A good sausage is worth driving out of your way for. I headed up Route 25 to Butcher's Best Market [79 South Main St., Newtown, (203) 364-0013]. Steve Ford is a nose-to-tail butcher who buys whole pigs and lambs and breaks them down in his shop, using every part of the hormone- and antibiotic-free animals he sources from Pennsylvania and New York State. That means that along with steaks and chops, he always has a variety of sausages in his case. Ford and his assistant, Ryan Marcoux, who refer to themselves by the old-school term "meat cutter," make over 100 varieties of sausages, using a hand-cranked grinder that produces what Marcoux calls "nice chunks of meat" that are "not overly compressed" within the natural casings. I bought Beer Brats, which were made with honey lager, and Hearty Sausage, made with pork, beef, bacon, onions and potatoes. Ford's sausages are highly seasoned; the bold spices are the first flavor one tastes before the juicy meat.
I also picked up a jar of imported German sauerkraut at Butcher's Best. It was made in Swabia, the southern region of Germany, by the traditional method of mixing cabbage and salt and letting the cabbage ferment in the naturally produced brine. I browned the sausages in a pan before burying them in the tangy sauerkraut to cook them through. A classic accompaniment is German-style fried potatoes. Inspired by potatoes I had in Munich, I thinly sliced the last of our homegrown red-skinned potatoes and fried them in a combination of bacon fat, olive-oil and butter. Once the potatoes were golden, I added thinly sliced onions and some cooked bacon left over from breakfast. This is a decidedly brown meal (other than a dollop of spicy mustard), so I added a few late-season cherry tomatoes to the plate.
To drink, we chose Ayinger Oktoberfest. Made outside Munich, this lager's well-balanced sweet, bitter and clean flavors pleased all the beer experts at the recent Modern Brewery Age tasting panel I attended.
I eagerly await the sausages that Ryan Fibiger will make at the soon-to-open Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport. Fibiger trained at Fleisher's Grass-Fed and Organic Meats in Kingston, N.Y., and is a purist who will source his local, sustainable meat from within a 100-mile radius.
Another favorite of mine is the little-known Hungarian Meat Market [849 Kings Highway, Fairfield, (203) 696-2322]. It's an old-school European-style place that makes traditional cured meats and fresh sausage. The quality of the sausages — weisswurst, a smooth-textured, mild-flavored veal sausage, and the smoked hot dogs with their traditional snappy skins — is excellent. The Black Forest ham and the garlicky Krakow sausage stand up to hearty rye bread.