When we saw Polk’s driver Michael Newton making a delivery of Red Rose Sausage to Froogel’s Supermarket on Fortification in Jackson, Mississippi, we had to get a photo. Since making the first post on red rose sausage over three years ago, people across the country have been contacting Mississippi Sideboard about this product, which they all say–in one way or another–that they remember with fondness from growing up in Mississippi, and our posts on red rose sausage receive the most consistently heavy traffic year after year. Thank you, Michael!
You’ll find imitation smoked sausages in supermarkets all across the Lower South, but in Mississippi our signature brand is Red Rose, originally produced by the Jackson Packing Company, which from 1945 to 1990 sold processed meats from their plant on South Gallatin Street. Red Rose was marketed under the company’s flagship “Magnolia” brand, which was purchased by Polk’s Meat Products in Magee (“Picky People Pick Polk’s”).
Sold in ropes most often found in the freezer section, Red Rose at home is usually sliced into sections, fried or grilled and served with beans or potatoes. Two landmark restaurants in Jackson, the Beatty Street Grocery and the Big Apple Inn on Farish, feature Red Rose in sandwiches. You’re certain to find many people who consider imitation smoked sausage a culinary/nutritional atrocity, but the Polk’s company gets mail orders from all over the country sent by people who grew up in Mississippi and remember their mothers serving Red Rose on the table, knowing it would make everyone happy.