Q: I consider the closing of Hominy Grill to be a complete disaster. Everyone is so focused on where will they go now to get good biscuits, but to me it was their sausage that was so extraordinary. Just bursting with flavor! Just so unique. What would be your top three places for amazing sausage in downtown Charleston?
A: The Charleston area charcuterie scene has been somewhat in flux since the departure of acknowledged master Craig Deihl, although much of his know-how was imparted to co-conspirator Bob Cook. Speaking of regrettable closings, Cook was formerly chef de cuisine at Artisan Meat Share. He’s now in charge of the kitchen and estimable charcuterie program at Edmund’s Oast. (Place No. 1)
Another downtown restaurant that’s long had a reputation as a local charcuterie leader is The Macintosh, but it’s in the midst of a chef changeover. Jacob Huder in February closed out a two-year run in the executive role. Right now, the only quasi-sausage listed on its menu is a $13 beef-and-cheddar bologna appetizer. Still, I was put in mind of cured meats I’ve sampled there over the years by the terrific charcuterie board at The Mills House’s Barbadoes Room, which also serves a dialed-in sausage as a standalone starter. (Place No. 2)
That said, there’s a gulf between sausages which are meant to be nibbled as you sip Gruner Veltliner and sausages which are crumbled into gravy and served with a biscuit. At Hominy, the pork sausage was emboldened by two kinds of pepper, sage and thyme.
For that kind of exuberant spicing, it’s hard to beat the housemade sausages at Ted’s Butcherblock. Ted’s weekly makes half a dozen different sausages, including bratwurst, chorizo and hot Italian. The deli last year launched a Thursday sausage sandwich special, but few of its sausages need more than stoneground mustard to shine. (Place No. 3. Heck, just go there first.)