Best Smokes Sausage In Texas.
Who's is the best at retail? It seems Texas has hundreds of smokes sausage brands. Are they that different? Are they real smokehouses or marketing companies selling me fauxQ?
A few weeks back, I found sausage from Patek's in Shiner at Albertsons. Had no CLUE they marketed their goods. Beats anything off the shelf I've tried in years!
Our favorite brand is Chappell Hill, and you can go to the place where they make the sausage. The pork & Venison is great.
There are lots of Texas sausage makers. It is not just marketing, there are a lot of smokehouses. Look at the package and if it is made in Texas you can probably find exactly where it is made and go there.
I have heard that you can get Patek's at HEB, but I never remember to look for it.
There are so many good smoked sausages and different styles of them in Texas that it is difficult to single out one as the best. For mass distributed I prefer Holmes or Chappell Hill. Chappell Hill's German style smoked sausage is very good and Holmes Pecan Smoked is excellent. In between Wharton and El Campo is Jr's Smokehouse and they have some very good smoked sausages including beef, beef and pork or venison. If not mistaken it is distributed with the name H&B Smoked Sausage. They also have a very good summer sausage. Nowaks in downtown El Campo also puts out a very good smoked sausage. Most people are familiar with the German influence in the hill country and don't realize there was also a strong German and Czech influence in the Texas coastal bend area which is why you can find good wurst there as well.
Since I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area my favorite brand is actually from a small town in Cooke County.
Fischer's Meat Market & Grocery in Muenster, TX has the best fresh brat I have had to date in the state of Texas. They also have a smoked version. The sausage is available at Fischer's of course but several grocers around Gainesville and even at two Metzler's BBQ in Denton. I usually stop in the Metzlers just off 35 and Teasley (Londonderry) to get some sausage and a strudel from Bayer's Kolonialwaren in Muenster. Metzlers also has one of, if not the best beer selection in Denton County!
On a recent trip to Waco I stopped in HEB and found Southside Market brand smoked sausages.
Some links to sausage makers:
Interesting Books or posts about the same topic
http://www.robbwalsh.com/01cookbooks/... - Since BBQ and Smoked Sausage go hand in hand a book from the lead food critic at the Houston Press
To answer the OP questions:
The best at retail would be the one who sells the most that would mean the brands that are manufactured/smoked in Texas and sold at major grocers (Tom Thumb/Randall's, HEB and Wal-Mart). I would say that Chappell Hill or Holmes would be the most poular as you can find those just about anywhere.
Yes smoked sausage really is that different! Some might use a more course grind to the meat making it "loose", others might use a fine grind similar to wursts or weiners. The smoking can be different througout brands, one might use pecan and another might use mesquite.
Yes there are real smokehouses believe it or not. If you are really concerned about where your products come from I would try small shops that don't sell their items across the whole state. Other posters have mentioned above Pateks, Nemecek, Nowaks, etc. which have a superior product compared to what you will find say at Wal-Mart. Those who have recipes handed down through generations are going to be a better product in most cases than those who have sold their recipes to manufacturers and mass market their product.
It all depends on your personal preference. Slovacek is very similar to Eckerich brand in texture...taste is better IMO. I can't tell you who to avoid b/c I am not sure of your personal preferences. I would go with someone in your area....that you can drive out this weekend, talk to and sample. Ask them questions about your preferences. Even in large cities there are going to be specialty meat stores that usually grind their own sausages.