I’ve swooned over their Double Smoked Bacon, but had never shopped at Thurn’s Specialty Meats. So when I saw a visit to Thurn’s was on the Columbus Food Adventures Meat Lover’s Tour, I signed up immediately. And what a visit it was!
On entering Thurn’s we were greeted by a long row of glass-faced meat cases displaying a tantalizing array of meats and cheeses as well as an alluring smell of smoke.
Behind the cases, Albert Thurn – a 4th generation of the family operating the store since its founding in 1886 – greeted us. Albert told us about the history of the business and their products. (The Columbus Food Adventures blog on Thurn’s recaps this story nicely, so I won’t repeat it here.)
Albert then took us on a behind-the-counter tour of his business. First, the curing room – a cool, but not cold room where various cuts of meats and sausages were hanging and marinating to cure before and after smoking.
Behind that, we were shown the room where meats were prepared. Albert showed us an array of locally-sourced meat cuts and different casings (intestines) from which sausages were made. Around the large room were big meat choppers and grinders, mixers, double-bowl heated kettles, ovens, and other food preparation equipment – some that have been in use for over 80 years.
Out poured a cloud of sweet smelling smoke, enveloping us. We had been warned that we would leave smelling a little smoky; many of us wanted to find a cologne that would let us smell like that regularly!
Through the smoke, we could see racks of meats and sausages that were being smoked. Some of the meats take more than a day to smoke. Albert was, of course, a fount of knowledge about the business he had been raised in and clearly loved.
We came back out into the retail shop with a great appreciation of the love and care that goes behind a week’s work to prepare the offerings that Thurn’s sells only from Thursday until early Saturday afternoon, by which time they’ve usually run out of what they had produced that week.
It was a beautiful array of Thurn’s smoked meats and cheeses, along with assorted canapés they had prepared for our group. And they tasted even better than they looked! As I tasted, I recalled the nice selection of meats and sausages I had bought in my years living in NYC’s Yorkville section of Manhattan, with the German sausage shops like Schaller & Weber.
As we tasted, we made note of what items we wanted to take home with us. Bethea and Andy had a cooler in their van which would keep our purchases cold until the end of our tour.
I took home a bag of cold cuts, smoked chicken wings, and smoked trout. controlling myself knowing I could be back next week for a new purchase. Albert said he sells as little as one slice, so I had quite an assortment for small fraction of the price I’ve paid in NYC.
Old fashioned passion about the food they carefully prepare and offer to their customers: That’s part of what’s so wonderful about living in a place where people have such pride in the food they prepare. Thank you, Albert and Thurn’s, for being such shining gems of the Columbus food scene! I’ve added you as a regular stop on my shopping route!