We have been knee deep in peaches this season. It is likely that I could be classified as an in-season peach hoarder. My lovely wife has broken out in a rash and braved canker sores from eating so many. It was not until we were ready to hit the market the next day and we still had peaches. I knew that I was planning on buying more peaches, so I wanted to put these peaches up. Continue reading
It has been a long while since going all out in a meat festival. Over two years since hosting a bacon-tasting, a few of us have entered into a sacred ham sharing arrangement. It only makes sense. Country ham is the king of cured meats. Bacon is delicious, prosciutto and serrano are delicious, but country ham is like the best of both worlds. The only issue with country ham is how in the hell do you choose where to get yours – if you even have room to store an entire ham. The solution is easy. Find other ham lovers and diversify your ham portfolio. Make a Franken-ham. Continue reading
If you live in or have spent time in Chicago, you likely know about Italian Beef. If you don’t or haven’t, you may not. It is not actually Italian and it is only beef in theory. There is not anything particularly beefy about it. It is usually comprised of an ultra-lean cut of beef that is cooked medium, then shaved on a deli slicer, and then cooked again in its juices. Then it is shoved into a hard roll, topped with giardiniera, and dipped back into the juices. To me, it is a monstrosity. Continue reading
With country ham epicness ahead, I wanted to use the last of the Benton’s Country Ham gifted so generously by Mr. Schleifer (remember, the connoisseur of anchovies, country ham, and laksa?) before that whole business started. It is those kind of thoughts that often get me into trouble. I want to use random, free small bits, so I go out of my way for days to find supplies to “use it up”. This was no different. I was paging through Momofuku and saw that Chang uses country ham in place of Yunanese ham while making XO sauce. After reading the recipe and description of XO sauce, despite never having it, I knew that I was going to make it. Continue reading
Last week, an Onion article popped up all over my Facebook wall. Embarrassingly enough, it resonates with me and it has bled over to this blog. Never having been a runner, I never had to deal with the filter that should be applied when discussing something so personal and important to me and something so unimportant and inane to someone else. I have to deal with and improve that, but indulge me this one time (hopefully). You see, I can not stand fitness food. Unfortunately, I have had to start with the gels on my long runs as the digestive ramifications of eating dried fruit an hour into a three hour run was too much to bear. I do not eat granola bars nor power bars, CLIF bars or any other “bar”. I find them far too sweet.
I thought of a few adaptations to the standard granola bar that might make them more agreeable to my palate and after a few go arounds with similar themes, I found a combination that I really like. By now, you should know me well enough to know that meat would likely become involved at some level. Over the past six months, I have been experimenting with savory oatmeal and this was just a riff on that theme. As it stood, I was lucky enough to have a good bit of leftover smoked porchetta di testa from an early July BBQ that was securely waiting in my freezer. That would be a good start. Continue reading
The title of this post reads as convoluted, but the assembly of the dish is so simple that it hardly merits being called a recipe. It is more like something to eat while you create bacon and, more importantly, a way to optimize smoker space and wood smoke. I am a big fan of optimization. I plan my days to minimize wasted motion and waste in general, so when I light the cold smoker, my mind goes into overdrive with the question that would be asked if IFC created an offshoot to Portlandia called Austindia, “Can You Smoke It?” The smoke is there until it is gone and if you don’t use as much grill space as you can, you are wasting the smoke. Continue reading
Even years after starting a bacon blog that features both making and tasting bacon, there is a singular bacon experience that stands out as “the best bacon”. Benton’s. You can say the word “Benton’s” to any carnivore who knows things and watch their eyes light up. It is almost universally loved and, even still, nobody makes bacon in that style that would be even a reasonable substitute. No bacon mixes salt and smoke in the same quantity (much less quality). It seems that nobody has even tried.
I am trying. This is my attempt. Continue reading
Maybe I seek them out, but over the past few years, I have crossed paths with some of the country’s finest charcuterie makers. Every one of them have been amazingly nice and very generous with their time and knowledge. From Rob Levitt to Craig Deihl to Michael Ruhlman to Brian Polcyn to Chris Cosentino, each of the meat heroes has gone out of their way to make me feel less of a silly fan boy (which I am). Continue reading