When Saul Bolton (of Michelin-starred Saul restaurant fame) opened The Vanderbilt, he wanted to emphasize the charcuterie program. He offered housemade sausages like boudin noir and kielbasa in what he calls "different food groups in the meat category": lamb, beef, pork, chicken. One of his regular customers, Eric Denby, impresario of the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, suggested that the sausages might be a good fit for the casual, open-air atmosphere of those markets, and Brooklyn Bangers was born.
Bolton describes working the markets as "kind of like going on a camping trip," since you start by setting up your tent and cook on more primitive equipment than you would at home. But he loves the casual interactions with customers. "Everyone is so happy and relaxed to be there," he says.
Bolton works with his chef de cuisine at the Vanderbilt, Jimmy Clark, to develop recipes like the ramp dog, which "people just go apeshit over." An early spring Flea special, the ramp dog "highlights the local thing" and drives home the point that Brooklyn Bangers sources local, sustainable ingredients whenever they can.
They're currently working on getting USDA certification, which will allow them to sell packaged sausages and open up more retail opportunities. For now though, Brooklyn Bangers are available at the three Fleas, plus restaurants like Num Pang and the Farm on Adderley. Keep an eye on their website for more information.
About the author: Stephanie Klose has more mustard than you. You can follow her on twitter at @sklose.