Posts Tagged With: Fun

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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What about the Zombie Apocalypse?

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)

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Good Things Come in 3’s – Open For Business (soon) (3 of 3)

Do you want home-made bacon?
Do you want your bacon to have a customized flavor?
Do you want sausage that will kick the a$$ off of Aidell’s sausage–both in taste and cost?
or Do you want a professional to cook that expensive piece of meat so your guests are not disappointed?

Well then you will want to contact Nobody Beats My Meat the Business!
The good news is that I am in negotiations with an official restaurant that will allow me to cook my foods and sell them to my customers. Currently in California one can bake cookies, apple pies, brownies, etc and then sell them out of the home. But one can not sell out of the home products of dairy (think cheese) and MEAT!!!! I thank Gov Brown for extending the abilities for people to make a living from their home, but I am not happy that it stopped at meat.

So the only way I can legally sell my wares is to create them in a licensed professional kitchen. Well I found just a place. I was very picky and needed a place that will allow me to use it on a very limited basis. At this point in my life I still need to work full-time, and I have a nice job with the State of California. So this business will be on the weekends and at night. Who knows, once more people taste the heavenly food that is my bacon (or sausage) it might just take off and I WILL HAVE TO QUIT and devote 100% of my time to the business. But for now I am good.

These negotiations are new and there are a lot of details hammer out but I wanted to tell the world. I have always wanted to me an entrepreneur and I have now found a hobby/passion that could take me that direction. Who knows, one day maybe I can have my own smoke house. I am super excited.

All three of these exciting posts tonight would not have been possibly without a loving family and a super impressive wife. 2012, the Christmas of Meat, might also be called the start of a new career or journey. With a simple and wonderful gift from my wife I might not have to work another day in my life because I am doing what I love. I love you Nikki.

Stay tuned for more details as I get them.
Also, I may have to change my business name, so if you have suggestions, please comment and let me know.

Nobody Beats My Meat

Yum

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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.

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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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Corned Beef #2 – Success

ImageI know this very nice lady.  Her name is S.S. (have to keep it private.)  She is a major foodie and has traveled all over eating some of the best foods there is.  Do you want to know what she said about my corned beef?  She said that it equals, if not surpasses, corned beef she has had in New York City.  Can you believe that?  What a great compliment.  

It was my first try at corned beef.  In fact, it was my first shot at leaving anything in a brine.  For 5 days that meat soaked in all the goodness of the bring that I had created.  Then on the 6th day I rinsed and I boiled.  (By the way, on the 7th day I drank a beer with the profit I made from the person who bought the meat from me.  For privacy sake I can not tell you that I made a ton of money on 13lbs of meat—can’t tell you that.)  The aroma in the house was awesome as the meat became tender during the boil.  I tried a little bit of the meat when it was all done and I loved it.  Truthfully I never had corned beef before; it was never on the menu at my house.  But it will be from now on.  There is no reason that a cheap cut of meat, like brisket, can not make its way to my plate more often if all you do is soak and boil.  

It was sooo good.

Now I am on to a new adventure tomorrow.  My wonderful friend Corey L, just gave me 3 wonderful ducks.  They are in the fridge right now.  Tomorrow I need to somehow do the following:

  1. Take Off The Feathers
  2. Gut Them
  3. Get over my insane fear of anything dead with a head on it.  I mean really, I chose not to go to medical school becasue I found out that I hate dead things with a head.  I could easily work on a person’s heart if it was still beating, but as soon as it stops and the person is dead (or animal in this case) I get freaked out. 

But I am going to get over that stupid fear (even though one of the ducks is looking at me through the bag).  When I get over my fear I am going to make the best duck confit you have ever had.  Or maybe Peking duck.  We will see.  More later my friends and remember you can save money and your health by buying bulk and breaking down your own food.  

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Sausage-May I

So this latest little experiment has taken me a few days. I used the master list for sausage making and added my own flavors. I will tell you more. But I’m sitting next to my smoker, it’s hot and I need water. But I wanted to at least post this link to a Sausage Documentary my six year old did while I was stuffing the casings.

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Funny Shirt

BACON IS RAD

gluten is bad!

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My First Big Project – Salted Air-Dried Ham

Flipping through my meat bible, Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, I came across a recipe that I had not seen before. It caught my eye because it had the word HAM in it. So I stopped flipping and read. What I discovered is going to be my first long term project. SALTED AIR-DRIED HAM. I know that my bacon takes 7 days to cure…but this recipe says 4-5 months (or even up to a year.)

As soon as I read that I knew that had to be my next project. I want to get into making sausages that take months or years to make, but I am a little scared. So this recipe is so simple I figure that it will be a good place to start. From the description the ham will be like prosciutto di Parma. I can not wait.

I will need:
4 pounds salt
12-15 pounds fresh ham
1/2 cup lard
cracked pepper
cheesecloth

WISH ME LUCK

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Nobody Beats My Meat Goes Public

I had a dream that I could make this little hobby of mine into a full blown business. I was thinking people could pay me to make them items such as bacon, sausage, ham; moving eventually into jambalaya, stews, soups, and so on and so on.

But this was only a pipe dream. I mean really, me start a food service operation moving into a restaurant. Nah! That was until out of the blue someone became MY FIRST CUSTOMER AND HAS PAID ME FOR BACON. Yes I have asked to make bacon.

Wait I just thought of something… I’m making bacon while making bacon. Ha, I crack myself up.

So I wanted to share this news with you. I think it’s wonderful and exciting. May the meat be forever in your favor.

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