Picking up a package of fresh-cut ribeye steaks at Costco for the backyard grill is a time-tested and tasty summer dining idea, to be sure. But, this sunny season, there’s plenty of handcrafted specialty meats to knife-and-fork into, too. From house-cured charcuterie to custom spiced sausages — many, many sausages — here’s a sampling of delectable treats from across the Valley.
Located in a quaint wooden building just north of Downtown Phoenix, venerable Schreiner’s Fine Sausage has been a purveyor of handcrafted meat products since the 1950s. It offers a wide array of links ranging from Thuringer, andouille, boudin and smoked linguisa to knockwurst, bockwurst and bangers. Add in savory delicacies like veal loaf for good measure. The midday brown bag lunch is a $5 deal that gets you a hot link in a bun, a bag of chips and a soda — go for a can of RC Cola and a side of bacon-redolent German-style potato salad for kicks.
Schreiner’s Fine Sausage, 3601 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix, 602.265.2939, schreinerssausage.com.
For additional Central European deep cuts, venture into old-fashioned German Sausage Co. in Arcadia to choose among eye-popping, sliceable cylinders like Zwiebling (onion liver sausage) and Presswurst (headcheese). This is the beginning of mountainous sandwiches, just add bread and mustard.
German Sausage Co., 4900 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602.840.6032, germansausageaz.com.
Modern cured meats
At gorgeous, Old West-themed LON’s at The Hermosa Inn, Executive Chef Jeremy Pacheco creates a wagon train of gourmet vittles. One of his signature dishes is sizzling bacon: peppered pork belly griddled in cast iron skillets with bubbly maple syrup and late-harvest vinegar for a zingy caramelized sauce.
“We cure them for five days in a mixture of sugar, salt and spices,” says Pacheco, describing how he transforms whole pork bellies into rashers of bacon. “Then we smoke them for about four hours.”
Pacheco also rustles up an astounding “Lamb in 3 Ways” entrée that brings together roasted loin, crispy belly and sausage with a side of English peas, braised fennel, tomato confit and black garlic jus.
At lovely Quiessence at the Farm, which is located in a bucolic swath of greenery near the foot of South Mountain, an advanced kitchen charcuterie program turns out delicacies like rabbit terrine, spreadable ‘Nduja sausage and foie gras macarons.
And there are few things as deliciously relaxing as strolling food-laden al fresco aisles on Saturday mornings at the Phoenix Public Market and the Gilbert Farmers Market. There, the Proper Beast butchery outfit gets cheeky on the names of its offerings like “On a Bender” (Wisconsin-style bratwursts made with Refuge IPA from Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.) and “Effen Hot” (incendiary links powered with Los Muertos salsa). The Beast’s advanced sausages feature inventive flavorings like black garlic, Japanese dashi and Wild Child white from Pillsbury Wine Company.
Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn, 5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley, 602.955.7878, hermosainn.com.
Quiessence at the Farm, 6106 S. 32nd Street, Phoenix, 602.276.0601, qatthefarm.com.
The Proper Beast, multiple locations, theproperbeast.com.
A veritable Versailles of viands
It’s a hike for many, but when you see a propane tank decorated like a ginormous pink pig, pull over. You’re at the Pork Store in the agricultural hotspot of Queen Creek. The butchery holds an astounding selection of specialty meat products, with a tiny shortlist including garlic bologna, capicola, Braunschweiger, salami, smoked green chili sausages and even beefy pastrami. The array of samples set out for shoppers makes for epic toothpick wielding. For a mere $4.50, the barbecue burrito and soda pop special is a food tourism score that will keep you fueled up for the journey home.
The Pork Store, 3359 E. Combs Road, Queen Creek, 480.987.0101, theporkshopaz.com.
Delectable local traditions
One of the most exquisite menus in the Southwest is expertly assembled at famed Kai at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, where Native American influences and indigenous ingredients are honored in the kitchen. On the appetizer list, look for seasonal creations like an extraordinary bison tartare adorned with housemade pemmican with McClendon’s Farm date leather, sumac, and piloncillo-marrow custard with cured egg yolk.
Kai at the Sheraton Grand, 5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, Chandler, 602.225.0100, facebook.com/SheratonGrandAtWildHorsePass.
Deluxe bird is the word
Roast chicken makes for a fine summery meal, but you can really let your poultry game sing with a fresh guinea fowl from the smartly decorated Arcadia Meat Market. Add some fresh herbs from your patio garden, some lemon from your backyard grove, a bit of vino from the Sonoita AVA and bake away in your backyard horno.
Arcadia Meat Market, 3950 E. Indian School Road, Suite 130, Phoenix, 602.595.4310, arcadiameatmarket.com.
Treats from the water
It’s not all turf when it comes to specialty meats; there’s surf, too. Dip into the bounty of oceans and rivers at Nelson’s Meat + Fish, where you can pick up smoked salmon and fresh-cured ceviche. For one of the best sandwiches around, grab an extraordinary yellowtail poke bánh mì with pickled vegetables. And, in Old Town Scottsdale, visit the new Merkin Vineyards wine bar for its distinguished smoked trout salad with pickled peppers and pickle aïoli.
Nelson’s Meat + Fish, 2415 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602.596.4069, meat.fish
Merkin Vineyards, 7133 E. Stetson Drive Suite, Suite 4, Scottsdale, 480.912.1027, merkinoldtownscottsdale.com
That’s a spicy meatball!
Making a proper meatball is no simple thing, and the best recipes benefit from generations of family tradition behind them, like those made at the Sicilian Butcher by Chef Joey Maggiore. The bustling eatery in Paradise Valley serves eight styles of devourable spheres and nine sauces to match.
“Our authentic meatballs include Tomaso’s Sicilian meatballs, (created) with my Sicilian-born father’s recipe made with ground veal, prime beef, pork, pine nuts, raisins, pecorino cheese, garlic and fresh herbs.”
Other notable venues for housemade meatballs include Queen Creek Olive Mill, Meat the Ball in the Fashion Park Biltmore, South Scottsdale’s DeFalco’s Deli & Grocery and Andreoli Italian Grocer near McCormick Ranch.
The Sicilian Butcher, 15530 N. Tatum Boulevard, Suite 160, Phoenix, 602.775.5140, thesicilianbutcher.com.
Crispy duck confit with it succulent, richly flavored dark meat, is one of the perennial menu stars at ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho. This season, try it at brunch sided with Calabrian chili-enhanced potato tots, fried eggs, pearl onions and tarragon-citrus butter. It’s a mimosa-friendly combination to savor in the cool mid-century modern digs.
ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, 480.376.2600, hotelvalleyho.com.
Reach for real jerky
If Sasquatch wandered into town, he wouldn’t grab a mass-produced, desiccated snack at a gas station. Rather, he’d look for the unmistakable faux heifer mascots that adorn the front of Hobe Meats, a Phoenix butcher shop that’s been serving customers for more than 50 years. There, the big guy would pick up bags of teriyaki beef jerky, a top-notch nosh made with slow-dried U.S.D.A. Prime cuts.
Hobe Meats, 6044 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, 602.604.2333, hobemeats.com.
Hot diggity dogs
Frankfurters can be a bit basic sometimes, but not at lively Short Leash Hotdogs in the Melrose District. There, wieners are served in naan with fixings like grilled peaches, goat cheese, chipotle cream cheese, pinto beans and even peanut butter. And at Provecho in the Churchill, pick up a bowl of salchipulpos — griddled beef franks that are sliced to make them look like cute, tiny octopuses. They’re placed on top of French fries and slathered with ketchup, mustard and chili sauce for a fun $3 bowl deal in the Roosevelt Arts District.
Short Leash Hotdogs, 4221 N. Seventh Avenue, Phoenix, 602.795.2193, shortleashhotdogs.com.
Provecho in the Churchill, 901 N. First Street, Phoenix, 602.466.2279, provechoaz.com
Perk up for pork
Shoo-wee! Bring hungry (and adventurous) friends along to share a serving of crispy pig ears covered in Cheetos dust at the hip the Larder + the Delta in leafy Portland Parkway Park. Chewy and salty, these orange-tinted backwoods umami bombs go a long way and call for numerous quaffs of frosty cold ones between farm-to-table munches.
The Larder + the Delta, 200 W. Portland Street, Suite 101, Phoenix, 480.409.8520, thelarderandthedelta.com.