Ditka putting name on Polish sausage

October 9, 2013 (CHICAGO)

At Vienna Beef on North Damen only one Chicagoan could draw a crowd just to see someone grill some polish sausage. Yes, "Da Coach" is now backing a new product called Monster Vienna Sausage.

"Iron Mike" showed up and rolled up his sleeves and convinced everyone he doesn't just like to grill reporters.

"It looks like about eight inches and three to a pound. That's pretty good," Ditka said.

The coach grilled for about the length of an NFL huddle and then it was time to talk about polish sausage and his childhood.

"My father's side was from the Ukraine and they were half Polish and half Ukranian. So we had it all the time," he said.

So Ditka knows his polish sausage, but come on. Did he really contribute to this recipe?

"He came to our taste panel and tested a variety, almost 60 different products," said Tom McGlade, Vienna Beef business development. "Size, flavor, length. He picked these two. The chicken sausage and the beef Polish."

It's no surprise that Ditka is an expert on polish sausage or kielbasa. His father was Polish and Ukrainian but his mother was Irish and German. So what did that mean to the coach when he was growing up?

"I was a real mixture," he said. "We had a lot of potato soup and stuff like that. But it was O.K. It was all good. The Irish, Germans all good. The Polish, Ukrainians all good."

He's only a quarter Polish but that's enough to get him elected to the Polish Hall of Fame in 2001.

"Well, they had a weak moment," said Ditka.

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