Posts Tagged With: Food

Its Ten22! Do you know where your bacon and sausage is at?

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.

Thank You

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Good Things Come In 3’s — Teaching Bacon! (2 of 3)

2/4/2013

Remember that date.

You ask why?
2/4/2013 is the date that I will be teaching the art of making bacon to a group of culinary students. Yes I am going to be teaching young minds the art of Charcuterie. Or to quote Darth Vader, “The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner and now I am the Master.” I know the quote is a stretch in this case, but I do not often get the chance to quote Star Wars.

You may also ask why I, Jeff Kukral, have been asked to help mold the minds of the youth. My only answer is…because my bacon and other meats is to freaking die for. The great teacher at San Juan High School Culinary Academy recognizes awesomeness and thinks a guest teacher is just what her kids need.

I am going to teach there!!!!

I am going to teach there!!!!

I am so very excited. For about three hours I will be able to teach the kids how to brine the pork belly and how the process works. I get to teach them how the “pink salt” kills pathogens like Botulism and how sea salt brings out moisture and then it gets sucked back into the meat.

I have a little bit of time, but I really need to start working on my lesson plan. Thank goodness I am married to a super teacher that will help me. At least I hope she will help me. (WINK WINK-Honey)

So far the plan is that I will have three slabs of pork belly in various stages of the curing process. The 1st one will be one without the cure and the lesson will be the art of mixing the salts and then spreading them over the belly. The next will be about half way through the process. Letting the kids see and feel this will show them how the cure changes the belly and turns it into bacon. Finally the goal is to have a slab in the smoker and at the end allow the kids to taste a fresh smoked slab. How freaking exciting is this. A student at the academy.

I am a little worried however. I know how to cure, I know how to smoke, I know how to create delicious food, but I do not know how to teach. Thank goodness the teacher will be there and I learned my wife will be on campus so if she hears me yelling she might come save me. Remember she is the super teacher. (HAHA)

I am just so excited about this opportunity and I would like to thank Sandi and the Culinary Academy. Please take a moment and learn more about this wonderful school and the Culinary Pathway within it.

Categories: Mission: Bacon, Nobody Beats My Meat | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Good Things Come In 3’s — Bacon Fest (1 of 3)

WOW…good things my friends, good things.

Let me talk about them one at a time.
SACRAMENTO’s BACON FEST 2013 Bacon Fest 2013

I am teaming up with a legitimate local restaurant chef/mentor (I don’t know if I have permission to share the name yet) and we are going to enter Bacon Fest 2014 next year. We had our first meeting the other night and discussed some specifics.

Our first step is to go to this year’s Bacon Fest and see what the competition will be working on. After we see the “enemy” we can work on what we want to cook. I will be selecting some fresh pork belly and curing it about a week and a half before the event. Working with my sous chef (her idea) we will then create our masterpiece. It will blow the mind and the taste palate.

Savory or Sweet
Single Bite or A Dish

I kind of want to stick to savory as I think everyone is wowed with sweet bacon dishes. Things like bacon ice cream or bacon cake are really good but I want people to be surprised with the simplicity of bacon its self. We have plenty of time to think about our ideas, but the first thing to pop into my head is a really rich bacon soup. But as I said, we have time to think.

Now, I proclaim that I am going to enter Bacon Fest 2014 when I don’t know even if that is a possibility. I just do not see why they would not allow another person to this great event. My sous chef knows some of the big wigs here in Sacramento when it comes to food so we might have an “in”. We will see. But for now we will go to the event later this month and plan on being at the event next year. .

*FYI, the picture for this post comes from the Bacon Fest Website. Giving Credit Where Credit is Due. http://baconfestsac.com/ *

(Please comment if you have any ideas.)

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A Name

OK, so while I am sitting here waiting for my wife to bring me some more pineapple for my sausage I was doing a little day dreaming. I was dreaming that I could use this new hobby to start making personalized sausages for people. People would place their orders and I would whip up a batch using the flavorings and additions that they want. In my dream this personalized sausage making spun into a romantic restaurant. I would have like 20 tables and make it very personal. I would make people everything from simple sausage to glorious steaks. There would be duck and sweet breads and so much more. Because it would be small it would create a desire to get in. Maybe I could even get Nikki to come in and use her magic to make bread and her other recipes.
I wanted to do this with my friend Brett because we would name the place BJ’s, but then we found out there was a place already named that and the sexual innuendo was lost. So I need help thinking of a name for my dream restaurant. My first suggestion is: THE HOT SAUSAGE.
Take the poll and tell me what you think.

Categories: Nobody Beats My Meat | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few More Days

I just wanted to give you all a little update. The pig belly/bacon is getting a little more firm. Tonight will be the last night I flp them until I rinse them off and dry. I expcet to start smoking the bacon by 7:00am Sunday and have it ready for my mother in laws’s birthday.

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So I am on a mission.

I want to start my project–BACON. I know where I am going to get my pork belly. I have the bags I am going to cure it in; and I have the space in the fridge. But I need PINK SALT. No, not salt that is pink. Pink Salt is a special salt that is used in curing meat. It is needed so no one will get Botulism!!!!!!  I would go into detail about what it really is–but pink salt #1 will do.

So I have been searching high and low for PS1.  I could just simply go to Amazon and buy it online.  But my problem is that to get a little bit I have to pay a bunch for shipping.  Or I could use my Amazon Prime account but then I can only order a ton of it.  So my search went on and on.  I called around and I found it.  Organgevale Meat Shoppe sells it.  YEA!!!!!!! They are 5 minutes from my house.

So here is where my fun starts.  I called to double check they really have it (and the pork belly).  My first question was about the belly.  They had them frozen, but they have them.  Then comes the salt question.

Me-“Yes, I was wondering if you sell curing salt, you know the pink number 1.”

Meat Nazi (this is my name for them at this point, kind of like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld)-“Yes, I sell it.”

Me-“Great, how much is it?”

Meat Nazi, “Ha, I am the only one that sells it in town and you are worried about the price.”

Me (surprised/horrified look on my face-“Ummm, Im sorry I was just curious.” (Mind you I was driving, with my head set, at the time and that is why I was not more angry)

Meat Nazi-“Well its not like I am going to make a profit on it, I think it is like $2.00 per pound.”

Me-“Thank you”  and click.

I was like what the hell is the matter with me asking the price of a product at your shop.  I might be blowing it out of proportion, but I think it was kind of rude then.  Now I think it is kind of funny.  And now I have a new name for my butcher shop—the Meat Nazi.

I was not planning on giving them any of my business after that, but I admit I went and bought the salt today and I got 8 pounds of pork belly.  They are frozen, but that will not stop me from making some of the best freaking bacon EVER.  Directions and pictures to follow.

 

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