"Last year Tender Greens won Sausage Fest,” says JSix executive chef Christian Graves. “They haven’t been invited back this year because they peed in the bushes, and jumped in the pool.”
- Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
616 J Street,
$10 - $30
Now in its third year, Sausage Fest is an event where chefs from 10 top restaurants compete to see who can beat the others' meat.
“It’s most definitely an industry event for chefs, and a healthy competition,” says Graves, which takes place July 16 on the rooftop terrace atop Hotel Solamar, the downtown hotel that is home to JSix.
“I think everyone understands that Sausage Fest is supposed to be like Oktoberfest in summer,” Graves says. “It’s a chance to be silly, and let your hair down. But there is a purpose: the chefs do want to beat each other — bragging rights are important.”
Besides JSix, competing restaurants include Carnitas’ Snack Shack, Salt & Cleaver, Tiger! Tiger!, Coronado Brewing Company, Mastiff Sausage Company and Nine-Ten.
The first year, 14 teams competed, but that was too much, according to Graves.
“It was too many, so we reeled it back to 10 last year,” he says. “Chefs are asking to do it, but there aren’t enough spaces for cooking. Maybe next year, we’ll take it to the streets.”
Graves says he’s learned a lot since the inaugural fest.
“That first year, I just wanted to make an authentic and nice sausage, but I learned that the goal is to be unique. If eight people make a good Italian sausage — the classic — and someone makes a curry wurst, that’s the one people will remember.
“Matt Gordon [of Urban Solace and Sea & Smoke] made a foie gras sausage right before foie gras was banned. That was smart.”
Graves is keeping his own weiners hidden until the last possible moment. He does offer a hint of what to expect.
“Mine will be as warm as the weather,” he says. “I may stick to a pork sausage, but it probably won’t taste like pork.”
Sausage Fest takes place between 5:30-8:30 p.m.
For $10, attendees can sample all the sausages and for $20 more get a liter stein of a pilsner beer being specially brewed for the event by Lost Abbey.