Given that we’d be out of the house a lot over the next few weeks, I thought it might make sense to make some shelf stable snacks to bring along with us. An exercise in utility turned into a little of an odd and ends charcuterie project coming from multiple points of inspiration.
First, I had no fat back, but I had slabs of cured lardo. Last year, while in Charleston, I had some salumi studded with cured lardo at Cypress. Figuring the goal here was to keep a shelf stable product, why not start with lardo that was already there?
Next, I had some leftover mole from Jonny Zaragoza, of Masa Azul and Birrieria Zaragoza fame. I knew it was delicious and wanted to use it as the primary flavoring for the sticks. I instantly thought of instead of seasoning pork with the mole, what could be better? Goat.
So, after grinding small cubes of frozen lardo (which is actually tougher than I expected), I added a kilo of ground goat and a half cup of mole (trying to keep it mostly solids), salt, sugar and curing salt to the mixing bowl and whipped it to bind the forcemeat.
After this, I went away from standard procedure. The recipe listed below is slightly different than how I did it, but should end up almost the same and more doable at home. I had the cold smoker already running, so after stuffing these into casings and letting them dry overnight, I threw them on the smoker, smoked them for 24 hours,
then roasted them in a low oven until they reached 150 degrees internal temp,
immediately immersed them in ice cold water, then dried them for 5 days.
Once they had been cooked and dried, they were all ready to go. On Sunday, we were showing our house and needed to be gone for almost the whole day. Instead of braving brunch in a dad and two young daughters destined for disaster outing, we had a little picnic with carrots, greens from The Plant (get them), and goat snack sticks. The mole is very subtle, but the smoke strong. The goat is just gamey enough for you to know that it is not pork and the lardo bring nice complexity, but more importantly, some texture. The ribbons of white lardo coming from the grinder did not smear and held shape extraordinarily well in the binding process. When you bite into the snack sticks, you get the depth of flavor, but you also get the dried sausage aspect perhaps a little more than if soft, raw fatback was used to lard the sticks.
I am not, by nature, one of the people who can bring gifts for the kitchen when I go to a restaurant. I understand the thought, “I appreciate what you do, here are some gummi bears.” It makes sense to some, but I can not pull it off. It ends with two guys shuffling feet saying “cool” over and over again. It doesn’t work for me, but despite that I brought some in to Masa Azul for Jonny to try. They were made with his mole after all. If you are in Chicago, be sure to get over to see Jonny. He is killing it at MA. Great space, cocktails, and especially the food – oof. And even in his early 20s, he had poise enough to not allow the awkwardness of the “cool” shuffling to even get started.
Goat Snack Sticks
1000 grams goat, ground
200 grams lardo, ground
1/2 cup Oaxacan mole
20 grams salt
5 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon pink salt
Step one: Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, whip until bound.
Step two: Stuff into narrow casings. I had some breakfast sausage collagen casing, but would have preferred sheep casings. Twist the casings into reasonably similar link sizes. Let chill for a night.
Step three: With a small needle, poke holes in the casings to keep pockets from forming.
Step four: Hot smoke the sausage to an internal temp of 150 degrees. Immediately plunge into an ice bath and remove.
Step five: Dry sausages for five days. Keep those that you’ll eat over the next week out. Freeze remaining.