COLUMBIA — Don’t play with your food.
The Mizzou Meat Market, part of MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources unveiled its newest type of summer sausage this week. It's shaped like a miniature football — the squishy, foam-filled kind that you probably tossed around with your friends in elementary school.
“We knew football season was coming up, and we were trying to work on a plan,” Lauren Weiker, a market employee said.
Weiker said the idea for the sausages was basically an advertising strategy for football season, and the market would like to eventually sell the edible footballs at games. In order to do so, meat market employees wrote a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan, which outlines the basic information about the product, and sent it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We just mainly have to give a reason why we we’re going to make that product, what’s going into the product and how we’re going to cook it,” Weiker said.
Weiker and her coworkers worked on writing the plan over the summer, and they hope to hear back from the USDA soon. Once they’ve gotten approval, they will contact the concessions department at Memorial Stadium to put their plan in the works.
For now, the market is just hoping to get the word out about its new product. Weiker said that she sold a few of the sausages on Wednesday, and in the first round of production, employees made about 25 or 30. The sausage footballs, which sell for $4.25, are now lined up in a market refrigerator, waiting for both football and sausage enthusiasts alike to realize all that the delicacy could add to their tailgates on Saturday.
“We’re hoping to get some sold today, so they’ll tell people,” Weiker said.
The footballs are a typical summer sausage blend, made of beef, beef fat and the market’s special blend of seasonings. What’s different is the casing, which has a special liner that contains the meat in its football-shaped form. The laces are also the result of a manipulated casing, and the 6.25-inch long meaty creation weighs in at 1.1 pounds and has a 10.5-inch circumference.
The sausage weighs about an ounce more than its non-edible counterpart, the NCAA-approved football, despite its smaller size. It also does not meet lacing or length regulations. It has not eight, but five laces, and would need an extra 10 inches of length to conform to NCAA standards.
That said, the sausage is somewhat aerodynamic, and with enough practice, quarterback Blaine Gabbert might be able to deliver the tasty treat to a plate with a spiral pass.
The only thing that’s missing now? The cheddar cheese kickoff tee.