With a rec for Ray's Own Brand linguiça from "mike0989" https://www.chowhound.com/post/san-lu... , I remembered to seek it out the next time I passed through SLO. That turned out to be the beginning of April, and because it was a Sunday, Ray's own shop was not open. It took a bit more digging to find this local product then expected. None at Spencer's in Santa Maria, nor the Old Town Market in Orcutt. I finally struck gold at El Rancho/California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach, http://www.californiafreshmarket.com/
I picked up linguica, salchicha caballero and Swiss brand sausages for about $7.50 per pound, more than other brands cost. The Swiss style ones are sold raw, while the other two are smoked and fully cooked. I liked the linguica a lot for its well-balanced spice, garlic and subtle smoking. I would have liked a little more wine snap and coarser grind, still these are a keeper and great for making caldo verde. The Swiss brand were fine with the characteristic allspice seasoning, but on the lean side. I prefer the ones from Roy's Swiss Sausage in Greenfield but Ray's Own beats out just about everyone else. Favorite of the three turned out to be the caballero (or cowboy) sausage for the more robust seasoning and assertive black pepper, as well as a coarser grind. I accompanied these with a red cabbage slaw.
Passing through again a few weeks later, I stopped at the California Fresh Market in SLO to restock and had the good fortune of stumbling on a sale. I bought more of the linguica, but also tried the bratwurst and Italian sausage (raw). The bratwurst were excellent with well-balanced spices and smoke tones, and a complete meal when accompanied by creamy cabbage and apples. The Italian sausage were milder in cure with less fennel than other brands, which some might prefer. They were fine grilled and served with sweet peppers and onions, but I would probably return to my favorites.
RAY'S OWN BRAND
6255 Edna Road
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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