FOOD

Wurst of Columbus: Explore the Offerings at three Local Shops Selling Housemade Sausage

The Butcher & Grocer, Thurn’s and the Hungarian Butcher are go-to destinations for all-things sausage, from breakfast sausage to bratwurst to kolbász.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
A selection of sausages from the Hungarian Butcher. Clockwise from top left: the shop’s housemade pickles, andouille, longaniza, Toulouse sausage, whole-grain mustard, Gyulai kolbász and májas hurka

Columbus has seen a butcher shop resurgence in recent years, namely with the arrival of the Butcher & Grocer in 2016 and the Hungarian Butcher last year. Compared to the 136-year-old German institution Thurn’s Specialty Meats, they may be new-school, but these shops are carrying on the Old World tradition of sausage-making. Here are some varieties you might find at each.

THURN’S SPECIALTY MEATS

530 Greenlawn Ave., South Franklinton, 614-443-1449; thurnsmeats.com

If you’re a fan of smoked meats, you need to experience the permeating smell when you walk through the door at Thurn’s Specialty Meats. Behind the scenes, you can find fourth-generation butcher Albert Thurn stooped over and scooping freshly ground sausage with his hands—a sticky labor of love. You don’t get any more old-school than Thurn’s, a true meat lover's local landmark that is known for its German wursts, summer sausages, kielbasa, salami, smoked bacon, bologna and much more.

Cincinnati Bratwurst

The mild, finely ground Bavarian sausage goes by many names, such as weisswurst. White in color, weisswurst is often cooked by poaching. Serve it with sauerkraut and sweet mustard.

Garlic Knockwurst

Made primarily with pork, veal and garlic, these short and stout sausages are known for their distinctive snap when you bite into them.

Summer Sausages

Usually cured, cooked and dried, this category of sausage—including varieties such as landjäger, black leona and cervelat—are built to withstand no refrigeration.

Liverwurst

Sales of this spreadable liver sausage spike in wintertime, says Albert’s brother Anton Thurn. “People get a craving for liver. I can’t explain it," he says.

THE HUNGARIAN BUTCHER

2177 W. Dublin-Granville Road, Linworth, 614-600-2254; hungarianbutcher.com

Chef-owner Dan Varga’s dream of opening a butcher shop that pays homage to his family’s Hungarian heritage came true a year ago in Linworth. The Hungarian Butcher carries a variety of specialty meats such as wagyu steak and cold cuts, ready-to-heat dishes like Hungarian goulash, and a wide variety of housemade sausage styles from around the world. Varga is currently working to secure his license for curing salami in-house.

Gyulai Kolbász

Caraway is the underlying flavor in this smoked Hungarian sausage (or kolbasz). It gets a kick from hot paprika.

Debreceni Kolbász

This double-smoked pork sausage combines sweet Hungarian paprika and garlic (some versions include marjoram). It’s named for Debrecen, the second-largest city in Hungary, where it originated.

Májas Hurka

Though nothing to look at, hurka is a traditional Hungarian offal sausage. The shop’s version is fully cooked, combining rice, caramelized onions, dill, liver, heart and pork shoulder.

Longaniza

Dan Varga’s longtime sous chef hails from Mexico, and his recipe for longaniza, a sausage that originated in Spain, is packed with flavor. This thin, spicy sausage is a suitable alternative to chorizo.

Toulouse Sausage

Don’t miss this fresh, French-style sausage (half pork and half beef) when it’s available. Tangy and spiced with clove, Toulouse sausage is most often used in French cassoulet, but it’s also excellent served right off the grill.

THE BUTCHER & GROCER

East Market, 212 Kelton Ave., Franklin Park, 614-454-6328; 1089 W. First Ave., Grandview, 614-372-5376; thebutcherandgrocer.com

Owner Tony Tanner’s 6-year-old butcher shop offers traditional sausage varieties like bratwurst and sweet Italian but has become known for crafting nontraditional, seasonal fresh sausages. Nathan “Sausage Scientist” Killen of the Butcher & Grocer likes to challenge himself by making outlandish-sounding varieties. “There’s always pork trim, and so let’s turn the sausage into something creative,” he says.

Maple Breakfast Sausage

Breakfast sausages, such as blueberry or honey sausages, are among TB&G’s bestsellers. In the wintertime, Killen likes to make this comforting maple syrup and brown sugar sausage.

Green Chorizo

A “pesto” made with cilantro, green onions, serrano peppers, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, gives this chorizo its green color and fresh herb flavor.

Stuffing Sausage

The holiday season is when TB&G offers this fresh pork sausage featuring poultry seasonings like sage, thyme and rosemary.

Street Corn Sausage

Though a “hassle” to make because of all the prep work required, this elote-inspired sausage (with charred corn, cotija cheese and chipotle pepper) started as Killen’s pandemic-shutdown project. The fan-favorite is now a regular offering.

This story is from the December 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.