Charcuterie Explosion

28 Feb

I have been called the “smoker girl”, “sausage girl” or that “meat chick”.  It is true I trained under a current master in the art of charcuterie.  Meezing out the demos, cleaning the transformation room, slicing endless amounts of bacon to be sold in the school store, managing the smoker, and waiting for items to finish being braised/baked/simmered/ & smoked. I miss my days in the class room assisting chef and guiding the students to make their items.

Oh the times I was asked

  • Is this pork butt?
  • Is this hog casings or sheep casing?
  • Is this back fat?
  • Why is the grinder broken? (dude the blade is in backwards!)
  • Is this pork butt? (yeah, I got this one a lot!)
  • How do I hang the sausage in the smoker/drying room?
  • The sausage stuffer is broken.
  • Which horn do i use?

Blah, blah, blah, but I loved it.  I miss it.  I miss testing out new recipes and keeping everything organized for chef. The other odd thing that came with being the smoker girl is the essence of meat and smoke.  I always change my clothes before and after class.  Wearing my chef clothes when I am not at work is not cool for me.  Ok, I will wear my chef pants, but not my jacket and nor my white tee shirt.  I would change into street clothes.  Enough about my clothing rules.

So, the short of is; I would constantly smell of smoked meat products and men loved it.  The first time I was smelled up was at a grocery store.  A guy stood beside me and I saw the nose flare.  All I could think about was oh god, what now.  He leaned over and asked if I smelled bacon.  I blushed and said yes, you smell bacon.  “Really?” he said, “they smoked bacon here.  I had no idea”  Then I said “no they do not smoke bacon here, I smoke bacon at work.”  He looked at me, his eyes got bright and he smiled.  “You smoke bacon?”  Yes, this chick smokes bacon.  Then he asked me all these questions about smoke house and sausages.  It was crazy and then I become self-conscious about my smoke smell.

Anywhere I went I thought people smelled my smoked meat.  I am pretty sure they did.  The lady at the spa did.  She had a look of horror on her face.  But, I was most impressed with the amount of men that would come up to me.  It was like that taco bell commercial with the girl who had the bacon taco in her handbag.  I was now that girl.  So, I would suggest to any single lady to work in a smokehouse make bacon or smoked sausage all day and men will come crawling to you.  The smoked meat smell is sexy.  The nuns did not teach me that in Catholic School.

What I am getting at is this.  I am no longer in close proximity to my chef, the restaurants, and I do not have a “normal” job in the culinary world.  I had to figure that I need to practice my charcuterie somewhere.  Well first, we needed a house, the man; who will now be refered to AKA Mr Big (his choice) and I got that covered in December.  The writer I work for passed along something to me called Charcutepalooza.  I read what it was about and it had to do with A) charcuterie and B) my two bosses.  So, I was in.  Charcutepalooza is a forum of people/bloggers who are challenged to buy the book Charcuterie and make items from the book.  The first challenege was duck proscuitto, which I have done many times.  The Febuary challenge was to make an item on the cure, the choices were either bacon or pancetta.  I opted for pancetta becasue I have a sausage I want to make.  March’s challenge is the brine.  Brine chicken, turkey, beef, etc.  I am brining beef for corned beef and the recipe from Charcuterie ROCKS!

My boss, the move, and the Charcutepalozza has reignited my sausage making affair.  I have been curling a lot, but I have managed to make the pancetta (which is still hanging), 4 pounds of breakfast sausage, and the corned beef.  I also made a drying room in the cellar area of my house.  I used a plastic clothes closet, thermometer, mini fan on a timer, and a pan of water with salt. Voila my transformation room.  Check it out.  Yes, the pancetta is lonely.

What is next for the sausage girl?  I need to get my terrines going again.  Bacon, man bacon is expensive at the store.  Sweetness is my thing, I need to develop a sweet brown sugar/maple/honey/agave/cinnamon bacon.  Not all the ingredients I listed will be in it, but something that is delicious and agreeable.  Plus, a spicy sweet bacon too.  I also need to score some casing and some starters from Butcher Packer.  I have a few Italian salamis I need to make.  I would also like a coppa to start and some speck.  My secret or well more like common sense is to cure smaller pieces of meat.  They cure for shorter amounts of time and they dry faster too. 🙂

Check in for more adventures of Jaldona the Sausage Girl!

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3 Responses to “Charcuterie Explosion”

  1. Cathy February 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I love the idea that nostrils flared at the scent of smoke! Thank you for such a wonderful post.

    • jaldona February 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      Cathy you rock. That is why I am sausage girl.

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  1. There is no Corn in Corned Beef- News Robot - March 18, 2011

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