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Four Chicago Butcher Shops with Crazy Gourmet Sausages and Burgers

Blow out your cookout with bougie BBQ alternatives from Publican Quality Meats, The Butcher & Larder, and more local stores.

The snail sausage at Publican Quality Meats is exactly what it sounds like.   Photo: Andrea Donadio/Publican Quality Meats

Hot dogs and cheeseburgers on the Fourth of July. Classic. American. Boring?

We called up four local butchers to see what fresh new choices are available for anyone who wants to change up the menu this holiday. Don’t forget the charcoal.

Publican Quality Meats

825 W. Fulton Market, 312.445.8977

For a step up from the all-American hot dog, try Publican Quality Meats’s jalapeño cheddar brats. If you really want to wow the Oscar Mayer types, opt for the boudin blanc—think a white, fancy brat. Or, for a little mollusk madness, try the snail sausage, a buttery mixture of pork and snail meat. While you’re at PQM, stock up on housemade burger buns, Franks ‘n Dawgs buns, and a smorgasbord of condiments.

Dirk’s Fish and Gourmet Shop

2070 N. Clybourn Ave., 773.404.3475

In addition to Sockeye salmon patties, head to Dirk’s for Asian carp burgers, made with the highly invasive—and highly delicious—lake fish. The burgers are gaining popularity at Dirk’s, where Dirk Fucik suggests filling the patties with a chunk of Cambozola, a beautiful hybrid of Gorgonzola and Brie, before grilling.

Paulina Meat Market

3501 N. Lincoln Ave., 773.248.6272

Paulina Market carries your typical Oregon Trail fare, including buffalo and venison burgers, as well as harder-to-find game such as ostrich and elk, smoked duck sausages, pheasant sausages, and spicy andouille brats.

The Butcher & Larder

1026 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773.687.8280

“It’s total gluttony,” says owner Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder’s new patty, inspired by Daniel Boulud’s creations. The burger, which Levitt and his crew call the Huddled Mass, consists of bourbon-cured foie gras whipped with bone marrow, wrapped in barbecued short rib, and swaddled in ground beef. Levitt recommends topping the burger with something tangy, like pickles, to cut the richness. “We almost really gilded the lily and made truffle mayo to go with it.” The Butcher & Larder also offers heaps of sausages in case you’re still hungry—ever again.

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