I am not a sausage loving person. I like them, but I don't love them enough to buy them regularly. Usually sausages are consumed at a friend's barbecue or something of the sort. If I do buy, it's usually kielbasa or hot links, not bratwurst.
Recently I got contacted by Man Cave Craft Meats. I often do get pitched products and services and I say on my bio page that sometimes I'll accept things with no promise of promoting. Basically, I have to like it. So, legal stuff out of the way - disclaimer: I received product in hopes that I would review it.
Man Cave Craft Meats is based in Minneapolis and the reason I was getting pitched out here in California was because this small producer just landed a distribution deal with Winco. So if you are a Winco shopper, listen up.
Man Cave produces a line of sausages and burger patties. Some of their products include: Jalapeno & Cheddar beef patties, Garden Peppers turkey patties, Bacon, Cheddar, Beer pork bratwurst, and Bacon, Egg, Cheddar, Hash Brown breakfast sausages.
I was hoping for some burger patties, but initially Winco is only going to carry their sausages, and so Brandon for Man Cave shipped me out some samples. He sent me the Bacon, Cheddar, Beer bratwurst and their Buffalo Style w/ Bleu Cheese bratwurst, even though I warned him I don't like buffalo style or bleu cheese.
Buy these sausages and I'll tell you why. I came home fresh from the gym to find the shipped box on my doorstep. I knew I needed to eat some protein right away and was also in that situation of not having anything planned for dinner. Being lazy, I opened up the bacon cheddar bratwurst and proceeded to cook it up with a side of sauteed kale. No bun. No condiments. Just a brat and kale.
I cut myself a piece of that brat and was very pleased at what I tasted. A super juicy brat that was flavorful and oozing melted cheese! I took a closer look at the uncooked brats and sure enough, you could see little pieces of cheddar through the casing. It was mixed in with the ground pork and when you cooked it, the cheese melted so that when you pierced the brat with a knife or fork the melted cheese just oozed out. Plus there is also bacon and beer mixed in as well. I did not need anything else to enjoy this incredibly tasty brat. No bun, no condiments.
Now I did try the buffalo style as well and while I can't say I cared for it, I can totally see how it is one of their biggest sellers. It had a unique flavor that I can see being a hit with other people, just not with me. Even though the bleu cheese flavor doesn't hit you directly, you still get the undertone of it in the mix.
So I asked Brandon some more about his company. I wanted to know about where the meat is coming from and how they make it. After all, a big reason I don't care for hot dogs is the pink slime factor where the scrapings of carcasses are used.
"We grind pork shoulder muscle- will have a slightly different texture because of the improved leanness." Brandon said. "For the beef we use Choice Angus chuck and brisket- gives the best grind and flavor. We are very proud of the inclusions as well: real beer (not just some powder), fresh hand-chopped jalapenos (not IQF), real eggs, actual hashbrowns, custom made bacon pieces, Wisconsin cheddar, huge chunks of bleu cheese, real butter and hot sauce for the buffalo sauce."
The meat is from Midwest farms that do not use growth hormones. "All Bacon we are making and using will specify that we didn't add any nitrates/nitrites (except for those naturally occurring in sea salt and celery powder)."
I asked about the other products and the hope is that if the sausages do well, the patties will follow. So, if you happen to be at Winco and are looking for some incredible sausages for home or to take to your next picnic or camping trip, pick up some brats from Man Cave meats. You won't be disappointed.