RJ’s Meats & Groceries is a meat market of a bygone era. When entering the shop, customers are greeted by bright white halogen lights and a meticulously kept meat case. The smell of fresh, sweet smoke permeates all the corners of this market. What drew me to RJ’s was an advertisement in the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church weekly bulletin business directory page which read, “Award Winning Sausage”. There are awards and plaques from competitions and events from years past that line the wall near the ceiling. The intent was to use the awards as a ceiling border. Their most recent award is proudly displayed on the top of the meat counter which reads, “2012 Best Cured Meats”. It’s sponsored by a meat association from across the river in St. Paul, MN.
After a short stroll past a few freezers, the gentleman behind the meat counter was kind enough to direct me to the sausage freezer case where there was a plethora of different types of chicken and pork sausages. They had every kind of combination imaginable. All of their brats come in packages of four and cost around $4.25 a piece. After much deliberation, I settled on a package of Black and Blue brats.The gal behind the cash register was more than helpful as we searched over their diverse selection of summer sausage. I wanted to try the entry that won them their latest crown for “Best Cured Meats” but unfortunately it was sold out. I still needed a package of their cured meats so I went with the Pepper Bacon.
I like the fact that they had a number of aisles devoted to basic groceries items. It provides customers convenience if needing some extra ingredients or you don’t want to make a separate trip to the big box grocery store. The store also sold smokers and a variety of wood for smoking.
I’m not too picky when it comes to selecting and enjoying bacon. I want the bacon to be well proportioned with meat and fat along with the cut to be on the thicker side. Finally, I enjoy an added extra flavor such as pepper, apple, honey, etc… RJ’s triple pepper bacon satisfied all of my basic requirements. The heat from the pepper was more of a “creeper” instead of an in your face type of heat. It was pleasant but it let you know it was there when you were finished. My 5 year old daughter enjoyed it without any complaints.
The black and blue brats were also a hit. The fine texture of the meat was excellent. You didn’t run into gristle pieces like you sometimes do with national brand bratwurst. It had a pizzazz to it that was hard to pinpoint. The blue cheese flavor is very subtle and took me two brats to decipher all the flavors. I was expecting to find chunks of cheese but there was none to be had. They either melted away or it’s all in the sausage making process.
I’m definitely going to stop back at RJ’s because of the friendly atmosphere and wide variety of specialty sausages.
Once again, thank you to America’s livestock families and butchers for providing us with the best meat products in the world.