Sausage making is a time intensive and laborious process. It is an under appreciated craft that has become commercialized over the years. During a recent visit to Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, it was refreshing to see that the art of the housemade sausage is alive and well on Rainey street.
Chef Ted Prater’s Philosophy
I sat down with Chef Ted for a few minutes during my visit. He is fully committed to providing only the highest quality sausage for customers. Chef has a way with words and was quick to point out that “…there’s no lips, snouts or assholes in our sausage,” as he went on to describe the sausage making process. There’s no short cuts or quick tricks, only dedication to producing scratch-made, quality food. Ted has a special interest in food preservation and has started to add menu items that reflect this like the homemade beef jerky and kimchi. Banger’s expansion will also feature charcuterie items too.
Sausage Making At Bangers
All the sausage with the exception of two varieties, are made in house. There’s no large commercial machines and all the grinding, stuffing and cooking is done by sausage makers that work almost round-the-clock to keep up with the high volume of customers the restaurant services. The process takes place at 34 degrees fahrenheit to prevent fat from melting and ensures an even texture to the final product. The ground and seasoned meat is mixed just the right amount to avoid a crumbly or over-worked sausage and each link is stuffed to a weight of 6 to 7 ounces and hand tied. The sausages sit uncovered refrigerated for 24 hours allowing the natural casing to dry. The planned new building expansion will have a meat processing and sausage making area for patrons to see how the assembly takes place.
The menu at Banger’s features a variety of sausages from hot dogs to vegetarian options like beet and goat cheese sausage.
Reminiscent of chicken-fried steak, the Fried Chicken sausage is bound to please the heartiest Texan appetite. Chef Ted encases chicken sausage in chicken skin, then batters and deep fries it until golden brown and crispy. A mound of mashed potatoes and a respectable light and flaky biscuit are served along side. The plate is finished with a drizzle of creamy milk gravy.
Another stand out is the Dok Bulgogi. This chicken sausage hits you over the head with flavor from a variety of Asian ingredients like sriracha, oyster sauce and cilantro. The homemade soy caramel sauce served on the side is over-the-top good and tangy kimchi keeps the dish from being too sweet. The sweet, savory and spicy flavor profile of this messy but delicious sausage is one that I crave and can eat over and over.
For those seeking a more traditional option, look no farther than the bratwurst. The pork-based link is cooked to perfection with each bite yielding a snap from the natural casing. Tart sauerkraut cuts through the rich pork flavor and the sandwich is finished with a dousing of spicy mustard. Another traditional sausage is the hot dog, which I didn’t sample, but Chef Ted is confident it is the best in town.
If none of these menu items wet your appetite, wildly creative choices like antelope and venison merguez or wild boar sausage are sure to satisfy the most adventurous eater. Banger’s also has a retail shop inside where they sell sausage you can bring home and cook up at a later time.
While sausage is king, Banger’s also offers a variety of side dishes and appetizers. The german potato salad reminds me of my Mom’s with a pronounced vinegar flavor and lots of bacon. Jalapeño mac and cheese is rich and creamy with a hint of spice.
Not Just Sausage
Besides serving a delectable array of sausages, Banger’s has the largest tap wall in Austin, featuring over 100 craft beers. Enjoy your food and beer in a relaxing and casual atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating. Kudos to Banger’s for being dog-friendly with an off-leash dog park, and a specialty sausage on the menu for man’s best friend. Live music plays at least a few times a week including Sunday’s during their Big Band Brunch where they serve “Manmosas” the size of your head.
While I love the experience of Banger’s, beware that parking near Rainey Street can be a problem and the best bet is the lot by the Mexican American Cultural Center.
What might be most impressive is that despite the scratch-made philosophy, use of high-quality ingredients and downtown location, Banger’s has managed to keep prices affordable. Score!
If you’re looking for a fun, casual atmosphere with great food in downtown Austin, look no further than Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden.
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
79 & 81 Rainey St. Austin, TX 7870
Monday – Wednesday 4pm-11pm
Thursday – Saturday 11am-12am
*Disclaimer: My meal was provided at no cost, however, all opinions are my own. There was no guarantee of publication made nor was I under any obligation to provide positive commentary.