On The Line: Joe Martin of Masterlink Sausage, Part One

We admit it. We expected Joe and Mike to be much older. Instead, we were greeted by a couple of business-savvy guys who are not only knowledgeable, but happen to name drop a few of our former subjects. Hardcore since '64, this specialty company produces over 84 types of smoked sausage and meat products.

Who do you supply sausages to?
Dogzilla, Polly's, Berkeley Dog, Dogz Bar and Grill in Long Beach, Bigs Bar and Grill, Shipmates and Pala Casino just to name a few. We're also served where the Lake Elsinore Storm and The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes play.

What is your best seller?
Portuguese Hawaiian Sausage. It's popular all-year around.

Name a sausage that isn't utilized enough, in your opinion.
The all-beef frank.

What's the difference between a Portuguese and German sausage?
The German sausages are old world style; it is an original recipe from Germany. The Portuguese is a new, innovative idea with infused flavors.

Favorite places to eat.
King's Fish House, Manhattan Supper Club and Sushi Dave at The Venetian.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Cumin. It's a great product, but not used in many of our products.

What sausage should we use for tailgating?

Your best recent food find:
Chilaquiles from Early Bird Cafe.

What is your beverage of choice?
Dr. Pepper during the day, and a cold one at night at any pub.

One food you can't live without and why:
Hot dogs. They are so easy. You can microwave them, grill them or (George) Foreman.

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Fish taco– Wahoo's.

Where was your most recent meal?
D'Nu Eggrolls in Orange. We had noodles and a fish dish.

Tell us about your Private Label Program.
Masterlink provides a program where we help customers develop labels, products and marketing plans.

Could you explain the sausage making process?
1) Grinding. 2) Formulation (mixing). 3) Stuffing. 4) Cooking (smoking). 5) Packaging.

Where do you source your meats?
Tyson, Colorado Foods and Pacific Pork.

Favorite meal growing up:
Spaghetti, Italian sausage and meatballs.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Kangaroo. Mike came up with the idea of the kangaroo Cajun flavor. It's pretty good; more like a red meat.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Spicy Cajun breakfast burrito filled with cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs and seasoned potatoes. Or Polish sausage with sunny side up eggs and marbled rye bread.

Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
Pastrami sausage (in the works).

To learn more about Masterlink, go to www.masterlinksausageandmeats.com.

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