Patrick Alfiero would rather be working at In the Valley, the East Passyunk Avenue gastro-bar (ITV) where he was chef de cuisine in a one-man kitchen and would turn the Metallica and Megadeth tunes up loud to “bang the pots and keep me motivated.”

But since the bar and its next-door sibling, Laurel, were shut down at the outset of the pandemic, Alfiero, 25, has made the most of his spare time with a pop-up to showcase his love of charcuterie. Of course, he named his fledgling project Heavy Metal Sausages as a nod to his favorite music genre.

ITV’s owner, Nicholas Elmi, has given his protégé continued access to the restaurant’s kitchen, where Alfiero has been cranking out a biweekly series of excellent, limited-batch links — presold through his Instagram page — that showcase seasonal flavors and high-quality sustainable meats sourced through Lancaster Farm Fresh and Green Meadow Farm.

A selection of links from the Heavy Metal Sausage pop-up at In The Valley includes a seasonal ramp sausage, smoky kielbasa, and spicy fennel.
Craig LaBan
A selection of links from the Heavy Metal Sausage pop-up at In The Valley includes a seasonal ramp sausage, smoky kielbasa, and spicy fennel.

Beef hot dogs, similar to the franks that were a popular at ITV, were among the most popular first offerings in March. But Alfiero has since focused on mastering hot-smoked kielbasa, fennel sausages blushing with the heat of Calabrese peppers, and frequently changing specials. A memorable recent batch was vivid green with foraged ramps and pink peppercorns.

The current series being sold for this weekend’s pickup in front of ITV will feature a Mexican-style fresh chorizo made from chiles Alfiero dehydrated last summer. A fermented pepperoni could be next.

The fresh sausages are air-dried enough so the casings don’t burst when cooked over the grill (a couple pricks of the fork and a five-minute poach beforehand also helps). But it is the well-crafted flavors that separate Alfiero’s sausages as something worth pursuing.

“It’s gotten bigger much faster than I anticipated,” said Alfiero, a Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College grad who’s contemplating a move to weekly sales. “I would love to have a shop someday after all of this [pandemic] is over.”

— Craig LaBan

Heavy Metal Sausages, $10-$13 for two-link packages (about 10 oz.), presold bi-weekly through Instagram and distributed at In the Valley, 1615 E. Passyunk Ave.

Patrick Alfiero sells fresh and seasonal sausages bi-weekly at In The Valley, where he was chef de cuisine before the bar was closed in response to the pandemic.
Craig LaBan
Patrick Alfiero sells fresh and seasonal sausages bi-weekly at In The Valley, where he was chef de cuisine before the bar was closed in response to the pandemic.