If you're planning your Fourth of July cookout, you might just want to make a pit-stop at Proper Sausages in Miami Shores.
The little sausage shop run by Freddy and Danielle Kaufmann that offers house-made artisan sausages from quality meats and spices, fresh bacon, craft beer, wine, and other picnic staples now sells house made pickles and mustards.
Having a major pickle obsession, I stopped in to get a jar and have a chat with Freddy Kaufmann, who was working the counter. He showed me his selection, which will change with the season. For instance, the few jars of pickled ramps left in the cold case ($9) won't be replenished since they're out of season. Instead, Kaufmann might pickle some cauliflower.
Kaufmann said he decided to make pickles out of necessity because most of the pickles he's had in South Florida were either too dill or too garlicky. "It's not that I don't like garlic, but if there's too much it stays with you." The shop's Proper Pickles ($9.50) are seasoned with crushed red pepper, dill seed, coriander, and black pepper. They're pleasantly sour and have a bit of bite to them.
English onions come with a warning that they might be "too strong for the sensitive American palate," and are best served as a foil to Proper's rich sausages -- or as a side for a cheese plate. Also available are spicy pickled green beans ($6.50) -- a staple bloody mary garnish in New Orleans. Kaufmann added that the beans would work equally well in a martini.
Of course, there's no cookout without mustard. Thankfully, Proper's ($8.50 per jar) comes in three varieties -- royale, spicy dubstard, and all-American golden (perfect for barbecues).
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While you're there, forget the supermarket hot dogs that feature such delicious ingredients as nitrates and artificial coloring and pick up a few pounds of the All-American. These cherry wood-smoked Florida wagyu beef sausages are seasoned with cayenne, cumin, and garlic. If you do pick some up ($14 a pound), remember that these beef sausages cook faster than the pork variety so about 10 minutes (or a beer and a half in grilling time) should do it.
Proper Sausages is open today from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on July 4 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.