Trimming the Fat at Kocher’s German Meat Market


This is a guest post is by Jessica Marko, a recent culinary grad with an interest in local artisan foods and creating recipes inspired with their ingredients. Her column focuses on both, with the history and passion behind these foods and their creators.

In this day and age, local butchers seem to be a thing of the past. A reminder of simpler times when meat wasn’t only purchased in pre-proportioned packages at a chain supermarket. Kocher’s Market in Fort Lee, NJ, formerly in Ridgefield, NJ offers a wide range of gourmet German meats and prepared meals.

Howie, the store owner, worked for Kocher’s Market in Ridgefield for a number of years. He had previously been sous chef in various institutions and strived to be the best, and his hard work paid off. When the family decided to focus on the wholesale of their products, under the name Bethlehem Sausage Works, they offered Howie the business. Choosing a location in Fort Lee, Howie has found that his clientele have been loyal and supportive of the move while attracting new and curious customers as well.


All the meats are ground and aged in house. The most popular items however, are the hotdogs and deli meats. These are made by Bethlehem Sausage Works with minimal chemicals and preservatives which adds to their appeal. On any given Saturday, you can expect to see a couple hundred people coming in and out of the store purchasing meat and sausage or even prepared foods for the week. In the winter their soups are well sought after, they serve fish on Fridays and have begun doing BBQ as well which is great for the summer months.

Kocher’s sells dry rubs, marinades and even pre-marinated shish kebabs for those looking to cook but are short on time, or are looking for new ideas. There are over 20 different sausages available and with 3 people butchering special requests are welcomed. Some prepared foods you could find include spaetzel, goulash, bread dumplings and rice balls. They also sell their own blend of fair trade coffee.

Some highlights include the franks, steak, knackwurst and be sure to try Maggi Seasoning which is great on steaks, in soups, sauces and on potatoes.

Some serving suggestions: Serve slices of Kocher’s Liverwurst on sliced baguette with mustard and garnish with sauerkraut, a slice of apple and a sprinkling of sea salt (smoked sea salt if available). Their grilled Jalapeno Franks are cheesy with a slight kick and are best enjoyed on crusty bread with sauerkraut and mustard


Keilbasa and Sauerkraut
2 lbs Keilbasa
12 oz light beer
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 yellow onion

  • Cook Kocher’s Keilbasa in beer with sliced onion for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the Keilbasa and slice into 1 in. slices, set aside.
  • In a pan, heat the butter and flour stirring until a light brown color.
  • Combine with beer and bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve sauce and Keilbasa over boiled potatoes with sauerkraut.

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