Growing up, we always had a garden and, alongside the garden, we also had an enormous mass of concord grape vines. When we were there in early October, there were pounds and pounds of concords bending the vine, so how could I resist bringing home a bunch? One of my first thoughts was making raisins with the concords, but the problem I found was the enormous number of seeds. Continue reading »
I love butcher shops.
Huge surprise. Right?
I do not mind the trendiness. Hell, when something is good, it is good. If others like it, so be it. Realizing it is a very old person’s way of thinking and gets in the way of the punk ethos of the tattooed chefs (cheves?), but I am not a chef, tattooed or otherwise. I just enjoy being able to get great meats in more places. Continue reading »
Every year around the fourth of July, we head North for a good bit of time and every year I bring a prize cut of meat along with. This year I brought a huge cow’s head hoping to make barbacoa the old way, in a pit. Once I got there, I dug a big pit, lined it with stones and started a huge fire in the hole. After the fire was down to embers, I lowered a chile-slathered, banana-leaf wrapped cow’s head into the hole and pushed a load of dirt around it. Eighteen hours later, I unearthed it and it was merely warm. I tried to cook it in on a grill then in an oven. In the end, I was not convinced the head was safe to eat, so I scrapped it. Continue reading »
This weekend has been the first for over three months with full access to a kitchen. After stacking meats in the freezer for months, I went to the lamb liver I had been holding onto since making lamb liver pudding. The idea I kept coming back to wa a sausage I have eaten plenty, never made, and was high on my list – braunschweiger. Continue reading »
Charcuterie can be many things. To some it is only the meat you can never pronounce – likely something Italian or French, but keep in mind the last decade of emerging trendiness in charcuterie obscures the reality of charcuterie existing in everyday life for centuries in plain sight. Hot dogs, ham, and bacon are all good examples. Guanciale is fancy. Jowl Bacon is not. Jamon Iberico is fancy. Country ham is not. Salchichón is fancy. Summer sausage is not. Continue reading »
Good riddance to the old kitchen. It is only fitting that the last morsel of food I cooked in the old beast was the best I cooked in it. This was a function of how we would make it through the time with no kitchen. The thought of being without my only burner did not trouble me nearly as much as being without a sink did, so I did made food best suited to paper plates and plastic forks. I started the smoker and filled it with meat. I barbequed. Continue reading »
In the second of three installations of ham experiments made by hamming non-pork legs, I present mole cured goat ham. This ham was inspired by Goat Boy himself, Jonathan Zaragoza. Zaragoza helms Masa Azul on Diversey just West of California in Chicago, but has been in the goat business since he was a zygote. He is part of the Zaragoza family who runs my favorite restaurant in Chicago. While Jonathan has expanded his reach past birria, he still brings the goat from time to time and when he does, I make sure I am there. Continue reading »
For the past three Novembers, I have been bugging my father to get me a full deer to butcher. Oddly, we used to butcher deer together when I was a kid each year, but then it was him both butchering and “butchering” the deer – no care taken to cut the deer into primals – just similarly sized scraps. With the promise of giving him his choice to meats, I asked just to get a whole animal to butcher. Well, not just the butchering opportunity, I wanted a leg. I wanted to make venison ham. This year, I got a leg and I made a ham. Continue reading »
When someone has an entire ham’s worth of skin, they look for uses in every corner. One of my favorite uses for pork skin is in cotechino. At our annual New Year’s Eve dinner at The Butcher and Larder, we had a zampone with dirty lentils. I loved the traditional New Year’s dish of a trotter stuffed with cotechino and when we finally got settled, I thought a great twist on the zampone would be curing the trotter in a ham cure, stuffing it with cottechino made from ham skin and then smoking it. It was a zampone, but one letter different, a hampone. Continue reading »