Monday, June 29, 2009

Wurst Fest '09

Papa Diva is the best, so, naturally, I treated him to the worst ... er, I mean wurst! There was a belated Father's Day cookout, chez Mama and Papa Diva, this weekend and a selection of German meats were the stars of the show.

The succulent sausages were procured at Noack's in Meriden, Connecticut and they were spectacular. If you're anywhere near that part of the state, I highly recommend a trip to Noack's. Their products are as fresh and delicious as can be and, trust me, once you're inside you're going to want to by *everything* ... which we very nearly did.

We walked away with an obscene amount of meat: knockwurst, bratwurst, frankfurters and "half and halfs", a special kind of weisswurst made with finely ground veal and pork. Each sausage was more delicious than the next. Noack's products are handmade, home-smoked and nitrate-free. This is an old-school German butcher shop that specializes in a wide, wide variety of quality meats ... and the shop itself is charming to boot.

Pictured above left is their amazing "half and half" and two of their stellar knockwursts. Prior to grilling, I like to give the sausage a quick simmer in a spicy bath of beer. Here's how to do it:

Beer Bath:
  • 2 bottles of beer, either lager or brown beer*
  • 1 small to medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tsp. pickling spices (I use McCormick's)
  • 1 tsp. of mustard seeds
Pour the beer into a large sauce pan, add the onion, pickling spices and mustard seeds. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, but do not let the mixture boil over. Once it boils, add the sausages, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the sausages and cook them on the grill over high heat until thoroughly cooked, and well browned. Serve immediately with a selection of German mustards and enjoy!

A brief word about the beer ... on Saturday I used two bottles of Rolling Rock, because that's what was in Papa Diva's fridge. Here at home, I've used Brooklyn Brown Ale with equally great success. I'm not sure that the style of the beer matters, but the taste most certainly does. Use something you'd want to drink, something delicious, and the results will surely satisfy.

I ask you, is that sausage not a thing of beauty? The quick beer braise lends a bit of flavor and helps to ensure that the meats will be thoroughly cooked and ridiculously juicy. We like to round out the meal with some cooked red cabbage, baked beans, some really nice rye bread and, for purists, some quality sauerkraut. I'm not a purist, so I opted for the red cabbage and some steamed fresh broccoli from bro's garden. It was magnificent!

The cabbage and the kraut came from Noack's as well. Even if you're not in CT, you can sample Noack's delights ... they ship anywhere in the US. Hit up that link to place an order or find directions to their market.

For those in NYC, you can obtain some spectacular sausages of your own from any one of these fine purveyors: Schaller & Weber on Second Avenue @ 86th Street, Koglin German Hams in Grand Central Terminal Market @ Grand Central Station, and Marlow and Daughters Butcher Shop @ 95 Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

I've given you the know-how and the sources ... now go on and have a Wurst Fest of your own. You can thank me later.

Bon appetit!


Heavenly Housewife said...

I like meat :)

doggybloggy said...

good info and good links - whats the wurst that could happen?

The Diva on a Diet said...

HH - no doubt you have access to some quality meats there in the UK too. So yummy!

doggybloggy - thanks ... and the wurst that could happen is that I probably gained five pounds this weekend. No one knows for sure because I ain't getting on the scale!

Mom said...

Wow, those looking amazing. I've always wondered about boiling them in beer. I'm glad to see you're recommending it. Thanks, and yum!

The Duo Dishes said...

Mmm, pull out the brown mustard and let's go to town.

pixelgal said...

These were indeed delicious with the Kosciusko mustard and various German goodies. We did have a light dessert of fruit and Italian lemon ice though. I think the beer and spices made the feast. Do try it!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Mom - I do recommend it ... and don't forget the all important 3rd beer ... the one you drink while grilling. ;)

Duo - yes, yes to the brown mustard. Its essential!

Pixelgal - so glad you enjoyed the beer bathed wursts ... and even more glad I got you to try the weisswurst! ;)

nick said...


"We walked away with an obscene amount of meat: knockwurst, bratwurst, frankfurters and "half and halfs","

might've made me propose to you on the spot.

For your beer bath, I think it's best to put them in at not-quite-boiling temperature. I believe "Charcuterie" (my meat bible) recommends something like 180. I've used this method several times for scrumptious, not over cooked/cardboard like sausages.

Laurie said...

Your sausage is indeed a thing of beauty! And your passion margarita (!!!) ooh la la...

Anonymous said...

Oh, yum! The sausages look mighty good!

Melissa Good Taste said...

Beer and beans - sounds like a good time!

Tangled Noodle said...

The wurst is yet to come!

The in-laws will be in town for the 4th and sausages on the grill is just the thing! Thanks for the beer-braising tip: can't go wrong with a brew-bath. I'll have to check Mr. Noodles stash and see what he's willing to give up. Wish I could hit Noack's - it sounds like they know their brats, knocks and wieners!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Nick - welcome to Beach Eats and thanks for the comments! Now that's a proposal I'd like to hear! Very true about the boiling beer ... in this case, we were adding a large number of sausages, so the temp dropped pretty quickly. I do agree that you don't want to overcook the little darlings. :)

Laurie - Hi! And thank you! Those margaritas were mighty good if I do say so myself. ;)

5 Star - Part of me wishes I didn't love this stuff so much ... but we so rarely indulge, its worth the sin!

Melissa - indeed it was! A perfect early summer cookout. Cheers!

Tangled Noodle - A wurst fest is such a great way to feed a crowd. I wish you could make a trip to Noack's too, because I think you'd really like it ... though surely in your neck of the woods there must be similar places, no? I hope so and I hope Mr. Noodle will see his way clear to offering up a brew or two for the cause! Enjoy your visitors and have a great weekend!