BERWYN – Two questions:
One, why would respected cased meat makers like Big Guy's in Berwyn risk their reputation and standing by grinding up the rolling stock for Santa Claus' Midnight Ride and putting it on the grill?
And two, can you get mustard on that sandwich?
The crew at Big Guy's Charbroiled Sausages, 7120 Roosevelt Road, have seemingly stuffed it all, from pork to chicken, veal to crawfish, in sausage form.
Never shy, the cooks have now come out with a seasonal sausage that's perfect for the Christmas holiday: Reindeer.
This isn't the same stuff that your whitetail deer hunting uncle has been trying to get you to eat since you were a kid, and this isn't the venison carved off a flaming spit like the merry men of Sherwood Forest would eat after a busy day of grand larceny (let's break another myth; they were thieving bums).
Bambi has nothing to worry about either.
But Rudolph, Prancer, Dasher, Blitzen and their buddies should run their antlers off, thought I guess they could just fly away, too.
Owner Brendan O'Connor said the Big Guy's meat purveyor, Blue Ribbon Meats in Chicago, is supplying the reindeer meat. But it's when that ground meat hits the stainless steel table that the strange magic occurs.
O'Connor and the crew start with a mixture of the reindeer, pork and beef, the amounts of which are a secret. Then comes the spicing: Red wine, blueberries, blueberry syrup and fresh thyme are combined with the meat to set off a sweet and savory assault on the taste buds.
Once stuffed in its casing, the sausage is put on the grill, cooked, nestled in a bun and topped with caramelized onions and goat cheese.
"We're calling it The Rudolph," O'Connor said. "We did this last year and we made it with a dark Mole sauce. We called it the El Rudolfo. But, we like that The Rudolph is sweet, because that kind of goes with Christmas."
And so far, customers are liking it, O'Connor said. Those people who are familiar with venison will recognize the taste.
O'Connor said he played with a number of spices before coming up with the unique flavor of The Rudolph this year.
So, what does this monster tell his children when they ask, "What's for dinner, Dad?"
"I don't think my babies have caught on to it yet," he said. "My 11year-old, I haven't told her about the sausage yet. I wanted to wait until St. Nicholas Day."