Sausage Shrines

A pilgrimage

Smokey Denmark Sausage
Smokey Denmark Sausage (Photo By John Anderson)

Virginia B. Wood in Austin

Smokey Denmark Sausage

3505 E. Fifth, 385-0718

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

Though Smokey Denmark Sausage has been an Austin fixture for more than 40 years, there are still some popular misconceptions about the company. The product isn't Danish in origin; Denmark was simply the founder's surname, and his friends and family nicknamed him "Smokey" because his hair was prematurely gray, not because he was in the barbecue business. Albert "Smokey" Denmark learned to make sausage and smoke meats at the venerable Black's Barbecue in Lockhart and founded his own wholesale sausage business in Austin in 1964. Brothers-in-law Jim McMurtry and Cliff Laywell bought Smokey out in 1970. While they've updated some of the processes and machinery over the years, they still use many of Smokey's recipes and techniques today. Jonathan Pace purchased Laywell's interest in the company seven years ago, and now he and Jim McMurtry preside over a successful wholesale company that prepares several kinds of sausage, smoked briskets, ribs, and chopped beef for sale to barbecue restaurants and wholesale grocery distributors.

The plant also creates private label products to company's specifications, so if you're partial to the sausages at Rudy's Country Store & Barbecue or the Iron Works, you've been enjoying distinctive Smokey Denmark meats. As Pace and McMurtry look toward the future, they plan to build a bigger plant and expand both their mail order and retail markets. "Being corporate members of the Central Texas Barbecue Association is all about relationships for us," Pace explains. "It's a good opportunity for us to network with our friends and competitors and offer our support to other folks in the barbecue business."

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