Pete Pettersen in front of a case of meat at Lockeford Meat & Sausage, image

Pete Pettersen strikes a casual pose in front of a case of his beefy goods at Lockeford Meat & Sausage.

a Hereford cow statue outside Lockeford Meat & Sausage, image

A Hereford cow with "Bratwurst" written on its side marks the spot for serious sausage connoisseurs.

The Sausage King of California's Central Valley

Road Journals—Attention sausage lovers: Here’s a detour you’ll love.

On the main drag of the tiny town of Lockeford, Calif., in the San Joaquin Valley, you’ll see a large statue of a Hereford cow attached to the outside of a white brick building. And inside, Lockeford Meat & Sausage, a little gem of a sausage factory and retail shop that’s been in business for more than 40 years.

Sausage connoisseurs come from near and far for proprietor Pete Pettersen’s tasty array of handmade sausages, bacon, tri-tips, ham hocks, snack sticks, and other meats.

Fan favorites include a garlic-based Dakota smoked bratwurst and a sweet Hawaiian luau sausage that hints of teriyaki. There’s an apple sausage and, come Christmastime, a cranberry and blueberry sausages.

Carrie and Alvin Vaughn of Tracy stop by every couple of months to pick up kielbasa links for breakfast. Dale Willden of Sutter Creek swears by the Andouille.

“It’s the best I’ve ever had in my life—and I’m Cajun,” Willden said.

Here’s how to get there: From California’s Highway 99, south of Sacramento, take Kettleman Lane east to State Route 88.

Lockeford Meat & Sausage, 19775 N. Cotton St., Lockeford, Calif., (209) 727-5584. Visit Lockeford Meat & Sausage on Facebook

Photography by Anne Burke

This blog post was first published in June 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.