Sunday, July 02, 2006

Huntington Meats - Best Sausage in LA

The most remarkable aspect of the Huntington Meats sausage is how great they taste. And that taste isn't just yummy, it is also complex and perfect. With each bite you can "taste" years of artisan sausage expertise. Huntington Meats is my favorite place to visit before a BBQ and gets my highest recommendation for Best Sausage in LA. (It's a testament to how great their sasuage is that I've never tried any of their other cuts of meat, which admittedly look fantastic!)

So on this visit I was greeted by Jim who has always been helpful and very friendly to me. (You'd think sasuage this good would only be sold by a "Sausage Nazi" but you'd be 100% wrong!) My two absolute favorite sausages at Huntington Meats are the Smoked Andouille and the Jamican Mango. Jim breaks my heart by telling me that he's got no Jamican Mango today. Instead I get a couple Chicken Apple (which he tells me are good for breakfast cause they have a little cinnamon in them. More on that later.) I order up 4 Smoked Andouille which look a little different than the last time I got 'em. (Then they looked like they had been rescued from Egyptian tomb's BBQ pit by Indianna Jones. Now they just look like tasty dogs. I admit, I'd rather have the Temple of Doom Dogs.)

My visits to Huntington Meats are sporadic and are typcially during the summer. Jim told me that this Fourth of July weekend is by far their busiest of year. (One customer came in first thing that morning and nearly cleared all his stock out! Luckily by the time I arrived it looked like a fully stocked butcher ready for business!) My favorite way to shop at HM (not to be confused with THE HM Phoebe so eagerly anticipates) is to get a wide variety of sausages, slice them into medallions and use them in a couple different combinations. My order today included the 4 andouille, the 2 chicken apple as well as 2 chorizo sausages, 4 basil sun dried tomato, 2 garlic, 2 chicken italian. Most every sasuage was $3.98 a pound (except the andouille which was like $5 a pound). A half pound of links at Woody's is $8! I guess the price break comes with less labor. Then again I think HM's dogs have a lot more effort and inspiration in each sausage. My total was $26.80 for what would become meat for four meals. A pretty great deal!

Sasuage Roll Call:
Andouille - the Andouille is a pork sausage and has a great, rich flavor. I was told that they are made on site and then sent away for 3 days of smoking to attain their special taste. Clearly there is more complication and flavor whallop to the Andouille. Consider this Andouille a Los Angeles version of the Louisiana-style andouille. The dog is not overly spicy but does have a slight heat.The taste is perhaps one of the strongest flavors; a rich, smoked flavor with hits of salt, pepper and garlic. Works great as an hors d'oeuvre or in a pasta dish. Would also make a great ballpark treat!

chicken apple - my oh my this was the winner of the batch! Normally I do not like fruity things (ie. fruit beer) but a well made sausage with some fruit can be delightful (I almost typed "delectable" but that might be taking things a bit too far). To compound the unliklihood of my loving this dog is the fact that most breafast sausage tastes like a tube of sugar cereal -- or a tube of maple sugar. Gross. However, this dog had a rich smokey flavor truly enriched by the subtle hint of cinnamon. (Less is truly more here!) The small chunks of apple were also subtle and not overpoweringly sweet. After cross cutting the sausage into medallions, maybe only 1 in every 3 slices had a piece of apple. The complicated flavor of this sausage would lend itself to maybe uses but for me it made a perfect accompaniment to my Trader Joes blue and yellow cornbread pancakes!
chorizo sausages
basil sun dried tomato
chicken italian

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