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Karl's Sausage Kitchen Trip

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Hi All - Thinking about making a pilgrimage from Concord Ma. to Saugus to pick up some smoked bacon and other delights from Karl's.

What should we not miss? Haven't tried the triple smoked bacon, but love the regular smoked bacon. Triple smoked worth the take? How does one cook triple smoked bacon?

Any Wurst's we should check out? Rost Bratwurts maybe? Polish sausage? Kielbasa?
Plan on getting some smoked pork chops, as well as some liverwurst.
Hot dog wise, how do Karl's stack up?
What are Karl's Italian sausages like?

Last question, mustard.
Love most kinds of mustards, but we'd love you input on which to buy.

Thanks All!

Dewey

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  1. Oh yeah, this a trip I need to make too!

    The triple smoked bacon....bury some thick slabs of it in sauerkraut along with several other pork products (the smoked chops you mention for example, or "hot dogs"). Don't forget a good splash of riesling and some juniper berries, and hmmmm, a choucroute worthy of a cold autumn night. Those smoky bacons go well with any kind of beans as well, green or dried.

    I have been looking for and have not seen in a long time, the headcheese (Suelzer) from Schaller & Weber. Karl always had this, I assume he still does. Try it, it's one of the best versions of this available around here.

    Not mustard, but get some curry ketchup and some fresh sausages (ask them which are best for) Currywurst. I know they have the ketchup there and almost any brat or the like will do. Add a good pile of curry powder on top too and you'll have a classic Berliner street-food dish. Been thinking about that one for a while too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Zatan

      I saw the Schaller & Weber headcheese at the Sudbury Farms store in Sudbury last Saturday.

      1. re: Zatan

        These people would be able to help

        Schaller & Weber of New England / Euroguild Specialty European ...

        www.euroguild.com

        397 High Plain St
        Walpole, MA 02081
        (508) 668-7221

      2. If you don't mind shopping on line you might find every mustard you ever dreamed of tasting right here:

        http://www.mustardmuseum.com/

        Have been ordering from them for years and have always had stellar service.

        1. I like the jagdwurst, pressed ham, veal loaf, nussschinken, schinkenspeck, and the dry cured hams. I don't think they make any of these at Karl's, but they're hard to find anywhere else. I just made chili with triple smoked bacon and hot Italian sausage from Karl's (and bison) and I liked it quite a bit.

          1. The hot dogs are the mild pork kind, not kosher-style garlicky.

            The landjaeger hanging in pairs over the cash registers are worth having. They are normally eaten as is (think of them as alpine jerky) but I like to heat mine up a bit in, yes, the m-wave (just a few seconds).

            And the pork chops are da bomb. You get to choose how many you want cut.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              (with my lower lip trembling) Karl's thick cut smoked pork chops, I need a moment alone...

              1. re: StriperGuy

                If you can't be good, be neat.

            2. We just did this trip last weekend and filled our freezer. I am especially fond of the smoked Polish Kielbasa, which made a fantastic navy bean soup for that cold snap last weekend.

              The coarse bratwurst is excellent, with a nice rush of flavor from the caraway seeds. I also love their ring bologna and of course, the regular smoked bacon.

              I also adore their cold cuts, especially the veal loaf and the beerwurst and the pepperloaf.

              1. Do you know if Karl's supplies the sausages for the Smokehouse in Norwell?

                1. I live near Karl's, but for some reason am afraid to go in there. I know I like different sausages, keilbasa, chorico, etc... but is this place newbie friendly? I don't want to go in there asking questions and get the cold stare. :)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: scorp508

                    Totally friendly...ask away. I'm certainly not particularly sausage-savvy, but have never felt intimidated.

                    1. re: scorp508

                      They absolutely could not be friendlier, to newbies and regulars alike. They are so enthusiastic about their products they are delighted to answer as many questions as you might have and they never ever rush you, no matter how busy it is.

                      To AGM_Cape_Cod, no, they are completely unrelated to the Smokehouse in Norwell and the two outfits make identifiably different sausages, I can't really think of much overlap.

                      Also they now have a web site that's a little sparse but helpful. http://www.karlssausage.com/

                      1. re: GretchenS

                        The folks at Karl's are uber-friendly. The first time I went one woman stayed with me and helped me decide what I wanted...then ran all over the store getting the items and helped me decide which wursts and cheese I wanted. I didn't have to move a muscle except take out my wallet. Their liverwurst is phenomenal!

                        1. re: Gio

                          Strong second for the liverwurst.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Thanks, everyone! Looks like a trip is in order. :)

                            1. re: scorp508

                              Just let me say, do not be intimidated... there will be people there who will order in German or any of several other languages. That's actually a very good thing. It tells you that what is sold at Karl's is like a trip back home. The folks behind the counter will help you find exactly what you want. Just ask. And no - I'm NOT connected.

                            2. re: Gio

                              Third the liverwurst!! It is fabulous, so fabulous that Karl's is the only one I'll eat.

                        2. Well after reading this entire thread I'm compelled to make the long journey to Karls and check it out. (I will now confess my long journey isn't so long. I have lived in Saugus for 18 years and pass Karls every day and must confess I have never stopped there.) Looking forward to the deliciousness.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: hhookk

                            Let's us know what you get.

                            1. re: jjbourgeois

                              This may be common knowlege but they have a new "CSA" which has been a lot of fun. Its really more like a pre-paid "butcher's choice" but we have been very happy with what they have picked out and delivered. We've tried a lot of new stuff that we wouldn't have otherwise purchsed. For example, I had the hot-dogs last night and lets just say they were quite a bit different than oscar meyer- I might have them again tonight!

                              1. re: drbangha

                                I did this as well, but I disagree with the premise: he's not sourcing any local proteins; his claim is that since he's a local business, it follows that supporting him is akin to supporting local farmers. Of course, the flip side is that were he to source locally, you'd be pretty shocked at what eighty bucks gets you.

                                1. re: almansa

                                  As a selfish person, I mostly do our vegetable CSA because 75% of the time it tastes so much better than the store bought stuff, so the fact that he doesn't source locally doesn't really bug me, although I agree with you that its not really a CSA in the ordinary sense of the word . . . .

                                  1. re: drbangha

                                    Please excuse my ignorance, but what is CSA?

                                    1. re: hhookk

                                      Community Sustainable Agriculture

                                      1. re: ScubaSteve

                                        Yes,, and to further explain the premise....The following site offers a good description:
                                        http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

                                        But a CSA does not have to be just vegetables. There are meat CSAs and this past summer we bought a share in a Northshore seafood CSF, Community Suported Fishery. It's a good way to insure you have locally raised produce, meat and freshly caught fish...

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Right, but to speak to almansa's point, Karl's isn't offering a locally-sourced CSA. I still think it's a great idea (although won't join because I already can't keep up with the meat I get from my meat CSA, which, granted, comes from Vermont, not the strictly local area.) Karl's CSA is not supporting any local agriculture, so the term "CSA" is really being misused.

                                          People join CSAs for a variety of reasons, but one of the selling points is usually to help support the local farmer, and keep the property being used for farmland, not subdivisions. I wish they'd use a different term for it, but I do think it's a great idea and do wish them success.

                                          1. re: Chris VR

                                            I think also that many who join CSAs frown (rightly imho) on corporate agribusiness, and Karl's uses commodity pork: Smithfield, IBP, Hatfield, Amity, etc. Were he to make an arrangement with even a large scale operation like Beeler's, or use Du Breton out of Canada, I'd feel better about it and would probably join in a heartbeat. I did join this year, and whatever's not in the freezer I've mostly given away to friends. But I've had fun cooking it all.

                                            1. re: almansa

                                              If Karl's used non-agribusiness meat their prices would likely double or triple.

                                              I think just having an old school smokehouse that uses fairly artisanal techniques on their own is pretty amazing and rare and worthy in it's own right.

                                              If they used more politically correct meat they would price half their customers out of the market and everything would probably be $25 a pound. I would love someone to prove me wrong on the last statement but I imagine it is probably pretty accurate.

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                You're absolutely right.

                          2. Hi All - Thank you for all of your input - much appreciated!
                            Finally made our pilgrimage to Karl's today, and here's what we picked up:
                            Smoked Bacon. Didn't try the triple smoked as it looks kinda gnarly, and not sure what we'd use it in. Someday.
                            Rost Bratswurst.
                            Liverwurst. Fine, not coarse. One of our favorites, much better than Mother Goose. Thanks!
                            Smoked Polish Sausage. Not sure how we're going to use this, but temptation ruled.
                            Chorizo. Huh? Chorizo from a german butcher? Looked too good to pass up.
                            Smoked Pork Chops. OK, taking a deep breath. Our total favorite at Karl's.
                            Anyone have a good recipe for their smoked chops? Apple ciderish or something?

                            Thanks All!

                            Dewey

                            -----
                            Karl's Sausage Kitchen
                            142 Broadway, Saugus, MA 01906

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: deweyweber54

                              The pork is destined for Rippchen mit Kraut in some way. Since they are smoked as well as cured, they are Kasseler (or Kassler) Rippchen, as opposed to Frankfurter Rippchen, which are cured but not smoked, but often served in a similar way, with seasoned sauerkraut and potato puree. Use good sauerkraut, please, not stuff from a can.

                              Example (please search for more to your liking):

                              http://www.cyber-kitchen.com/ubbs/arc...

                              1. re: deweyweber54

                                Yes, as above in my comment about the smoky bacon, braising them in sauerkraut is a winning situation, just use a good one and add some wine and spices as suit you (caraway or juniper would be good). They are particularly suited to braising I think, though you could brown them ahead of time to add another dimension.

                                1. re: deweyweber54

                                  Recipe idea: reduce apple cider with a touch of brown sugar, some crystalized ginger and rosemary to a syrup; add meat stock of choice, reduce and finish with butter.

                                  1. re: deweyweber54

                                    I'm late in replying, but as a Polish girl who grew up on Polish deli kielbasa (Hillshire Farms is NEVER allowed in our house), I wanted to comment on Karls.

                                    I found the smoked kielbasa at Karls a little too salty, and not garlicky enough. But then again, I like super garlicky kielbasa.

                                    But, while I was there, they were making fresh kielbasa -- which I waited for. If you haven't had fresh kielbasa, it's basically a fresh sausage, not smoked. Karls' was outstanding.

                                    Now, how to cook kielbasa. Traditionally, prick the skin and boil. Grilling is always an option. But my favorite way to cook -- and now standard go to way -- oil up the sausage (fresh or smoked) with olive oil. Throw in a roasting pan and prick the skin a lot. Throw into a hot oven -- 400 ish and roast for 45 minutes or so, or as Julia Child says, cook until you smell it.

                                    You can eat it hot, room temp or cold.

                                    1. re: nomadgirl

                                      Market Basket in Reading has fresh kielbasa available year-round on most days. Fresh kielbasa is my favorite fresh sausage. It's hard to find a version that has the right coarseness and amount of gristle (gristle is important in certain sausages). Be fearless with the garlic, and it's nice to notice the marjoram (the traditional herbal flavor).

                                      I never prick the skin: I poach at no more than a simmer, than slice into thick slices and brown slowly over low heat for a long time.

                                    2. re: deweyweber54

                                      The smoked Polish Sausage makes a fantastic addition to a navy bean soup. Or, I will just buy a bag of the 15-bean soup mix at the market and add a can of diced tomatoes and one diced Karl's smoked kielbasa to the mix and let it simmer for an hour or two. I've also used the smoked polish sausage for one of my favorite simple dishes, fried cabbage and kielbasa. Just take half a head of cabbage, slice thinly and fry in some butter until slightly brown. Add the sliced sausage and cook until the sausage is done.

                                    3. Karls rules!

                                      We went this past Saturday and the place was *mobbed*. I would recommend going on a weekday, but keep in mind they're closed on Mondays. They're very friendly and will tell you how to prepare the sausages/meats.

                                      This past visit I got one very thick smoked pork chop, smoked polish sausage, chorizo, lots of bacon (regular), smoked ham, pickled herring. I've gotten in the past their (excuse spelling!) weiswurst, liverwurst (course and fine - we like them both), andoille, fresh polish sausage, fresh breakfast sausage, bratwurst, hot dogs, bologna. We were not fond of the hot dogs - too mild almost. Everything else has been a hit. I must add that they try to warn customers that their andoille and chorizo are hot - they are not. But, the chorizo is nothing like what you'd get in Fall River or New Bedford - at Karl's the meat is minced and does not taste like true Portuguese chorizo. But, it's still very good!

                                      They also have all sorts of mustards, cheeses, candies, bread from those Swedish bakeries in Worcester...etc.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: nlg

                                        After seeing this incredible long thread, we're going to make the trek out there this weekend, I think. Well, I'm sure of it. My husband is adamant that we have to go! We have driven by it countless times and sometimes it's open and sometimes it's not...used to be sort of a joke for us when we were heading to the beach in the summer. But the Web site looks like they have some consistent hours, which is comforting. :) And o, my mouth has been watering after reading the wonderful reviews!

                                        1. re: crystallyn

                                          Yay- you'll love it! It's almost overwhelming, especially if you're not used to German butchers. Even after a dozen or so trips there, I still stand there like an idiot in front of the case, so print out some recommendations from this thread.

                                          (hint: bacon bacon bacon- get both and do a taste test!)

                                          1. re: Chris VR

                                            My 1/2 German husband would drive to the end of the planet for Karl's sausage. Thankfully we live in Melrose. Go, you will not regret it.

                                          2. re: crystallyn

                                            You will have a much wider selection if you get there Saturday morning, the sausage case can get kind of empty by afternoon since they are closed Sunday and Monday.

                                        2. Can I get a liverwurst that actually tastes like liver here? 'Cause I'd travel for that. The "deli" liverwursts are much blander than I remember from my childhood, and I'm really craving a good liverwurst and swiss on pumpernickel.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sablemerle

                                            The liverwurst does have a deep flavor and was a highlight of my trip, just edging out the smoked bacon.

                                          2. One tip for Karl's fans. Danish Pastry House with Watertown and Medford locations does amazing German style 7 and 12 grain breads. Super dense like a cinder block full of seeds and grains. They sell similar pre-sliced in packets at Karl's and the Supermarket but these are WAY better, and the perfect foil for anything from Karl's. I even suggested to the people at Karl's that they should carry these products. The rest of the goods at DPH are not that noteworthy but those breads alone are worth the trip.

                                            -----
                                            Danish Pastry House
                                            205 Arlington St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                            1. I'm a little late but I lived in Germany for seven years and Karls is so wonderful and totally authentic!
                                              As far as currywurst it's best with bratwurst and you also need some good brochen to go with it which goes fast at Karls (usually gone by the early afternoon)....very traditional German meal. It's very easy to make your own curry ketchup if you have curry......and ketchup on hand :-)
                                              They have some decent mustards there, all are the good/grainy type.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: BellatrixStar

                                                Actually, while I love the grainy mustards, my favorite one that they carry is the Lion brand (Loewen) which is a smooth, sinus-clearing HOT mustard.

                                                1. re: Allstonian

                                                  I'll have to try that...especially since I do feel some sort of cold coming on :-/ 'tis the season but thank you for that. I'm definitely open to try it!

                                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                                    Is this the "Loewensenf Extra" brand? The one with the red label and lion on the bottle? If so, I completely concur ... a friend mules this back from Germany but it's comforting to know there is a local source.

                                                    1. re: yumyum

                                                      Yep, that's the stuff. I was browsing around a little grocer's shop and got Barmy a small jar as a gift the last time I was in Germany (too long ago!) and I really loved it myself. Was very happy to find it at Karl's though the price was kind of stunning (I wanna say 6 or 7 dollars for a pretty small jar.) Still, it's worth it - Loewensenf is one of my very favorite mustards.

                                                      1. re: Allstonian

                                                        I'm pretty sure it was between $4.50 and $5.

                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                          It must have come down in price then - which would be lovely! My visit to Karl's was quite some time ago (looks like over 2 years!), and imports were running very high in price because of the lousy state of the US$.

                                                          1. re: Allstonian

                                                            Don't quote me on that though :) I picked up two jars of mustard the other day - that one (based on your post about it ... tasty stuff! I forget the brand of the other one, I was just pattern matching off of the label as I knew I liked it. Anyhoo, point being that I was pretty sure both of them were around $4.50 something.

                                                            1. re: Allstonian

                                                              I believe they changed hands about 2 years ago, and perhaps the new management adjusted some of that pricing.

                                                  2. Here's a silly question ... how long will the triple smoked bacon keep? Presumably the answer is "a really long time", I mean, that's meat is smoked ... but how long is long?

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: jgg13

                                                      "how long is long?" I would say nearly indefinitely in a cool dry place. Certainly 6-12 months.

                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                        That's what I figured, just wanted to make sure.

                                                      2. re: jgg13

                                                        another question on the triple smoked ... can I pretty much use it in any dish where I'd normally use a smoky, slab bacon? It looks pretty dried out, I'm afraid it'd end up being too tough to chew on.

                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                          I use it more as a flavor ingredient (stews etc.) It's not really something you would want to fry up and eat with pancakes.

                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                            I figured the latter :) I was definitely picturing it more in stews, braises and the like but wasn't sure if it'd end up something that was pleasant to eat or if it'd be along the lines of say a ham hock where you take it out at the end.

                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                              I slice it up and throw it in stew. Once it's cooked you can certainly eat it.

                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                Cool. I was just afraid that it'd still be tough, hard, overly chewy - but could also picture it absorbing liquid and getting pretty nice to eat.

                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                  I think you could probably even fry it and eat it like regular bacon. It's not THAT tough. But for eating, their regular is plenty smokey for me.

                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                    You can use it as you would regular bacon. I made BLT's and bacon cheese burgers this past weekend with it, but I've used it in salads and omelets as well.

                                                                    My main reason I buy the triple smoked bacon is it works really well when making baked beans.

                                                                    1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                      Mmmmm. Can you share your recipe? Been thinking of making some for a while. Thx.

                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                        Yeah, that sounds tasty

                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                          I use this recipe from Yankee Magazine
                                                                          http://www.yankeemagazine.com/recipe/...

                                                                          As you can see in the reader reviews, someone suggest adding smoked bacon for added flavor. Adding the triple smoked bacon from Karl's made this good baked bean recipe a winner for me.

                                                                          1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                            Cool. Thanks.

                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                              I've been using this recipe as well and I think Karl's regular bacon or triple smoked would be fabulous in it.

                                                        2. You have to try the liverwurst. Fine is a lot better than the coarse. It is the best anywhere. The crud that you get in supermarkets doesn't even come close. They make it themselves and it is awesome. Their landerjaeger is really really good too. I like the softer fresher ones. I've tried various sausages and they have all been good. Their bratwurst is as good as any in the Boston area. The people are nice. Some of the counter clerks are German and can appear to be reserved but ask them questions and they warm up instantly.