If you live in Memphis, you’re more than familiar with three things: blues, barbecue, and Circle B smoked sausage.
Memphis residents can’t walk into a restaurant or cookout without seeing Circle B on the grill. It’s a basic fact that if you don’t sell Circle B in the Memphis area, you can’t say you’re in the meat business.
Now – part of that is because Circle B smoked sausages are just so darn tasty. But the other part of that is we’ve been around for a while, and while we’re popular throughout the Southeast, our humble beginnings started in Memphis, Tennessee.
Kathy Mullins is not only the Marketing Director for Monogram Foods (who make Circle B), but as you will see below, she is a raving fan! She shares some history about Circle B smoked sausage with us, and also her personal opinions about her favorite ways of fixing and serving up this sassy and soulful sausage staple.
Circle B Smoked Sausage: Created by the well-known Memphis “master” of meats
Circle B was started in 1935 when Nat Buring, the owner of King Cotton Meats, began making spicy smoked sausage with a different blend of seasoning from his King Cotton brand. Buring knew that the Memphis market was perfect for the right Southern blend of sausage. He worked for several years to develop a unique proprietary blend of spices, and he created a spicy smoked sausage that was unlike anything anyone had tasted before.
“Circle B is an iconic brand in the city of Memphis,” reminds Kathy Mullins, Marketing Director for Monogram Foods, Circle B’s parent company. “After all, the ‘B’ in Circle B stands for Buring…and Boy, that’s Good!”
Circle B Smoked Sausages take Memphis by storm in the 1930s
With its unique flavor profile and signature red casing, Circle B took the Memphis area by storm, becoming a favorite at outdoor barbeques and locally-owned restaurants. “Buring really spiced up the sausage, but not with heat…with flavor!”
“It really stands apart from the other sausages,” Mullins adds. “It has a unique flavor profile that isn’t like other smoked sausages. Now our Hot Links do have a little kick…Circle B Hot Links set the bar for other sausages. We made hot links before hot links were cool!”
The signature red casing with that classic snap is the telltale sign that a Circle B smoked sausage is on your plate. Grilled ‘til they pop right open!
Mullins adds that while Circle B is completely unique to Memphis and the Mid-South, their popularity level has surpassed many competitors. “We are the #12 brand in the entire country,” Mullins proudly shares. “Our primary market area is the 150-mile radius around Memphis; that’s how much people in the region love Circle B! We ship Circle B all over the country…to folks that know and love the flavor. And we are rapidly expanding distribution into areas like southern Louisiana, Birmingham, St. Louis, Nashville, and everywhere people love good Southern sausage.”
Circle B Smoked Sausage is a Southern Staple
Circle B is found in almost all surrounding restaurants in the Memphis area and is also a favorite in people’s homes. Its versatility allows it to be the perfect sausage for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. “You split it open and fry it face down in a cast-iron skillet, and oh my goodness…SO GOOD!” Mullins laughs.
Whether eaten on a biscuit, by itself or sliced up in jambalaya, “Circle B is what puts the SOUL in soul food,” Mullins says.
Because of its iconic branding and distinct southern flavor profile, Circle B will always be a favorite amongst southern families and cooks alike.