I love my food choices. Yes I miss having bread right now. Or candy. But it’s only because I tell myself I can’t. But this breakfast is awesome. I’m eating three eggs with sautéed mushrooms and broccoli. And it’s for breakfast.
So I know that is has been a while since I have blogged. That is my fault and I am sorry. I need to show you all creative ideas for Smoke&Salt and the wonderful products that I am working on. For example, I recently made some homemade chocolate fudge with about 1 pound of fresh bacon in it. Can you say….AWESOME!!!
But I will blog about Smoke&Salt and the yummy creations soon. I have some wonderful news. But this post is not about Smoke cured foods. Rather it is about a journey that I have started. Today marks day 2 of my Whole30 campaign. It is a kicker.
I have a headache that will just not quit. Maybe I need more water, or to actually take some pain killers. But I have made it to day 2. I have already seen a miracle. My stupid blood sugars have been in the mid 250-350 with meds for a long while. I can say that since starting this Whole30 program my blood sugar average is about 180. That is just 2 days of the following. (Taken from Whole9’s website) “eat[ing] real food – meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds.” I have 28 days left and I know I can do it.
Over the next few weeks I am going to try and sit down and look at Charcuterie in the eyes of a person from Whole30. I know that during program there is a lot of cured meats I can not eat because of the program. But on day 31 I can start to reintroduce Charcuterie into my life. But I am going to take the lessons I am learning these 30 days and make the best of it. My main question will be where can I cut out sugar? For example, can I be just as happy with peppered bacon as opposed to maple?
I am glad you are here reading this with me. I think it will be a fun trip and we should all learn a lot.
If you would like to learn more about Whole30 check out their site.
I feel like I have been on a nonstop wonder ride of awesomeness since the beginning of this month. Granted at first the ride was not all that fun. It started with a “regular” job move to a new floor. Where this move seemed like a complete underhanded move against our Suicide Prevention Unit.
However we saw that the move was good for me (and I am finding that our unit is doing well at our new home). I met my boss and then I met her husband; that husband is a chef at Ten22. Him and I met and he got some samples of my sausage and meat. It was a very productive meeting and there might be a chance I can make more sausage and or bacon for Ten22. We will see.
Recently I started talking to a man who may be interested in buying meats from Smoke&Salt. So with this, I am meeting with a wonderful woman who will give me directions on what I need to do to go legit with this. I am so excited.
Then we had Thanksgiving. I was thinking about trying to do a fried turkey, but I did not want to spend that much. So I went with SMOKING A TURKEY. It was good. I put it in brine and then we smoked it for over 6 hours. So succulent and juicy. I will be doing a turkey again soon as it gives us a lot of meat and is very cost effective. Look for other posts for pictures.
Julie Andrews once said, “A lot of my life happened in great, wonderful bursts of good fortune, and then I would race to be worthy of it.” This statement can not be more true for me than it is right now.
As you, the reader, may know. I started this blog when I started my hobby, my art, of Charcuterie. I have grown in my ability to create sausage, bacon, and other specialized meats. I know that I have a lot of growth to do. But I am confident in myself that I can meet this growth challenge. I really believe that I have the skills to be a great sausage maker. When I was a kid, I had friends that could be artists, athletes, musicians, and many other things. I always wondered what was my gift. What was I to be great at? Well I found it, here, in Charcuterie.
As I started this journey I also knew that I wanted to take it the step up and make a small living or extra cash. I mean I love being an entrepreneur. So I have been working with friends and family and giving them sausage and bacon (and other stuff). Slowly I have made business cards, a Yelp page, and a small group of returning customers. I dream big, but like to take it small.
Now in the real world with my State of California job life was moving at a good pace and I was enjoying my work. But they, the powers that be (Management), decided to take my small three man unit that was working on suicide prevention and move them into a new branch. CHANGE! I have learned to live with change and while it is stressful I understand that change can be good. This change is good. When we moved to our new branch on the 4th floor I found that my two worlds (real and charcuterie) where going to blend.
My new boss found out about my meat skills and my desire to work with charcuterie. It just happens to be that she is married to a chef at the awesome Sacramento restaurant Ten22. She approached me and announced that he (my boss’s husband) is looking for someone, local, that can produce Charcuterie for the restaurant and that she was going to have him call me.
This was the only thing that was on my mind for the rest of the day. Damn the report I was working on! How could I think of suicide when I might be contacted by a Chef. Well within two days I got a call at my number ((916) 304-MEAT) from him. It was exciting and when I called him back we talked about how he is looking for someone to do meats and he wanted to sample my bacon and sausages. We set it up for yesterday (Friday, November 15th 2013). That was going to be the day.
During our conversation he told me that he wanted to sample my bacon, andouille, and if I had it, a hot-link. I was excited that I had some bacon finished. It takes about 8 day to complete bacon. From meeting my new boss to the meeting was less than a full week. So next I had to worry about the andouille. I had just enough made that I had two links left over. But I used those while teaching at San Juan. (See other post). So I made new andouille. It was great. But I had to search for hot links. I have never made them and could not find a recipe in my Meat Bible. So I reached out to my next resource for sausage making, The Spicy Sausage . com. There I found a great recipe for Louisiana Hot Sausage. I fell in love. So simple, so cheap, so yummy. I think that I like this sausage more than my Andouille. AND THAT SAYS A LOT. Finally, my new boss told me that her chef husband and the Executive Chef at Ten22 loved this very blog that you are reading. They really liked the idea of my Buffalo Wings sausage. So I changed up my recipe for the better (used crumbled blue cheese rather than dressing) and made some of the best damn sausage that you can get your mouth around. (Try it with eggs—makes a great breakfast)
I made all of these in anticipation of my meeting. I kept thinking to myself, (maybe it was more like I was dreaming), but could something come out of this soon to be meeting? Could this be my 1st step towards being the “Sausage King of Sacramento?” I told you I dream big. What would this meeting lead to? I imagined me coming to the meeting with my stuff and sitting around the table with the powers that be at Ten22; talking meat. They would then taste some great meat and tell me they wanted me to come in once a week and make sausage to eat.
Well the meeting time came and that did not happen. Rather I was able to meet face to face the Head Chef for Ten22 and then my boss’s husband. We were able to chat for a few minutes and I gave them my samples. Our meeting was during a super busy time at Ten22 and I understood why we could not meet longer; they had hungry people to feed.
Now during this entire blog post I have tried to leave out names and I am trying not to exaggerate. I do this so I dont jinx the situation nor do I want people to think that the powers that be at Ten22 have promised anything other than to try my sausage and bacon. I hope that something does come out of this but I am not saying anything is. If I assume I make an ass out of….you know the saying. What I will do is tell you what the chef told me. He was looking forward to trying my meats. He appeared really excited about my Buffalo Wing Sausage and he was going to do a “bacon off” against my bacon; he makes his own sometimes. The other thing that he said he MIGHT do was serve some of my sausage to patrons coming to the Chef dinner that night. Now he did not say HE WAS GOING TO DO IT; but he might. At this point I am just excited about him trying my stuff. But if there was or is the possibility for foodies that paid a lot of money to go to the Chef Dinner to try my stuff then that is freaking scary and exciting.
I am just now waiting to hear back. Again, I don’t know where this will go. I am just thankful for the opportunity. If it is a good outcome then great and I will tell you about it. If it is a not so good outcome then I will tell you about it and will keep going. Smoke&Salt will become successful. That is because people like what I make, I have found my gift, and I am happy.
On 11-13-2013 I was in a classroom. Well, I was in front of the classroom to be correct. Again this year I was invited to come and teach at the New San Juan High School. There was a group of kids, dare I say young adults, that were in the culinary academy and they were eager to learn art of Charcuterie.
The morning went simple and straight forward. It was funny at one point when I was being introduced the connection with my last name caught on. The kids said, “Wait…..is he related to Ms. Kukral.” Sandi advised the kids that yes I was her husband. But even before that, the kids appeared interested in what I had to say. Making Bacon (1)
After my presentation we headed towards the “lab” where I demonstrated how to put the cure on the belly and I even had one kid do it to the second slab. One student was cooking up close to 3 pounds of my finished bacon and we all ate it. What a great day.
On lunch I was crusing the net and came accross this little gem of a website. I wanted to toss it out there.
Yea, I am getting back in the game. It has been a long swim season and I feel like I have not had time to practice my craft. Well here I am again. I need for all of my readers to let me know what you think.
Here I have made a pork shoulder and buffalo wing sauce sausage with blue cheese crumbles. As you can see from the picture it does not have a lot of stuff in it…but the flavor is like being at Wing Stop but with sausage. Anyone near Fair Oaks California looking to try a sample and give me an honest opinion? Let me know by commenting here or emailing me at email@example.com.
In the month of June (2013) I was sick a lot. Basically the left side of my chest was filled with fluid and I was only breathing using my right lung. So I was off work; A LOT. At least I was able to watch some TV.
I was flipping channels and I came across a lady who was on my list. You know the type of list where your spouse would be OK with you “getting it on–if they asked.” It was Rachel Ray. She has her own talk show now. I did not really know this as I work for a living and do not normally stay home during the day and watch day time TV. But there she was; MY 30 MINUTE GIRL. This new TV show (again–new to me) is just not all about cooking. They have guests and hot topics for the day. Then at the end comes the food.
I was getting excited. I have not seen her on a show for some time and I was going to learn something. Like 30 min meals or $40.00 per day I was going to get some great tidbit of information. Well guess what the only thing I learned was that her audience was mesmerized by melting cheese on a tortilla and then adding a meat. Yes, she made a freaking quesadilla. I bet she could have got the same response if she boiled water. Needless to say I was disappointed.
I was disappointed not because she made a quesadilla; but because she did not teach anyone anything. She just impressed the audience because the food looked good. I am here to tell you people, you can polish shit and make it look good. Rachel, there are people that want to know why you used the cheese you used, or what made up the shredded meat.
That is why here on this blog and with Smoke&Salt, I am going to strive to teach you something. I want to impart you with knowledge not impress you with cool pictures. Granted I do post pretty neat stuff like my bacon, but I hope that I show you there is a depth to smoking foods. That curing a ham is an art not just a gimmick.
When you are working with food, be creative and patient. Understand what and why you are adding something. By doing this you will grow as a cook.
What about the Zombie Apocalypse?
Last night was a good night. My wife and I were able to slip away and see a movie. Now I know that Nobody Beats My Meat is a meat blog about sausage, bacon, and all the goodness that Smoke & Salt has to offer. But the first part is going to be a movie review. Just hang with me.
So my wife and I get to go see Warm Bodies with Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, and even John Malkovich. (That is not what got me to go see the movie…I don’t even like John Malkovich as the characters he plays…I am sure he is a nice guy so I can not say I don’t like him…..I digress) The movie is a Romeo and Juliet themed movie that has zombies. He is dead and she is not yet their love transcends all of these barriers, yada yada yada. I don’t want to give a movie review other than the fact that it is worth seeing even at regular prices.
Within the non zombie area of the movie lives “LIVE PEOPLE” and they are a functioning society. At one point we see cows, chickens, sheep, and other live stock. This made me start thinking, “What if there was a real zombie apocalypse? Would we as a living society know how to eat the way we were meant to eat? You know animal protein? Bacon for example; what if the only people left alive from the apocalypse were the consumers of bacon and not the butcher that knows how to butcher the animal? I don’t know about you but I get really angry when I don’t get my protein.
Think of it like a little combination of the snickers ads and the hulk. So http://youtu.be/MixNh9L7G5M
and http://youtu.be/7nrCvjg6nsI. I need protein, and in my opinion we all need animal protein. So what do we do if or when the zombie apocalypse or any apocalypse happens? We need to make sure that the local butcher shop does not become a thing of the past.
We all talk about going to the farmers market and buying fresh. That is a great idea and we need to support our local farmers. Not only does the fruits and vegetables taste awesome it helps our communities. At the same time we need to visit and purchase from our local butcher shops. This will help us in many ways.
1) It will help the local economy by supporting small business. It will also move up the chain and support smaller regional business as the butcher does not keep head of cattle on grounds.
2) We will learn something about the meat we buy. For example, from your butcher, you can learn that the Tri-Tip is mainly a California cut. If you go to many other parts of the country and ask for a Tri-Tip they will look at you funny….unless you visit a butcher.
3) If we keep local butchers in service then eventually the art of butchering will come back and there will be more and more. We want this to happen because with more and more butchers the chances of one surviving the zombies increases and we can eat. (I know that one is a stretch..but it goes with my theme tonight.)
The benefits can go on and on. I know on a personal level I am trying to learn about butchering. I want to know how to prepare it and preserve it. I am not saying that I will go out and cut up a cow, but I think that by learning what the different meats look like I could if needed. And I damn well know that I can preserve the meat with some Smoke&Salt. You will want to hang with me when the S hits the fan and we have to start shooting the walking dead in the heads.
Eat Well My Friends
FYI, Here are some local places I like to get my meat from.
Orangevale Meat Shoppe. (916-863-5400)
Roseville Meat Market (916-782-2705)