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Butcher Day



Today was a great day for the Smokehaus. We received two local hogs and were able to butcher them ourselves: this means we could perform special cuts in order to create special meats, such as the Austrian Speck and Germanic head cheese.


Eric’s brand-new soul brother Mike Phillips was on hand, teaching us technique and getting a pig of his own. Mike comes from Minneapolis by way of Iowa, in a town a stone’s throw away from Eric’s hometown. Amid fascinated stares from the Smokehaus crew and more bone-saws than a splatter-porn, the first hog was beheaded, de-jowled, and made into a facsimile of “meat” before most butchers could have their cleavers sharpened. Mike sure does know his way around a carcass.



Although this task was (ahem) a little graphic, this blogger believes that it is the duty of any chaircutier to understand the animal, in all its stages – guts and all. In the abstract, the flesh is profoundly beautiful – with elegant pink muscle stretched against the skeletal architecture, filigreed with snowy white fat – the animal on the butcher’s table is the proverbial sculptor’s granite, just waiting for the craftsman to reveal the hidden, intrinsic masterpiece.



We plan on doing this a lot more in the future, but for now we plan on smoking, curing, rolling, tying, braising, and savoring every part of this glorious animal. And that is sublime.




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Photoshoots and Meatmodels



October is mildly slow at the Smokehaus, so we spend time regrouping, re-organizing, and creatively spazzing-out like only we Smokehaus lifers know how. Any lack of customer activity will be amply compensated with an unaltered productive pace – demand be damned. Last week, we took some photos  on the eighth floor of the Dewitt Seitz building, where the light is always good, even on grey Autumn afternoons.

Our Berkshire Ham was the supermodel of the afternoon, showing off its jewel-tone pinks and snowy-white fat like Harry Winston diamonds. We shot dozens of pictures before we realized that they ALL were gorgeous (and therefore website appropriate), and forced ourselves to move on to smoked pork loin.



 This week, we plan on giving equal affection to our in-development catering menu, so get ready for some sexy shots of antipasti, cheeseboards, and salumi …



Mary & April

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Smoked Salmon Egg Bake

Egg Bake” is a general term here in the Midwest for a large baked egg casserole, with infinite room for variations – some include lining the pan with buttered toast, fried potatoes, polenta, or even pancakes. Here is a great recipe for a smoked salmon egg bake which cuts out the starch to make room for flavor.

Northern Waters Smokehaus Egg Bake with Smoked Salmon

Preheat Oven at 350 degrees

Butter a 13×9 casserole dish


2 Tbsp butter

12 eggs – We use the unbeatable Locally Laid, a Duluth egg concern

3/4 cup of shredded cheese, such as Gruyere, Prairie Breeze,  or Manchego

1 medium red onion, thin-sliced

1/2 lb  smoked salmon with Dill, skinned and flaked

2-3 Tbsp capers, to taste

2/3 cup grated Parmigiano

Salt and Pepper to taste


Saute the onion in a medium saucepan until translucent. Remove from heat. Whisk the eggs, shredded cheese, capers, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Scatter the bottom of the casserole dish with 1/2 of the sauteed onion. Evenly pour the egg mixture over them. Next, scatter the smoked salmon over the egg mixture and top with the remaining onion. Finally, sprinkle with the Parmigiano.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the egg has set in the center. Let cool 10-15 minutes before devouring.



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Smoked Salmon Mousse

Here’s a simple recipe that really stretches your smoked salmon supply and is an elegant way to serve a crowd.

Smoked Salmon Mousse

  • 1 lb cream cheese
  • 1 lb smoked salmon, crumbled
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-4 Tbsp heavy cream, for consistency
  • Dill to taste

You can present the mousse in a bowl for self-service, or, for a more elegant presentation, spoon or pipe onto water crackers or cucumber rounds and garnish with sprigs of dill. This smoked salmon mousse recipe also makes an elegant crepe filling.

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Smoked Salmon Chowder

The cooler weather gets us in the mood for a warming soup, and smoked salmon works especially well in a white chowder.

There are countless adjustments you can make in a chowder recipe, but don’t scrimp on the smoked salmon – it’s the best part!


Smoked Salmon Chowder

6 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons oil

1 cup small-diced carrots (about 1 large carrot)

1 cup small-diced onion (about 1 onion)

½ cup small-diced celery with leaves

½ cup chopped green pepper

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 cups good quality clam juice

2 cups milk

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic (2 large cloves)

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of nutmeg

1 16 oz. can tomatoes

1 ½ cups diced, cooked potatoes, such as Yukon Gold

1 lb. boneless smoked salmon

6-7 slices cooked, crisp Pancetta for garnish

Flake and strip skin from the smoked salmon. Reserve 1/4 cup for garnish. The rest of the smoked salmon will be added to the chowder and brought to temperature.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter with oil.  When oil is hot, add vegetables except for tomatoes and potatoes.  Stir and cook until they are softened and aromatic.  Stir in flour, reduce heat to medium, and cook briefly, about 3 minutes.  Do not let the flour brown.


Pour in stock and milk and increase heat to medium-high.  Stir well and bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Add seasonings and simmer gently, uncovered for 15 minutes.


Stir in smoked salmon pieces, potatoes and tomatoes.  Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender but not mushy.


Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with Pancetta and smoked salmon, and serve at once.


Yield:  2 quarts