Edible Tastings: Sausage

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY

Gone are the days when people were afraid to see the sausage being made. As dining interests shift towards local and artisanal meats, chefs, farmers and butchers in the area are turning to charcuterie. Sausages in particular offer opportunities for creativity. Charcutières at longtime culinary retail institutions like Savenor’s Market and Formaggio Kitchen research recipes from across the globe, methodically testing out and rejecting batch after batch in order to perfect their recipes.

From spicy to savory to sweet, we tasted over 40 locally made sausages to give you a broad assortment. See photo for key:

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NEW ENGLAND CHARCUTERIE AT MOODY’S DELICATESSEN (WALTHAM): HOT LINK
Once you put the traditional Texas-style beef-and-pork hot link by New England Charcuterie on the grill, there is no going back to the run-of-the-mill supermarket brands. New England Charcuterie, the magic at the acclaimed Moody’s Delicatessen on Moody Street in Waltham, has become successful enough to expand the charcuterie operations from a small space in the deli to a larger facility nearby. If you’re looking to fancy-up your neighborhood cookout fare beyond the classic squiggle of yellow mustard, opt for a heap of chili with crumbled beef and extra heat.

New England Charcuterie at Moody’s Delicatessen
468 Moody Street, Waltham
781.216.8732
newenglandcharcuterie.com

EVA’S FARM ORGANIC BUTCHER SHOP (MIDDLETON): JALAPEÑO HERB CHICKEN SAUSAGE
This family-run butcher shop in Middleton uses sustainable business practices for all their meats, including the birds that go into their chicken sausage. The salty, robust chicken flavor gets a kick from tiny chunks of green jalapeño. Work the sausage into a tomato sauce with onions and more jalapeño, heaped over a pile of spaghetti.

Eva’s Farm Organic Butcher Shop
210 South Main Street, Middleton
978.624.7084
evasfarm.com

SAVENOR’S MARKET (CAMBRIDGE): LAMB MERGUEZ
Lamb and cumin is a flavor combination that resides in the stratosphere, and the team at Julia Childs’ favorite butcher showcases it flawlessly in their merguez. This spiced North African sausage also has coriander, garlic, caraway and harissa in Savenor’s rendition, with a buttery flavor that makes it a standout on an already star-studded sausage lineup. For a quick snack, pan-fry the sausage and put the chopped pieces on French bread with drizzled pan juices. If you have more time, serve atop a bed of lentils with mint and crumbled feta.

Savenor’s Market
92 Kirkland Street, Cambridge
617.576.6328
160 Charles Street, Boston
617.723.6328
savenorsmarket.com

KARL’S SAUSAGE KITCHEN (PEABODY): RÖST BRATWURST
Karl’s Sausage Kitchen serves German and Northern European food, including—as one would hope—many varieties of house-made sausages. The röst bratwurst, a thick and short German sausage, is one of the stars. Whole caraway seeds add aromatic notes to the rich blend of pork and veal. Vinegary German potato salad with bacon is a classic bratwurst pairing, but for a sweet fix, add a simple applesauce as a condiment.

Kaul’s Sausage Kitchen
1 Bourbon Street, Peabody
978.854.6650
karlssausage.com

MF DULOCK (SOMERVILLE): CHORIZO
This small neighborhood butcher shop makes its aggressively spicy Mexican pork sausage with white wine and cumin, textured with bits of onion and whole chili flakes for a mouthwatering and eye-watering bite. Simmer red and yellow peppers in a pool of vinegar as a side dish, and, as a competition, see whether your taste buds will be overwhelmed by the tang of the vinegar or the heat of the sausage first.

MF Dulock
201 A Highland Ave, Somerville
617.666.1970
mfdulock.com

FORMAGGIO KITCHEN (CAMBRIDGE): KÄSEKRAINER
If anyone is going to be putting cheese into your sausage, you want it to be the folks at the renowned New England capital of cheese shops. This sweet Austrian pork sausage is dotted with oozy golden nuggets of Gruyère Alpage for an umami- driven indulgence. Keeping with the big bold flavors, your pairing needs no more effort than spreading yellow mustard over lightly toasted rye bread and topping with coins of hot käsekrainer.

Formaggio Kitchen
244 Huron Avenue, Cambridge
617.354.4750
268 Shawmut Avenue, Boston
617.350.6996
formaggiokitchen.com

LILAC HEDGE FARM (HOLDEN): BEEF WITH BASIL
About 50 miles from their popular meat store at the Boston Public Market, Lilac Hedge runs their 325-acre farm with a focus on sustainable business practices, including feeding their cattle and pigs a grass-fed diet of pasture and hay. The effort shows in the sausages, especially the beef with basil. The smooth, understated notes of basil, black pepper, mustard seed, caraway, nutmeg

Lilac Hedge Farm
32 Walnut Street, Berlin
lilachedgefarm.com

NICOLE FLEMING is a metro correspondent for the Boston Globe and a columnist for WGBH's Craving Boston.  She is also the author of The Girl Who Ate Boston food blog at TheGirlWhoAteBoston.com. Follow her on Twitter @ GirlEatsBoston.