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The best sausage you ever had

I have to say that sausage - in all its uncountable versions - is truly the king of meats. Nothing short of a miracle, really. You take the cheapest, toughest, fattiest parts of the animal, grind them up with some plants and seeds, stuff them into an intestine, and the result is a creation which in my opinion surpasses any other food that comes from an animal.

The summer after senior year of college I took a two-week trip with my South African roommate to visit his family in Johannesburg. I'll never forget my first sight of boerewors, a huge continuous link of pork that never seemed to stop coming out of the cooler. This thing was coiled up on a charcoal grill like a rattlesnake, and if you wanted some you would just bring your bun up to the grill and cut a length off the outer edge of the coil. Split open from the heat, dripping with juice and fat, the char of the casing mixing with the flavors of clove and nutmeg, truly the world's best sausage. Eating boerewors on a cool African night, drinking Knob Creek and insulting each other as only the best of friends can, all against the Jo-burg background chorus of distant police sirens; sometimes great things just come together perfectly.

A couple summers later I spent some time in Chicago, living just across the highway from Depaul. In the evenings I would walk across the highway bridge and stroll around the area. Is there any place and time that says "Chicago" more than Taylor Street on a summer evening? It was on one of these nights that I discovered Jim's Original, a street stand right out of a Hopper gallery, the florescent light filtering through a grease-spattered window to paint yellow the cross-section of urban citizenry waiting in line for a Polish sausage. One bite, the natural casing snaps, the garlicky juice blending with the rich sweetness of the grilled onions with the mustard tang cutting through it all. Really the perfect sticky, greasy meal for a sticky, sweaty, summer night in Chicago.

So maybe it's not just the sausage, but also the circumstance? I don't know. All I know is that a good majority of my most satisfying meals have involved sausage of some kind. So what is the best sausage you ever had?

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  1. There was a Swiss butcher in my Washington hometown who made the ultimate bockwurst. This was a springtime sausage made from "young milk-fed calves who haven't eaten grass yet". The sausage was white, fine-ground, about 5 to the pound and flavored with chives, I think. The texture was incredibly light and quenelle-ish. The local supermarket versions of bockwurst are better than no bockwurst at all, but not in the same league.

    In Frankfurt, the standard lunch counter sausage is bratwurst, and this is also a white, fine ground wurst. It's made from pork, and large (3 to the pound) Served on a brotchen or as a plate lunch -- sehr gut!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Sharuf

      The only bockwurst I've ever tried came from a little butcher shop in the German quarter of Cincinnati. It was mealy and bland, and the casing was more gummy than crunchy. Your post has inspired me to give the bockwurst another try, thanks.

      1. re: RealMenJulienne

        Cincinnati doesn't have a German quarter. At least not when I lived there. It was more like a German three-quarters.

      2. re: Sharuf

        Homemade pork and sage sausage from a friend's farm in Georgia.

        1. re: rccola

          Pork with sage seasoning is the king of breakfast! It is available commercially straight from the Kirby & Holloway plant in Harrisonville, DE. One would never guess that it wasn't homemade. I had a 10-pound case shipped to me, and it disappeared quickly. Their other products (ham, bacon, scrapple, etc.) are also delicious. Highly recommended.

          1. re: inspector71

            Thanks, missed this somehow. We need to find people to split this with here in CA as we'll never get through 10 lb and it's not the same after freezing.

        2. The best sausage I ever had was at the late lamented Chanterelle in New York City. They had a seafood sausage that was heavenly. It was served with a beurre blanc and the whole thing was startling and amazingly delicious. My husband now makes an equally delicious version, and I want to cry with happiness every time he does. He also makes an amazing port sausage which he serves with homemade biscuits on New Year's Day as part of our open house buffet. It's just delicious.

          3 Replies
          1. re: roxlet

            I remember that seafood sausage very, very fondly.

            1. re: roxlet

              Roxlet, I enjoyed your recollection, but a seafood sausage is completely new to me and very intriguing. Could you prevail upon your husband to share his seafood sausage recipe?

              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                I will ask him, but he is known to improvise and cook without recipes, so what you'll get is probably just an approximation of what he does. But I believe that there is an actual recipe in a Chanterelle cookbook that was published some years ago. I don't have access to it right now, but maybe your local library might?

            2. Mine was in a hut in the Mala Fatra National Park in Slovakia. It was a steaming hot kielbasa that when I cut into it spurted blood over everyone. It was a spicy, potent concoction that was all the better since we had it in a remote place we had to hike to (but only about a mile).

              3 Replies
              1. re: Steve

                Steve, that's fascinating. I've never heard of a kielbasa with blood in it. Were you served in a restaurant or in someone's home?

                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                  It was actually in a hut (sometimes called a 'refuge') in a national park. Throughout Europe, huts are set up in the mountains for people to sleep and get a meal. Everything has to be backpacked in.

                  When I cut into the kielbasa, it spurted deep red, so I don't know if it is actual blood or deep red juices, or even what the difference is, but it sure surprised me.

                2. re: Steve

                  More than likely that was paprika and juice that it had dyed....

                3. Here in Lubbock there's a tiny cue joint called Big E's, which serves a jalapeno sausage wrap to harelip the guvner. My understanding is that he gets his sausage from Klemke's, which is a highly reputable local purveyer of sausage. Not sure if it is beef, pork or some combo thereof.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    When I was in high school I used to eat breakfast on occasion at a friends house, his family was from portugal. His mother made the best chourico I have ever had (homemade)

                  2. Ahhh, sausage, such an important and delicious topic indeed - downright story-worthy. In fact, if you'll just indulge me . . .

                    Three out of four of my grandparents were of Central European descent. I was 12 before I realized that meat could be eaten before it was ground, seasoned, and stuffed into a casing. To this day, I cannot look into a butcher’s case and see a sausage I have not tried without deciding upon its preparation before the fellow can even get a piece on his scale.

                    Lately, it seems that cured sausages and the more exotic varieties from the Iberian Peninsula are the rage thereby gaining greater exposure both at the market and on my plate (palate). For me though, the all-time favorites were the sausages of childhood. Perhaps it is due to their association with a time of joy and innocence, a time when cholesterol was irrelevant and pork still had flavor, but these sausages were special.

                    The first was a breakfast sausage known only for the man who made it - Uncle Henry. Uncle Henry’s was butcher shop located in a small back building down a 30 foot gravel driveway from a modest farmhouse. The entire place somehow seemed oddly out of place across from the declining Camp Kilmer in 1970s suburban New Jersey. Uncle Henry was no relation, but my family visited routinely and he treated us very well. His breakfast sausage was savory and sweet, sage-scented, and slightly spicy. I even recall the anisey notes of the fennel seeds. The smell of the frying patties was the potpourri of nearly every Sunday morning or Birthday breakfast. Uncle Henry passed in the 80s and, sadly, no one has been able to replicate the treasure ever since.

                    The second sausage was the Easter kielbasa. Easter kielbasa was not red like the "normal" kielbasa we got from the Polish deli, instead it was a rather unnappealing grey color. The Easter sausage was fresh, not smoked. It was made every year by an old Polish widow whose surname was practically devoid of vowels and sounded nothing like it looked. A diminutive, quiet lady - the type who would sit praying the rosary in the back of St. Mary's anytime a funeral mass was offered. She also made God's chosen kilebasa.

                    The sausage was fragrently spicy, deeply garlicky, and decadently fatty. The meat was primarily pork, but even the butcher that sold her the meat (scraps) would never betray her secrets. Perhaps there was beef, chicken fat, offal - we'd only guess, it didn't matter it was devine. The ring was always cooked over a bed of 'kraut prepared with caraway seeds and onions. The casing was broken at the table as the sausage was sliced - oozing the precious juices onto the cabbage. Mmmm . . . Inevitably, someone would ask, "Why did Grammy make that ham???"

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MGZ

                      MGZ, you come from a good sausage-making heritage. I hear you about the nostalgia. You know how smells can trigger memories more strongly than any other stimuli? Well the smell of sausage spices frying in pork fat has got to be the strongest trigger of all.

                      1. re: RealMenJulienne

                        The Easter kielbasa -- my great-uncle was a butcher who made his own, had converted his one-car detached city garage into a smokehouse. So we had homemade fresh and smoked kielbasa at Easter (and Christmas). But there was something about the scent of the cooking kielbasa married with the several pots of Easter lillies that I can never forget.

                        And then the traditional beheading of the butter lamb ...

                        1. re: lsmutko

                          Wonderful image of smokehouse garage

                          and also Kielbasa and those Easter Lillies.

                    2. I never met a sausage I didn't like (with an an exception for anything that has the words "mechanically separated" in the ingredients list). But the links from Black's BBQ in Lockhart, TX will always have a special place in my heart.

                      1. My first wife, (I'm on number 2 and last,) was from Rochester, NY and I'm from Houston. She'd bring back suitcases of Italian sausage on the plane. I'd never heard of it, let alone taste it. I was stunned at how good it was, she got it from a small butcher up there. It was her idea to put it on a charcoal grill with peppers and onions, mine to wrap it in a tortilla with hot sauce. Most good butcher shops now do it here, and I still do it on the grill and wrap it in tortillas, plus I make extra for leftovers and have Italian sausage tacos at work, the envy of the break room.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          German sausage butterflied at each end at the black forrest Restaurant in Hess village Hamilton Ontario savory, firm, rich mmmmm

                          1. re: TheDewster

                            Walkerton, Ontario sausages always win me over.

                        2. Karl Ehmer's pork and veal brats as they used to serve them in the little deli/resto they had near their farm in Poughkeepsie.

                          1. Here in Louisiana we have Boudin (prounounced boo-dan). Pork sauasage made with rice, garlic, green onion tops , and black pepper. It is to die fore. The best I ever had was made by hubby and friends in my kitchen.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: swampwitch

                              SW,

                              No chance that there is a home recipe forthcoming for us, is there?

                              Us mis-born Louisianans...I'm in Wisconsin...have to make our own...

                              I use John Folse's andouille recipe to feed the masses at my annual New Orleans feed...Labor Day of the Katrina disaster, the party sent $3500 to the Red Cross....

                              Love any proven recipes that can be shared!

                            2. Garlic sausage from a food tent at Laguna Seca. Also, the sausages at San Jose Giants games.

                              1. the sausage we were served at breakfast at our hotel in Prague 15 years ago haunts my memory and taste buds.

                                1. Maybe this is a bit lowbrow, but the best bratwurst I've ever had in my life was at Miller Park in Milwaukee during a Brewers game last year. I've had them "properly" made (parboiled in beer, grilled, topped with onions) but for some reason the one at Miller Park was just very satisfying. Then again there's no such thing in my world as a bad brat in my world.

                                  1. The Polish sausage of my Illinois youth was pink, juicy, finely-ground, about an inch and a half in diameter, and flecked internally with yellow mustard seeds. It was divine. About thirty years later, when I was living in Nashville, a man from Illinois set up a stand at the monthly Flea Market, selling sausages made at an Amish co-op in Arthur, and though I was pretty poor that month I bought as much of the Polish as I could afford. He told me that this was the most he'd sold all day, and he'd not be repeating the experiment...

                                    There was a butcher store for a while that was bringing that stuff down from Chicago, and it was also sold at a place called Bobbie's Dairy Dip, but the store went out of business just after I'd discovered it...

                                    And now here I am in Los Angeles County. There is some really good sausage being made here, or otherwise available, but that pink, porky, juicy stuff I most especially love is nowhere to be found.

                                    1. My best sausage memory must surely be about atmosphere as well as sausage: 1992 wine festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, where brats were served with onions cooked on an enormous steel griddle. A roll and some mustard, and some amazing German rieslings. Heaven!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                        About twenty five years before you after a long night at a winefest outside of Baden Baden without a doubt the best bratwurst I have ever had. Still searching to repeat the experience.

                                        1. re: mexivilla

                                          Glad I'm not the only one with this kind of memory. Gives me chills to recall it. Those Germans have great annual public gatherings, with all the best foods and wines and beers and music.

                                      2. Thanks. RMJ, for setting this thread up with "So maybe it's not just the sausage, but also the circumstance? I don't know."

                                        We called her Granny Jan. Born circa 1890 in a cove homestead in the Appalachians. The tradition of subsistence farming mixed with "public work" kept things going.

                                        In the Fall, butchering time, there was no doubt who was in charge. And Granny Jan had names for all her pigs. Butchering was a very personal process that provided for her extended family.

                                        She is the one who showed me the beauty of the hog butchering weekends. The making of the sousemeat, the livermush, the simpler sausage.

                                        When I was first introduced to her I entered a house that was a kitchen and a cupboard.. There were jars and jars of sausage, packed in quart Mason jars, shrouded in a cloudy matrix of lard, lining the walls. Sage branches poked their way through the fatty film, along with flecks of black and red pepper. This was Granny Jan's sausage.

                                        She served up the home-canned hand formed patties up with with potatoes and onions.
                                        How can one fully describe heaven. Canned slabs of ground pork made for complete nirvana,

                                        I felt honored when I was invited to the fall butchering. I toted enough pig parts to the various prep tables that I recognized I was there only for the power of my young back. But I was cool with that, because it was Granny Jan.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. The home-made sausages from the Hungarian and Polish churches around central NJ set the standard for me, no question.

                                          In the 1980's, I rented a house next door to (and owned by) the Perth Amboy NJ Hungarian Reformed church that confirmed me (where my grandmother was one of the founding members in the early 20th century and where my late dad served as one of the church elders during my youth and into the 1990's).
                                          Every month, I joined the old men of the church in the sausage making ritual and learned a lot about making amazing Hungarian Kolbasz; and what I learned there, I subsequently applied to quite a wide variety of other types of sausage as well.

                                          Tubed meat became an obsession.
                                          And really, I haven't ever had anything since that beats home made sausage of any variety.

                                          1. Several years ago, my wife and I were driving to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Somewhere between Austin and Waco we stopped to fill up. For some reason, I went inside and next to the checkout was a case with a variety of smoked meats for sale. Being from Kansas City, the brisket, pork and ribs wasn't that interesting. However, the sausage on a stick piqued my interest. I bought one and took it to go. That sausage was incredible, coursely ground meat stuffed into a natural casing with lotsa garlic and course ground black pepper and perfectly smoked.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: powillie

                                              Frankfurters are sausages also. My favorite sausages are the all beef frankfurter from Best Provisions in Newark, N.J., the pork and beef frank from Thumann's in Carlstadt, N.J., and the pork and veal bratwurst from the Union Pork Store in Union, N.J.

                                            2. I was working in Chicago back in 1999, I am from LA, and I found Jim's Original one day while driving around. Ate there a couple of times a week for the rest of the month before returning to LA. The other place I liked for lunch was the stand outside the Vienna Beef factory. Funny thing I found a lot of good places to eat in Chicago but I could not find a decent Pizza.

                                              1. My dad had a butcher shop in CT near the border of New Haven, When I was a kid, I didn't think I would like sausage so I never ate it. As I grew up and got into the business. I realized that my dad was making Italian sausage that was being sold in a lot of markets in New Haven. Then, my friends in school started to tell me how good my dad's sausage was and how that's the only sausage their families would eat. He made Hot, Sweet and Marchigiano, ( just salt and pepper, no fennel seed).

                                                Finally, when I was a teenager, I tried my dad's sausage with peppers and onion on a fresh loaf of Italian bread . I was hooked. I couldn't believe I wasted so many years not enjoying the best sausage in CT. Later, after my dad passed. I ran into a guy that was a retired state inspector. Our conversation took us to my father's market. He told me that his job was to test any sausages, hot dogs, etc that were made in the state. He said that he and the rest of the people working his office felt that my dad's sausage was the best they ever had.

                                                Sorry to say, even with the recipe, I can't duplicate the flavor. He must of left something out because he just did it off the top of his head. I miss my dad and his gift of the greatest Italian sausage I ever ate.

                                                1. I love the nostalgic sausagey stories in this thread.

                                                  Best sausage(s) I ever had was in a town in Germany called (I think?) Regensburg. We were spending the day with a German family someone in my group had a tenuous connection to and they kept insisting that I eat the local sausages and that they were only made in this town and were delicious. I kept refusing. Finally hunger forced me to cave. The sausages were long and thin and served in groups of 3+ if I'm remembering correctly. And they were the best, most porky, juicy sausages I have ever eaten. Has anyone had these or can any Germans give mroe info?

                                                  I spent 3 weeks in Germany that visit, and then 3 weeks in Barcelona. In Barcelona, my weight remained steady - in Germany I gained 9 lbs. In 3 weeks. That trip made me realize that my tastes are very northern European and that I shouldn't fight it. The bread, the butter, the meat, the sausages. I spent the entire trip stuffing my face.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: montrealeater

                                                    Back in the 60's and 70's, my father owned a restaurant and I was raised on nothing but beef, pork and sea foods......rarely did I ever see chicken on a plate in front of me. When I was about 10-12 years old, I remember my father's poultry provider coming out with his family's recipe for sausage, but replacing the pork with chicken. He gave my father a box, but I do not recall having any. Soon after, the Poultry Purveyor invited our family to his company's Summer Picnic with everything you would normally expect to see....hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue ribs & chicken...even steaks.......however, the most memorable item to this day were his family recipe chicken sausages....Italian Style, Luganiga thin, but in links ......the seasoning was perfect....and this coming from a kid who still remembers them five decades later.

                                                  2. The best, absolutely superb, sausage I've ever had the pleasure of eating was from Neto's Sausage in Santa Clara. Their hot Italian and spicy Linguica is well worth the $.

                                                    http://netosausage.com/

                                                    1. Pretty much anything done at Meisfields.
                                                      http://www.miesfelds.com/

                                                      Other than that, I had some fatty russian sausage made in Tenn. Just great.

                                                        1. re: UncleRemus

                                                          Turkey sausage, not sure. Pork sausage, more fat, good. Do it at home. Get a home crank grinder or a Kitchenaid with intestine-stuffing capability. Pick whatever flavorings you want, like smashed garlic, onion, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, sage cumin, clilantro leaf, cardamon, saffron, just EXPERIMENT. Put some cheese in, if you want. For really good, cook it at high on the stove, or on a grill.

                                                          You can either go for "This is the best other-people-cooking," and be satisfied, or you can home-experiment. I found a really good restauarant is good. Figuring out how to do id yourself, or better is amazing.

                                                        2. The best sausages I have had include those from several places in Germany (especially bratwurst with crusty rolls and German mustard), the Czech Republic, Austria and Cumberland sausage in England (as Bangers and Mash).

                                                          Though not technically sausages I really like Croatian cevapcici which is grilled ground meat usually served with ajvar, a roasted red pepper eggplant condiment (Croatia's version of ketchup).

                                                          The Chanterelle seafood sausage sounds divine - I have read about it but did not have the good fortune to devour it.

                                                          1. Had plenty of sausages in my day ... Italian, Mexican, Croatian, Polish, German, American varieties etc, but the most memorable was an absolutely incredible Loukániko from a Greek butcher in NYC. Not sure what was in that casing, but maybe, just maybe, it had Retsina in it, and that's what put it over the top. Delicious grilled.

                                                            1. On the Rue de Bretagne in the upper Marais in Paris a butcher makes a Boudin Noir that l still dream of. Spiced with clove and cinnamon, smooth as mousse, it grills perfectly and is served with a compote of fresh apple slices when l serve it.

                                                              1. I had a frank from a tent in front of a home improvement store that was probably the best hot dog I've ever eaten. Apparently, it was a Sabrett's dog. I've also had great sausage in Elgin, TX (we hit both Meyer's and Southside Market and I thought Southside was better). The Salt Lick's sausage in Driftwood, TX also make a pretty fine sausage, even if it's a fine grained one. Finally, the Gonzales city market in Gonzales, TX makes a pretty decent sausage, IMO.

                                                                1. Mine's part of a schlachtplatte at Zum Ritter, Heidelberg, Germany.
                                                                  http://www.ritter-heidelberg.de/en/ga...

                                                                  1. Armenian lamb sausage, unsmoked, that a neighbor taught me how to make when I lived in Brooklyn. Unreal.

                                                                    1. Chorizo in Salento, Colombia. A suburb of Pereira, a small town bordering a National Park.

                                                                      1. This thread makes me hungry for a true Thüringer Rostbratwurst.
                                                                        http://www.germanfoodguide.com/wurstd...
                                                                        Growing up in Erfurt/Thüringen, one could always buy one of those delicious sausages at the market place in front of the cathedral, and - nowadays one can again see the famous grills in many German cities, but especially in Thüringen. Picture a fellow with a large glass of beer in one hand and turning the sausages with the other. The beer is of course for basting only....

                                                                        1. All storied best sausages often have their own context.
                                                                          Not so much about the grind or the spice of the meat
                                                                          But perhaps more the place and the people you ate it with.

                                                                          Hippies in 70's hiking Appalachian Trail
                                                                          I came across neat group hauling dried sausages.

                                                                          Spartan they were, they carried dried Langjager
                                                                          and dense bread sealed in Glucuse.

                                                                          The hilt of their knife had a buildup from carving their bread
                                                                          and from shaving their sausages.

                                                                          Their double-dried Landjager was a crisp piece of ecstasy.
                                                                          Crisp, but still greasy.

                                                                          Sharing a campfire with these Dried sausage toters
                                                                          Was moment of memory.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                            Not nearly as romantic a context...
                                                                            Not long after I moved into the city (Chicago), I began dabbling in charcuterie.
                                                                            Down the street from my apartment at Sunnyside and Western was Joe's Sausage shop.
                                                                            If you browse the Chicago boards from the early/mid 00's you'll see Joe come up more than a few times.
                                                                            Tiny little shop, 2 cases filled with the best damn sausages I've ever had. Joe's recipe for Landjagers must include some thing special like truth or beauty or powdered unicorn horn because since he retired, i have never never never had anything remotely as delicious as his landjagers. Young and plump or old and dry, just the best.

                                                                            On a totally different track: While I was in London in '99, I frequently went to the Anchor Pub in Southwark for a pint and a plowman's lunch. On Thursdays, I would have their Cumberland sausage. I can say with absolute certainty that it was over that summer that I decided Sausage was its own food group, not just a pizza topping or jambalaya ingredient. I think we have the wrong kind of pigs here in the US... I just can't make that simple sausage taste so darn good.

                                                                            That's it... I'm making kielbasa tomorrow afternoon! (my recipe is a bastardized Andouille with a lot of Slovak and Bulgarian influence)

                                                                          2. I pretty much like most sausages (bratwurst, bockwurst, kielbasa, blood sausage)--but preferably boiled. I don't like them as much grilled or fried--though they're all right.

                                                                            1. I love sausage, but my memories are not as vivid as many of yours.

                                                                              I do recall a Chaurice sausage that the Elite Cafe (one of the earlier New Orleans restaurants in San Francisco) use to grill and serve with red beans and rice in the late 80's. It always seemed to me to be just as good as what I had at The Bonton Cafe in the Crescent City.

                                                                              For some reason I also remember some sort of wurst that I devoured at a schlocky flea market north of Oxford, Ohio in the mid 90's.

                                                                              1. My uncle Arno was born on a farm and lived on a farm his entire life. My father's grandparents immigrated from the German states (Hessen and Preussen) in the 1850s. Uncle Arno butchered his own meat, had a smoke house and made his own sausage, not too many different kinds, but the kinds he had were as good as I've had in Germany. My father used to say you have to use some of the better cuts of the meat to make good sausage and not just use the worst cuts that aren't much good for anything like Americans tend to do. Uncle Arno (and my grandfather's) sausage was a mixture of pork and beef and had some fat too, but wasn't too fatty, enough to cook or smoke properly and taste good. And Aunt Sophie's homemade white bread just made it all taste that much better; they had homemade butter too.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: RevImmigrant

                                                                                  Living in the UK I've had to get used to sausage that can be less than 50 percent meat so I've learned to look at the rather helpful labels for meat content. There are a few brands of British sausage that stand out, most notably Debbie & Andrew's 97%. But until I get home to the States and Werner's Kansas City sausages, I really enjoy just about any butcher's lamb Merguez sausages if I'm going to cook 'em, and as a cold cut I am currently nuts about chorizo made with Iberico Bellota pork.

                                                                                  1. re: Fummunda

                                                                                    Fermin makes a superb chorizo with IB pork.

                                                                                2. The sausages at the breakfast buffet of my hotel in Moscow were incredible; they were actually crunchy on the outside, and sort of like a bratwurst inside, but smaller, like a breakfast sausage. (But maybe it was the guy in a white tux playing a white baby grand that made the food taste so good in a surreal kind of way?)

                                                                                  When I lived in Kitchener the sausages (bratwurst, I guess?) that we used to get during Oktoberfest were wonderful, luscious and fabulous with sauerkraut and mustard on soft buns. They worked well with beer, too.

                                                                                  There was a cart that used to be set up at the Stittsville Flea Market near Ottawa, and the guys sold a wonderful sort of smoked sausage that they cooked on a grill....like a smokie, I guess you'd call it, but longer, like a kielbasa.

                                                                                  I adore sausages, but for some reason the ones that I've found lately haven't been as good; I need to get into Vancouver and seek out some artisanal products, I think.

                                                                                  1. The best sausage I ever had was fresh, plain ol' breakfast sausage. In the fall one year, about 12-13 years ago, I was invited to a friend's house to help slaughter a hog. The menfolk did the killin and the skinnin, and the womenfolk handled the smaller cuts and the sausage. For helping, I got sent home with a pound of the fresh sausage. I cooked it up the next morning and made it into gravy to put over biscuits, and it was the best sausage I've ever had. Nothing like fresh meat! (This was in Arkansas, btw.)

                                                                                    1. Last night my wife took me to Karl's German Cuisine in Grand Falls NB. I had THE BEST Bratwurst and Spaetzle!

                                                                                      1. When I was in middle school in Minnesota, my dad used to go deer hunting with his buddies in Wyoming. There was a guy out there who made venison sausage and jerky in exchange for a share of the meat. To this day, I still get swoony over the idea of that venison jerky - soft, skinny tubes of fat-flecked meat, not the flat, leathery stuff - basically a dry sausage.

                                                                                        While visiting a friend in Orlando last year, I again got to try venison sausage from a farmer in Georgia that someone knew. It is still my favorite kind!

                                                                                        1. Guys, it makes me glad that this thread is still running, and hopefully, like the history of sausage itself, will go on forever. Here is a picture of Jim's Original Polish referred to in the original post, just to give you an idea of the kind of place it is

                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                          1. Giessen, West Germany. Getting the butcher to clean and prep a pig at a local farm was easy. The farmer had a state approved processing area for people to make their own sausage. He provided the pigs, cooking vessels, and smokers. You had to get on the sausage makers calendar. Typically 6 to 9 months out. My landlord had to make the appointment as he refused to have anything to do with Americans, let alone a soldier.

                                                                                            Thank goodness a verbal contract is binding in Germany. He was not happy to see me. We made blood sausage, cervalat wurst, Thuringer wurst, presskopf, and an air dried saltwater processed wurst that I can not remember the name of. I was game and did all the scut work. What was surprising to me was that he constantly tasted the raw mixture. As he explained to me, the pig was approved, so he didn't have to worry about any little animals in it!

                                                                                            Never had a problem getting on his calendar after that. The cooked and smoked presskopf was always my favorite. The ones in the butcher shop in our village could not compare.

                                                                                            1. The sausages at most any central-Texas BBQ joint. Tex-German I'd guess you'd call them.

                                                                                              1. Veal sausage on a bun from a vendor at the Viktualienmarkt in Munich.

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                                                                                                1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                  Leberkase at the Hauptbahnhof in Munich.

                                                                                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                    The thing about sausage is it's ground meat (traditionally pork) and what flavorings you like.

                                                                                                    If you want to make your own, you are totally free to experiment,. Unless you come up totally bland, you're going to like it, and so will your guests. I like for every pound of pork, to be ground, a half-red onion minced, four cloves of garlic browned or microwaved or two cloves Microplane shaves or pressed, a quarter cup of red pepper minced, a quarter cup of green pepper minced, an eighth cup of saged, minced finely, two tablespoons of rosemary, minced finely, two tablespoons of thyme, minced finely, two tablespoons of Italian parsley, and after that, you can add small amounts of fine-minced cilantro, ground cumin seed, celery seed, nutmeg, marjoram, turmeric. You can add some dried red pepper flakes. A half to one teaspoon of salt. You cook it, and decide what seasoning you want more of or less of. After a few rounds you get to what you want.

                                                                                                    Brown patties, or stuff the sausage, and fry or grill links.

                                                                                                2. West Indian Black Pudding from Charlies butcher shop in Saint James, Trinidad. Made fresh every Saturday night for the Sunday after church crowd from pigs blood seasoned with rice,broadleaf thyme,garlic,onions and scotch bonnet peppers. Cut into rounds and sauted in butter with fried onions and served with fried eggs and fresh crusty bread.

                                                                                                  1. Having come from a Mennonite family (mothers side) we would always have home made Mennonite sausage at pretty much every large family meal. Whenever we travel if I spot some Mennonite sausage for sale I always buy some. It's never as good as I remembered it. For authentic Meno. sausage we must visit La Crete Alberta.

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                                                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                      So Duppie and Puffin3, what are the recipes? Duppie, can we have some starting portions? Puffin3, what are the ingredients, and how much, roughly?

                                                                                                      1. re: MarkKS

                                                                                                        OK.
                                                                                                        2 quarts fresh pig's blood.
                                                                                                        11/2 cups white rice.
                                                                                                        1 cup coconut milk.
                                                                                                        6 large broad leaf thyme finely chopped.
                                                                                                        4 large cloves garlic minced.
                                                                                                        1 medium Spanish onion chopped.
                                                                                                        2 scotch bonnet peppers minced.
                                                                                                        1 length washed and rinsed sausage casing.
                                                                                                        Boil rice in combination of coconut milk and water until al dente.
                                                                                                        Saute onions, garlic,and peppers in olive oil,set aside.
                                                                                                        Simmer blood over low fire stirring constantly until slightly thickened.
                                                                                                        Add rice,sauteed seasonings,salt,pepper to taste and rest until cooled enough to stuff casing.
                                                                                                        Makes about a yard of black pudding. Boil sausage in salted water and cool until ready to prepare.
                                                                                                        Cut into 1 to 2 inch rounds and then pan fry in butter with sauteed onions.
                                                                                                        For white pudding, substitute cilantro seasoned mashed potatoes for the rice.
                                                                                                        Go heavy on the seasonings... this is not a subtle preparation
                                                                                                        Enjoy..

                                                                                                        1. re: MarkKS

                                                                                                          There's a lot of variation in making Menno. sausages. It depends on which cuts of pork you use. My family speaks 'low German' and the sausage's tend to be made with more 'nose-to-tail' and the grind is coarser then some other Menno. sausages. I think ultimately it's the species of wood used in the smoke house that really makes a difference. You can 'google' the basic recipe. If you want to try to replicate 'authentic' Menno sausage I'd try to find some willow and poplar trees. The percent of each tree used and when and for how long at what temperature the smoking process should occur has probably caused more arguments than between Lucy and Desi. LOL
                                                                                                          BTW the only 'low German' I can remember now is translated to: "Happier than a maggot in lard".

                                                                                                      2. The best sausage I ever had was homemade Kielbasa, that was made by the father-in-law of a friend from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Awesome, garlicy sausage that was the best I have ever eaten in my life!!!!

                                                                                                        1. Although I am a fan of GOOD Italian sausage, I'd have to say the best I EVER had was an unbelievable dish of fresh chorizo sausage and eggs in a little Mom & Pop place somehwere in San Antonio, TX. I was on a business trip with my boss and he was driving. So I never found out where we were nor how to get back. But even after 20+ years, I can still remember how good it was.

                                                                                                          1. Gee, I dunno if I would say that sausage is the "king of meats". :-) Sure, of course I eat sausages and enjoy them, but then I also don't have them with as much regularity as most of the posters here on this thread and probably have some favorites but none that I would say was "the best" that I ever had.

                                                                                                            I do like Chinese-type sausages - Lap Cheong - in its various permutations, but the "standard" plain pork and plain liver varieties would be the ones I eat more frequently. I also like Polish-type Wiejska and Weselna sausages, especially the extra-garlic ones (more than other varieties like Kabanosy [or other thin-type smoked ones] or Mysliwska or Jalowcowa or Lesna). With German-type sausages I'm fond of the standard Bratwurst, slightly less fond of Mettwurst and Bockwurst, not too fond of Weisswurst. With other "luncheon meats" type sausages, I really like Zungenwurst, but I need to be in the mood for it - and it needs to be on the cool-ish side. Or Braunschweiger, preferably coarse.
                                                                                                            (It would be interesting to experience eating genuine Thüringer Rostbratwurst in its place of origin, which I understand would be unique)

                                                                                                            And, of course, Chicago-style hot dogs, with all the trappings and fixin's! :-) A class unto itself. Franks and hot dogs, in general, need to have that natural casing with that SNAP when you bite into it to make me go "yumm!".

                                                                                                            1. I thought of the best hot dog I ever had when I read the title.

                                                                                                              But, I think the best sausage ever was something sold on Venice Beach by Jody Maroni. It was the entire experience that made it so.

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                                                                                                              1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                If you're ever in Port Huron Mi, go to the downtown Coney Island. A buck sixty-five ($1.45 on Mon & Tues) for a tasty dog on a steamed bun with homemade chili, mustard and chopped onion. Absolutely amongst the best - if not the best - I've ever had. Whenever I'm home (Sarnia) I wait in the traffic on the bridge for far too long, just to go grab a couple. (Got my Nexus recently, so no more waiting!!!)

                                                                                                                1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                                  How could I forget Japadog, street carts in Vancouver.

                                                                                                                  http://www.japadog.com/

                                                                                                                  Very creative toppings, and great sausages, like a Berkshire pork dog.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                                    Chili AND mustard? URRRP!!! AND raw onion?

                                                                                                                    Oh, well -- to each his own.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                      I know, BUT you have to try it if you are ever there and you will be convinced, like the locals have, for about the past 90 years.

                                                                                                                      And given your penchant for loud burps, you can enjoy your meal twice.

                                                                                                                2. I love all kinds of sausage, and have never had a sausage I did not enjoy. I like some more than others, certainly, but I'll eat even the worst of the wurst (heh!). Having said that, my current Favorite Sausage of All Time is a Hmong sausage I had at a local Hmong New Year celebration. It was a relatively rustic sausage, with a fairly chunky texture. It was made from pork, with ginger, cilantro, a couple of different kinds of chiles (I saw dried red chiles and fresh green pieces, so I'm thinking it was either fresh jalapeno or serrano) and basil. It was grilled over a charcoal fire, and came with dollop of sambal oelek and a side of purple rice which was a little on the sticky side, and made a wonderful complement to the sausage. (My mouth is watering at the thought of this sausage!)

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                                                                                                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                      In central Tokyo there is a small beer and sausage joint called Die Wurst.
                                                                                                                      The name almost never fails to freak out Americans who wander by.
                                                                                                                      The beer is GREAT, though, all imported from Germany.

                                                                                                                  1. I had some sausage links at a brunch at Mr B's Bistro in New Orleans, and never found the like again. They were thick and juicy and succulent and just the right amount of spice.

                                                                                                                    1. I've had some truly exceptional venison sausages in the U.K. The best of which was a venison "chipolata" (small sausages popular in Europe about the thickness of a U.S. breakfast link) bought at a small family-run butchers in Glaisdale, a tiny village in picturesque North Yorkshire. I still crave them to this day and it has been about 15 years since I last had them!

                                                                                                                      1. The smell of 'boerewors rolls' grilling on the braai (South African for BBQ) outside shopping centers is a surefire way of getting customer traffic - the aroma is irresistible! Can't wait to get home in a few weeks time to sample our local delicacies. But a simple pork sausage or chipolata done slowly on a wood braai takes a lot of beating.

                                                                                                                        1. My wife recently returned from a trip to Pennsylvania and brought me a Landjager made by Hartmann's. Absolutely splendid. I don't recall a better sausage.

                                                                                                                          1. The best sausage I ever had is a Georgian style ( not the state but the country ) pork sausage they serve at a Russian restaurant in Brooklyn NY. The name of the restaurant is Slavyanskiy Bazar and it is located at 2013 Coney Island Ave. at the corner of Quentin Rd. If you are going to or coming from Kennedy airport on the Belt Parkway, it is about 15 min. off the highway. It has the most unusual ( and delicious ) flavor and comes topped with onions and some sort of tangy brown sauce.
                                                                                                                            As for the most unusual sausages I ever had, I'd have to say were Moose and Seal meat sausages I purchased at a grocery store called Bidgoods in the Goulds neighborhood of Saint Johns Newfoundland.

                                                                                                                            1. I had homemade sausage at a German restaurant in New Brunswick Canada that was fantastic!

                                                                                                                              1. Bockwurst, in Germany. That is the best sausage I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                1. Smoked Pork Sausage ~ Wilson's ~ Crystal Springs Mississippi
                                                                                                                                  Andouille ~ Wayne Jacob's Smoke House ~ LaPlace Louisiana
                                                                                                                                  Boudin ~ Best Stop ~ Scott Louisiana

                                                                                                                                  1. Does 'no casing' qualifies as sausage? If it does, this "oxtail bacon" (http://www.studiokitchen.com/BlogRetr...) is the best. I ate.

                                                                                                                                    2 thin slices. I will never forget the pleasure it brought me.

                                                                                                                                    1. A couple of years along from when all this started, I've come to realize that my favorite sausage always tends to be either the one I'm eating now or thinking about now. I remember a weekend or three spent in Louisville, where my brother and I would go to one of the many little corner markets, usually just in an old house, with a creaky screen door and an old German guy inside, with a pervasive scent of pork and mace that would hit just before we opened that door. Bratwurst was the mainstay, and that's what we'd buy. Brats come and go, but THAT scent and its direct connection to the sausages have been riding along in search of an exact replica for thirty years and more. Back around the beginning of this year I decided to give Trader Joe's Hofbrau Brats a whirl, and there it was. Not strong, not aggressive, but the delicate perfume rides the porky sizzle just as I remember it. And I can have it when I want it …

                                                                                                                                      Aside from that, and the Illinois Kielbasa I was remembering, and of course Rosario's handmade Italian sausage from down the street, I think the two I had most of in France and then tried again here are right up there: boudin noir and Saucisse de Toulouse. The latter is about the best sausage I know of to finish up in a pot of beans, with ample flavor to share and still keep its own; the boudin wants only a pile of choucroute and some potatoes. And beer.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                        Will, that first paragraph describes my best sausage perfectly. I have spent my entire adult life searching for the brats of my youth - I was raised on sausages that were purchased in bulk about 45 minutes away from our home in suburbia. According to my father, he was Bavarian, and I have never found brats or bacon as good as his. It has reached a point where my brother and I debate whether or not what we grew up on is a "real" brat, because nobody else makes them like he does.

                                                                                                                                        I am currently hoarding 2lbs in my freezer.

                                                                                                                                      2. RealMenJulienne, you could cause a national outcry by calling boerewors a pork sausage, as its mainly beef, with some pork in it. You'll find a range of recipes though, with some including mutton, and others substituting pork with veal. Interestingly, there is even an official ordinance that regulates the ingredients (Government Notice No. R. 2718).

                                                                                                                                        The most common accompaniment for is tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs, served on a roll/bun. Here in LA the European Sausage Kitchen makes a very nice version. They also make its dried counterpart (‘droë wors’ – dried sausage) and I also like their boudin blanc.

                                                                                                                                        My personal favourite is Toulouse sausage, a garlicky pork sausage with bacon and wine. Great for use in cassoulet and stews, but at its best when cooked on a wood-fired grill.

                                                                                                                                        1. Hotdoglover
                                                                                                                                          i like the thumanns jumbo footlong pork/beef hotdogs,sold in 1lb&5lb pkgs,ones w/ 'jumbo' on yellow label in front,i imagine they sell them at thumanns,i had no idea you can buy foods from the plant,do they sell them at same price as in super mkts,i cant find these in stores anymore,live in bergen cty.any places you know sell them?also looking for the windmill brand pork/beef footlongs,used to sell them in shop rite

                                                                                                                                          1. My school friends all had fathers who hunted, and the various homemade kielbasas that were made with venison and elk were sublime!

                                                                                                                                            1. The currywurst at a soccer bar in Cologne a few weeks ago. Went back twice for it. The owner was the chef and took great pride in the sausage and the sauce. Apparently started out as German street food. If sports bars/food trucks in North America sold a good one they'd make a killing.

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                                                                And have to also mention the worst sausage on the planet, the andouillette. Travelling companions ordered them in France thinking they'd be like andouille. Oh so wrong. Made with pork intestines, colon, and I'm pretty sure, anus. And it smells like where it came from.

                                                                                                                                              2. Love this thread.
                                                                                                                                                I befriended an older Italan guy a few years back. He showed me how to make Italian sausage, both fresh and dried.
                                                                                                                                                I was floored; such a simple prep to produce such a great product. He has since passed, but I still love the sausages he showed me.
                                                                                                                                                One day, boning out legs for the meat, he told me to save the skin.
                                                                                                                                                "For what?"
                                                                                                                                                "We're going to make cotechino" he says.
                                                                                                                                                "Whats 'cotechino' ?"
                                                                                                                                                "Skin sausage".
                                                                                                                                                So we ground up the skin, mixed a bit of meat into it, seasoned, then stuffed into casings and plopped it into a pot of simmering tomato sauce. I remember slicing into it a coupla hours later, it was decadent, full of mouth feel, and oh-my-god good.

                                                                                                                                                Mrs Porker won't touch it, but its one of the better sausages that come to mind.

                                                                                                                                                Like other "best of" foods, I think the experience surrounding the situation goes a long way to enhance the memory.

                                                                                                                                                1. There is an urban mercado on my way to work that does an amazing house made kielbasa. It's simple, but perfect. It's nothing like the commercial stuff. It would be fantastic with kraut.