Saturday, May 24, 2008

Linwood Sausage Company

With Cincinnati's strong German heritage, it isn't surprising that you'd be able to find some great artisanal sausage here. I met Jose Almeida of the Linwood Sausage Company last year at the Hyde Park Farmers' Market (Sundays starting June 1st, 10am - 2pm at the US Bank parking lot, 3424 Edwards Rd) where he and his wife Susan sell their handmade sausages. Each week they bring four different sausages to market and offer samples of each type they're selling that week. This year, thanks to the efforts of MaryIda Compton and Judy Williams in obtaining a mobile teardown license to meet Hamilton Co Board of Health requirements for selling ready-to-eat food, they'll also be selling sausage sandwiches grilled onsite in addition to their frozen packages.

Jose makes most of his sausage in a USDA-inspected commercial kitchen in small batches of 20 pounds, which gives him great control over his ingredients. He hand trims and hand grinds his locally-sourced hormone-free pork, chicken, lamb, and turkey, uses fresh organic herbs whenever possible, and as he sells his product frozen he uses no nitrates/nitrites or other preservatives. Jose and Susan, both of whom are professional chefs, make around 7800 pounds of sausage a year. Currently they only produce the sausage during the summer months and sell almost all from the Hyde Park Farmers' Market, but they're hoping soon to also be distributing through local retail groceries year-round.

He also occasionally makes even smaller batches at home in his kitchen with a small 5-pound sausage press. When I visit, he's making Chicken, Apple & Tarragon sausage.

When I arrive at Jose and Susan's Linwood home, he'd already fed the hog casing onto the stuffing horn and loaded three pounds of seasoned ground chicken into the press.

As I watch, he cranks the handle to feed the meat smoothly into the casing. I've tried this at home, and it's not nearly as easy as he makes it seem. Exactly the right amount of pressure and an artful touch feeding the casing along the horn produces a firmly-packed casing that isn't so full it will burst during cooking.

He moves back and forth between the crank and the emerging cased meat, evening out any minor bulges and evening the sausage into a tight roll.

Within about ten minutes, all the meat is cased and he clips the casing.

Here's the cased meat, ready to be twisted into links:

Jose carefully measures out 6-inch sections, using a ruler each time, and twists them off to form consistent individual links.

He takes a pin and pricks any bubbles that have formed during the linking process so that the finished links will cook evenly.

When he's formed the entire casing into 5-oz links, he trays them and rests them half an hour in the refrigerator before cutting them into individual links, quick freezing them, and vaccuum-sealing them into packages of four. Most of the sausages he sells for $10 for a 20-oz package of 4 links, with a smaller number of premium sausages sold at $15 for a package of 4.

Jose produces nearly twenty different varieties, but only four are available each week at the farmers' market, except by special order.

These, from the left, are his Chicken, Apple, & Tarragon, Fresh Polish Kielbasa, Moroccan Lamb (the recipe includes pomegranate juice, which gives it its deep color) and Hot Italian. Other varieties include Szechuan Chicken, Italian Luganega, Bavarian Bratwurst, Tuscan Sun Dried Tomato & Herb, Japanese Shiitake Mushroom, Sweet Fennel, Turkey with Grand Marnier, Duck Sausage, Andouille, Thai Chicken, Hunter's Sausage, and Greek Loukaniko.

They'll have an official website soon, and as soon as it's up and running we'll post an update and add them to our list of local producers. In the meantime, you can find Jose and Susan and their sausage at the Hyde Park Farmers' Market (opening day is June 1!) or place off-season or special orders with the Almeidas directly by calling (513) 679-1293.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting -
Thank you!
We have a very small kielbasa making business near us. I always buy their brand of kielbasa at the market, but I've never seen it made. Your pictures are great!

valereee said...

Thank you, grandmother wren! I love your blog!

Stephanie Appleton said...

That is so cool!
I bet they are delicious!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your submission to this week's Carnival of Cities. You can read's roundup at here.

Amber said...

Very interesting...I love to know how things are made.

Anonymous said...

I seldom leave comments on blogs, but the ideas really rocks, also I have a few questions like to ask, what's your contact details?


valereee said...

Hi, Johnson! The best way to get hold of Linwood Sausage Company is to visit Hyde Park Farmers' Market on Sunday mornings -- they sell their sausage there!