Sunday, July 04, 2004

"If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat!"

So says a commenter to this Kevin Drum post, in which Kevin sings the praises of bratwurst. As long as I'm offending my vegitarian readership this morning -- such as it exists -- I figure what the heck, I might as well discuss All Meats Ground and Stuffed Into Casings.

To my way of thinking, there are few food items more wondrous than sausages, and I love them in just about every variety in which they exist. I don't get caught up in the "sausage arguments", in which a German from Milwaukee and a Polish person from Buffalo will come to blows over which is better, bratwurst or kielbasa. They're both great. And so are Italian sausages, the hotter the better; grill 'em and serve 'em in a hard roll with plenty of grilled onions and peppers and slather 'em with brown mustard. Oh, yeah. That's good eating.

And it doesn't stop there! Andouille is great stuff. Slice it and cook it in a gumbo with shrimp and crab meat, and you're in heaven. I haven't been able to have Chorizo all that often, but that's great stuff, too. And while I don't like sauerkraut by itself, you take a pot of that stuff and cook a nice, big kielbasa in it, and you've got yourself one fine meal.

The most infamous kind of casing-stuffed meat product is, of course, haggis, which I've never tried. I think I'd like to. Maybe.

Finally I come around to the good old American hot dog. Yeah, I've heard the horror stories about what goes into them, and I've heard the political joke about how there are two things in this world, laws and sausages, that you don't ever want to know how they're made. But I've got a strong stomach, and I love a grilled hot dog. The casing has to be blackened a bit and cracking open to reveal the pink meat within; and as for condiments, I swear by diced onions and yellow mustard. (The mustard rule is: Yellow for hot dogs, brown for any other sausage, except for kielbasa, which require no mustard at all.) Here in Buffalo, the best brand of hot dog available is Sahlen's, and the best place to eat one is Ted's (which, by the way, sports eight locations in the Buffalo area and one location in, of all places, Tempe, Arizona).

There are two acceptible ways of cooking hot dogs, in my opinion: grilling (either outside or stove-top), or pan-frying them in just a bit of oil. Boiling hot dogs in water is a horrid practice, and is only of use to those who insist on loading their hot dogs with so many condiments as to render the hot dog itself as little more than a condiment-delivery device.

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