En route to the Gasconade River for
drinkin’ in a boat fishing with my family, we pass right by Swiss Meat & Sausage Co. in the eponymous boomtown of Swiss, Missouri , just south of Hermann. I enjoy frequent hot beef injections, especially from competition-tested award winning meat makers.
Pleasant surprise? Buy four, get the fifth free. So of course I got five:
If you can’t see it in the photo, my five choices were Boudin, Buffalo Italian Sausage, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Jalapeno and Swiss Cheese Bratwurst, and Best of Show Bratwurst.
I also snagged some impulse buys, because my saturated fat levels felt a little low:
The Elk Snack Stix didn’t make it very far from the store. It was spicy and delicious, but not that greasy. The Buffalo Summer Sausage was cut up for snacking later that day. It had the gamey savory flavor of summer sausage but included the distinct flavors of buffalo. Another winner.
Over the next couple weeks we found excuses to cook each of the sausages, and even managed a return tip to load up on some favorites and buy some extras for my parents.
I don’t know about you, but if my adult son showed up with award winning tubed meat, I’d be thrilled.
Having sampled the braunschweiger in the store, I can tell you it’s awesome. What is the stuff? Pork liver sausage. If you can get past that description, you might enjoy it. The sausage is loosely packed and spreadable, but I only remember eating it in big slices on wheat bread and saltines with processed American cheese and deli mustard. It’s a serious childhood taste… I felt a flood of memories come back with that greasy, savory sample. Not quite Anton Ego eating Ratatouille at Gusteau’s, but close.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve sampled (and re-sampled!) each of the aforementioned meats, always grilled.
Without seeing Duck Dynasty, I’d have never heard of Boudin. When I went to check out, I only had four packs of sausage in my cart. The clerk told me I got a fifth free, and I made that fifth the Boudin.
Each tube is loaded with pork, onion, rice, milk and spices. It was tender and savory, each bite full of onion flavor. My kids weren’t very interested in sampling the Boudin, which probably prejudiced their bites. I, on the other hand, enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m no poet so I can only tell you it’s a flavor profile unlike anything I’ve ever had before – one that was quite delicious. My only gripe, if it can be called that, was that the sausage casing was particularly thick and didn’t cut cleanly unless I had a very sharp or serrated knife, and even then it was prone to tearing when sliced. No sauce of any kind was needed on this, or any other Swiss meat for that matter.
Buffalo Italian Sausage
This was, besides the Best in Show, the #1 kid favorite. Buffalo, being so lean, is mixed with pork and spices to create a gamey, tender sausage. Bites contained very little grease, despite the presence of the pork. I’d imagine that making a quality sausage out of buffalo that doesn’t dry out or lose flavor takes skill, and Swiss seems to have mastered this skill.
I’m surprised and thrilled that this is one of the sausages that my kids have requested the most. We’ve made a return trip to seek out (at least in my son’s mind) this specific meat.
Chicken Bacon Ranch
The only disappointment for me, but it turns out my wife loved it. I thought the sausage was quite dry and too heavy on the dill, with very little bacon to speak of. It wasn’t my thing, either from a texture point of view or taste-wise. I thought this needed something else, but it’s hard to say what. Again, it’s totally subjective because my wife thought it was superior to the Buffalo Italian Sausage.
Jalapeno and Swiss Cheese Bratwurst
Everyone loved this sausage. It’s my wife’s favorite, I think it’s amazing, and even my very picky children tried and liked it. My seven year old son had two, a spectacular feat because the jalapeno bits were visible green chunks! The key to the success of this sausage, as agreed by the adults that sampled it, is the perfect size and selection of the cheese. Each bite of meat included a tongue-enveloping morsel of semi-molten cheese, well seasoned and proportioned. These are clear winners in a strong field.
Best in Show Bratwurst
When I first ate these, I remarked without hyperbole that these might be the best bratwurst I had ever eaten. I think to well-known commercial bratwurst (such as Johnsonville), baseball stadium brats from Busch III, and even hand-crafted bratwurst from local stores (Schnuck’s and Sam’s Club, notably) and there’s no comparison. Swiss brats somehow had zero superfluous grease. They were tender, well-seasoned, perfect tubes of pork.
When you buy “Best in Show” bratwurst, you expect some really tasty meat. I was genuinely surprised at just how good these bratwurst were. I’d buy these again in an instant.
In sum, my trips to Swiss turned out to be well worth the detour. Certainly as long as my family is fishing on the Gasconade River, our route will pass through or near Swiss. Besides, we only bought a few different varieties. There’s several dozen other kinds of bratwurst alone for the sampling… many of which I’ll be eating this summer.
If you love tubed meat like I do, take the trip to Swiss. If you can’t make it, they ship nationwide, so you have zero excuse.