Saturday, November 12, 2011

Store Review: Sausage Partners

The new meat shop on the block opened a few weeks ago after a long spring and summer of a teasing coming soon sign.  The had created so much expectation that they had updated the sign several times with notes on what was going on.

It turns out that they ended up doing a whole renovation that required much design to meat the health codes. (I made a typo up there but I'm leaving it in.)  The problem, in my opinion, with the health codes is that they do not take into account the size of the business and sometimes this causes over design.  Even with all these codes, the big meat purveyors can get it wrong.  A small Mom and Pop shop cannot afford to get it wrong but someplace like Maple Leaf can take a six month hit and still find a way to survive.

Anyways, now that the digression has run its course, onto the review.  I live in a Marvelous Meat Triangle.  I am now as close to Royal Beef and Close to the Bone as this place.  Sure, there is Meat on the Beach and the Chopping Block but one isn't quite what I am looking for in a butcher and the other just falls out of that easy area for walking.

The Sausage Partners is open near Greenwood on Queen Street East. It is a small shop that has home canned goods on one side, local produce displayed in the middle with the meat counter at the back.  It reminds me of the old Farmer's Daughter on Kingston road was setup but Sausage Partners is focused on meat instead.

The are similar to the other places mentioned above in that they are butchers.  They get huge slabs of meat (hanging meat) and break it down.  This means that there is only so much in the counter but you are only limited by your imagination and knowledge in what you can get.  Also, sometimes you will not be able to get what you want.  This is where the second common thing happens.

These are butchers.  I know that sounds like the first thing but go with me.  This means that given the application that you are doing (grilling, braising, high and hot  or a particular recipe), they can give you suggestions or substitutions with out too much trouble.  Try that at a grocery store.

The last commonality is the bits they add.  Carmen at Royal has all sorts of gourmet goodies that she gets in because she wants to try it and is curious.  Often, they take off at other larger stores.  I got my first vanity salts there.  Mary's partner at Close to the Bone does smoking so you can see chips, rubs and other stuff there.  At the Sausage Partner's, I believe that it is Lorraine's preserves that will carry the day and set it out from the crowd.

I have had some of the sausages there and they are good but not the standout.  It is the bacon.  That is good bacon.  Real good bacon.  The package of chips says hickory but this don't taste like no hickory smoked bacon I have had.  It may be the freshness but it tastes like one of my best memories of bacon.

So, even though I have two go to butchers, I am looking at finding a way of adding a third.  It makes me feel like a sixteen year old boy again.  Maybe that's why the name sounds like a bad porn from the '80s.

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