When I plot road bike rides, I tend to design routes around food. I'm partial to loops which take in a farmers' market, apple orchard, roadside diner or bakery (When I lived in upstate New York, I perfected a route that hit all of the above.) But I've lately been riding with a crew that's not as culinarily inclined, so I've learned to pack snacks. Because it fits in my jersey pocket, and because it's far more delicious than a plasticine protein bar, a Bavarian Meats spicy landjager has become my go-to nosh.
According to landjager legend, the dried beef and pork sausages were first concocted so German hunters wouldn't go hungry on long treks. The highlighter-sized sausage links are extraordinarily utilitarian: They're tidy, they don't require refrigeration and they're slow to spoil. But the best landjagers are more than hardtack for meat eaters: They're sewn up with lard, sugar and spices.
Bavarian Meats, which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary, makes a superb landjager. The sausage has a firm casing with the proper amount of snap, but the meat - pocketed with moist fat - is tender and chewy. It's seasoned with plenty of salt, but garlic and paprika are also added to the mix, which has a slightly smoky, peppery cast. It would no doubt pair beautifully with a lager - if my hard-pedaling companions could be persuaded to make a tavern stop.