Sometimes, there's just nothing better than masticating with a good wiener. Being Italian, I grew up watching my father make his own sausage. I was fascinated with the way he combined a variety of spices with ground beef and pork, and I loved helping him push the beef through the sausage machine into the natural casings.
So when I heard about Schreiner's Fine Sausage -- a family-owned business that's provided Phoenix with fine meats since 1955 -- I was ecstatic. As I approached the unassuming red-and-white building with retro-looking signs on Seventh Street, I felt like I was on a school field trip. Once inside, I gazed with salivating wonder at all the homemade meats in the deli case and fired off questions with carnivorous enthusiasm: "Is the Cajun Boudin sausage beef and pork?"; "Do you make your own veal loaf?"; "How spicy is the Jalapeno cheese sausage?" (The answers: No, yes, and not very).
Chains of yummy sausage links hang in the Schreiner's Fine Sausage factory.
In the end, my girlfriend and I decided to try three different sausages: the Bratwurst, the Jalapeno Cheese Sausage, and the Cajun Boudin sausage. The Bratwurst was not bad, but kind of bland, saved by sauerkraut and spicy mustard. The other two sausages were absolutely delish. Schreiner's Fine Sausage This super sausage shack carries more than 60 different kinds of homemade sausages, many made from traditional German family recipes and regional recipes from England, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. They also have slab bacon, smoked hams, and homemade lunch meats. All meats are hand-boned, ground, and stuffed into natural (intestine) casings on-site, and no preservatives are used.
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Jalapeno Cheese Sausage: This juicy wiener exploded with flavor. Made from pork and beef, the sausage has a subtle spicy kick that's zippy but not overwhelming, thanks to the balance of spices (garlic, salt, white pepper) and abundant melted cheese (a mild cheddar, like a Colby Longhorn). Recommended for people who like a little bit of spice, but who don't want their taste buds lit on fire.
The Jalapeno Cheese sausage from Schreiner's.
Cajun Boudin: My girlfriend was the authority on this one, being Southern and having eaten Boudin many times in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We bought the sausage uncooked, and after a quick steaming and microwaving (you can also fry it), my girlfriend gave it rave reviews. Compared to the Cajun Boudin she's had in Baton Rouge, she said Schreiner's was "Right on the same level. When I ate it, it made me think of Louisiana." A pork sausage made with a variety of ingredients -- green bell pepper, cayenne pepper, green and yellow onions, fresh parsley, bacon, and most importantly, cooked rice -- the Boudin is like a complete lunch in a single link.
I'll definitely be returning to this charming little deli, but this time, I'll be bringing a box. Mmmmmeat! -- Niki D'Andrea