When life is in disarray, travel! Which is what I’ve been doing nonstop for a month and a half, and more. The above is a salumi maker from Norcia, a town famed for its butchers and recently devastated by an earthquake. Happily he found a place in Rome to sell his goods. I have neglected my pledge to spend more time on this blog, but herewith is the reason why, a sort of photo essay of the lands and pigs and pork and salumi and chefs from the past six weeks. It began in Rhode Island, little old Rhode Island, where I made some mandatory holiday aged eggnog.   I was there to do a reading with Ruth Reichl at Matt and Kristin Jenkins lovely Chez Pascal, sponsored by Goat Hill, an organization like Boston’s Grub Street that Read On »

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  Today, I’d like to introduce our new subscription app called Charcuterie, a messaging app that aims not only to facilitate conversation and serve as a forum to answer questions people have about curing and preserving food, but one that will offer education, reliable reporting, and vivid storytelling. All of it led by myself and my partner in Charcuterie, chef Brian Polcyn, including many other chefs and experts as well. We want our content to inspire conversation and also to encourage people to cook and to cure. We’re using a messaging app because, in its simplicity, it enables anyone to participate and do so easily, either publicly or in private conversations. Interaction promotes learning, and conversation builds relationships. We wouldn’t be able to do this if we didn’t think it could be self-sustaining and profitable, but we’re Read On »

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  It’s bacon time again! I don’t know why but I’ve been getting a lot of bacon questions in my email recently, so thought I’d address a few issues I haven’t before. Of course, I’ve long commented on the fact that curing your own bacon is no more difficult than marinating a steak. Mix all the ingredients together and put them in a plastic bag with the meat. Use the recipe below. The aromatics, the bay leaves and everything else below can be considered optional. But there are other strategies. You could make a brine if you feel more comfortable with that. For those of you concerned about reaching the right salt and pink salt levels, you could use a technique called equilibrium brining, which I first read about in Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine. To Read On »

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  Never pass up an excuse to corn beef. Start now for St. Patrick’s day dinner. Or for whenever. The cure takes five days, so plan ahead. I recently got a question about curing it at room temperature. The brine is a nearly 10 percent salt solution, so I imagine it would be fine for five days. Also remember that after it’s cured you can keep it refrigerated for about a week before cooking. And you could keep it indefinitely in the fridge in the brine, but you’d have to be sure to cook the salt out of it after. Any cut of beef can be “corned.” (See my pastrami short ribs.) But the best cuts are the tougher, less-expensive cuts such as brisket. The only uncommon ingredient is the sodium nitrite, pink salt, available here and Read On »

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  On Sunday I went to a party, El Dio de Les Puercos! at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats in the Chelsea market, hosted by Jake Dickson. The room was packed with butchers from all over New York. Evan Brady (above, left), who gave me some of the best speck I’ve had, came from Wappinger Falls (he runs an online butcher’s supply store, Butcher’s Pantry). Jeremy Stanton, who runs The Meat Market in Great Barrington, sliced some fabulous Ossabaw prosciutto. I met a sprite of a girl named Flannery (after the writer) who is a cutter at The Meat Hook in Brooklyn. One of the founders of the Meat Hook (a store I love!), Brent Young, told me he was a grad student years ago studying education when, unhappy, he wrote me an email. I told him to get off his ass Read On »

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