Posts Tagged With: smoke

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

Categories: Ten22 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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)

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

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

What a weekend

So Makin Bacon was a success.  Clean and simple.  8 days of love and I still have a ton of left overs.  Sunday was my Mother In Law’s birthday and she wanted a brunch.  Nikki was tasked with making homemade chocolate croissants.  They came out great.  And I volunteered to have my bacon ready. 

So Sunday came and it was the day to start.  My first project; a project of love.  Really, I started this 8 days before I smoke the meat.  I defrosted it and rubbed it with salt so it could cure and dry in my fridge.  I am not as patient as I would like to be, so waiting 8 days was hard.  But I was able to do it.

I set my alarm for 6:30 and got up at 7:00am.  Went outside to get my upright smoker going.  I got a bunch of coals nice and hot and I put it in the smoker.  I left it to go get the pork ready.  Come back outside about 20 min later and the smoker is still stupid cold.  I was like WTF.  I added some more coals and waited…and waited…and waited.  It was not getting hot at all.  So I had to think up a plan B. 

Plan B:  USE MY BBQ.  I have an awesome BBQ.  The left side is for propane while the right is for charcoal.  I took off half the grate on the right side and put my coals there.  As you can see in the picture above I was able to get both slabs of bacon on the single grate.  I did not go all out in the marinade and the rosemary.  For my marinade (it goes in the bowl under the meat to help steam it) I used a bottle of Guinness beer and maple syrup.  For my wood smoke I used both cherry chunks and chips.  I like using both as the chucks go longer, but the chips get me a pretty immediate smoke.  AND I LIKE SMOKE.

So 2+ hours on the grill and the meat hits the ideal internal temp, 150.  I brought the two slabs off and allowed them to rest.  Now mind you, the meat was not ready to eat.  Yes, technically one could eat it because the temp was at the safe level but slicing off a piece and placing it in my cast iron was the best way to finish it off.  It got a little char on it and when I put it in my mouth I got a FOODGASM.  Yes, I had never tasted any better piece of bacon ever.  It was just so rich and satisfying.  Plus I knew what was in it and actually it was probably better for someone as there was less chemicals in it.  I have 3ooz of bacon left ready to fry up and a whole other slab in the freezer.

Now I paid $28.00 for the two pork bellies.  I got basically 6 pounds of bacon.  That is about $4.66 per pound.  At Trader Joes I think it is around $5.50 for 12oz of bacon and it is a whole lot more at the other stores.  Not only did I save money.  I had a lot of fun, made something with skill and artistry, and made people smile when they tasted it. 

Here you will see 1 complete slab and half another cut into slices.

Categories: Mission: Bacon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Makin Bacon

Categories: Mission: Bacon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Its The 12 Hour Count Down

I was once a pork belly and now I am BACON. Right out of the brine and into the fridge to dry.  Tomorrow morning I will cook some of the best tasting bacon that was ever made.  Who does not love bacon…really I dare you to come forward and say you don’t like bacon.  If you do come forward, I won’t believe you.

Tomorrow is my Mother In Law’s (MIL’s) birthday and you know what she gets with her brunch..my bacon.  (Hey at least I did not say “my sausage.”)

So today Nikki and I took the bacon out of its bags and rinsed the slabs and dried them.  The next step is to leave them out in the fridge for 12-24 hours to dry.  I can not wait the 24 hours, but it will be close enough.  Tomorrow morning I am going to get up around 7:00am and start a nice little fire in my smoker.  Using cherry chunks and natural charcoal as the fire source and a maple and coke marinade I am going to smoke the bacon for about 3 hours.  I like using coke in my marinade because it seems to boil off a little slower and I like the hint of cola that it imparts in the smoke.  I think that this mixed with maple syrup will produce a wonderful moist smoke to stick to the bacon.

I have a little trick I am going to try.  Right before I take off the bacon to bring it in and fry it up, I am going to put well soaked rosemary on the coals.  This should produce a very thick smoke that will help infuse the meat with the oils from the fresh rosemary.

Now I know that you all will want to come over and taste.  This would be great, but I only have so much.

Categories: Mission: Bacon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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.

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

Is that a nipple on my pork belly?

I don’t have long to post right this moment, but I wanted to show you a picture of one of the pork bellies that I am going to turn to bacon.  I think it might have been a girl pig because of the nipple.

Categories: Mission: Bacon | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

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

First Step For My New Hobby

So as you may know know, I’m starting to smoke and cure meat. I want to do this because sausage making, curing, smoking is an art form and I don’t want it to disappear with all this pre packaged stuff. I also wanted to save money. By doing this at home the costs go way down.

So tonight I got serious. I started to look up “dealers” around my home. By dealers I mean a butcher. I would love to break down my own meat but alas I don’t have the room. So my search has led me to Orangevale Meat Shoppe. I went in tonight and was happy to find a butcher shop that was clean, well stocked, and friendly. I know that this will be the place for me.

20111228-215658.jpg

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

Blog at WordPress.com.