The Vegas Link

the vegas linkThe city’s sausage kings (and queens) give foodies the rustic, homespun meats they’re looking for

Hudson Valley foie gras. Nueske’s bacon. Gilcrease Orchard’s fresh-pressed cider. In recent years, there’s been a real surge for anything rustic, homespun or pedigreed, and especially locally made. Restaurants, farmers markets and shops—both on and off the Strip—have been only too happy to answer those foodie cravings. Among these are the city’s sausage kings (and queens), who are serving up some of Las Vegas’ best homemade, savory links. Take note: The big-label brands have nothing on these!

Branded Meats & Deli

After more than 20 years on food and beverage teams at different Strip properties, Las Vegas native Gary Gonzales decided to go local and open his own butcher shop. Today, he produces roughly 150 pounds of fresh sausages each week using natural pork and casings, eschewing the nitrates and fillers found in many big-label brands. Beyond quality ingredients, the butcher shop regularly offers a variety of seasoned sausages, but his local and loyal clientele are quick to grab the sweet Italian, hot Italian, chipotle-jalapeño and breakfast sausages. Don’t dig on swine? Let Gonzales know, and he’ll whip up a custom order of chicken or turkey links in just 24 hours. 1550 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, Henderson, 492-9998,

First Quality Sausage

Every week, thousands of pounds of sausages are produced by this local behemoth, destined for Las Vegas restaurants both on and off the Strip: breakfast, Italian, bratwursts … the list goes on, and First Quality can make them all. Some of the local meat manufacturer’s batches are proprietary recipes from restaurants around the Valley, whereas other batches are its most popular links, including Andouille, smokies and Portuguese sausages. For quality and economical links for your next family reunion, church picnic or school outing, check out First Quality’s bulk offerings. 5110 E. Washington Ave., 399-7675.

John Mull’s Meats

It takes research, dumb luck or word of mouth to stumble across successful restaurants in Las Vegas that have been around for decades. There just aren’t that many. John Mull’s Meats is one. It opened in 1954 as a slaughterhouse, and over the years has evolved into a catering business, a butcher and a diner. The meat house currently sells more than 400 pounds of its most popular beef hot links every day, but it offers a variety of links in different meats, including pork, beef and wild game, as well as flavors, including sweet and hot Italian, chorizo, breakfast sausages and bratwursts. Customers can take home John Mull’s raw meat, get cooked product to go or enjoy a meal outside in the misted picnic area. 3730 Thom Blvd., 645-1200,

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