As we first arrived in Phoenix, we passed a sign on 7th Street that advertised fresh, homemade sausage. Doing a little research I found that it was a hotspot for local Germans to get their fix when they needed a taste of Deutschland. Lured by all things pig, I jumped on my bike and decided to check it out!
The name of the place is Schreiner’s Fine Sausage, a mom-and-pop operation located in an unassuming little shack that you could easily pass by without noticing. This place is tiny. If more than four or five people are already there (which is often the case, even when it isn’t lunchtime) things can get downright claustrophobic. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was the smell of smoked meats frying. Suddenly I realized that I had some serious decisions to make.
They had all varieties of handmade sausage from the questionable (read: boudin) to the tantalizing (sausage kabobs: slices of many of their different meats skewered on one stick and ready for the grill.) Fresh or smoked, Cajun, German, Polish, Hungarian, Italian, Sicilian, Portuguese, Spanish, Mexican – everything was represented here, and at excellent prices. I know in certain places, shops like this are commonplace (I’m looking at you, sis-in-law living in Germany!) but to me this was an oasis. After much deliberation, I decided to get six fresh bratwursts, a pound of their house sauerkraut and a pack of German rolls. I threw my purchase in the basket and pedaled home as fast as I could.
I decided to parboil them in beer first, then sauté them the rest of the way to give them a crisp, golden skin. Instantly the apartment smelled of frying porky-goodness and beer.
I split one of the rolls and slathered it with hot mustard. I lovingly dropped in the brat and topped it with a good helping of kraut. Eagerly, I took my first bite.
The fresh sauerkraut (can anything fermented be considered “fresh”?) was crunchy and tangy, a good sign of a naturally fermented raw kraut as opposed to a cooked one. It lacked the juniper berries and carraway that I have come to love but It was still tasty. All of that didn’t really matter as soon as I tasted the bratwurst. The natural casing was crisp and had a “pop” to it when I bit through. The inside was tender and juicy and tasted of fresh quality. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of fennel, which is something I usually associate with Italian sausage. The other spices were subtle and complimented the pork perfectly.
I have never had homemade sausage of this quality before and Schreiner’s totally rocked my face. I can’t think of a better idea for a fast and cheap dinner in this area that packs as much flavor. Already I have planned a return trip to try some more of their creations. Like I said, if you blink you will miss it, and that would be a shame. It really is a hidden gem.