For me, the one revelation at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party was the Southside Market's Smoked Beef Sausage. They call it "Elgin Hot Sausage," but in actuality it doesn't have much of a kick at all.

I spent a fair amount of time with Bryan Bracewell, the third generation of his family to run Southside since the Bracewells bought the company in 1968. In actuality, Southside Market has been around since 1882. Original owner William J. Moon certainly must be considered one of the founding fathers of 'cue.

Bracewell is another one of these barbecue masters (I'm thinking of Ed Mitchell, Mike Mills, and Chris Lilly) who have this "aw,shucks, I'm just a country boy" affect that belies a fierce intelligence.

The Southside Market sausage is simply the best smoked sausage I have ever eaten. It's so moist and juicy the Bracewells ought to give out a bib with every order. It's also meaty and just smoky enough. Plus, here's the kicker. The Bracewells have a federally inspected plant in Texas. That means they can legally ship. So the finest summertime lunch or dinner is just a click away.

Now that's my idea of post-modern eating at its best: phenomenal smoked sausage ordered on a website and shipped two day air virtually anywhere in America.


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