Luv Doc Recommends: Texas Barbecue Festival

Travis County Farmers Market, Saturday, October 8, 2005

“People who enjoy eating sausage and obey the law should not watch either being made.” – Otto von Bismark. Simpsons fans will probably confuse Otto von Bismark with Otto Mann, Bart and Lisa’s hard-rocking, fast-driving, slow-witted bus driver. That’s OK. The quote sounds pretty cool when you read it in that voice anyway. Otto von, however, was the first chancellor of Germany. No place in the world is down with laws and sausage like Germany. Otto von was a lawyer himself. He knew plenty about laws. He was also an aristocrat and as such, probably didn’t have much truck with sausage other than the finished product on his dinner plate. Still, you don’t have to know much about sausage to know that it must be pretty grisly to make. Only someone steeped in the gory intricacies of slaughter would even dream up sausage. “Hmmm … we have all these body parts lying around … what's say we grind ’em up and stuff them into an intestine?” Brilliant! Suffice it to say that the first person to dream up sausage was one thrifty/hungry sonofabitch. As with any work of brutish genius, sausage has, over the last 5000 years or so, experienced a considerable amount of refinement. In Germany alone there are more than 1200 types of sausage. Now there’s a country that knows a thing or two about slaughter. They also seem to have a disturbing preoccupation with viscera … damn. Makes you think maybe the Rhinelanders ought to look into cooking up some greens every now and then … or maybe their food pyramid starts at the snout and ends at the hoof. Who knows? Of course, Germany isn’t the only place with a fondness for ground innards. In Great Britain there are more than 470 different types of sausage, only there, they call them bangers. No, that’s not a typo. The Brits speak the same language we do, it just means something entirely different. You don’t even want to know what they call a fanny. Here in God’s country (aka Central Texas) we have plenty of Germans and we speak a very loose interpretation of the Queen’s English. We also have an intense, profound appreciation of sausage … mainly the type that sizzles on a grill and fills the air with an aroma that attracts stray dogs and pot-bellied farmboys from miles around who stare intently at the grill with a watery-eyed, plaintive look that says, “You can beat me with a rusty pipe as long as I can get me some of that.” That’s how good sausage is sometimes – good enough to make you want to eat it even though you know it’s going to kill you … like crack or cigarettes. Yes, sausage must be heavenly. It will certainly get you to St. Peter’s gate quicker than tofu. If you’re looking to check out a real sausage fest this weekend (other than the one up in the Cotton Bowl), head on over to the Travis County Farmer’s Market this Sunday where the Chronicle presents the first Texas Barbecue Festival. The focus of this first festival is sausage, and to that end, there will be an exhibition of Central Texas Sausage makers called “Sausage Alley” – and that’s not the punchline to a joke from the Pamela Anderson birthday roast either. There will also be barbecue sauce samples from Texas sauce makers as well as music by the Gray Sky Boys, the Double Eagle String Band, the McKay Brothers, Two High String Band, and Ryan Turner. Not a chick-heavy lineup, but the focus is sausage, right?

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