This is definitely the most asked-about sausage style in my sausage-making classes. It is a hugely popular style in Alberta thanks to producers like Stawnichy’s. It goes by a confusing plethora of names – ham sausage, Ukrainian sausage, Mundare sausage, and for many people this is simply “kielbasa” even though that is a much, much broader family. So to clarify, the sausage I’m talking about in this post has the following characteristics:
- the interior is the rosy colour of ham (ie. it contains curing salt)
- the interior of the sausage is typically studded with larger chunks of ham-like lean pork
- the sausage is smoked and can be served hot or cold
I believe this style almost … Continue reading.
This is hands down my favourite preparation of pork loin: brine-cured, smoked, and sliced into thick ham chops.
While the eye of loin is a very lean, mild-tasting muscle, it is surrounded by large slabs of fat: fatback on top, and the streaky side meat that becomes bacon. Grilling or pan-frying a large pork chop with all this fat usually results in either overcooked meat or under-rendered fat. By slowly bringing this roast up to temperature over several hours in a smoker, we render all that fat without overcooking the meat. The final dish is somewhere between bacon and ham.
In Germany this preparation goes by the name Kassler Rippchen, which literally means “little ribs from Kassel”.
Details. Use … Continue reading.
The word “bacon” usually refers to pork belly that has been cured and then smoked. An exception is back bacon, which is cured pork loin. “Canadian bacon” is what Americans call back bacon that has been smoked.
Below are some notes on making bacon at home.
A Quick Tour of the Pork Belly
Before I started buying pork by the side, I ordered slabs of belly from Irvings Farm Fresh. A 5 lb slab was typically around $25.
Below is a slab of pork belly. You’re looking at the inside of the pig; the opposite side is covered with skin. The right side of this slab would have connected to the front shoulder of the hog. The left … Continue reading.
Traditionally, in North America the hock is a section of the front arm bone of the pig. On one end the elbow joint is severed. On the other, where the arm of the pig meats the body, a cut is made and the arm bone is sawed through. So on one end of the hock there is a clean joint, and on the other the circular cross-section of a bone.
In traditional British butchery it is the analogous section from the hind leg that is called the hock; that from the front was known as the hand.
Nowadays, whether taken from the forearm or the hind leg, both cuts are considered hocks. They are almost always processed into ham, that … Continue reading.
If you consult a North American resource on smoking meat, you’re likely find something like the following:
The first rule of smoking meat: use hardwood. Apple, hickory, maple, oak, pear, cherry, whatever you please, but do not use soft wood, and especially not evergreens. They are extremely resinous, and not only do they produce harsh, turpentine flavours in the meat, they are also poisonous!
These comments are discouraging to someone who lives where the prairies meet the boreal forest. Of course there are hardwood trees in Edmonton, but they’re not nearly as common as, say, poplars and spruce. There’s a spruce tree in my front yard that, if left to its own devices, will someday eat my house. There’s a … Continue reading.
The term “barbecue” is used pretty loosely around these parts. Most often it refers to an outdoor grill, but I have also had “barbecued” items in restaurants that haven’t been anywhere near an outdoor grill. In fact, these items, usually ribs or pulled-pork, have been braised or even stewed in an acidic solution called “barbecue sauce”.
True barbecue is meat, usually pork, that has been smoked at low temperatures for several hours. Tough cuts that stand up to lengthy cooking are the most common, especially pork shoulder and ribs, as well as beef brisket. The home of true barbecue is the American south, notably the Carolinas and Tennessee. True barbecue is unlike any other meat. It is transcendent. Complex, aromatic … Continue reading.