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Spicy Southern Sausage Balls & Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a very Virginia friendly grape varietal. It was officially established in the 17th century in the southwest part of France, aka the Burgundy region. As such, it is often found in Bordeaux and Meritage blends. While very similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc does have some notable differences. For example, Cabernet Franc tends to flower and ripen more than a week earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon! Cabernet Franc also tends to have a more perfume notes with a green vegetal streak depending on where it is grown and how long it is allowed to hang on the vine.

Our 2021 Cabernet Franc is a single varietal, but we do use it in many of our red blends like our award-winning Screaming Hawk Meritage. Our Cabernet Franc features a notable perfumed nose with a long brambly finish. It has a nice tannic structure and further notes of rose, cola, cherry, and tar.

After our Cabernet Franc tasting seminar and the constant questioning from the attendees, I am finally willing to part with the family sausage ball recipe. These spicy sausage bites pair well with our light but peppery Cabernet Franc with a well-developed flavor profile. The long finish of our Franc paired with the lingering heat from this appetizer go hand and hand and will be sure to get you reinvited to the party next year!

If you haven’t grown up in the south or had what I would consider to be "a quintessential Virginian Christmas meal", you may not have heard of sausage balls made with the secret ingredient Bisquick. Trust me, these are always party pleaser – who doesn’t love a good cheesy, hearty, spicy, and filling appetizer?


· 3c Bisquick

· 1lb Spicy Ground Sausage (preferably pork based)

· 8oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese

· 8oz Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese

· 1/2 yellow or sweet onion finely chopped

· 1/3c milk


· Ketchup

· Franks Red Hot Sauce


Preheat oven to 350F.

Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except milk. With your hands, mix ingredients thoroughly, adding in milk slowly until everything is incorporated. (Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.)

Using a 1” cookie scoop (or a spoon) form your sausage balls and place them about 2 in apart on the lined baking sheet. Makes roughly 60 sausage balls.

Baked for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

While the sausage balls are in the oven, make the sauce. The sauce is optional, but it adds an extra layer of heat. To make the sauce mix 2 parts ketchup to one part of Franks Red Hot or add Franks Red Hot to taste.

When sausage balls are finished baking add them immediately to the sauce, toss, and serve warm.

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