It melts in your mouth.
by Marcy Harris
I have something to tell you, dear friends. You are the first to know. Ronnie Drennan of Broadbent Country Hams in Kentucky will be at Zingerman’s Camp Bacon 2020, at the Main Event on June, 6th. We are sooooooo excited! Have you tried their hickory-smoked bacon? It’s divine. You can buy it at Plum Market. At the Roadhouse, we have Broadbent sausage on our breakfast and brunch menus. While we love our handmade Roadhouse sausage, sometimes only the Broadbent will do. It’s developed quite the following around these parts. What makes it so good? Let me explain.
It might be the history.
The Drennans use a dry-cure method for their ham, bacon, and sausage that has been core to Broadbent B &B Foods since 1909. The method is an important part of American foodways, because colonial settlers used it as they migrated out west to preserve their meats. Given the hardships the settlers experienced moving out west, staples like dry-cured meat came about simply as a way to survive. The Broadbent family brought this traditional method with them to Kentucky.
Ronnie Drennan’s grandmother, Anna Broadbent, created the recipe for the sausage she started selling in 1909. The dry-cured recipe is still used for the sausage we love and savor today from Broadbent.
It might be the dry-cure method.
When I envision the family making their sausage, I can picture a colonial family dry-curing their meat in a similar manner. At Broadbent, they mix a batch of fresh pork, about two-thirds lean pork trimmings, and one-third fat pork trimmings with seasonings (including sage and red pepper). After they grind that, they let it set in the cooler overnight, After they take it out and regrind it, they stuff it into cloth bags, which are hung to air dry and cure for a week or so. Somehow the climate in Kentucky contributes to the final product. Finally, it’s smoked over green hickory for 24 hours.
The cloth bags are an integral part of the story. Back in the day, settlers didn’t have plastic, and paper was scarce or too delicate. Muslin was cheap and available. It is also breathable, and soaks up the grease. So it is still used today!
It might be the flavor and texture.
Broadbent offers their sausage in mild or spicy, and we serve the mild version. Our Roadhouse sausage actually offers more of a kick, which is great when you want to spice it up. But sometimes I want the more buttery and smokey flavor of the Broadbent with my eggs, or on my biscuits. The finer grind gives the sausage a round mouth-feel. The patties are fork tender, and crumble easily enough to mix into an omelette or grits. The fat content makes a huge difference to the final product. Just like their bacon, the Broadbent’s sausage melts in your mouth like no other breakfast meat will. After it gets cooked up on the flat top at the Roadhouse, that fat browns into a perfectly seared patty of goodness that tastes like it’s been perfected for over 100 years.
Oh wait! It has been perfected for over 100 years. Come in and taste it at the Roadhouse, and better yet, come hear Ronnie Drennan tell more of the story at Camp Bacon on June 6th!