Tommyknocker Beer Brats

It can be interesting when companies combine their products/efforts. Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t.

For example, Budweiser and Nascar. Now I recognize that many Nascar fans enjoy a Bud from time to time but the whole drinking and driving thing just doesn’t mix well. Or Dodge and the Lingeria Football League. A fine idea for about 3 minutes until somebody at Dodge gets a clue. Unfortunately that was about 2 minutes too late for the press release to be stopped.

Examples of some business combinations that make sense. Doritos and Taco Bell’s Locos Tacos! Is there a hotter fast food item combination introduced in our lifetime? None that I can think of off the top of my head.

Before you get to the review below, take a minute and look over the label for this product. I know I’ve said it before but companies that start with great, fresh ingredients, season them properly, and then let the quality of the meat speak for itself almost always turn out the best products. That label is a perfect example.

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Which brings us to today’s review of Tommyknocker Beer Brats by Continental Sausage Company in Denver Colorado. Continental was kind enough to send us an amazing array of their products so keep an eye out here for many reviews of this companies products in the next few months. I will say that we have been very impressed by both the recipes and clean ingredients in the offerings of this 40+ year old Denver provider and we think you will be too.

Made with Tommyknocker Butthead Bock, I knew from the initial aroma coming from the pan that this was going to be a good sausage as long as they took it easy on the beer. This sausage was well spiced with a very nice but not over powering presence of a fine beer. The malty tones and traditional brat flavors meshed perfectly into a sausage that could easily become your everyday, go to sausage on a roll.

A great example of a beer brat that gets it right, I highly recommend you give this one a shot at your next backyard brat fest.

 

Bourque’s Pork Boudin

We recently received a shipment of various smoked sausage and boudin from Borque Specialties in Port Barre La (thanks guys!). I’ve started making my way through some of their fine sausage products but after sampling their boudin, I knew that it was going to be the first product we reviewed for the site.

A flavorful concoction of rice, meat, and spices, boudin can either be simply plain and boring or complex and robust in flavor. Well made pork boudin is spicy in both flavor and heat and has rice that isn’t pasty tasting from being over-cooked. But boudin is really more then just a list of ingredients. It’s a product that in many ways defines Southern Louisianna with recipes being handed down for generations and memories of standing in the parking lot with a family member or friend, squeezing out that fresh hot concoction on your way to wherever you were heading that morning. It’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and the right way to start a day that ended way too late (if it in fact ever ended) or end a night of carousing. It’s a discussion about who has the best in your town and your favorite way to eat it. It’s a cultural thing. It’s a cure for the common cold. And it’s world peace.

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After squeezing out just 3 bites of Bourque’s rendition, I sat for a few minutes trying to recollect having had a better boudin in my lifetime. In the end I decided that while it was possible, I certainly could not remember one.

If you’ve never had Boudin, there’s no reason not to start with the best boudin so order some today…they’ll ship it to you. If you like boudin and haven’t tried Bourque’s, just get some.

This is a 5 star product and perhaps the best I’ve ever eaten.

Snow’s BBQ Smoked Jalapeno Sausage

I’ve made a couple of trips over the years down to Texas for a run at some of the best BBQ in the country. From the well known joints to mom and pop places in every small town, Texas has some great BBQ! Unfortunately, this isn’t a blog about BBQ. Fortunately though, many of the best places in Texas also have great beef sausage.

Today we are going to review Snow’s BBQ Smoked Jalapeno Sausage. In the interest of full disclosure, I order my brisket from Snow’s and I happen to think they have the best brisket in Texas and I’m far from alone in that belief. Kerry, the owner, generously sent me some links of both their jalapeno and their regular smoked and since it was the one item on their menu I had not sampled in the past (which was kind of odd), I was greatly looking forward to giving this a try.

Here’s a little about Snow’s from their website. Best BBQ in Texas? You betcha.

Kerry Bexley, owner of Snow’s BBQ, knew there was a demand for good BBQ in the small town of Lexington with a population of only 1100 people. Lexington has always been known for its Saturday BBQ. It’s just a tradition! Kerry and Ms. Tootsie Tomanetz, pit boss, discussed the possibilities in the late 90’s of opening a BBQ joint, but took no action until several years later. Click here to read more

Pictured above are the jalapeno links looking fresh off the smoker. If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit some of the best smoke houses in Texas let me try and explain the sausage. It’s almost always beef with a thick casing. Spiced with either jalapeno and/or heavy black pepper and some cheese tossed in from time to time. It’s a very hardy, smoky sausage and it tends to run lean so while the grind is course and the sausage seems to be well packed, once you bite into it, it has a much looser mouth feel then you get with typical pork sausages.

So on to Snow’s Jalapeno Sausage links. These are classic beef smoke house links with little fat, big flavor, and plenty of the right kind of heat provided by flakes of jalapeno so generously spread throughout  that even a blind man can see them. None of the fake heat you get from some products, Snow’s is a perfect example of jalapeno beef sausage done right.

This is a great product that speaks to the roots of smoke house sausage in Texas. Get some and, trust me on this, get some brisket while you’re at it.

Southside Market – Elgin Garlic Pork Smoked Sausage

Fresh on the heels of our review of their 1882 Smoked Sausage, we jumped right back in and tried out their Garlic Pork Sausage variety.

I’m a firm believer that garlic goes well with anything with the possible exception of chocolate so I’m always on the lookout for any combination of beef or pork and garlic, especially when it’s all wrapped up in a nice thick casing.

This was one of the easier reviews for us:

The grind was fine to medium – 5 stars

The spices – 4.5 stars (could have used a touch more garlic)

The casing – 5 stars

The flavor – 5 stars

In the pork garlic sausage world it doesn’t get any better then this.

Making sausage isn’t terribly difficult but making a great sausage takes time, knowledge, and a deft hand when it comes to spicing it properly. Southside Market hit a home run with this one. Get some.

Savoie’s Andouille Sausage

I love all things Cajun/Creole and as luck would have it, there are some fine styles of sausage that come out of Louisiana.  Unfortunately it can be difficult to find decent LA products in my market but from time to time I trip across one so I counted myself lucky one day as I was walking through Ingle’s market to find some Savoie’s Andouille Hickory Smoked Sausage.

A traditional French sausage brought to Louisiana by the same, Andouille is a densely packed, smoked, spicy sausage enjoyed in as many ways as you can imagine, and used in many cajun dishes notably jambalaya.  I’ve had a fair amount of freshly smoked andouille over the years so I was looking forward to how this package held up to my memory of some pretty good sausages from the past.

Verdict? It was ok. Not hot enough, not smoked enough, overall flavor didn’t meet the garlic level I was accustomed to for this type of sausage. Overall I would say that if this is what you can get your hands on in your market, it will be good enough for preparing your favorite cajun dish or eating straight up on a bun.