Chorizo. Andouille. Merguez. Kielbasa. Chipolata. Bangers. Boudin. They’re all made here, along with hot Italian, Polish, German and breakfast links
For a city so closely identified with tofu, Boulder is a bastion of great fresh sausages of all varieties. Once I started looking for fresh links, I found them all over town and throughout Boulder County.
There are also a lot of companies making pre-cooked, heat-and-eat sausages, such as Denver’s Charcutnuvo, but to my taste buds that’s a different and lesser experience. Fresh is always best.
Local supermarkets all make sausage and sell popular locally made brands like Boulder Sausage—a descendant to the legendary Don’s Sausage—alongside longtime Denver faves like Canino’s and Polidori.
Louisville’s strong Italian heritage accounts for its long sausage-making history. Old Style Sausage has been crafting everything from standard hot Italian bulk to cilantro and green chile links since 1972.
Around town there are meat masters stuffing truly hard-to-find varieties besides the usual suspects.
For instance, Blackbelly Market’s meat counter has served Wagyu beef hotdogs, British bangers, Filipino longganisa, chorizo verde, Toulouse sausage and Cajun andouille.
Le Frigo, Boulder’s French deli, offers links from Goudy’s, a Denver maker specializing in mainly European varieties ranging from chipolatas (the French hot dog) and lamb-based merguez, to Toulouse bacon links, Basque and even African Boerewors sausage.
Cuji Foods, Boulder’s new South American food market, stocks rare, fresh-frozen varieties imported from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia.
My search led me to a source on the eastern edge of Lafayette, Arapahoe Meat, which is known for stuffing casings with a taste-tingling rainbow of unusual and fun bratwurst variations. Have you ever tasted gyro, ancho chile, blueberry and white Cheddar, chicken bacon ranch or pumpkin spice brats? Don’t miss Arapahoe’s maple bacon blueberry breakfast links.
Longmont is a hotbed of sausage creativity. Mexican carnicerias are making spicy chorizo, while My Butcher Frank fills its counter with a changing selection of Italian, German, and Polish sausage, buttermilk bratwurst and other varieties. Longmont’s SkyPilot Farm sustainably raises the animals that become artisan breakfast sausage, Cajun andouille, Thai lemongrass links and spicy lamb merguez.
Most delicious of all is Mulay’s Sausage, a Longmont company focused on making sausage that meets the highest standards. They use humanely raised meat that is certified free of nine food allergens, with no sugar, nitrates, preservatives, grains, legumes, fillers or antibiotics.
My favorites are Mulay’s British bangers and Nana’s Italian sausage, which cook up ideally—crisp skin, juicy inside and bursting with flavors. Mulay’s links are available fresh-frozen at Natural Grocers and other natural foods markets.
Fall has always been a huge sausage season, what with tailgating and Oktoberfest celebrations. It’s the right time to gather family and friends around your grill to sample the local varieties at a backyard sausage-tasting party with appropriate condiments and sides.
Great sausages deserve to be cooked properly. Mulay’s Sausage offers how-to tips that reflect the instructions top meat counters share with their customers.
If you’re cooking sausage on top of the stove, put half an inch of water and 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil in a small frying pan. Simmer, covered, over medium heat until the water is gone, then take off the top and cook sausage until browned.
To grill, place sausages on a hot grill, but not over direct flame. Don’t char the links or they will burst and you’ll lose all the juice and flavor built up inside that casing. Turn sausages after about five minutes, or until the side is browned, and cook until done.
For additional flavor, place links in your smoker first and then grill.
Inexpensive, ready-to-cook, versatile and pre-seasoned, sausages also make environmental sense because it allows the less-appealing (but still perfectly tasty) bits of animals to be turned into something we love to eat instead of being wasted.
Local Food News: Best Out East
Make your reservations ASAP for Boulder County’s First Bite, Sept. 30-Oct. 9. Participating eateries offering deals include 740 Front, Basta, Boulder Social, Brasserie Ten Ten, Frank’s Chophouse, Gemini, Marigold, and Süti & Co. (firstbiteboulder.com) … Make sure you vote by Sept. 24 for your favorite restaurants and food businesses in Louisville, Lafayette, Longmont and beyond in the 2022 Best of Boulder East County Survey. Survey at boulderweekly.com.
The Nibbles Index: Cost Confusion
29: The percentage of American consumers who think it is cheaper to order restaurant food instead of buying the ingredients to cook a meal. (About 71% of us strongly disagree.) Source: National 2022 PopMenu survey
The Good Your $750 Can Do
The check really is in the mail. The Colorado Department of Revenue is refunding $750 to each individual resident taxpayer and $1,500 to joint filers.
Before that money disappears into bill-paying, consider investing some or all of it in something that pays big dividends. No, not Bitcoin NFTs, but feeding kids, seniors and neighbors who barely survived the pandemic financially and now face high food prices. Most of the many Boulder County food assistance organizations are helping many more families now and need your help.
Give some of your Colorado Cash Back bucks to: Boulder Food Rescue, boulderfoodrescue.org; Community Food Share, communityfoodshare.org; Emergency Family Assistance Association, Boulder, efaa.org; OUR Center, Longmont, ourcenter.org; Harvest of Hope, Boulder, hopepantry.org; and Sister Carmen Community Center, Lafayette, sistercarmen.org
Words to Chew On
“If you’re going to bang an animal on the head, it’s only polite to eat it all.” —Fergus Henderson
John Lehndorff is the grandson of a Sicilian sausage maker. He hosts Radio Nibbles Thursdays on KGNU (88.5 FM, streaming at KGNU.org). Comments: Nibbles@BoulderWeekly.com. Follow him at: twitter.com/nibbleman