NFL training camps have opened up and the preseason games have begun, which means real football is only a few weeks away. While some people use this time to compile their fantasy football draft list, we here at Food Republic are thinking more about custom-cased meats.

Fall in America may be football season, but it also happens to be sausage season, and we’re getting a jump on tailgating this year with an incredible new development in the sausage world. No, we’re not talking about the ItalMerBrat, that mythical turducken-like sausage that puts a bratwurst inside a merguez inside an Italian sausage. We’re talking about custom-made sausage. Yep. You heard that right. At Markethouse in Chicago, just tell them what ingredients to include and they’ll act out your own personal tubesteak fantasy. That sounds way dirtier than it should. Sorry.

The Build Your Own Sausage program requires a five-pound minimum, but you and a friend can easily go through that over the course of one Sunday. Start off by picking a protein – pork, lamb, chicken or veal. Next, select your favorite style. Hit the chorizo if you want to go the spicy Mexican route or frankfurter if you want to kick it old-school. There are eight styles to choose from, so one will surely tickle your sausage fancy. Again, sorry.

After you get your meat squared away, add in some extras. Mushrooms, cranberries, charred shishito peppers – it’s all here. Pick your poison and go nuts (especially if you’re choosing to add in nuts). For our first order, we decided to make the ultimate pork sausage: a blend of pork and pork belly with fennel, apple, pistachios and dried chilies. It tasted incredible. Bacon should be included in every sausage made from here on out. Trust us when we say that there is no joy like running to the door and finding a box filled with sausage that you created. It’ll take every ounce of restraint you have not to throw all of that meat on the grill right away.

If you’re not feeling all that creative, you can choose from chef Scott Walton’s six standby sausages. The spicy Italian with basil, fennel and garlic comes studded with nice big chunks of pork fat and has just enough heat without being overwhelming. You can’t go wrong with the seafood sausage, the lamb merguez or the veal and pork brat, but the real winner of the bunch is the spiced apple chicken sausage mixed with melted leeks and sage. It’s slightly sweet and surprisingly rich, making it a good addition to any meal of the day.

Condiments are covered, too, with six gourmet mustards available to pair with your sausage. They say that those who love sausage should never see it made, and with Markethouse’s charcuterie-to-go program, you won’t have to. You’ll know what’s in there though, because you were the one who designed the sausage. We didn’t know it was possible, but football season just got even better. (Hey, this is an example for butchers to follow in other football cities, no?)

Email housemadesausages@markethousechicago.com to place an order — requires 48 hours’ notice.

Markethouse Restaurant
611 N. Fairbanks Ct. Chicago, IL 60611
312-224-2200
markethousechicago.com