I struggled coming up with a title for this piece. Turns out, there are an endless reserve of puns that could be used to describe a story on sausages. While racking my brain for the right one, I found myself getting hungry again, which is amazing considering just hours before I sampled six different brats as research for this piece. While I always enjoy eating my way through a story, this was one of the tastier roundups I have sunk my teeth into. Next time you want to grill up a feast, here are my suggestions.
The Main Event: If you are in the mood for brats, head straight to the butcher counter. With so many places offering sausages made in house, there is no point grabbing a prepacked or frozen (gasp) pack of bangers. While most everywhere has a few standard options, there are a lot of exotic mixes out there that are worth a bite.
Local Butcher- If you haven’t been there yet, here is a great excuse. I hesitate to name any one link the winner of the taste test, but I can say their pheasant sausage is up there. It is great sliced up with a little spicy stone ground mustard. Be mindful while cooking this one, though, the lower fat content means that too long on the grill will give you a dried out end product. Like most meat, things with lower fat contents benefit from higher heat and shorter cook times. If you are game for it, try the hand cranked elk sausages as well.
Pearl St. Market/Aspens Market– These guys put out some great stuff, and while it is hard to go wrong with anything out of their meat case, I do have a couple favorites. If you like chicken brats, try their jalapeño offering. With just enough spice to balance out that cold beer, it pairs great with a sweet or honey mustard sliced up and served as an appetizer. My favorite that they make has to be their chorizo. Although not offered all the time, if you see, buy it. The pork based treat has a great spice balance and is juicy, really juicy. This one benefits from a slow and low cooking technique and lots of napkins, also served best bun-less. If the chorizo isn’t around, go with their hot Italian instead.
Lucky’s– While some of their options change, you can always find the chicken, spinach and feta dogs unless they are sold out. Try these either on the grill or sautéed up with onions and sweet peppers for a healthier dinner option. For a bun filled option check out their beer brats made with Snake River Brewing Lager.
Jackson Whole Grocer- If you are in the mood for some south of the border flavor, try their green chile brats. With just the right amount of spice, these dogs go great in a number of things like served up on a bun with a cooling relish or chopped up with veggies and a hearty grain
Robinson Family Farms– These sausages embrace the farm to table ethos. Although you can only find them at the Jackson Hole Peoples Market and Saturday morning Farmers Market on the Town Square, they are well worth the extra trip. They have the breakfast meat market cornered with their pork maple blueberry links. Made from their pigs at the farm in Thayne, fresh blueberries, and real maple syrup, they have to be included even though I hope no one buys them; I have a tendency to get all their remaining packs after the Wednesday market.
Now that you have a game plan for your encased meat shopping forays, it is time to figure out what else goes on the plate. Daily Roots Kraut, and other fermented goodies is a great place to start, with up to seven different options that change weekly. My favorite is the nettle and fennel kraut or kimchi. Purely by Chance Farms makes a delicious zucchini relish for those of you that need a little sweet kick to balance out your meal. Every brat needs mustard and Teton Valley Mustard has all the options to keep your franks happy. Check out Daily Roots and Purely by Chance at the Peoples Market and Teton Valley Mustard and Purely By Chance at the Town Square Market.
Are you getting hungry but not in the cooking mood? There are some great options in Jackson to grab a dog. King’s Grill at the base of Snow King serves up a few different options, including the L.A. Street Dog wrapped in bacon with grilled peppers, onions, jalapeños and garlic aioli. Full Steam Subs has a large selection of dogs if you are craving one during lunch. The Rueben Dog os a favorite of mine served with pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and spicy mustard. Local has a great lunch deal for $10 featuring a choice of their aforementioned pheasant, elk or beef brat. The Bird is another great option for brat lovers, check out their bier brat pate served with two brats, kraut and your choice or potatoes. If you have trouble deciding on one check out Snake River Brewery Sausage sampler featuring a pork, elk, and bison link with all the accompaniments.
If all this talk has insiperd you to figure out what it takes to DYI a batch, check out the article in Issue 8 of Dishing here