I had an unstoppable hunger this past weekend for old-Chicago-style all-beef hotdogs from Vienna Beef, the best hotdog in the country in my opinion. I wanted that charred skin flavor of summer, the grill smoke from fat dripping on coals, the juicy snap when you bite into them. I decided to make buns. Why? Because, we were inviting friends (great food must be shared); I had a cool hot dog pan from American Pan; I had never made them before; and most important, the best hot dogs deserve special treatment. One of the great things about cooking is that you’re subliminally eating the entire time, a kind of calorie-free spiritual nourishment, and I was thinking about the hot dogs the whole time in the kitchen (with good mustard and minced sweet onion). Hot dog buns Read On »

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To celebrate this week’s publication of Salumi, my and Brian Polycn’s deeper quest into the craft of dry-curing meat, I’m giving away three copies signed by both me and Brian to three commenters on this post. For those who aren’t clear on the definition (and Italians don’t make things easy), salumi refers to Italian cured or preserved meats—mostly dry-cured, and mostly made from pig parts—everything from guanciale to mortadella to prosciutto. Salami, with an A rather than a U, are dry-cured sausages and are one of the many preparations that salumi comprises. My aim, as in much of my cookbook work, is to simplify what seems to be complicated. When I walked into my first salumeria, I was astonished by the variety available. Case upon case of salumi, whole sections devoted to different kinds of Read On »

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  Last week, while I stood by my Big Green Egg, smoking a big fat pork belly (for bacon) and two fat beef briskets (for pastrami), I couldn’t help but think how am I going to eat this delicious food? It was a warm, sunny day and I could actually smell the tomato vines behind me, so I thought, bacon and tomato, mmm. Then I remembered the wonderful BLT from Scratch challenge, and the inspirational response to it. Hard to believe it was three years ago. Here it is again, and I assure you, there is no finer sandwich than one that takes months to prepare! Here’s the link to the winners. The above, with that fabulous home-cured slab of bacon, was one of the best of my life. My BLT From Scratch Originally posted on September Read On »

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  Amazon is always ahead, damn them! They’d been advertising an August 27 release date for my new book, Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing, but suddenly I’m getting twitpics from people who have ordered and already received their copy! The video isn’t ready, but you folks clearly are, so here it is, Brian Polcyn’s and my Salumi, the follow-up to our previous love song to animal fat and salt. The new book focuses on dry-curing meat, both whole muscles, such as coppa and pancetta, and ground meat, such as salami. Charcuterie encompassed a broad range of preserved foods, including pâtés and confits. With a couple of exceptions (mortadella, the sopressata of Tuscany, which is the Italian version of french fromage de tête), salumi refers to salted, dried meats that are, when done well, with well-fed, well-raised pigs, Read On »

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One college in Texas bans all pork products because it is an unhealthy meat, via Huffington Post.

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