Judge and Jury: Fire Cracker Giant Red Hot Pickled Sausage

Two weeks ago, I decided to paint my new kitchen sea-foam green and called over my friend Amanda to help. I requested she only bring one thing with her: a beef stick of her choosing from a convenience store. Leaving this choice up to another individual is a bold move, with high chances of disappointment or disgust. Amanda, always the one to go big or go home, delivered on the latter. Walking into my home with three bottles of wine and the remnants of a fancy cheese plate, she pulled from the depths of her pockets a Fire Cracker Giant Red Hot Pickled Sausage. These things have terrified the shit out of me nearly every time I have encountered them and now, with one in my home, the time had come to face my fears. But not quite yet.

There was work to be done.

Armed with a paint roller in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, I hit the walls. We taped, we trimmed, we drew dicks on the walls; all in all, a typical painting experience. By the time we cracked open the second bottle of wine, Joe was outside cooking souvlaki on our gas-cum-charcoal grill, a first coat of paint was nearly on the walls, and I had kicked the gallon of paint all over the kitchen floor (which Amanda, both artfully and with authority, deftly cleaned up with some wash cloths and a cookie sheet, with surprisingly little waste). I was feeling bold, but not brazen enough for this Giant Fire Cracker. Not quite yet.

We started, some people came over, they left, and we wrapped up around 4am. THANX WINE.

By the end of the painting endeavor, no pickled sausage had been eaten. I just couldn’t do it. So, I put it on a shelf in my direct line of eyesight, and let it lay. Pickling even further, the Giant Fire Cracker was to stay on that shelf, watching me, for two more weeks…until Amanda’s birthday. With friends in tow and emotional supports in place, I gave Amanda the greatest gift that I had to give: my eating of the Fire Cracker Giant Red Hot Pickled Sausage.


**This, and all future reviews, will be HEAVILY influenced by my mood and hunger status at time of review.**

Fear, as I know it.

Fire Cracker Giant Red Hot Pickled Sausage: 0.5/5

Remember, I’m going on a 5-point scale, with scored determined based on an average of:

  • Appearance
  • Experience
  • Taste
  • Texture
  • Price (which only really matters when I find it to be a Screamin’ Deal, ©Beth Wogen)

I have never not wanted to eat a meat stick as much as this one. For starters, it’s described as a pickled sausage, which I had always just imagined as what happens when a dude has been sitting in the bathtub for WAY too long. Sausages like these have long been relegated to the sides of the meat stick end caps, displayed in small boxes. They’re usually sitting on the shelf as an afterthought, hidden behind the bags of Jack Links jerky hanging all willy-nilly from the corners. Never have I seen one purchased, and never have I heard of one being consumed.

At the package’s first tear, a sour, vinegary scent quickly took hold of the room. Nose hairs recoiled in terror; eyebrows furrowed in fear; heads turned and gasped for sweet, fresh air. Fire Cracker Giant Red Hot Pickled Sausages are sent to market with a little bit of pickling fluid surrounding them and, if you’re lucky, a little bit will spill out onto the table so that the scent will linger long after eating.

The “Red Hot” of its name must be attributed to the pale, brick color of the sausage. Sporting a slippery sheen, the skin resembles not the color of a naturally occurring food item but rather reflects the hue of the reconstituted meats within its casing. A wet feel calls to mind the 5-pack of hot dogs in the bottom of your fridge, with which it also shares a resounding resemblance. Unlike the Tillamook and Klement’s sticks, the ends of the Fire Cracker Giant Ret Hot appear to be largely the work of a machine, where each sausage is produced singly, not as a member of a link. The tips are puckered with uniform folds which, when combined with the smooth skin, causes one to realize that this is less of a casing and more the product of a sausage mold. Can’t wait.

It tastes THIS good.

Why THE FUCK does this thing even exist? As a frequent eater of items that taste way better than they smell (here’s looking at you, fish sauce), I was really hoping that the Fire Cracker Giant Red Hot was going to turn it around. It did not. Imagine a hot dog that has been fermenting for some time, a vinegary upswing that tickles the tongue, and a soft and mushy mouthfeel. Its muted, waterlogged flavor delivers the taste buds a disastrous dance around the mechanically separated bits of beef, chicken, and pork within, somehow allowing for both the experience of its parts AND its whole, all at the same time. There’s no heat to this thing. No “red hot.” No “fire cracker.” No “thank god this is burning the hell out of my mouth so at least I can’t taste it.”

Since this dog food monstrosity was purchased for me by Amanda, I have no comments on its value other than any penny you spend on a Fire Cracker Giant Ret Hot would be better off thrown directly into the toilet.

Overall, I have rated the Fire Cracker Giant Red Hot Picked Sausage a 0.5/5. While it most certainly deserves a solid zero, I give it a 0.5 bump because I expected a memorable experience and godDAMN did it deliver. Never again will I look at the pickled sausages at the store with a childlike sense of wonder and think, “What could that possibly taste like?” because I know. I know the true horrors within that packaging. I know the smell of the fluid within. And I know that, after only two bites, some beef sticks are best left on the shelf.

I did not succeed, and I did not try, try again.

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