by Nathan Walker, West 7th Meat & Seafood Department
Working at the West 7th meat counter this summer, I’ve found plenty of time to stay cool. The job requires frequent trips to the cooler and freezer to replenish our meat selection. But of all the delicious assortments of meat and fish available, no item has required more trips to the back-of-the-house then our Saint Paul Porter Brat. Since being introduced in early June, they have been flying off the shelves
Made fresh on site, by Perry, our West 7th sausage guru, the Porter brats are a delicious combination of Pastures A Plenty Ground Pork from Kerkhoven, Minnesota and the very tasty Summit Porter Ale, brewed right here in Saint Paul.
Every time I cook up a batch of these for in-store samples, I do some quality control testing and eat a few pieces. Well, okay, maybe more than a few. After every bite, I’m always struck by just how tender the meat is. Thanks to the generous amount of beer added to each batch, every chunk melts in my mouth. It’s oddly comparable to eating a Krispy Kreme Doughnut, and has a similar addictive effect.
Complementing this deliciously soft pork is the warm, nutty taste of Summit Porter, which Perry offsets by throwing in a dash of cane sugar into each pork mix. This sweet addition blends wonderfully with the rich flavors of the beer and leaves a slight caramel aftertaste that causes me to briefly fantasize about throwing off my apron, grabbing a few brats, and going to the park to grill them.
But, alas, when I awake from this brief moment of dreaming, I’m face to face with chicken livers that still need to be packaged for the freezer. I haven’t tried the livers yet, but I bet they would be pretty good if I soaked them in beer.