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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tender Value Meats, Hornsby

It's the start of summer, and that means barbecue season.

Easiest thing to throw on the barbie? The humble sausage. It comes in edible packaging, already portioned and its generous fat content means guaranteed juiciness.

Of course there's a big difference between good and bad sausages. And at Hornsby Tender Value Meats, butcher Adam Stratton knows his snags.

It's a small and cosy butchery in Hornsby, its window display of meats lined with the obligatory borders of dark green plastic hedging. Stratton sells all kinds of beef, lamb and chicken but it's the sausages we're always after, like so many others. Though modest in size, this suburban business sells more than a tonne of sausages every week. Yes, that is a lot of sausages!

Consistent winners at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, the sausages here are well-renowned for both their flavour and variety of flavours. At last count they had 35 different varieties including butter chicken & yoghurt, Danish frikadellar, South African boerwors, crocodile, emu and camel.

Proudly gluten-free, Stratton also claims to put less fat into his sausages, a modest 12% compared to the usual 27%.

I've had the good fortune to eat my way through a lot of his sausages. The Old English Pork is a bite of ol' Blighty; the Beef and Mushroom is hearty with big chunks of mushroom. We're surprised but delighted by the lingering chilli hit in the Thai Chicken Basil and Coconut Cream sausages. These have as much flavour as the fiery Vietnamese sausages you sometimes find at Asian butchers.

The Sweet Chilli Chicken and Mango sausages are made for sweet tooths. They're a little on the sweet side for me, but I'm impressed by the distinct taste of mango that accompanies each bite. Beef Spinach and Pine Nut give you your meat, greens and a generous trail of pinenuts in the one parcel.

Adam Stratton with Gordon Ramsay
proudly displayed on the butcher shop window and inside as well

My favourite is the Chicken and Sweet Corn though, a preference shared by the majority of customers, this particular snag far outselling all other flavours. "Third best snag in Australia!" the placard trumpets, a reference to its success in a recent national sausage competition.

I love the little nuggets of super sweet corn kernels you find as you chomp your way through the sausage. Apparently these also contain iron bark honey, lending a complex but subtle sweetness.

I also heart the Moroccon Lamb and Raisin, a fantastic combination of sweet lamb studded with fat swollen juicy raisins.

L-R: Beef and mushroom, chicken and sweet corn,
Moroccan lamb and raisin ($14.99/kg to $16.99/kg)

The best thing about the shop though is the service. In this day and age of faceless service, it's a rare treat to be greeted by genuine warm smiles, sparkling eyes and friendly caring conversation.

Service and quality like the good ol' days. With tasty flavours of the future.

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Hornsby Tender Value Meats
12 Florence Street, Hornsby, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9987 4028

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 7.00am-5.30pm (Thursdays til 6.00pm)
Saturday 6.00am-1.30pm

Full list of sausages
16 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/09/2008 11:59:00 pm


  • At 12/10/2008 12:59 am, Blogger Kt said…

    How lucky am I that these guys are my local butchers?!
    I once went in their with an outrageous request for several dozen lamb skewers, less than an hour before they closed. They asked me to come back in 45 minutes, and they were waiting, wrapped, on the counter for me.
    But yes, it's the service that keeps me coming back over and over.

  • At 12/10/2008 7:41 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think these guys were at the Gluten Free Expo. When I arrived on Sunday arvo I was warned at the door that the sausages were sold out. They'd brought 2 tonnes and they were all gone!

  • At 12/10/2008 10:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm from Hobart but I know and love this butcher! I visited friends who live in Hornsby and the butcher had sausages sizzling out the front which we sampled - and then promptly decided to have a BBQ for tea. Delicious!

  • At 12/10/2008 11:30 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love love love sausages! Some of the snags sound dicey with all the fruit and nuts. Really want to try the beef and mushroom. Did they use fresh or dried shrooms?

  • At 12/10/2008 3:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    These guys are pretty local to me too, and I must admit that I walk past quite often and wonder if they really ARE the best, there are a lot of stores that say they have award-winning food, you can imagine my cynicism.

    but I certainly trust your advice, so much so that when my girl comes over on the weekend, I might just grab a few different flavours and cook up something sausagey on the bbq.

    thanks for the recommendation!

    sam (wiredjazz)

  • At 12/10/2008 5:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    BBQ seasonnnnn Yayyyy!! I am definitely coming here for sausages for our next bbq thx for the intro! How are the other bbq goodness there? like the steakssss :D:D:D?

  • At 12/10/2008 5:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oooh which to choose? This or Eumundi for the Christmas BBQ? Or maybe both in true food blogger spirit! :P

  • At 12/10/2008 6:13 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    Those snags look and sound awesome! I have a friend in Hornsby who quite likes to cook a bbq... I will have to request some of these next time he is cooking for me!

  • At 12/10/2008 9:20 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Kt - The service is so warm it's touching! Really makes you appreciate the value of a genuine smile.

    And yes, whilst I'd heard of them before, I have you to thank for my first taste of the bestest snags ever :)

    Hi Arwen - Wow. 2 tonnes? That's incredible!

    Hi Anon - Yep the taste-test bbq is great. Last-minute barbies are fun as well!

    Hi Veruca Salt - They were fresh mushrooms but quite meaty still. There's a huge range of sausages, so I'm sure you'd find something you like. I know how you are with fruits and nuts!

    Hi Sam - Ahhh yes, I understand the cynicism although with due credit, TVM do back up their claims with proof of evidence! Hope you guys have a great bbq. The hardest thing will be deciding which ones to choose!

    Hi FFichiban - To be honest I haven't tried their meats although I hear they're top quality as well. I always get distracted by the sausages. Doh!

    Hi Lorraine - Oh that is a tough decision. I love Eumundi as well! I think TVM have a lighter and fruitier/sweeter selection. Eumundi is more for the serious meat lover, particularly if you like smoked sausages. Hmm.... do both! haha

    Hi Annie - I wonder if you friend hasn't discovered them already, otherwise they'll be a very handy friend to have. Am sure you'll enjoy the next bbq at his place!

  • At 12/11/2008 10:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey, they're my local butchers too! My favourite has to be the sweet corn and chicken with honey but next time you're there, try the Clare Valley pork chops, they are the most tender pieces of pork you'll have ever tried.

  • At 12/11/2008 11:16 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Thanks for the tip. I do love a good pork chop. The trouble is all of their meats look so good!

  • At 12/14/2008 8:28 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ended up going for 'Pork, Leek and Bacon' and 'Honey Lamb and Macadamia' which seem to be two good choices just for the two of us to try out.

    I must say the reason for the pork, leek and bacon is that it was the free sample outside, so i guess marketing works. On the other hand, having a 14 year old call me 'buddy' more than 3 times within 30 seconds was disconcerting.

  • At 12/14/2008 10:40 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Sam - Great to hear you enjoyed your first taste of TVM. I hear their sausages are selling like crazy and if anyone wants them for Christmas they're advised to get there now and freeze them. No orders are taken for sausages and they're selling out by lunchtime with a lot of flavours (thanks for the tip Kt!).

  • At 12/24/2008 7:39 pm, Blogger Kt said…

    Oh my. I just tried one of the beef and wild mushroom ones for the first time. Wow. A very grown-up snag!

  • At 12/29/2008 10:47 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Kt - I wasn't so keen on the beef and wild mushroom, but I think that's because I'm not a fan of beef in my sausages. I'm more of a pork girl, or chicken :) The big chunks of mushroom were very impressive though!

  • At 1/21/2011 2:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love these snags! Pork and fennel is my favorite the service is a bit how's your mother though!


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