For the fifth day of The Five Days of Meat, we caught up with Proper Sausages co-owner Freddy Kaufmann, who graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, and chatted all sausage, filet mignon, smoked bacon and so much more. Adamant about using the highest quality, organic meats available, Kaufmann, who opened the shop with his wife, Danielle, back in 2011, works closely with various farms like Berkwood and Lake Meadow, and sells to local restaurants such as Blue Collar and Essensia. Kaufmann notes their focus is on "feeding people well, and whether they're cooking for themselves or we're cooking for them, that starts with how the animals are treated and how they're fed," which means these products are quite pricey. For Proper Sausages, though, the goal isn't to get their items on the menus of any and all Miami eateries, but to find places that share in the shop's same food ideals and will make proper use of these offerings.
As for what exactly these "offerings" consist of, they're primarily sausage, hand-stuffed and hand-linked, but also include various cuts of beef, pork and chicken. Read all about it, below.
Tell me about the concept behind Proper Sausages.
Long before we opened the store as it is today, we started the concept as an effort to make sausages from the right ingredients, in the hopes of filling in a space that was clearly vacant. My wife's from London and she recognized out of frustration that no one was making decent English sausage or really any kind of decent hand-made, locally-produced, fresh sausage. And we started selling at farmers markets. We were successful enough to one day be able to open up this shop. These goals that we held onto strongly in the days of the farmers' markets, we were able to broaden with the shop. We got to take the idea of using heritage meats for sausages and go ahead and start to sell heritage organic grass-fed meats. Now we represent what we feel is one of the more important ideas in food, which is: treat your animals well and you treat yourself well. In a nutshell, we're planning on feeding people well, and whether they're cooking for themselves or we're cooking with them, that starts with how the animals are treated and how they're fed. So, good health all around.
Who are some of the meat distributers that you guys work with?
We work with one, really, they get us everything. It's really the different farms that we get to work with through them that are interesting. We work with Jackman Ranch for all of our beef, we work with a collection of pork farms in the Iowa area, known as Berkwood Farms, they're all raising the same breed with the same standards of food and freedom. Our poultry comes from Lake Meadow, they've become a very fashionable name when it comes to eggs on menus around town, so we sell chicken and Cornish hens from them. Those are the three outstanding meat sources for us.
Walk me through the process of making sausage.
What we like to do, and it's a reasonable trend in sausage making — sausage making used to really be kind of the sole province of a butcher who would use the stuff that wasn't sold as main cuts, trim and scraps — we're taking prime cuts and grinding it into ground meat. We season and stuff everything by hand, so we have a lot of control over fat content, texture and ultimately flavor. If you're really relying on scraps — let me step back — what separates us from these butcher shops that are becoming very fashionable around the country is that we're sausage makers first and foremost … other butchers focus on fantastic meats and then do some sausage — so, if they're going to rely on scraps from their breakdown of an animal there would be less consistency to what was going into each and every sausage. We can do the same thing every time because we use the same meat every time, the same fat count every time. We're going to get, for example, pork shoulder and we grind it, we mix it to the specifications for any one variety, and then we hand-stuff, hand-link and then you'll see it in the case for sale.
What are some of the cooked foods you offer?
Everything's to go. Every day, we're going to be able to offer you two different sausage sandwiches, one of them with some peppers and onions, one of them would be with some Lake Meadows eggs and some cheese. Every day we offer our BLT. And we hear all the time about how wonderful these sandwiches are. We get to make the bacon as well, so we cure it and we smoke it. We also have specials, we'll make pasta sauces out of sausage, we'll sometimes go crazy and turn some of our amazing Wagyu ribeye into cheesesteaks, we'll turn filet mignon to roast beef. We've done meatball subs, roast pork sandwiches, we make pickles and mustard, so every now and then you'll see an incredible pork, cheese, pickle, mustard sort of Cuban-esque sandwich at the shop. We have a lot of meat at our disposal and the ability to put everything at the highest level that it can be imaged. It's a lot of fun for sure.
Our primary objective is to provide ingredients for the public that they either can only get at the most exclusive restaurants or can't even get at the most exclusive restaurants and then be able to cook it at home themselves with absolute freedom on how they go ahead and use these items.
What are some of the restaurants you work with?
We've had a great relationship with Blue Collar since both of us practically started. We work with a few places down in Wynwood, we've got stuff on Kush's menu, Pride and Joy sells a lot of our stuff. Chef Julie Frans over at Essensia makes great use of our stuff. Every now and then, River Oyster Bar grabs our stuff for their brunches. But we're exclusive. It's important to us to maintain a bit of a privilege with the whole thing. We don't have intentions to sell to every restaurant, we like to be picky. We like a restaurant to, as much as possible, embody some of the same ideas that we have about food and use the product the right way. It's not for everyone. You can ask some of these guys, it's some of the most expensive sausage they've had to buy. People are buying something that's thoughtful, so we want to make sure that it's always going to be presented and treated that way by people we work with.
· All Coverage of Proper Sausages on Eater Miami [EMIA]
· All Coverage of The Five Days of Meat [EMIA]
[All Photos Courtesy of Proper Sausages]