Sausagefest 2009 Review

Sausagefest #12 – The Summary

Thanks to all the guests, friends and friends of friends that helped make 2009 a great Sausagefest.

Sausagefest has a simple goal – find the best sausages, enjoy tasting them, then let people know who’s making them and if they are publicly available. We also recognize that there professional sausage makers and amateurs.

Too often sausages get a bad rap. But, when you taste a sausage made by an sausage artist like Hungry Hill, Elburn Market, Lalich’s Deli, Gaziano’s, (Des Moines) or Goodrich’s (East Lansing) you know you are eating a quality food product.

The sausages from professional sausage makers at Sausagefest 2009 were many, but the following sausages and their sausage maker were exceptional.

Exceptional Sausages (Professional Sausage Artists):

Goodrich’s Shop Rite (East Lansing, Mich.)
• Lamb with cinnamon, mint & pine nuts
• Brown Sugar bats

Jim & Gary’s Meats (Pecatonica, Il)
• Bacon Cheeseburger Brats

Hungry Hill Sausage (Homewood, Il)
• Hot Italian Sausage

Lalich Deli (Niles, Il)
• Ćevapčići sausages

Paulina Market (Chicago, Il)
• Veal Curry Brats

Schmeissers (Niles, Il)
• Metwurst

These vendors have some outstanding sausages and you should seek them out.

Exceptional Sausages (Amateur Sausage Makers)

Best Sausage From a Existing Recipe
Urfa (Turkish Lamb sausage:)
• Norah Colson adopting a Saveur Magazine recipe

Italian Sausages :
• Ed Grabowski: Garlic & Black Pepper Italian
• Michael Tepper: Hot Sicilian
• Richard Tuttle: Italian Cucina

Creole Sausage:
• Chuck Rizzo

Red Wine & Shitake Mushroom Pork Sausage
• Lynn & Eric Slezak

All of these amateur chefs created terrific tasting sausages. Congratulations to all of them and THANKS for your hard work and creativity.

Blue Ribbon Champions for 2009: Lynn and Eric Slezak

Congratulations to the husband and wife team of Lynn and Eric Slezak for their Red Wine & Shitake Mushroom Pork Sausage.

A wonderful marriage of flavors where the mushroom didn’t overtake the meat and red wine. It was a terrific balance of all the flavors working together.

How a husband and wife can make sausage together and not kill each other is a mystery. But we’re glad you found the team work to create this great sausage.

2009 Sausagefest Recap – A Variety of Quick Notes, Comments
September 5, 2009

The Wine Results The wine consumption tilted heavily to red wine this year by huge margin. Beer consumption was way down. The cool fall weather had its effects.

Initial count of 44 different wines consumed. We’ll check bushes and the perimeter for stray bottles.

Thanks to the folks who brought the 1995 Ch. Pinchon Longueville, and 1995 Chateau D’Angludet. A larger list of wines tasted will follow. Its amazing how opinions vary in wine tasting.

Buddy – The Official Dog, Mascot & Tasting Judge of Sausagefest

He’s a 75 pound dream dog with a superb palate. His table manners are impeccable. More than 30 different types to taste and he was up to the challenge. In a large crowd of people he was a mild manner Buddy to everyone.

If he doesn’t like the sausage it doesn’t get past the first sniff gate.

True story – earlier this year he reluctantly ate a small bit of Italian sausage from a new butcher shop. Five seconds later he gave it back on the kitchen floor. He was right. I tasted it and realized there are some sausages not to like.

Casey’s Polish Sausage

Every year he brings Polish Sausage and Sauerkraut and every year he goes silent when I ask for the recipe. Somewhere past the Witty & Charming stage of the evening’s drinking I learn at the wine bar that he gave his recipe out. I was his college roommate, twice his best man and he hands over the recipe to a veritable stranger.

Worth noting, it was just excellent as usual. Based on a multi-year history of it disappearing so quickly its one of those phenomenon’s that’s like clockwork – like winning money betting against the Cubs after the Fourth of July.

Perfect Weather for the 12th Year in a Row!

BIG Thanks to: Great Thanks to Edward and Coach Patrick for the grill duty. Awesome work with a very heavy meat load this year. It was like O’Hare on a Friday night.

Tom Graan gets high sommelier points for his work at keeping the wine flowing and his modest editorial comments on everything he poured. Alan Rohrbach as the sous sommelier gets a thanks as well.

Chip Colson & Steve Zider for their set-up help. Steve Chastain, Jack McClure and Fred McMurray for their help aiding the chefs.

Record Attendance This Year

What made this fest such a joy was having so many friends bringing friends from out of town. Thanks to our old and new friends who travelled from Columbus, Ohio, Madison, Wisconsin, Champaign, Ill, Bloomington, Ill and even the North Shore.

Thanks to all who came and shared their wine, sausages and stories.

Grabowski, Rizzo & Tuttle

This trio is not the double play combination for the Red Sox, but amateur sausage makers who are creating some great sausages. Again this year they created some great sausages. Great stuff guys. But guys, watch out for Norah Colson, Lynn & Eric Slezak, and virtual Mike Tepper – new sausage artists on the radar.

Funny Stuff & Firsts

• Scotch as a sausage appetizer? Ronna made this a first for Sausagefest.

• Rich Klott as a sausage mule for Michael Tepper – who knew lawyers did this stuff?

• Notre Dame winning on Sausagefest Saturday.

• Mike Gannon letting Laurie out of the house.

• Wine bottle tossing. Glad the ground was soft.

• Wonderful beer from the Columbus Brewing Company. Thanks Patty & Mike.

• Thank God for Sausagefest being a cigar friendly event.

• Sausagefest clothing (and good quality stuff too) is now available.

• John Canonaco didn’t fumble a bottle of high end Cabernet into the cement.

• A record number of lost cell phones.

Thanks for stopping by and we hope you become a regular visitor to