Angelo and Julia Palmisano

Palmisano’s Homedale Italian Sausage

Horse racing is filled with history and the history of racing is part of what makes it a fascinating sport with great color and nuance.  One of the great parallels of Thoroughbred Racing and Food culture is the history.  The story of where we come from is important to where we are.  

In some cases the culture of Horse Racing and Food Culture intersect.  There are a number of stories I will tell on these intersections and how they hit your pallet.  The first is the story of Palmisano’s Homedale Market Italian Sausage.

Gary Palmisano is a long time horse trainer.  Since retiring from training horses he became a Racing Official at Fair Grounds.  Gary was our trainer for nearly twenty five years.  His name gives his heritage away and his Italian roots go deep into the neighborhood food culture of New Orleans.

New Orleans is port city and an immigrant city.  Most of the Italian’s in Southern Louisiana are Sicilian.  Many of the Sicilian immigrants in our area moved out to the outlying areas of what is now Kenner or further north to Tangipahoa Parish to farm.  A good many lived in the city and opened corner markets.  As you drive through the older New Orleans neighborhoods today, many of the old storefronts on the corners are easy to spot.

Gary’s dad Angelo Palmisano opened his first market in partnership with Gene Thompson in the early 1950’s.  Angelo was a meat cutter and Thompson’s background was in the slaughter business.  Thompson partnered with a number of corner market operators to develop a larger market share for his slaughter business and his company has become one of the larger meatpacking businesses in South Louisiana.

Mr. Angelo’s market was just off of Canal behind what is now Mandina’s on Cleveland Avenue.  In time the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Angelo moved to Lakeview on Homedale St. opening the Homedale Market.  He cut meat here and ran the corner market until retiring in the early 1970’s.

Gary delivered grocery orders for his dad and learned how to make sausage.  The Italian Sausage was a popular item and the fifty and one hundred pound batches were popular.  Gary recalled he made deliveries to other markets in the area and pizza parlors after his weekly processing.

Our focus for Louisiana Craft Butchers has been on artisan, culturally relevant products to our area.  Italian Sausage is one of the New Orleans products fitting right in the sweet spot of what we want to offer.  We have made batches of mild Italian Sausage but they didn’t quite hit the flavor notes I thought we needed to capture the essential New Orleans ideal.

So one day Gary and I met for lunch and I gave him some of our Italian Sausage for feedback.  I had no idea fifty years ago he was a sausage maker in his dad’s market.  If you know anything about Gary, I got serious feedback and an offer to show us what we were doing wrong.

What we produced is a truly artisan and historically relevant Sicilian Italian Sausage.  The flavor profile is much broader and bolder than Italian Sausages you may be used to.  The ingredients make it a more expensive sausage but if you want authentic, you really need to try this.

Palmisano’s Homedale Italian Sausage

4 LB Pork Butt

1 LB Beef (70/30)

2 TBS Salt

4 TBS Cracked Fennel

2 tsp Anise Seeds

1 TBS Crushed Red Pepper Flake (For Hot)

1 TBS Sugar

1 TBS Garlic Granules

2 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Onion Granules

1/2 tsp Thyme

1/2 tsp Rosemary

1/2 Bn Parsley

1 Cup Wine (Sauterne, Chablis, Moscato, White Zinfandel or Reisling)