Keeping our spirits up during this pandemic is as important as being safe and staying home. One Texas meat processor, Willie Joe’s in High Hill Texas is doing just that for its customers. On March 12, they announced that on Friday March 13, Corona sausage would be available – a ‘vaccine’ for the crisis. They said they didn’t take insurance cards, but might consider negotiation for toilet paper rolls. They went on to say there was no danger of overdose, and consuming a large amount may be your prescription.
The Corona is a smoked sausage mixed with Corona beer, lime and jalapeno pepper. And, it’s probably made from the locally raised Brahman or Santa Angeli cattle . It’s packed in twos and has been flying off the shelves and selling out – no surprise. I interviewed the owner, Paddy Magliolo, two years ago by phone when I visited Texas hill country in search of a goetta cousin made by the German-Czechs in that area called jitrnice.
Paddy makes the beloved High Hill Sausage for the annual St. Mary’s Catholic Church Labor Day German Picnic every year. He is literally across the street from the church so it’s super convenient for him. When asked about his jitrnice, he says he says he spices his with salt, pepper, and garlic, uses rice only as the grain, and pork trim and pork organs only – but he wouldn’t specify what organs. Jitrnice looks and tastes remarkably like goetta.
Jitrnice is made within about a 25 mile radius of Schulenburg, Texas, at the intersection of I-77 and I-10. It’s a grain sausage cousin of goetta that came from the Moravian-Bohemian provinces of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, what is now Austria and the Czech Republic. There’s another great supplier called Maeker’s in Shiner, Texas. You can pick up your jitrnice and have a few free beers and tour the German founded Spoetzel Brewery, which makes Shiner Bock, and many other wonderful flavors of beer. My favorite is their Prickly Pear Cactus Blossom Lager.
They have a great Texas Czech Cultural Center in La Grange, Texas, about 10 miles north of Schulenburg, that’s kind of like a Germanic version of our Sharon Woods Heritage Village. I interviewed Brian Prause of 122 year old Prause’s meats in downtown La Grange, who has stopped making jitrnice, because it takes so long and demand is dropping as the generations progress. He also says the USDA no longer allows processors to use pork lung, which is apparently a key ingredient in authentic Moravian-Bohemian jitrnice.
The area was settled in the 1850s by Germanic Catholic farmers from the Germanic province of Moravia in what is now Austria. They’re often called Bohunks (ie bohemian hillbillies) or Czexans (as many came from the area that is now the Czech Republic). In addition to their wonderful Germanic sausages they’re also famous for bringing the kolachi to Texas. My fave kolachi is the pineapple one made by Original Kountry Bakery in Schulenburg, but there are so many other flavors to try.
High Hill is no longer its own town as it was back then, with a saloon, a variety of stores and businesses. It’s now the outskirts of Schulenburg, Texas, which is not huge itself, but has a fabulous historic downtown with a wonderful dance hall that has great live music and awesome Czexan food. St. Mary’s, one of the famous Painted Churches of Hill Country, is still the center of the small community of High Hill. The Czexans of hill country had Sokul halls for physical exercise, like the Goetta Country Germans of Cincinnati founded Turnhalls. They became dance halls, concert venues, and gathering places for Czexans to preserve their Germanic culture and language.
A branch of my Woellert family settled there, belonged to and are interred at St. Mary’s – one Ludmilla Woellert Billemek even has a window in the church dedicated to her. One of those Woellerts was even a butcher, and probably made his own version of jtronice, which unfortunately is not in the church cookbook, which of course I bought when visiting.
Unfortunately they’re not shipping, or I would be having some Corona sausage and jitrnice for breakfast with my eggs this week. But, I do applaud their sense of humor and gumption!