Sausages link stores to happy customers
With newcomer Jai Crow at Peabody Market jumping into the homemade sausage fray alongside long-established Peabody Sausage House, Peabody could claim to being the county’s sausage capital.
Hillsboro, Durham, Goessel, and Marion might dispute that, however, as businesses in all four sell their own special varieties of sausage.
Offering different kinds of sausage was a way Jai and her husband, Mike, could give customers more choices.
Breakfast sausage is a staple for county vendors, and Crow has one that has made its way beyond the breakfast table.
“It’s not too hot; it’s not mapley; it’s just a good general sausage,” Crow said. “I have people that mix it in with their spaghetti.”
Unique to Peabody Market are fresh varieties of chorizo and Italian sausages.
“Chorizo, I stumbled on by pure accident,” Crow said. “I was cleaning the meat department, and there was this box sitting up on a shelf. I pulled that down, and it turned out to be a phenomenal chorizo seasoning.”
Crow sells the sausage in bulk, but also has cased it for some customers. She also uses it for breakfast burritos the market sells.
“There’s not a lot of places that offer fresh chorizo,” she said.
The Italian, which Crow said she doesn’t make often, is a sweet variety in bulk or cased.
Fresh bratwurst is on tap, including a cheddar-jalepeno variety made with fresh jalepenos.
“I have a handful of customers that like my jalepeno brat extra spicy,” Crow said. “There’s an additional charge for it, but apparently they really like it because they keep ordering them.”
Crow said she’s also willing to do custom sausage orders.
At Peabody Sausage House, production equipment is too big to easily do custom orders other than when processing a hog, deer, or beef, but there’s plenty of sausages to choose from, Marilyn Unruh said.
In addition to signature German-style smoked cased breakfast sausage, the Sausage House makes three bulk sausages: a mildly spicy country style; old-fashioned, with sage; and one with just salt and pepper.
Bratwurst and hot brats made with red pepper, and two varieties of summer sausage — regular and jalapeno and cheese — have regular followings, Unruh said.
The most unusual sausage is liver sausage, made from pork head meat and liver, stuffed in casing and cooked.
“It’s kind of like braunschweiger,” Unruh said.
For those who like sausage sandwiches, Peabody Sausage House also makes its own mustard, using old family recipes.
“One is a sweet-hot mustard, and we have a regular and a jalapeno,” Unruh said.
More fresh sausage is available in the area.
Customers at Burdick Meat Market can select from a mild-hot breakfast sausage, smoked sausage, dried sausage, bratwurst, summer sausage, and beef sticks, co-owner Darlene Hageberg said.
Orders for summer sausage, both plain and with cheese, peak around Christmas.
The shop also has homemade jerky.
“We ship that out; we always have orders for that,” Hageberg said.
Buffet diners at Main Street Café can feast on Wendell
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Wedel’s original smoked sausage and hot Polish sausage, but he has those and more for customers to buy and take home.
He also makes breakfast, garlic, double pepper, and chicken sausages, as well as cheese bratwurst.
“Quite a bit of our recipes come from traditional family recipes,” Wedel said. “I’m always on the lookout for new things.”
Keith Banman of Keith’s Foods sticks with the tried and true when it comes to fresh sausage, offering a country smoked sausage suited to his customers.
“It’s not a unique recipe; it’s what everybody around here grew up with,” Banman said. “There’s nothing exotic about it.”
Banman said he hasn’t ventured into making other kinds of sausage because, “We can buy so much good stuff that we never really messed with it ourselves.”
Dale Franz at Dale’s Supermarket still uses a recipe crafted by his father, Ray, to turn out more than 1,200 pounds of his popular smoked breakfast sausage each week.
When name-brand prepackaged bratwurst wasn’t catching on with customers, Franz started making his own, including a cheddar jalapeno variety.
“It’s got just enough heat that it won’t scare off most people,” Franz said.
Carlsons’ Grocery co-owner Greg Carlson wouldn’t let on what makes Jerry Hess’s smoked cased sausage special.
“It’s different,” Carlson said. “Jerry adds a few special ingredients. We’d have to kill you if we told you what that was. It’s Jerry’s own little secret recipe.”
Carlson said he also has a bulk homemade sausage. The store also will take special orders.
“If somebody wanted some custom sausage, we’d be glad to try it out,” Carlson said.