Otto’s: Meat Nirvana


Ottos Sausage Kitchen has been making delicious hot dogs, sausages and meat products for over eighty years.  Currently in their fourth generation, the establishment is still family run by the grandson of the founder, Jerry Eichentopf, his wife Gretchen, and their daughters.  They continue to make wieners, sausages, pork links, pastrami, jerky and more in the same way that Jerry’s grandfather, Otto Eichentopf, did when he opened Otto’s in 1927.  At age 21, Otto immigrated from Germany. By age 31 he had settled in Portland and the next year Otto’s Meat Market was opened in the Woodstock neighborhood.  Otto had a son named Edwin who worked alongside his father as was customary in traditional German families. Edwin had Jerry who joined the business after high school.  Jerry says that not much has changed in the last century of sausage making.  Their grinder is the same one they’ve had for the past 70 years and the latest innovation came about 50 years ago and was the pump on the casing devise so that they no longer had to crank the sausage stuffer by hand.

As expected, they start with the best raw ingredients with beef and pork from Carlton Farms and add just seasonings – no fillers, gluten or additives of any kind. The meat is ground until it reaches a smooth consistency and then it is stuffed into the casing made of sheep intestines.  At this point, fresh sausages are ready to be sold and the others are ready to begin the smoking process.  The sausages are hung up on a big rack so that each and every part of the sausage open to the smoky air.

The Smoker
At this point the sausages are placed into the smokehouse for two hours.  The smokehouse at Otto’s is very special and is the same smokehouse that was built by Jerry’s grandfather, Otto, back in 1936.  It is sealed with a heavy black door and inside everything is coated with a dark black tar substance – the same substance that attaches to your lungs if you are a smoker.  There is a subterranean fire that comes up from below creating the smoke that makes the meat so delicious.  The fire is fueled by cured alder wood, which produces smoke that is easier on the eyes and convects a mild flavor in the meat.

After smoking for a couple of hours, the sausages are placed in a hot tub of water where the internal temperature of the meat raises to 160 degrees and becomes safe for human consumption. After the hot tub the sausages are placed into a cold tub of water for about 15 seconds at which point the process is complete.  The sausages will still be heated up on the grill so that they get the grill marks and reach a more desirable eating temperature.  These are the sausages that you can purchase at the grill located on the sidewalk outside of Otto’s.  They are sublime and a must for any meat fan!

Name: Otto’s Sausage Kitchen
Street: 4138 SE Woodstock Boulevard
City: Portland
State: OR
ZIP: 97202
Phone: (503) 771-6714
Neighborhood: Woodstock
Quadrant: SE
Happy Hours:
Hours Open: Mon-Sat 9:30 AM - 6 PM and Sundays 11 AM - 5 PM
Family Friendly (Y/N): Y
Patio (Y/N): Y
Private Dining (Y/N): N
Valet (Y/N): N
Lunch (Y/N): Y
Live Entertainment: N