Grilling Fire

Sausage Party: The Meat Hook and Malbec

The relationship between a deep red wine and barbecue cannot be undersold. While red wines can certainly speak of refinement and sophistication, there are also many with a smokiness or gaminess that conjure primal open fire cooking (though if you really want to be primal you’ll probably reach for a Coors, not a malbec).

A decent malbec though is a fine accompaniment to your grilling activities in every way. Drink a little while you are preparing the meal, lighting the charcoal, cooking the meat, and so on. In the case of this recipe you’ll even be pouring a little in the meat. To celebrate this interrelation, Argentina’s Graffigna commissioned Brooklyn’s The Meat Hook butcher Sara Bigelow to create a recipe utilizing its Centenario Malbec as an ingredient in a special sausage (wine, in fact, is a common ingredient in sausages, adding necessary moisture and some flavor and color as well).

The wine chosen, the 2010 Graffigna Centenario Malbec, makes a nice grilling wine. It’s reasonably priced (about $13) and a very respectable malbec. Aromas of black cherries and smoke with a hint of gaminess, speak to the nuances that malbec can express when it is not overly ripe and extracted. Flavorful and mouth-filling without being too concentrated, bright fruit and palate-cleansing acidity make it the perfect accompaniment for grilled meat and complex spices. It’s as nice in the sausage as it is in your glass.

If you want to give Sara’s recipe a try (and by all means, you should) and you find yourself without a meat grinder (this happens to even the best of us from time to time) you can find reasonably priced sturdy cast-iron models for sale at La Luna in Rutherford.

The Meat Hook’s Malbec and Rosemary Sausage

By Sara Bigelow of  Brooklyn’s Meat Hook

Serves 8


2 1/2 lbs fatty pork
20 grams kosher salt
3 grams cayenne
5 grams paprika
3 grams ground black pepper
2 grams white sugar
8 grams garlic
5 grams minced rosemary
23 ounces + 2 ounces Graffigna Centenario Malbec 2010


Grind pork and garlic together. Add salt, and mix well by hand. Add the rest of your spices, and continue mixing by hand for two minutes. Add 2 ounces red wine and continue mixing until liquid is fully incorporated. The rest of the bottle is for you to drink while you are doing all this.

Once the sausage has begun to bind to itself, form a small patty with your hand. Turn your hand upside down, and if the sausage does not stick, continue to mix.

Once the sausage will stick to your hand, form into patties or stuff into natural hog casing.The Meat Hook recommends 4 to 5 inch links, or small pinwheels. Grill and enjoy with a glass of Graffigna Centenario Malbec 2010.

Note: You may need more than the specified 750 ml of wine, depending on how fast you drink.