I recently took a trip to Elgin, also known as the “Sausage Capital of Texas,” with hopes of figuring out what makes this the center of the “hot guts” world. What place was better to start than at Meyer’s Elgin Sausage Company and sister-company Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse – 0therwise known as ‘Cue-topia, Texas.’
Why ‘Cue-topia? Well, as founder R.G. Meyers always said, “’Cue-topia is the perfect state of barbecue.”
Local legends aside, I rolled into Elgin with an empty stomach and a hankering for not only some great sausage, but an opportunity to sample the entire line of offerings from the Smokehouse. I pulled up to the Smokehouse with my mouth already wandering, but with a little apprehension.
Long-time readers know I am a BBQ snob and my worst-case scenario would be being let down by inferior or even average ‘cue. When I sample the “holy trinity” (brisket, pork ribs & sausage) at a new spot and it falls short, I view it as a wasted trip, a waste of extra calories and overall, a bummer.
Inside, I was greeted by walking through what looks like a cross between a museum and meat market. Great start so far!
Inside, I was greeted by co-owner Gregg Meyer and Maria Harvey. Gregg gave me the tour and shared the history of the company now run by him and his brother.
Gregg gave me the tour and shared the history of his ancestors coming to America in the late 1800’s as well as how they got into the BBQ biz. Along the way I learned what I consider to be the most important difference between Meyer’s and so many other of the places I have tried – their vacuum meat tumbler.
Yes, they have a cool device that prior to cooking is loaded with meat, seasoning and water. It pulls a vacuum and tumbles the mixture. It opens up the meat and actually causes the seasoning to be absorbed deep inside. When the vacuum infused meat is then cooked, because of this penetration, you can taste the seasoning inside the actual meat and not just on the bark or outside regardless of the cut.
Gregg knowing I was a connoisseur, proceeded to serve up a spread that included some of everything. I had truly arrived in ‘Cuetopia!
This gastronomic adventure was a delight to the taste buds. I had purposely skipped breakfast so I would be extra hungry, but had no chance of eating it all. The good news? I would have leftovers!!
I have to say that I am not a big fan of turkey or chicken at BBQ places – it just seems wrong to eat bird when you are there for the real stuff… that is just me though.
That said, the process of vacuum infusion makes a HUGE difference when it comes to turkey and chicken. I was blown away by the richness of the flavor deep inside the meat (not just on the skin.)
In all, it was a trip well worth making. I have been disappointed with so many BBQ stops that magazines pretend are the best just because they spend more in advertising, but Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse is the real deal! I even went over to Meyer’s Elgin Sausage and picked up extra for a Lone Star Gridiron staff meeting held at Coaching School.
The staff agreed – this is some good groceries!
by Chris Doelle
Check out Meyer’s online
Also published on Medium.