

        Reply
        • August 7, 2015 at 4:05 pm
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          Not Sodium Nitrate but Sodium Nitrite for a preservative.

          Reply
  • August 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm
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    Dang…too bad got msg….  ;-{

    Reply
  • August 2, 2015 at 7:06 pm
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    Pomai,
     
    Wheat Flour, Rye Flour, Yellow Corn as fillers plus MSG and I can’t see what dye # is being used for the Red Color; I have 4 recipes for traditional Portuguese sausage and none of these ingredients are in the recipes. Of course this is Maui style so it is not traditional. Thanks to Dd for pointing out the MSG and I’ll not be purchasing or tasting this product as let it stay on Maui.

    Reply
  • August 2, 2015 at 8:29 pm
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    @ Ken & Dd – Looking back at the ingredients of all the local brands of Portuguese Sausage, Redondo’s and Frank’s Foods brands also lists MSG in their product. Equally as concerning for some folks, almost every one includes sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite (see those links for known side effects on your health).

    For the mainland brands, Gaspar’s doesn’t list MSG, however does have Sodium Nitrite, while Silva’s has both MSG and Sodium Nitrite.

    As for the Rye, Wheat and Corn flour as binders, I couldn’t find anything about adverse health effects caused by those ingredients.

    As for the red food coloring, LiveStrong.com also has strong words to say about that as well, specifically if it’s Red 40, the most commonly used food dye in the US.. “Red 40 may cause symptoms of hypersensitivity in some people, including swelling around the mouth, and it may also cause hives. The colorant might contain contaminants that may contribute to cancer in humans and could trigger hyperactivity in children. In a handful of studies, Red 40 damaged the DNA of mice, according to the CSPI.”

    My 4 SPAM Musubi rating for this Linguica is based strictly on flavor and texture, NOT “wholesomeness”. Then again, processed meats in general aren’t exactly where anyone should be looking for that virtue anyways.

    Speaking of which, next time I hit Whole Foods and/or Down to Earth, I’ll specifically go straight to their meat department and see what selection of sausages and deli meats they offer (something I’m normally not looking for there), and look into the ingredients in those products. I’m curious if they carry an organic Portuguese Sausage that also doesn’t have any of the said chemicals in them, such as this Organic Andouille Sausage by Applegate, which lists none of the said chemicals in it.

    Ken, this Nascimento’s Linguica is the sausage I told you about at Mai Tai’s the other evening that I wanted to share with you to try. However now that you say you’re not interested, OK, that’s cool. I’ll keep a couple in the freezer in case you change your mind.

    Reply
  • August 3, 2015 at 9:26 am
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    Well this is the perfect day to follow-up a review on sausages, as according to NationalDayCalendar.com, today, August 3rd is National Grab Some Nuts Day:

    “There are many “nut” days throughout the year such as National Almond Day, National Pistachio Day and National Pecan Day.  On August 3rd, we enjoy them all on National Grab Some Nuts Day.”

    Today is also National Watermelon Day.

    Tomorrow, August 4th, will be National Chocolate Chip Day.

    Reply
  • August 6, 2015 at 9:25 am
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    You should check the Barcelos brand. ALL NATURAL!

    No MSG, no added nitrates or nitrites, no milk, pork raised without antibiotics or hormones.

    Traditional home-style.

    http://www.barceloslinguica.com

    Reply
    • August 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm
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      Paul,

      Excellent lead! So there IS an all-natural, chemical-free Portuguese Linguica out there! I’ll definitely look them up! Mahalo!

      Reply
  • August 7, 2015 at 6:29 am
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    Aloha Pomai,

    Thanks for your excellent review, your time, and space on your Blog.

    Growing up on Maui in the 50s and 60s I can’t remember Portuguese Sausage that wasn’t bright red in color, hot dogs were also bright red. Of course my Uncle ran the best sausage kitchen on Maui then, so why would I go anywhere else.

    I’ve just returned from a taste testing trip to OR and CA where 22  panelist rated our sausage as well as the Purity brand and the Silva brand was added in the CA taste test. An average was taken on taste and overall scores with the following results:

    Nascimento’s was rated at 5 for both taste and overall

    Purity was rated at 2.52 for both taste and overall

    And the 10 panelist that tasted the Silva’s rated it at 3.2 for taste and overall.

    All the panelist were from my Ohana and friends of the Ohana.

    Three panelist detected cinnamon in the “other” category correctly, there is no five spice in this recipe.

    I did do some research on  Msg, red dye, and the flour binder, No clear health risks were found and all are approved by the FDA for food consumption.

    Guess Portuguese Sausage is like a spaghetti, one’s mom makes it best…..

    Reply
    • August 7, 2015 at 10:42 am
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      Mark,

      Mahalo again for sharing your onolicious Nascimento brand Portuguese Sausage. When I get feedback from family and friends I’ve shared the TONS you shipped me, I’ll do an update on what they think about it.

      I still say you should sweeten it up a bit, and am surprised there’s no Chinese Five Spice in it, or at least Star Anise, as I swear I (very subtly) taste that.

      Next up, I’m really interested in trying that all-natural Barcelos brand. ;-)

       

      Reply
    • August 7, 2015 at 12:40 pm
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      Yeah. Maui always went for the bright red.,It was not so bright on Oahu and Hilo. But it was red there also. Then the Feds outlawed red dye #2 and all changed to blah for a decade.

      Reply

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