Sonoma: Angelo's Smokehouse and Wine Country Deli
May is jerky month for me. I’ve decided to try different local types. Whatever I try has to be pretty darn good to beat Angelo’s.
It always looked like a tourist trap to me … with the signs and the big plastic cow on the roof. However, there were good reports on Chowhound in the past.
The reality is that locals seem more likely to stop by and it has a nice small-store vibe. Faded newspaper photos and reviews of Angelo’s are on the wall. On the back wall is a whiteboard of orders for markets they supply with their meats and sauages ... like Bi-Rite.
The thick jerky strips are moist and have a deep beefy flavor. The turkey jerky is excellent too.
They even smell delicious. The beef reminds me of eating Sunday roast beef ... the aroma concentrated and even more intense.
There are a number of different flavors – plain, peppered, hot peppered, garlic, teriyaki, Cajun and bbq. The flavoring tastes true and natural … garlic tastes like real garlic and the flavor nicely permeates the jerky.
The beef jerky is made from flank because of the low water content in that cut. "Why pay for water when you can pay for meat?" Angelo says in a San Francisco magazine article on his website where the market received a 'best of' award. All the jerky has a little wine and garlic in it because "jerky may not be Italian, but Angelo is".
My favorites are the plain, peppered and garlic, but Angelo’s is generous with the styrofoam cups of samples so decide for yourself which is most delicious to you.
My suggestion is to get the jerky by the piece from the brown paper bags instead of the cryovacked packages. The jerky in the plastic is a little wetter and the jerky by the piece just tastes better.
I also tried their ‘award-winning’ salami. It was nice with unusual spicing that seems to have a touch of cinnamon.
There are cases full of sausages, smoked poultry, pork sauces and frozen pies. The small deli counter sells sandwiches and a few salads like potato and coleslaw. They also have jars of bbq sauce, olives and other condiments.
The sign in front mentions smoked hams, turkeys, boneless bbq’d pigs and tri tip.
It is far from fancy or gourmet, just good. There are a few picnic benches outside under huge ancient trees. In the field next door a flock of sheep was grazing.
The smokehouse is actually in Petaluma. Here's a great SF Gate article on Angelo
Found that link on the Meathenge blog (Chowhond poster DrBiggles) which has some great pictures of the bacon, saugages and Angelo.
The jerky ratings so far
2. Fatted Calf
3. Carne seca in a gazillion local Mexican markets
Next to try: Green Light Jerky
Angelo's Wine Country Deli
23400 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476
I used to work just down the street from the Angelos outlet on Arnold. I still keep a few pounds of his sausage in the freezer for quick dinners, especially during the winter. The sausage is "over-the-top" in terms of seasoning (especially salt) but not too fatty. I especially like the Louisianna links for jambalaya or red beans and rice (which I first ate at the Gumbo Shop in New Orleans, and they served it with "smoked sausage"). I also love his whole ham, but seldom (only small family) can indulge. He does have some small, boneless smoked meat chunks he calls "ham for 2" that is great for a weeknight dinner, and can be sliced for sandwiches or chopped for cooking. Not technically ham, but far better than most supermarket products that call themselves ham. If you get a prepared sandwich, the meat is real, I especially liked the smoked turkey. Other than the meat, the sandwiches are pretty standard, but good value west coast style deli.