Don’t you just love when people say “no one wants to see sausage being made”? Well, I do! Touring Queen City Sausage in Cincinnati, OH was one of the most fun things I’ve been able to do in our new state.
Family businesses have a special place in my heart, so learning more about this historic sausage plant was an opportunity I never thought I would have. Here are the top 10 things I learned while touring Queen City Sausage, including some cool facts about their new Wicked Hot Sausage line.
It’s A Family Affair
Owner Elmer Hensler takes pride in the fact that this business is all about family. His children work within the company, as well as their spouses. His brother is also a mainstay in the business. One of my favorite facts we learned during our tour was straight from Elmer’s brother, Arti.
Arti is 86, and retired from his job in the furniture business 23 years ago. When he left, he told Elmer he couldn’t sit around and do nothing; that’s not how their family was raised. So, Elmer gave him a “temporary” job as Queen City Sausage’s spice mixer, until they found a permanent employee. Arti’s still there.
When asked about what it’s like to work at the company, Arti said “it’s real work, but everyone enjoys what they do.”
Everything Is In-House
All social media, marketing, and production is done in-house. Queen City Sausage doesn’t outsource anything and many of the family members take on these parts of the company. When asked why they keep it all in-house, they said it was to increase and celebrate creativity. When developing their new Wicked Hot line, the creation of the flavors was all done within the company; they didn’t use any focus groups to test the flavors. That’s so impressive!
They even invite local businesses to have lunch with them. Elmer fellowships with them, and lunch is made right in the building. We were treated to a delicious Cheddar Mett stir fry, and Sausage Kabobs made with the Wicked Hot Jalapeño sausage. It was lovely.
The Pork Is Fresh
We were able to see every part of the warehouse and plant, including all 14 additions they’ve made over the years. When we saw the super cold, and somewhat full, rooms of pork, we were told that pork deliveries are usually meat from local farmers that shipped to the plant between 24 to 48 hours prior. Queen City Sausage prides themselves on always using fresh pork, with no fillers added to their products. It’s how they’ve stayed in business since 1965.
Savings Are Passed To The Customer
As a frugal blogger, and a foodie, this fact delighted me. We learned that Queen City Sausage buys quite a bit of their pork when prices are very low — usually around late winter. Around February, they have about 400,000 of meat in stock. Since they get it as such a low price, they pass those savings onto their customers, which ensures we will always get a great price on our sausage.
The pork doesn’t sit for long, either. Sausage is made about a week out from distribution to local stores and online orders. They’ve mastered how much to buy and what sells throughout the year, which gives them the opportunity to purchase supplies wisely, and at good prices. Certain sausages are in high demand during certain times of the year (hello, summer grilling time), so they can adjust what they buy according to those stats. This sounded exactly like how we track our grocery budgets, and stock up on items when they are on sale or in-season. To learn that a successful company does the same was refreshing to learn.
Queen City Sausage Wicked Hot Line Is About Flavor
Queen City Sausage is all about their signature flavor. They are the only sausage plant in the area that still uses real hickory chips, and you can taste that level of flavor with every bite. When developing the Wicked Hot line, they wanted customers to taste that signature Queen City smoky flavor first, then the featured heat. My husband is now an uber- fan of the new line, so I had to interview him about his experience with the jalapeño, chipotle, and ghost pepper varieties. Check out our Facebook Live video:
It was such an honor to tour Queen City Sausage in Cincinnati, and learn so much about their history and why they are seen as one of the best companies in the city.