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!
Red Rose imitation smoked sausage was 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. The sausages are sold in 24-ounce packages, usually three links. Red Rose at home is sliced into sections, split, fried or grilled and served with beans or potatoes. Two Jackson eateries, the Beatty Street Grocery and the Big Apple Inn on Farish, serve Red Rose sandwiches.
This recipe is a riff on the restaurants’ sausage sandwiches, the innovation here combining the slaw with the sausage stuffing, which works beautifully. Peel the casings from the sausages, break the filling into a heavy skillet—chopped onion would be a nice option—and cook until heated through and continue cooking until most of the grease is cooked out. Drain thoroughly and add about 4 ounces of slaw; that works out to half a large container from KFC. Serve warm on Bunny burger or slider buns with a dusting of black pepper and a few dashes of Crystal hot sauce.
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.