Cut and Dried: A Primer

The Central Texas meat market roundup

Sausage Makers

Back in the prerefrigeration days, every local community had a butcher shop, usually owned by the biggest cattle raiser in the immediate area. They needed a way to prevent spoilage of meat that didn't sell, and a way to use the trimmings, so smokers were built, and sausages were stuffed, as it had been done back in the old country. This practice also led to the development of the meat-market-attached barbecue joint, allowing sales of smoked meats, smoked sausages, and uncooked meats from the same venue. The perfect marriage of meats!

Hudson's Meat Market

1800 S. Congress, 445-6611

Monday-Thursday, 6am-2pm; Friday, 6am-1pm
Hudson's does a lot of custom processing, but they are best known for their Smoky Ridge smoked barbecue sausages (available in 10-pound boxes), which are done in several styles. Their jerky also has a huge following, and the Smoky Ridge brand is sold all over the country.

Texas Sausage Co.

2915 E. 12th, 472-6707

Monday-Friday, 8am-3pm; Saturday, 8am-noon
TSC has been making sausage since 1942, and they make three types of barbecue-style sausages: smoked beef and pork, raw, and smoked all-beef. They also sell raw briskets and raw pork ribs and function as a specialty market for those who 'cue.

Smokey Denmark Sausage Co.

3505 E. Fifth, 385-0718

Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4:30pm

SDSC produces more than 30 different types of sausage, for both retail and commercial customers. Their barbecue-style sausage is the most popular, but go to the Web site and check out the other styles before making the trip.

Southside Market & BBQ

1212 Hwy. 290 W., Elgin, 512/281-4650

Monday-Thursday, 8am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 8am-10pm; Sunday, 9am-7pm

Founded in 1882, Southside is the home of Elgin Hot Sausage, but they also have a full-service meat counter offering select grade, fresh meat cuts from boxed primals. They have the usual beef and pork cuts, as well as several types of sausages. Of the steaks, the rib eye is the favorite. Of course, in the next room is the Bracewells' famous barbecue, so you can combine a trip for cooked and uncooked meats.

Meyer's Elgin Sausage

188 Hwy. 290, Elgin, 512/281-3331, 800/MRS-OINK

Friday-Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday-Thursday, 10am-7pm

In business for more than 75 years, Meyer's makes sausage in several styles, as well as jerky and some other smoked meat products. Most of their products are available at local Austin groceries, but then you wouldn't get to go to the smokehouse on Highway 290 for a meal of their barbecue with all the sides.

Smitty's Market

208 S. Commerce, Lockhart, 512/398-9344

Monday-Friday, 7am-6pm; Saturday, 7am-6:30pm; Sunday, 9am-3pm
This place is one of the high temples of barbecue in the state of Texas. Originally known as Kreuz Market before the Schmidt family flap, it has a new name, but does the same thing it always did. What most folks don't know is that in the front, John Fullilove still runs the original meat market, using nothing but 21-day-aged hanging Texas beef sides. They buy it fresh, age it a week longer, and then bone it out for steaks and other cuts. Call ahead for an order, as he's a very busy guy. Get some great 'cue while you're there. end story

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