Friday, June 5, 2020

Adventures in cheap packaged foods: Armour Vienna sausage

A few years back, I learned folks in some parts of the country pronounce the name of this sausage vy-EE-nuh. It made me wonder if they pronounced the Austrian city the same way.

I first encountered Vienna sausage on a Boy Scout hike. I was at an age when I considered anything unfamiliar bad, therefore tiny pale hotdogs in a can, with some kind of fluid, was bad. Eating them at backpack temperature only made them worse. I never tried them again.

In the ensuing decades I realized bologna, hotdogs and Vienna sausages are pretty much the same thing, just different sizes with slightly different recipes. Vienna sausage is mostly chicken. I’ve had turkey dogs, so why not chicken dogs?

I tried one straight from the can. It was like eating a hotdog straight from the package. Eh, it was okay. Certainly not as repulsive as my Boy Scout memory.

But what would it taste like if I did it up like a hotdog? I rolled one around in a hot pan for a while then applied mustard. Hmmm. Not the best wiener I ever had, but far from the worst (or wurst, nyuk-nyuk). I finished the can. I won’t be craving Vienna sausage, but I won’t be running from it either.

I suppose Vienna sausage became a camping staple because it doesn’t need refrigeration. The refrigeration issue is one reason I’ve been trying all these prepared foods. Sure, I prefer fresh food, but it’s not always practical to store in a van. And these days, with an iffy supply chain, I want to have as much food on hand as I can—even if that food is merely okay.


I saw this  Vienna sausage variation in a Dollar General store. The retro label caught my attention. I checked the use-by date to make sure it hadn’t been there since 1958. Nope, it was new, and less than a buck, so what the hell, I gave it a try. Ugh, what an unpleasant experience.


  1. I have not had a Vienna Sausage in years but they once wee a staple in my ALL DAY fishing trips. Never did like them much but they were sure good when the last food had been ten hours ago. I never had any upset body from them. I would not hesitate to have a few cans onboard when going out boondocking. Personally I liked eating them with hot dog relish on them.

  2. While building a long-term pantry years ago, I tried pressure canning all-beef hotdogs in wide-mouth jars. Results? Hubby and I agreed we had Vienna Sausages. The BBQ grill helped them out a lot but they never returned to full hotdog status. You want to grill them before trying to make beans-n-franks or mac-n-cheese/hotdogs.

  3. Our family recipe to is heat green beans in a skillet while slicing Vienna sausage into coins on top of the beans then stir it altogether. When every thing is hot break some eggs on top, add salt and pepper, and scramble it altogether. Howard invented this when home alone and hungry. No, I don't know who Howard was other than some relative way back when. :)

  4. My main question about "variety meats" is this: why does potted meat cost so much more than vienna sausages? The ingredients look the same, and the sausages would seem to require more manufacturing.

  5. Thanks for the update. Definitely worthwhile reading.