By Mike Gioscia.
If you drive in the Hanson/Pembroke/East Bridgewater area you’ve most likely driven by a humble little shop on RT 27 called Sausages Homemade & Natural. You’ve probably even said to yourself, “I need to stop in there someday.” This author is guilty of the same thought! Well, let me tell you first hand, it’s time to hit the brakes and stop into the joint with “The Great Sausage Factory” sign out front; it’s well worth it. For someone who buys very little mass-produced meat, Sausages Homemade & Natural is a great local alternative.
There are two chairs in the small lobby, and a toasty fire burning on cool days. Glinna Tassinari, the owner, may very well be sitting there reading between customers. The space is quaint and homey, and the customers who come in are greeted like family. “I always say everything is homemade, just not made in YOUR home,” Glinna states. Lunch hours find customers getting everything from a quick cup of chili to full-on weekend grill supplies. Wondering which delicacies are available each week is part of the fun of the journey. I find myself hoping for pulled pork long before I get to the shop.
Glinna’s dad, Roy Tassinari, started the business part-time in 1986, to supplement his work as a lobster fisherman. He built the retail hut himself, as well as the large smoker sitting outside, and learned how to make sausage by doing. The business was successful right away. “He filled a niche, and ya know, we’re still filling it 33 years later,” Glinna exclaimed.
As time went on the sausage business became more full-time, and the lobster gig became part-time, which kept Roy home more. Glinna has been involved in the business since the beginning, working part-time on the retail side to start, then learning the cooking side. By the late 90s she was tending to most of the operations and took over full-time for her dad in 2009. “He still helps with the pies,” Glinna added. It’s a small family-run business, with pictures on the wall of her sons, Jason and Michael, serving their food.
A fantastic variety of sausages are offered, usually around eight, including both sweet and hot Italian, garlic and cheese, green pepper, jalapeno, chicken, and the author’s favorite roasted, sweet red pepper and smoked provolone. Special orders are taken for bangers, brats, breakfast sausage, and a Swedish sausage called kok korv (also wonderful!). The sweet Italian and roasted red pepper and smoked provolone are the top sellers. Salt- and sugar-free sausage options are available as well.
And there’s plenty more to choose from, like BBQ spare ribs, steak tips, pulled pork, meatballs, “buffalo bones” (boneless pork butt in spicy marinade), two types of marinated chicken thighs (“thunder” and jerk), and even a Mexican cornbread pie, which is their award-winning chili baked with a cornbread topping. “All our spice blends and marinades are our own recipes,” Glinna explained.
The BBQ Ribs are smoked for three hours, then can be finished off in your oven or grill for an hour. The pulled pork is finished on-premise in the oven and ready to be reheated at home with their own BBQ sauce. Everything is cooked on the smoker Roy built when the business opened. The smoker can be seen (and smelled) once a week when the shop is getting ready for the weekend rush.
Clientele includes many families looking for better, locally made food, from the South Shore, South Coast, and even Cape Cod. “We produce small-batch sausage from extra-lean meats, all fresh, and all of it made right here. There’s nothing in our sausage you wouldn’t eat by itself. There are no scraps, no fillers, no colors or preservatives,” Glinna says proudly. “I raised my two boys on this food.” Boys to men! They still come home to help a busy shop.
The week starts Tuesday with meat cutting, mostly handled by assistant Kim Harrington. “I couldn’t do it without her,” Glinna avows. Wednesday morning the sausage-making starts for the week. “We use a 20-pound mixing bowl and a 20-pound stuffer, very small compared to the big markets,” she says.
For big weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day Glinna will prep 300 pounds of sausage and 20 racks of ribs. “Don’t wait until Sunday to stop in, I might sell out,” she says. “Once I’m out, I’m out. Get in by Saturday, or even better, call ahead during the week and I’ll make sure your order is ready,” she added.
Sausages Homemade & Natural has won first place at the annual East Bridgewater Commercial Club Chili/Chowder Fest for several years, and the awards line the walls of the shop. “Our chili is a favorite,” Glinna boasts. Other great sides available most weekends are baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, candied jalapeños, and a “secret recipe” bloody mary mix. Cooler weather means more “football food” available, including pasta with sausage (of course) and butternut squash. “I’ll do trays of football food to go, not a problem,” she says. “Trays of pulled pork fly outta here,” she added.
A sign on the wall says “Life’s Too Short To Eat Supermarket Sausage,” and after one grilling/frying experience, you’ll know exactly what that means! Eat fresh, support local, and get some of Glinna’s sausages, from her backyard to yours, this weekend.
Sausages Homemade & Natural
421 Franklin Street
Hanson, MA 02341
Mike Gioscia is President at Soule Homestead Education Center in Middleboro, and host of “Americanarama” on 95.9 WATD Monday -Thursday 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.