Best of Denver

The Ten Best Restaurants in Denver for Housemade Sausage

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5. Il Porcellino
4324 West 41st Street
Pepperoni, Genoa salami, cacciatori, mortadella, summer sausage, andouille, finocchino, chorizo, nduja. That's just a short list of the cooked and dry-cured pork products made on site at this Berkeley neighborhood salumeria. Get a sampling on an in-store platter or go whole hog with a sandwich stacked with meatiness. Thankfully this hidden spot, a half-block off bustling Tennyson Street, has a takeout counter for fresh and aged sausage by the pound so that you can continue hitting the links at home.

4. Old Major
3316 Tejon Street
Chef/restaurateur Justin Brunson's LoHi butcher's bastion is one of only a handful of eateries in town sanctioned to dry-cure its own salumi. That means there's always something spicy, fatty and housemade — generally from the canon of Italian classics — on the small-plates board. And along with lamb sausage that loses nothing to its porky pals, other cooked links pop up on the seasonal menu, like a green-garlic sausage on this spring's ever-changing nose-to-tail plate.

3. Rhein Haus
1415 Market Street

Rhein Haus started slinging sausages in Seattle as Von Trapp's in 2013 before changing the name a year later. But we knew LoDo would come alive with the sound of sizzling when the beer-and-bocce hall settled into the former home of Old Chicago in late 2015. Backed by the clinking of beer mugs and clacking of bocce balls, the traditional eatery, decked out like a Bavarian hunter's lodge, goes deep into German-sausage territory, with diminutive Nurembergs and pfefferwurst and hefty, hearty smoked bratwurst and hirschwurst packed with beef and venison. To sample all ten choices (including a meatless veggiewurst), round up the gang and go for the grillwurstl schmankerl — a two-pound sampler to sate your sausage fixation.

2. Uber Sausage
2730 East Colfax Avenue

This East Colfax sausage shack serves up split rolls stuffed with traditional sausages handed down from family recipes, regional specialties and newfangled creations — all plump and pleasingly dressed in colorful condiments and house sauces. Start with the Swiss, which faithfully re-creates the street food of its homeland. Two skinny siblings snuggle beneath a covering of clover sprouts, onion, mustard and a shake of curry-laced seasoning. Or bite into more exotic offerings like Thai chile-lemongrass sausage or Cajun pork and crawfish links. But Uber gets the classics right, too, from fat bratwurst to a hotdog made prairie-style by swapping out beef for bison.

1. Baur's Restaurant & Listening Room
1512 Curtis Street

Without getting too technical, the best way to describe what makes great sausage is a process called emulsification, which basically allows oil and water to coexist without separating. Sausages are mostly fat and meat, which holds plenty of moisture, and true sausage masters know how to grind and blend to produce a firm yet tender link that doesn't turn grainy or greasy when cooked. Chef Robert Grant, who heads the charcuterie program at Baur's downtown, is one such master. He learned his craft in the kitchens of France, Spain and Italy before perfecting the art of the grind at the Butcher Shop and the Belly Wine Bar in Boston. The years of study are evident in his currywurst, lamb merguez and jalapeño cheddarwurst, all of which pop with flavor and juicy goodness.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation