Exploring Local Sausages: Rainshadow Meats

There's something about the cool gray weather of Fall that makes this season the perfect compliment to (read: perfect reason to frequently indulge in) one of my all-time favorite simple meals: sausage with a side of braised greens. On both the sausage and greens front I am far from picky--hot Italian, chorizo, bratwurst, kale, cabbage, escarole--it all sounds good to me. Seattle actually has a quite a few sasuage-making operations, so I thought I'd spend a little time exploring them in the coming weeks. First up: Rainshadow Meats.

Rainshadow is the full-service butcher located in the spanking new Melrose Market on Capitol Hill. For neighborhood carnivores, Rainshadow is regarded as a bit of a godsend: a diverse selection of high-quality, ethically sourced meats from mainly local purveyors, hard-to-find cuts, and housemade charcuterie and sausage, all displayed beautifully in a pristine white case. Also: charming, laid-back, knowledgeable service. But back to the sausages. Rainshadow offers an impressive selection them, all of which are made in-house: hot Italian, mild Italian, Bratwurst, Andouille, Spanish Chorizo, Mexican Chorizo.

So far, I've cooked up Rainshadow's Bratwurst, Mexican chorizo, and Spanish chorizo. The individual sausages, which cost $5.99 per pound, are huge. One, along with a side of greens, makes for a pretty satisfying meal. Overall, the sausages are also leaner than most sausages you pick up at the store, but the fresh pork flavor still shines through. Of the three, the Spanish chorizo is the best, with the deep red color and flavor of smoked paprika, along with garlic and, I think, some aleppo pepper. The Mexican chorizo is hardly a slouch, with plenty of spices going on--red chili, cumin, garlic, oregano. While there is lots flavor bouncing around and over the tongue, it just doesn't quite match the depth of its chorizo counterpart. The Bratwurst, while ok, is a little disappointing: a bit dry (maybe all bratwurst should require a beer bath?), with a slightly overwhelming marjoram flavor.

Varying degrees of goodness aside, it's hard not to like a place that is cranking out six varieties of its own pork sausage. (It's impressive, especially considering they're also producing a bunch of charcuterie.) Thankfully, the best of the three Rainshadow sausages I've tried also happens to be the hardest to find around town, so I'll be back to partake of that Spanish chorizo often.

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