“It was like drinking Phil’s coffee for the first time and wondering what the fuck you’ve been drinking this whole time” – Rick Abruzzo, comparing store bought bacon to home cured bacon
Mike & Rick, of Chez Poulet, have been friends for 10 Years. They work together to offer neighborly instructional how-to’s in the kitchen. Next on the docket for them is cheesemaking and possiby pâté. They are easy to learn from, really know their subjects and are very passionate about food. They are also humble and honest. The best kind of teachers.
1. Use fantastic, amazing ingredients. It really makes a difference. Use high quality maple syrup for your breakfast bacon.
2. Cut off the skin from the pork belly, BEFORE you smoke it. It’s easier to remove it before you smoke it.
3. Load casings like condoms.
4. Put a little cold water in the tray below your encasing machine, so the fresh sausages don’t stick to your tray.
5. “I hate vegans and Cafe Gratitude!”
6. Twist after every other link, spin casing to create the links.
7. Get Pork Belly from the butcher and ask for the more square shaped pices. The end pieces (Tail Pieces) are more oval shaped and you can’t slice them as easily into what looks like normal slices of bacon.
8. Allow flavors to really express themselves, be natural. Figure out how things are REALLY supposed to taste. Its amazing to taste test store bought, mass produced stuff (thats usually flash-brined) and stuff you can easily make at home. The difference is astounding.
9. Cold Liquid (Water or Wine) will help evenly distribute your sausage seasonings.
10. Meat & fat are like oil & water. they don’t want to stick together. You’ll have to really mix it up and keep blending it to get it cohesive.
11. Cold Smoke = Under 100 degree (Think: Prosciutto or Salmon) / Hot Smoke is 150 degrees and up (Think: Kilbasa)
12. Good sausages are THOROUGHLY mixed before you go to encase them. If you don’t mash & mix everything you end up with an uncoagulated meat blend.
13. For an advanced bacon cure try: Coffee, Cinnamon, Cloves & Maple Syrup.
14. Warmth, is sometimes not your friend. Use ice to keep your meat cold when you are handling it. And refridgerate immediately.
15. “Don’t dream too far or get too carried away. Think of something simple like a pan roasted cannoli. Always good, always easy. Take your sausage combinations from there.”