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Tubesteak Boogie

Tubesteaks are fresh and in season! Wait… what the heck are tubesteaks??? Well, it’s what my grandfather called sausages for supper to make us think we were eating steak. Though Northern Waters Smokehaus is most known for our smoked fish and meats, we are always stocked full of haus-pumped and tied fresh sausages – and in my personal opinion, our fresh sausages are some of our best products. So, pull out the grill, invite friends over, and put the beverages on ice- It’s tubesteak time. Totally tubular, brah!

Hailing from a family of Germanic and Czech heritage, holidays were a bounty of glistening sausages, savory smoked meats, and sauerkraut. Here at the Smokehaus, our fearless leader Eric Goerdt has taken his own culinary traditions and pumped them into a mouthwatering spectrum of fresh sausage flavors. Sweet maple syrup, spicy jalapeños, savory italian notes, & sweet apples are just a few of  the amazing flavors that lend to the relishing quality of our sausages. Seriously, if you haven’t tried any of our handcrafted and flavorful fresh sausages, you need to come down to our deli and pick up a pack! Or, if you live out of town, check out our website and order ‘The Fresh Pack’; we’ll send any combination of our best-selling fresh sausages right to your door! Not sure what we have to offer? School is in session! All of the delicious fresh sausages described here are available for order online in The Fresh Pack, and of course, in our Canal Park deli.

Starting with my personal favorite, our Classic German Brat is a perfect harmony of flavors – we’re talking veal, Berkshire pork, whole milk, and spices that make you long for a heaping pile of sauerkraut and mustard. This sausage is what all other German-style brats strive to be, and the attention to detail that we spend on our products really shines through in this instant classic.

 

So, we all know that beer and sausages are undeniably perfect together. So in the spirit of friendship, we created a beer brat, coined The Big Friendly; made with fresh ground Berkshire pork, Smokehaus bacon, our secret spices, and that classically sweet Minnesota brew, Grain Belt Premium. The Big Friendly is the perfect tubular vessel for accoutrements such as (of course) mustard, pickled relish, sauteed onions (deglazed with beer, obviously), or dare I even utter the word… ketchup. To each their own, I guess.


One of our most versatile sausages, The Italian, will make you scream  “MIA MADRE QUELLA SALSICCIA!”… or you can just say “Damn! That’s good.”  This sausage features Berkshire pork, salt, pepper, cayenne, crushed pepper, garlic, dried parsley, coriander, fennel seed, & bay leaves. But what makes it so versatile? Well, with this sausage you could definitely keep steady and put it on a soft white brat bun, but why stop there when it’s plump with so many flavors? Do yourself a favor and buy a pack of Italian sub rolls and top it with spicy giardiniera. YUM. Feel like eating with a fork and a knife? Rough chop and cook these sausages with your favorite red sauce to serve over a delicious plate of noodles.


One great aspect of living in the Midwest is having 4 distinct seasons. Autumn in Minnesota brings apple season, thus inspiring us to capture that tart yet sweet flavor in our outstanding Apple Brat. Made with delicious dehydrated apples, organic apple cider, freshly ground Berkshire pork, salt, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, caraway, marjoram, pepper, and cinnamon, this sausage absolutely sings when topped with delicious sauerkraut. With a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavor, we recommend enjoying this seasonal taste year-round!

Now, when the the spice gods created the jalapeño, it was written that salty pork was destined to find the jalapeño. With that understanding here at the Smokehaus, we created a monster! Smokehaus bacon, freshly ground Berkshire pork, jalapeños, and spices are forced together (through a sausage stuffer of course) to create the one and only Jalapeño Bacon Brat. This brat is the perfect balance of salt, pork, and spice. When cooking, I prefer to cook these on the grill and let them get a little crispy. The crunchy & snappy casings compliment the spicy jalapeños and succulent salty pork.

While we still have jalapeños and salty pork on our minds, we are going to venture out of hog casings and into the world of uncased sausages to talk about a spicy fresh ground sausage with inspiration derived from the amazing culinary traditions of Mexico. Let me please introduce to you our Chorizo Fresco. Made with Berkshire pork cheeks, tongues, hearts, and other organs, red wine vinegar, salt, ground Mexican chilies and jalapeños. Our ground chorizo explodes in your mouth and mind with vibrant and savory flavors. This chorizo is sold both online and in our deli in one pound packages and we guarantee that it will take your tacos and burritos to that next serious level of delicious and savory complexity.Pro tip: we also wholesale our chorizo! Find it in the Classic Provisions catalog or call us to inquire.


Let’s take a serious minute to talk about breakfast. We’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet we often skip breakfast or eat things like a simple banana. Is this because we simply don’t take breakfast seriously or don’t have time to cook a delicious breakfast? Maybe. But if this next product passes your lips, you will never want to make excuses to skip breakfast again. Please, allow me to introduce one of my very favorite Smokehaus products, THE MAPLE BREAKFAST SAUSAGE. Allow me to state that this breakfast sausage is the best breakfast sausage you or I will ever taste again. I’m f*****g serious. Made with Berkshire pork, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, sage, marjoram, cayenne, maple syrup, and honey, these little sausages with satisfy you beyond your wildest breakfast fantasies. Cook them up in a skillet with your basic breakfast, chop them up and add a bunch to your biscuits and gravy, incorporate them into a breakfast burrito or breakfast sandwich, or be the true glutton you really are and fry up and eat the whole pack (about 8 per pack or 1 lb’s worth) by yourself. You deserve it!

So there you have it! We hope that this Smokehaus fresh-sausage primer has given you something to think about when planning your next meal (or not even planning it and deciding on the fly). We will also leave you with a friendly reminder: these tasty tubular treats can also be enjoyed on the first Friday of the every month this summer at HOOPS Brewing here in Canal Park for our Summer Pop-Up Restaurant (call or look to our social media for specific times and details). And if you’re ever having a severe case of the Mondays, stop in to our Deli and try our Smoker’s Choice Sausage Special (Served 11am until they are gone), served on a Haus-made potato rosemary bun with all the necessary accoutrements provided. We look forward to seeing you!

Prost!  

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5 Things- Word to your mom

It’s been yet another crazy week here at the Smokehaus.

We’re a bit beside ourselves trying to figure out what the weather is going to do, and what our place within that ultimately is, but no matter what, the big Smokehaus wheel keeps turning and churning out great products. In this edition of 5 Things, we talk about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and how we let everyone know.

Hippie Takeover!!! Ok, so there’s this thing where your company is so immersed in their own world and culture that they forget about the world at large, right? Well, we at The Smokehaus are no different. Our main focus since inception was to make quality products that no one else in our region, and very few in the United States, could match. Upon our start, we were really in a league of our own- largely because literally no one else was producing fine charcuterie and smoked fish to the high standard that we were. Our founder, Eric, has a real and palpable passion for food, and he is able to not only convey that to others, but find the people who have that same very real feeling to work beside him. So, love of food informs all that we do, and one thing we now know is that there are a lot of people out there who have this same love of food, but cannot or will not eat gluten or animal products. Which is why we have taken on the task of producing a delicious substitute for meat, so that anyone with any dietary needs can enjoy one of our signature sandwiches. We started off by trying to smoke both firm tofu and tempeh. We’re still learning! Our staff had mixed opinions, but we agreed that we were on to something! Everyone who works for us brings a wealth of food knowledge to the table, and so by our constant collaboration we feel as though we will eventually produce something that is really special. So, we will update you with our progress in the weeks to come, and until we nail it we will just keep trying these delicious experiments.

 

hippie takeover 5 things

Word to ya Mother! We know that you love your Momma. We love our own Mommas as well, and have our own traditions in which we celebrate them each year. True to form, our owner Eric has a pretty unique food tradition with his Mom (with whom he credits kindling his love of all things culinary). Spring in Northern MN/WI/MI has always meant the annual running of the smelt. If you’re not familiar, smelt are a little sardine-like fish that are actually an invasive species to the Great Lakes, but one that those in the know really love. The tradition for fishing these little guys is to go to one of the many large tributary rivers of the Great Lakes and wade out near the mouth. There is a specialized net called a seine that kind of looks like a volleyball net which two people stretch out beneath the water. In a carefully orchestrated maneuver they will haul the net up on to shore, hopefully full of these little fish-stick fishes. The smelt are de-headed and gutted (usually with a pair of scissors and your thumb) and then lightly dredged in flour or battered and then deep-fried. The big smelt you can easily peel the backbone and little bones out and eat it like a fish stick (avoid the very end tail fin). The smaller smelt you can just crunch down bones and all (I kind of like the bones). They’re something that you can really only get fresh in parts of the Great Lakes region and definitely something that is not available in Iowa where Eric is from and where his Mother still lives. Eric’s Mom loves these little morsels, and every year Eric either cooks her some or ships them to her door. It’s such a cool and uniquely Northern thing to do that we have others considering this type of celebratory feast. The timing is perfect and the fish is suprisingly good, so why not give it a shot?

smelt 5 things

Beer And Food Are Great Partners! So, we know that craft beer has been absolutely exploding in our home state of Minnesota in the last 5 years (Not literally. Overcarbonated?), and we feel like one of the champions and great contributors to that would be The Growler Magazine. If you haven’t seen copies of this mag lying around your finer liquor stores it could mean that they have all been swooped up by those in the know who want to be even more in the know about the world of beer and it’s culture. The Growler has great contributing artists and writers who all share the common goal of educating and celebrating Minnesota (and beyond) beer, along with anything (food, culture, lifestyle) that goes with it. Luckily, The Growler has given our business great ink over the years, and it is readily apparent that the folks that work there truly love our food. In the spirit of that, The Growler came to our Canal Park offices to talk to our owner Eric and our General Manager Mary. Everyone sat down with some sandwiches and had a great lunchtime discussion about the history of The Smokehaus from inception to the present-day, with heavy emphasis on the thing at the heart of our success- our culture. The mutual admiration of our two entities was apparent, and our bond has been irrevocably established. We hope to collaborate in the future, at least on eating great food and drinking great beer, but who knows? The sky is the limit with two businesses that feel such great passion for what they do.

 

growler 5 things

Save your bottles in the 218! Since our business is directly dependent on the pristine waters of Lake Superior, we consider ourselves stewards of the environment maybe more than others normally would. We also are a business comprised of people who love the outdoors and love all of the satisfaction and serenity that our favorite body of water provides us. We try to make small and large decisions that impact how we interact with the environment around us, and we always try to make as little of a footprint as possible. To that end, we decided to splurge and get a bottle filling station in our deli. Any one of our customers and really anyone in the building can fill up for free in a reusable container, thus saving on plastic water bottles. The station even counts how many bottles you have saved! One of our deli superstars Ned snapped this most opportune photo in celebration of not only what we’re saving on plastic, but also the area code in which we reside. It’s the little things that you do every day that make a difference, and we are ever on the hunt for that next little thing that we can do to preserve not only our pristine environment, but the lifestyle that we live within it.

 

water station 5 things

Smokehaus Walk With Me. Our creative team has been on their grind lately! We have started to realize that our reach as a business is getting further and further, and that we need to respond and evolve along with the needs of our customers and in turn our own needs. Our first foray into a filmed commercial came at the hands of Jacob, a rising superstar in our Creative Department. You may notice that this commercial pays homage to one of those cult-classic weirdo television shows that is loved by only a few, but with a rabid devotion. This commercial is currently running at the local art house movie theater Zinema 2, and on our YouTube channel. We absolutely love it, and we think that you will too.

PICKUP & DELIVERY / TWIN PORTS

Did you know the Smokehaus does pickup & delivery? With beach season fast approaching, nobody has time for lines!

Posted by Northern Waters Smokehaus on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

 

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5 Ways The Smokehaus is Homegroaning

Homegrown Music Festival is a special time of year for Duluth, it’s like a yearly ritual where locals can party away seasonal depression and put the bitter cold behind us. Here are 5 ways the Smokehaus celebrates during Homegrown.

Amy Hazel (Performing with Secret Badass) by K.Prazlowicz

 

 

1 – Officially with music – The Smokehaus is full of folks who play music, so naturally we’ve got a pretty good representation in the Homegrown lineup! Here’s a list of the fine humans playing the festival, and the projects they play in

Brian Ring – Lion or Gazelle, Amy HZL

Amy Hazel – Secret Badass, Amy HZL

Cedar – Moondogs

Pete Biasi – RAW SPACE, The Ball Slashers

Jacob Swanson – Rick McLean, Heaven’s Gate Away Team

Ned Netzel – Prone, Àlamode, Yester

Jeremy Ehlert – Red Mountain

Kate Harrison – Homegrown Poetry Showcase

Greg Cougar Conley – Amy Abts

 

2- Unofficially with music – Since there’s so much fun to be had this time of year, Homegrown is just not enough to contain our needs and  satisfy the masses. This is why several of our musicians are playing music during Homegrown, but not as part of the fest.

 

 

Greg Cougar Conley – Wino WI (Unofficial show at Red Herring Lounge)

Pete Biasi & Jeremy Ehlert – Low Forms (Soup Before Supe)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – With Food – The Smokehaus had a pop-up at Hoops Brewing for the Mayor’s proclamation and to make sure everyone had a good base before the festival started. We had a great time kicking off the fest! We’ll be there on Friday, May 4th as well with Polish 

and German Brats. Come and get it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 – With Art – Beyond music, the Smokehaus is filled with visual artists as well as Pøve Collective co-owners Taylor Kline and Flo Matamoros. The Prøve Collective is now showing “The 20th Anniversary Homegrown Illustration Show” which features twenty different artist-rendered caricatures, depicting the region’s cultural luminaries dressed as the Homegrown Chicken mascot. The show will be up until May 18th, so stop in and check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 – With attendance! While we’ve got Smokehausers playing a lot music, there’s also plenty of us who like to make it out to as many shows as we can.It’s a long week but we’ve got several seasoned professionals who manage to make it out every night and even make it to work throughout the week!

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5 things-Sandwich and a side please

Let’s talk sandwiches, sides and Purple and Rain this week.

It’s no secret that we love experimentation, change, and eating at the Smokehaus. That’s why our menu is ever evolving and revolving. Which is actually sort of tricky since our main sandwich board is all HAND-DRAWN – isn’t it a masterpiece?

smokehaus

So this week some important decisions were made, so that you all can eat more fan-favorite sandwiches and of course sides. A side-note on sides. Let’s be honest, sides can make or break a meal. Did you have a side of bacon with your eggs this morning? Perhaps a side of warm berry compote with your whole wheat french toast? A side of garlicky lemon broccolini with your duck roast? And then there’s lunch. Our bread and butter. Our sides have come a long way! Have you tried our Hausmade potato salad with pancetta and egg? It rounds out lunch-time, just perfectly.

So, here’s 5 things that happened in our small deli this week:

#1 The Thursday special, the Clubhaus (drooling now) has made its way on to our permanent menu! Congratulations Clubhaus! That crispy combo of pancetta and smoked turkey can now be eaten at all hours of the day, 7 days week. Thank the good lord. And,… in its place on Thursday comes the CBLT! Crunchy cottage bacon, lettuce, tomato on Hausmade Rye. It’s the classic combo done Smokehaus-style of course. Order yours with a side of creamy crunchy coleslaw.

smokehaus clubhaus

#2 So, now to the sides. Like I said, sides bring a certain level of satisfaction to every meal. Now, we can assist in your side planning by offering our Pancetta & Egg Potato Salad and our Creamy Slaw (Koolsla, we’re calling it) in our Grab ‘n’ Go area. Obviously, mayo is a factor in these traditional salads, and we use only the best, and most delicious, Duke’s.

smokehaus sides

#3 A certain special sandwich was been resurrected this week by popular demand. Yes, the Purple Range is BACK, baby. It just couldn’t be wiped away, thrown aside, or forgotten about. And customers just couldn’t stop ordering it. For some it’s always sounded like a sort of funny combination, but once you try it, you’re likely to change your tune.

smokehaus sandwiches

#4 Thing number 4 (not sandwich related). Posters have been hung in our front deli windows – check ’em out next time your in line. We’d be remiss if we didn’t let y’all know about all the ways to get our food. Our shop is ground zero of course, but our other departments are popping off in a pretty amazing way. We ship nationwide (shipped to every single state last year!), we deliver ALL of our products locally, and we cater events from small meetings to full blown Viking weddings. Think about it for your next fun thing… we’re here to feed you.

smokehaus catering

#5 And what’s a blog post if we don’t talk about weather. I’m still trying to determine if people talk about weather here more than the west coast, or if it’s just the fact that I personally have talked about weather more here since I’ve moved back. At any rate, we seem to have turned a corner (at long last) from the long winter into the great warming of spring. Temperatures sky-rocketed into the upper 50s/low 60s this week. Our beanie-less heads finally felt the warmth of the sun and the wind through our hair. And then today, it rained. A sure sign of the abundance and growth of spring and summer to come.

duluth rain

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1998 – Year One in Smoked Fish History

A damaged ship that Eric inspected! Photo by the fantastic Pete Clure.

Smoked fish has many histories – and ours officially began back in the 90’s.  To celebrate our 20-year anniversary, we have collected stories from all over Northern Waters Smokehaus for every year we’ve been in business. Our deli opened its doors in 2001 and basically hit the ground running. We’ve been selling smoked fish, meats, salumi, and sandwiches out of that little location for so long that some regulars call us an institution (thanks, y’all). However, our company was actually founded in 1998 on separate banks of Lake Superior almost single-handedly by co-owner Eric Goerdt.

Fresh from his experiences in Alaska and Hawaii, Eric had already begun to make his way into the Twin Ports community. He worked for the Coast Guard inspecting ships for safety and had started several key relationships through this work. As a petty officer, he wasn’t required to wear his uniform on inspections. Eric, ever the rebel, would run around ore boats in his civies, scampering from rivet to trivet, cracking jokes and making folks laugh. “The food on those ships is AMAZING,” said Eric when I asked him about those days. “They ate like farmers – piles of gravy, pork chops, pies: they didn’t have that much (pastime) activity, so food was a big deal.”

Eric consequently started selling the sailors smoked fish – a perfect fit for his burgeoning career. By the end of 1998, he had fine-tuned some recipes and had enough of a business plan to get to work, smoking salmon in small batches at a nondescript business center in Superior, WI. His limited equipment meant a lot of cleaning: he had to fully hose down the one cooler he used in between raw and cooked, so he was constantly busy. As he smoked and cleaned, drove and hustled fish at the ports, his local following grew. “I put the fish in a little cooler in the lobby,” he remembered, “with a bucket beside it for the honor system – it worked!” People from all over the Twin Ports began gobbling down the miraculous kippered fish. When the fish was cooling, he would head over to a tiny brew pub, Twin Ports Brewery, to socialize and drink microbrews (Eric knows as much about beer as anyone I’ve ever met, and even had some rough plans to run his own pub until he realized he might miss out on some elements of family life if he was at a bar until the wee hours). It was at TPB that he met even more people – people who would become close friends and customers. The adventure had begun!

 

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5 Things- Coming out of the Winter doldrums

IN A WORLD where you only have space to write about so many things, you sometimes wish for less things. At other times,  you wish for more things. But for my purposes, I hope for exactly 5 things. This week, dreams came true! So, to wit:

 

Photo by Bob King                                                

Inclement Weather Update: This week started off with some pretty heavy weather… The kind that makes gigantic waves that sometimes go so far onto the shores of Canal Park that it floods our basement. NOT THIS TIME! Nope, other than some treacherous driving (and walking, let’s face it) things went off pretty much without a hitch down here. Our diligent crew braved all kinds of elements and did their thing as usual; brilliantly. Duluth got about 8 inches of blowing and drifting snow, which made travel difficult for about 24 hours. But, by the end of the week and with a couple of days of warm weather, the very late in the year blizzard receded into a distant memory. This weekend should give us ample opportunity to get some warm sunshine on our faces. Worth the wait!

The Northern Bagel Kit has this week passed a milestone! Due to the hard work of our bright and shiny mail order department, an idea that came to fruition has since gone on to become a momentous reality. As of this week, we have shipped The Northern Bagel Kit to 13 states across the US. That means that people across the nation are able to construct their own taste of Duluth and NWS whenever they want to! We’re completely honored that we have so many fans of our humble deli throughout the nation. For those who come from here and are homesick for a taste of something that you can only find in Duluth, you can be sure that this hit the spot.

What’s that in the window? Well, it’s some pretty great illustrations done by our own Florencia! She has been working out the details and drawings for our 3rd floor office window eleganza, and they are giving us life. Look for these to be up in the next couple of weeks. They will be highly visible and will not only point out our great location, but also show off some of the great artistic elements that add to our total package here at The Smokehaus. We’re stoked to see them come to life!

Rose Season! Yessssssss! It’s back! The weather is warming and the season is right for some delicious Rose on the patio! Our pals at Lake Avenue Cafe across the hall have just ordered up a some great Rose selections to drink into the summer, and we can’t wait to try some while sitting on their sunny and cozy deck. Rose has really hit it’s stride in the past few years, and there is an embarrassment of great versions coming out each season. It’s a great one to pair with delicious and fatty charcuterie (think of our saucisson sec warming in the sunshine a little) or just on it’s own for a refreshing taste of summer. If you love a crisp white wine but haven’t really given Rose a chance, there is no better time than now. Do it!

To the dump! Here at the Smokehaus, we recycle, reuse and generally try to pay as little as possible for things when we can, and our favorite payment plan is FOR FREE. Much of the office furniture that we have was found or given to us, and we think that way of doing things makes perfect sense. Sure, we can’t buy commercial-grade restaurant equipment for little to nothing, and of course we spend premium money to bring you premium food products, but if we can make do or get it for free, we usually will. Which is why we’re such big fans of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District’s reuse center on Rice Lake road in Duluth. Anytime someone brings things in to throw in the landfill that still have a useful life left, they get put aside in a series of buildings until someone that has a need for them ferries them away. It’s all free, and it’s such a great way to not only save money, but also keep rampant consumerism in check. Our Smokehaus offices were in need of another desk, and so off to the landfill we went in search of a free desk. We found a pretty perfect desk for our uses, which by itself would have made it a fruitful trip, but then we found THE PAINTINGS. There was pretty serious debate about who exactly was being depicted in these paintings; is it really Sid Vicious? It kind of looks like him in Anime form… Is that Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame, Pete Wentz from Fallout Boy or just someone’s boyfriend? We don’t know, and we don’t really care. We just loved the paintings, and since they were free… why not? Our staff has already gotten a lot of joy out of them, and that’s all we really care about.

 

 

 

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5 things: Travel Channel Edition

The Travel Channel stopped by our Smokehaus this week and we had a blast hosting them! If you followed our live streams and Instagram stories, you already got to see all the glitz and glamour, but here’s a quick recap.

5 things – Travel Channel Edition

#1 Sandwiches – The Travel Channel chose 3 sandwiches to play a starring role in the production. The doughy divas that made the cut are: The Silence of the Lambwich, the Italiensk and (of course) the Cajun Finn! We just can’t contain the magic of the Finn!

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

#2 Space – Have you seen our shop? IT’S TINY! But there’s even less room with a TV crew, lights and cameras. We made it through without any major injuries or breaking their equipment, so we’ll call it a win!

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

#3 I’ll be waiting in my trailer – Smoking extrordinaire Nick Cleary and master sandwich architect Leif Hinkel put on their TV faces and gave the Travel Channel the inside scoop of what goes into our Cajun Finn. Both of them were pretty cool cucumbers with all the lights and cameras!

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

#4 Customer Stars – Employees weren’t the only stars for the day. Many of our patrons stopped in and some were interviewed about what they love about our food. It was flattering to hear so many nice things 💗💗💗

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

#5 NEWS NEWS NEWS – The Travel Channel weren’t the only ones who graced our little shop. WDIO and Fox 21 reported on the event. What a day! Keep following our journey and we’ll keep you posted on when our episode will air this summer.

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

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5 things: The Travel Channel comes next week!

Here’s “5 things” that happened at the Smokehaus this week.

#1 First things first! The Travel Channel comes next week!!!! EEEE! We have been planning and scheduling and cleaning and eating and planning and generally feeling excited as we wait for the Travel Channel to come visit us next week! Share in our big day by visiting us on Tuesday, April 10 between 11am and 2pm. They are stopping by to try your favorite sandwich, the most popular, The Cajun Finn! We hope to see you Tuesday for the filming and all the fun!

cajun finn

#2 This week we started selling Cottage Bacon in our deli. Ours is made from 100% Berkshire Pork, from the collar butt cut. Collar butt is the same cut of pork we use in our Porkettas and formerly our Coppa. The collar butt cut comes from the pig’s shoulder. This specific cut is very tender and has an awesome fat marble that is well known with the Berkshire breed. We pump and brine the collar butt the same we do our hams. They brine for roughly one week and take 7-9 hours in the smoker. Sliced to order by the pound and best served pan fried, just like bacon!

#3 Another new item to snag when you visit us this weekend is Blue Earth Brie Cheese. Blue Earth is a bright, grassy, buttery soft cheese made from 100% grass fed cow’s milk. Rich and smooth, Blue Earth reflects the fertile soils that dominate its namesake Blue Earth County. From the maker of the Camembert-style in our grab’n’go, Alemar Cheese Co. (Mankato, MN) continues to create award winning French-style cheese. Enjoy this brie with sweet fruits such as apples, berries, cherries, pears. Sweeten it up by drizzling honey over it. Pairs well with light to medium red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. And is superb with cured meats, such as Cottage Ham, Ham, Salamini, or Saucisson sec!

#4 The van gets dressed up! Our delivery van got all dolled up this week with new van decals. We slapped on some Smokehaus stickers to the old girl so you can wave to us when we are delivering Smokehaus sandwiches, platters, fish, meats, grocery items (anything we sell!) all over town. Didn’t know we delivered? You are missing out! Check out the delivery map.

#5 This first week of April also brought with it frigid temperatures and snow. Some may call this fun. Some may call it a brutal end to a brutal winter. Some may have shed a small tear, and others don’t even bat an eyelash. We live in an interesting weather place next to the giant Lake Superior. We really never know what kind of winter it will be, or how long. At any rate, we push onward and patiently await for that mercury to rise, so we can plunge into that lake!

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Always Smoking Something

Throughout the years, people have asked us what our slogan “Nos Fumant Aliquid” means. It appears on social media, our register receipts, menus, stickers, and other ephemera. Roughly speaking, it translates to “Always Smoking Something,” though the Latin is only as good as a very early version of Google Translate. But the words sound good and the translation is pretty accurate. Today I looked in at the Latin translating dictionary at Notre Dame and got some of the nitty-gritty on the phrase:

n.os PRON 5 3 NOM P C n.os PRON 5 3 ACC P C [XXXAX] we (pl.), us; fum.ant V 1 1 PRES ACTIVE IND 3 P fumo, fumare, fumavi, – V [XXXCX] smoke, steam, fume, reek; aliqu.id PRON 1 0 NOM S N aliqu.id PRON 1 0 ACC S N [XXXAO] anyone/anybody/anything; someone; some/few; some (particular) thing; some; any; a few; a particular/certain ~; some other; about/like (NUM); aliquid ADV POS aliquid ADV [XXXCO] to some degree/extent; somewhat
In other words: “We Smoke Anything.” Latin is a slippery language, but at the heart of it, the meaning is there. We’re experimental, enthusiastic, and excited about the possibilities of smoke and time.
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Top 5 Ways to Devour Ham

smoked ham steak

If you’re like me, you could eat ham pretty much any time and any old way. I’m not even picky about the quality – when I was a vegetarian, I still ate the really cheap ham because I figured it was mostly just ham-flavored water product (just one of my many vegetarian loopholes). I’ve had a taste of most of the world’s best hams – from Iberco to Benton to Parma – though I’d love to sample the Chinese varieties and have yet to try true Austrian Speck.

I also enjoy preparing ham at home (though less is usually more) – it is a resilient and helpful culinary substance that translates across cultures, mealtimes, textural impulses, and flavor profiles – and I almost always have it on hand. Here’s a few ideas and a recipe or two to kickstart your ham frenzy.

1. Burnt Ham Ends: Take a small ham (a partial picnic ham works great for this) and cut it up into uneven chunks. Toss the chunks in a mixture of molasses, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and black pepper and roast in a 350 degree oven for up to 2 hours. The chunks will become blackened on the outside and stay moist and hammy on the inside. Eat with large portions of cheesy potatoes (a Minnesota staple involving frozen hashbrowns and cheese aplenty).

2. Ham Shred: Like the above, this one involves annihilation. Braise the ham for 4 hours at 300 degrees, covered, with the liquid of your choice (ham or pork stock is nice and subtle). Take the lid off and using two forks shred the meat (it should be extremely yielding at this point). The shreddy meat should soak up all the residual fat and liquid. Tong up mountains of ham shred onto the platform of your choice: hamburger buns with mustard and Swiss; bowls of rice and furikake, tortillas with pineapple salsa; or large portions of cheesy potatoes are all suitable candidates.

3. Ham-n-RamenKeep it simple with your favorite instant variety or make your own, but garnish with perfect strips of thick-cut ham rectangles that have been marinated for an hour or so in miso paste and soy sauce and then seared until dark and irresistible. Bonus points for garnishing with a coddled egg or a dollop of cheesy potatoes. You’ve never had a cheese element in your Ramen? Neither have I. I bet it’s good.

4.  Double-Smoked Ham: This is a scam that I see sometimes – a business will advertise their ham or bacon as “double-smoked,” but it’s really just pre-cooked stuff a company will purchase and then run it through their own smoker to claim it as their’s. All the hard work of curing, resting, and cooking has already been accomplished, but the company gets to slap a sticker on it and profit off some unnamed smokehouse’s work. And they charge you more for this ruse. Might I suggest you DYI this scheme and double smoke your own damn ham? Simply fire up your charcoal grill (preferably with hardwood, but you can use hardwood charcoal  if you prefer), plop the ham on the grate, cover, and let her rip. Greg Conley, the Grill Zsar of Superior Street, has a more technical set of instructions:

For charcoal grill:  Use lump charcoal, charcoal briquets, or ideally, a combination of the two. You don’t need to use a lot of fuel, as you don’t want it to get particularly hot. Once the coals are ready to go, dump or shove them all to one side. Remember, you can always add more fuel as needed. The idea is that you go at a pretty low temperature (200-250 degrees Farenheit is ideal) for as long as possible without drying out the ham. A cast iron pan of water can be added to the grill next to the coals, which will help regulate the temperature and also keep humidity on the meat. Once you have your coals situated, wrap the bottom of the ham with foil and place it on the opposite side from the coals. You will need to check the temp to make sure the ham is not scorching. If it is getting scorched, you may need to remove some coals. When the ham is placed and the coals are regulated, you will want to place some soaked wood chips, moist sawdust or green wood  (maple, any fruit wood, hickory, mesquite) directly on the hot coals. You will then want to just crack the bottom and top vents on the grill so that you have minimal oxygen going over the coals. Your soaked wood should start to smolder, and you will see white smoke billowing out from the vents and lids. From there, give it at least an hour on the grill (you can use an internal thermometer if you want the ham to be warmed up and served immediately) or more based on how smoky you want it. You’ll need to replenish your soaked or green wood every 15-30 minutes or so, depending on how quickly the smoke is depleted. You can go as long as you want as long as the heat is regulated and how much fuel and green or soaked wood you have.

For the gas grill: Most gas grills have at least two burners, often situated side by side with separate controls. The method for using your gas grill to smoke ham is the same as using a charcoal grill, except MUCH EASIER. In this case, rather than shove coals to the side, you just light one burner on one side and put the ham on the opposite side. Everything else is the same.

5. Easter Ham, Perfected: I like this particularly with our Smokehouse Berkshire Ham.

Set a half ham face down on a rack in a large roasting pan, and score the outside with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern. Stud the diamond points with cloves for an old-fashioned come-hither ham look.

Pour enough beer (lager) into the bottom of the pan so that it is about an inch high. Take two sticks of lemongrass and cut them into three-inch lengths. Toss them in. Cut three inches of fresh, peeled ginger into 1/2-inch chunks and add them to the mix. Slice up 2-3 shallots and have them follow suit. Cover the whole shebang in foil and place it in a 325 degree oven for about 70 minutes (for a 7 pound ham).

After the initial bake, take the ham out, remove the foil, and glaze the ham with a mixture of the following:

  • 1½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup clover honey
  •  ¼ cup xiaoxing wine

The mixture will be runny, so scoring the ham at the beginning will really help capture it. Put the uncovered ham in the oven for another 20 minutes or so, or until nicely colored. Voila: a really tasty ham is made even tastier! Serve with cheesy potatoes, miso-glazed carrots, or nothing at all.