When it comes to sausage, somehow, even the most foreign or perhaps unappealing proteins are transformed into a mouthwatering link of encased meat. Rattlesnake? Meh. Rattlesnake sausage? Bring it on. Elk or venison? Too gamey. Elk sausage? Oh yes. Pheasant, rabbit, reindeer. Everything is tastier in sausage form.
The cheerful duo behind one of Dallas’ newest sausage emporiums understand our infatuation with meat in tube form. Just Encased is the product of two cousins, Ched Pagtakhan and Samuel Chee. The two began producing and peddling their quality sausages in 2016 and have now settled into a permanent post at The Shed within the Dallas Farmers Market.
Ched did his formal culinary training in Chicago and the Culinary School of Fort Worth and has eight years under his belt as a chef and culinary instructor. Sam’s background is in real estate with a focus on the development of national restaurant chains. The two had a mutual love for sausage and decided to make craft meats a family business.
Just Encased serves to the masses every Saturday and Sunday at the market, and it’s hard to miss Ched and Sam if you spend just about any amount in the outdoor shed. You’ll probably never meet two guys more enthusiastic about selling a wiener as they hawk their wares to the passing crowds.
Here, you won’t find a large menu (usually four or five options for the day) but this doesn’t make it any easier to choose from their fabulous franks. Every sausage is ground, seasoned, and stuffed in-house, as one might expect from a craft sausage. What’s more, Just Encased is committed to supporting the many local vendors that surround them.
Sam points across a few booths at the market. “Our pork comes from Hartvickson [Family] Farm, right over there. And our beef is from those guys over there, Juha Ranch.” He goes on, naming off just about every ingredient within their finished product and providing a local source for each one, right down to their buns supplied by Village Baking Co.
Scribbled across a small chalk board in bright lettering, you’ll read their offerings for the day. New items rotate through the menu, but a few customer favorites have remained in place due to popular demand. One such item, the “P+MC2,” finds a barbecued pork sausage stuffed with mac and cheese, topped with gouda, bacon, and fried onions. Another eye-catcher features a chicken-fried chicken sausage which is finished with mashed potatoes and brown gravy. It’s a gloriously pleasurable gut bomb.
A recent special was a Filipino-style candied pork sausage known as tocino, with kimchi, scallions and popped rice. I’ll cast my vote for the exemplary beef sausage known as the “Ooh Mami” made from local pasture-raised beef, topped with gouda, bacon, and scallions. It certainly exceeded my expectations.
You won’t escape Just Encased without encountering the obligatory “sausage” and “bun” puns. But eat their food, and you won’t mind at all, trust me. And when dished out by a few of the happiest sausage guys you’ll every meet, it makes every stop by this small operation a worthwhile visit.