Exploring Local Sausages: Bratwurst from Bob's Quality Meats

Homemade Sausages. Four Generations.
Any food-loving Seattlite who reguarly ventures south of I-90 knows about Bob's Quality Meats, one of the last (and probably the best) family-run, real deal butcher shops in town. Jim Ackley (son of Bob) and his wife Thien are the nicest meat slingers around, with a depth of knowledge that rivals their hospitality. Pretty much whatever you're looking for--elk, buffalo, chicken backs, veal chops, beef jerky, ground beef, whole lamb, sides of ribs--Bob's has it or can get it, and will tell you how best to cook it. (When you're at the shop, be sure to check out the--double-sided!--sheet of Bob's "bundles": 23 different bulk combinations of meat, poultry, and sausages for reasonable prices.)

One of the main attractions of Bob's can also be found listed on their business card, just under the tagline. It reads, simply: "Homemade Sausages. Four Generations." Even with such a vast inventory, Bob's still cranks out an impressive array of sausages: breakfast sausage, spicy chicken, Italian, mild and hot beef links, Cajun boudin, an extra spicy number called the Texas Hot, bratwurst.

If your only familiar with a supermarket Johnsonville brat, you'll understand, within one bite of Bob's bratwurst, what a Johnsonville aspires to. There's no cloying corn syrup to Bob's brats, just the taste of fresh pork, pepper, a little earthy nutmeg, and just the right amount clean, sweet marjoram. Bob's makes the best fresh bratwurst that I've found in Seattle; they're nicely sized and cost just $5.49 a pound.

When I don't have the time to boil these puppies in beer before grilling them, I just brown them well on two sides (along with some onions) then pour in half a can of whatever beer's in the fridge, cover, and let time do the rest. In ten minutes or so, you've got one of the best little meals around.

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