Rooftop Knackwursts


Take a few obsessed food bloggers plotting to make choucroute from scratch, add a beautiful day, a welcoming rooftop in Brooklyn, a cheap charcoal grill and a few beers and you’ve got the perfect.. err.. fire hazard!?.. but what a way to spend an afternoon! This little outing reminded me of my chicken wings grilling days on Paris rooftops, except that i didn’t get fined this time.

We like to throw little challenges at each other for fun and when Marc proposed to stink-up his apartment with a batch of fermenting cabbage we said, hey.. we’ll make the sausage from scratch! (it’s actually claire who said that.. my reaction was more like: Oh Chriiist!). Fast forward two weeks and here we are on this Williamsburg rooftop. I made the knackwursts a day earlier with the help of my butcher and while they dried under the sun before smoking Marc and Claire got down to business and produced something amazing for lunch. I’m talking about the best hot-dog that ever walked the earth .. wait.. hot-dogs don’t walk, do they?

Claire made the buns from scratch and marc brought a delicious green mango-maple relish. The hot-dogs came from La Cense and were grilled over hot coals. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome this combination was… err..well, i guess i just did! The bun was delightfully chewy, not the dissolve-in your-mouth crap from your street corner cart, the relish provided a piquant bite that paired really well with the juicy dog. We added some sauerkraut and a few pickled ramps to the mix and ended up with hot-dog respect at its finest my friends. Brooklyn represents!


What you see is known in the professional jargon as the Happy knackwurst drying-bacteria developing stage. That’s when the sausage picks up that typical red tint from the paprika. I’m not a biologist but i think it happens when the bacteria is woken-up by the heat and start partying like its 1999, it creates a red cloud of bacterial joy. Did i already mentioned that i’m not a biologist? It’s day 5 after we ate our first bactewurst and nobody has died yet. If i stop twittering it means something bad happened. Keep your fingers crossed.



I’m not sure if it’s hallucinations from inhaling too much hickory smoke but i swear we could see the Statue of Liberty from the roof. Never noticed it before! Lady Liberty hasn’t shaved since that all economic crisis started, and she traded the torch for the bottle. Oh well, when times are bad…

Seriously, we have no idea who this person is. While we were smoking sausages and minding our own business, a group of French roof people joined us. They unloaded their grocery bags around us. They graciously offered some ice cold 1664 beer that we promptly accepted (duh!). They shared their food and we chatted for a while until they realized that they were at the wrong party. Next roof over!

You gotta love the French! A votre sante monsieur!


What’s *really* interesting on this picture is that No Recipes has No Laces too. What about that for a scoop? Much more interesting than the sausage smoking if you ask me. The problem is if i attempted to be that cool i would probably trip over and end up in the hospital, or in this case i would hang from a rooftop by a sausage link, but damn.. No laces IS cool! Yea.. that’s sausage smoking over hickory.. whatever.. but Converse without laces IS the shiznit!

The verdict? These knacks are awesome and totally worth the efforts. We got the recipe from Ruhlman’s Charcuterie and everything from the texture, the seasoning, the smokiness and even the knack sound as we bite into them is spot-on! Mission accomplished.


Later we got drunk and felt asleep on the roof. The grill caught fire. I started to cry like a little girl. We got rescued.

Just another saturday afternoon…

  • Rooftop Knackwursts

    • Recipe adapted from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
    • Makes 5 lbs of Knacks
    • knackwurst-112

  • 3 lb boneless lean veal shoulder, diced
  • 2 lb boneless well marbled pork shoulder butt
  • 40 g kosher salt
  • 6 g pink salt
  • 15 g coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp mace
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 140 g nonfat dry milk powder
  • 250 ml ice waterknackwurst-61
  • 10feet hog casings
  • Combine everything except water, toss until mixed, chill until ready to grind.
  • Grind through small die.
  • Add water to the meat, mix with paddle attachment until uniform and sticky (1min on medium speed).
  • Cook a spoonful, taste, adjust seasoning.
  • Stuff, and twist into 6inch links, let dry 1 or 2h in fridge or room temp.
  • Hot-smoke at 180F until internal temp is 150F, about 2h. Transfer to ice bath then refrigerate for up to a week or 10 days. or frozen 3 months.
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  • Manggy

    Okay, I was irrationally excited by the forbidden nature of the picture that I saved it! Well, they are my friends after all :) Sounds like a glorious afternoon, despite the gatecrashing and the fire O_o How nice too, that everyone contributed! :)

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  • Stacey Snacks

    Luckily it was the NYCFD that rescued you.
    The hottest guys on earth.
    Did you give them a hot dog? or where they all burned up by then?
    I love that the Frenchmen joined your rooftop party!

  • Stacey Snacks

    I meant to say NYFD.

  • Ulla

    That picture is BRILLIANT!:)

  • elra

    Do you guys do this gathering often? I am so jealous.

    Gosh, really? your grill caught fire? lucky that you have the best Fire Fighter in the world to rescue you.

  • colloquial cook

    I’m coming to GET YOU mister! Know that a French woman’s wrath is unforgiving.

    Glamourous, but unforgiving.

  • Giff

    I don’t believe that you guys really set a fire. But apart from that suspicious dramatization, this sounded like a really fun time :)

  • Jeff

    beer check
    charcoal check
    hickory check
    homemade sausage check
    picture of a fire truck check

    Sounds like the perfect rooftop cookout. Jealous because I can only grill on ground level. Oh yeah there is just something magical about regular budweiser with sausages that works wonderfully together.

  • Janet_Gourmettraveller88

    Wow, envy for such great food event! I wanna try the sausages too, look awesome.

  • clumbsycookie

    How would it sound if I said you have a nice sausage?! Probably tacky… But I’m so very disapointed with you! Homemade buns, sausages and no homemade ketchup?! I really wish brooklin was around the corner to be there as well!!!

  • Marc @ NoRecipes

    Claire warned me about this post today, so I had to come see it for myself. I laughed so hard I sprayed a lovely Spanish Albarino onto my iMac. You have a future in comedy if you ever grow tired of cooking. On and I’m now renaming my blog NoLaces.

    PS what’s with the photo of me looking like Quasimodo?

  • Darius T. Williams

    Seee – somehow I need to be in NYC with you guys. Um, I’d love to be up there with you guys.

  • dawn

    somehow I can never think of knackwurst without giggling after reading all that has happened. you always crack me up man!

  • we are never full

    awesome post. i love the picture and gotta love those french. you guys knew how to spend an afternoon with awesome weather! only a 6 pack of bud? come on, guys.

  • Peter

    Oh, man does that look like fun. I’ve made a bunch of things from the Charcuterie book, but no knackwurst yet. Might have to do something about that.

  • Tram

    What an amazing space u have here! Awesome photos! Yummy recipes! I absolutely love it! Thanx 4 sharing!

  • Rachel (S[d]OC)

    It looks like the smoke inhalation didn’t cause any permanent damage. Quite a delicious sausagey feast!

    If hot dogs start walking the earth, I’m going to be very very frightened.

  • Rasa Malaysia

    hey zen haven’t been here for a while, love the new blog and the domain. Brilliant!

  • doggybloggy

    you’ve got the knack!

  • Courtney aka glamah

    How fun. And cool that you made your own knackwurst. I have to save this recipe for my German.

  • Elle

    I’d have paid to be there for the food and the ice cold beer. Seriously! :)

  • (NO) Viking

    Hello! I regularly visit your site and would like to thank you for some great inspiration!

    Made these sausages a couple of weeks ago – first sausage I’ve ever made. They were great!

    Think I will consult my Charcuterie book and delve into some chorizo for my next project

  • Marble Floor Polishing

    Sausages…I’m hungry!