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Twin Cities are Ganging Up On Us (In a Good Way)

When it comes to Minneapolis, we’ve been trying to get our foot in the culinary door for years – with some success: writers like Rachel Hutton and Rick Nelson have been heaping on praise since the Mid-Aughts, our fanciest distributor, Classic Provisions, has remained a hugely supportive and helpful resource and mouthpiece, and Page Productions plunked us into prime-time Food Network territory when they scouted us for Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

 However, when you’re a business in triage formation (due to a good kind of boom) you don’t get around much anymore. It was just last week that we finally were able to break free of the deli and check out our urban counterparts, hoping for inspiration, new products, and some fantastic food.
Who knew there would be so much love? Everywhere we went, we were treated like long-lost cousins: lavished with food, drink, and attention, regaled with information, and positively bolstered with support. And the food was amazing. 

We really enjoyed Midtown Global Market: the spicy curry from Safari Express, the cleverly-named snackies from Left-Handed Cook, and the cheese samples from Grassroots Gourmet whetted our appetites, culminating in a trip downtown and a beer garden bacchanale at Butcher and the Boar, where the riot of garnish on their foot-long hot dogs elevates them to a spiritual plane, and the brussels sprouts are so good they could make you tear up. 

 One of the best stops on our tour was the Minneapolis meat church Kramarczuk’s, where we got a tour, some tips, and heaps of Eastern-European style charcuterie. To be acknowledged by a deservedly worshiped shop like Kramarczuk’s was absolutely beautiful and absolutely unexpected. 

 We finished our trip at the warehouse of Classic Provisions, where we perused aisles upon aisles, cooler upon cooler of the finest foods in the world. The awe was ushered by the equally fine staff at Classic, who somehow know the story behind every one of their hundreds of products. Who knew a warehouse could be an enlightening experience? 

When we returned to the Smokehaus this week, we had plenty of stories, menu ideas, and new products to share, but also our Classic Provisions and Kramarczuk’s spoils, which are being devoured as I type.
So, thanks, Minneapolis. We didn’t know how much we needed that – you burst our Duluth bubble and we don’t need it anymore, because if we took one thing away from this experience (besides several pounds of sausage, specialty chocolate, and enough domestic cheese to open a temporary fondue restaurant) it is that food makes the world smaller, it binds us together, but it is of course bigger any of us – it makes so much possible. This is something we always knew, but started to forget. 

Here’s a few shots of our show-and-tell, courtesy of Kramarczuk’s, Classic Provisions, and Grassroots Gourmet:

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Smokehaus Recipe: Carne Adobada

We have been making carne adobada since the early days of Northern Waters Smokehaus: Eric “discovered” this spicy, satiating dish while visiting his wife’s family in New Mexico. The New Mexican chile, or Hatch Chile, is integral to the recipe – feel free to simplify any or all of the other ingredients, but be firm on this one.

This recipe is a large one, but you can cut it in half if you want to. However, be warned – you will want leftovers, as adobada is great with eggs, in tamales, in soups, as enchilada filling, etcetera. This recipe also requires at least 24 hours (ours takes 3 days), and is especially well worth the time if you make the full amount.

hatch chili cut

Carne Adobada

Ingredients:

10 lbs fat-marbled pork (we use Berkshire pork hams or cheeks, but collar-butts and shoulders work fine)

1/2 lb dried Hatch or New Mexican Chilies, available online, or if you’re lucky, at a nearby grocery store

7 (or so) cloves of garlic

2 Tbsp of chicken base, or 1 cup chicken stock (in which case  lessen the water quantity accordingly)

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 1/2 tsp cumin

2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp dried oregano

Healthy squirt of Sriracha or the like

1 quart of water (if using chicken stock instead of base, lessen the water quantity by 1 cup)

Directions:

ham chunksOn a large cutting board, cut the pork into 1 1/2 – 2 inch cubes. Don’t worry too much about trimming away fat: most of it will be dissolved and enveloped into the sauce as it cooks. Throw the cubes in a large roaster/cast iron/enamel-coated Dutch oven. Use a sharp knife, and enjoy the zen that comes from spending so much time breaking up a large piece of meat. 

adobada cuiseIn a large food processor or blender, pulse the garlic. Cut the woody stems off of the chilies and add to the food processor, seeds and all. Fee free to wear kitchen gloves – the chilies get rather tingly, especially in the eye region. A half pound of chilies should nearly fill a 14 cup processor. If you are using a smaller model, simply split the recipe and do a double batch.

When you have piled in all the trimmed chilies, add the chicken base or stock, sugar, cumin, salt, cinnamon, oregano, and Sriracha. Pulse a few times, then slowly begin to add the water through the feed tube. If you add it too fast, you may have a mini-chile explosion on your hands (and on your kitchen), so take your time, and don’t let the mixture level exceed the lid of the processor. When all the water has been added, let the mixture blend until it is slightly thick and relatively smooth, about 5 more minutes.

adobada finished sauceTaste the mixture, and specifically check for salt. It will be quite spicy, but this attribute will mellow over time, so don’t fret if it knocks your tastebuds back into your palette.

Dump the sauce over your meat cubes, and mix well. Cover the mixture and let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 24 hours, but up to 3 days.

cooking adobadaPreheat your oven to 350ºF. Place the covered mixture in the oven and let roast for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300ºF and let roast for at least 3 more hours (but preferably 4), stirring once in awhile. Uncover and let roast until browned and tender – approximately 30 minutes more. When it’s cool enough to taste, check for salt.

Serve with tortillas and not much else – a touch of yogurt or sour cream and a lightly-dressed pile of bitter greens on the side works out well, but through years of due diligence, we find adobada is best in its simplified form.

 

adobada close up

eating adobada

all done adobada

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Gratitude

What did we do n our summer vacation? A whole lot of smoking, curing, cooking, and serving … with enough room for pleasure.
Thanks
We’ve been blessed with a beautiful, blissful, and extremely busy summer … and we owe a lot of it to the Duluth weather gods, but also to you.
Northern Waters Smokehaus has added many new staff members, lost a few (to the wilds of Alaska, the hipster-sway of Portland, and the ever-present tug of Minneapolis haute cuisine) – but we remain faithfully the same old Smokehaus we’ve always been: hungry, exuberant, curious, and earnest.
 hula hoop Smokehaus party

As our Smokehaus family continues to grow, so does our food knowledge and desire for more flavors, products, and service, so we’ve been spending some time in the basement, developing new recipes and refining some old favorites. Stay tuned for recipes and hints; for now here are a few images that conjure fragments of what was a remarkable summer.

beer fridge; Northern Waters Smokehaus 




Thanks, everybody. Sincerely.
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We Love Our Shop

Summer is here! Our deck is set up, our sandwich menu is booming, and we are ready to take your order!

 

We are truly excited to help out in “the tents” during Marathon Nights, an annual music/food/local beer celebration here at The DeWitt-Seitz Building
We plan on grilling up some sausage and getting down to Charlie Parr. It’s all in honor of Grandma’s Marathon, Duluth’s world-class running challenge (that happens to have a finish line on our figurative back porch). It’s all happening on the weekend of June 21 – Join us!
Until then, here are a few faces to get familiar with this summer – we love meeting new customers, chatting about charcuterie, pig roasting techniques, or fishing the big lake. Whether you stop by our little shop on your way up the North Shore, to check out the Tall Ships, or maybe even to get your hands on a Saucisson Sec, we can’t wait to see you.
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A Day in the Life of a Fish Smoker Part 2: The Rack

After the fish has been brined, Tyson rinses the excess salt and sugar off the salmon. Now comes the racking process: pretty simple except it is important to leave just enough room between the salmon pieces to prevent them sticking together during the smoking. This would be very simple if we didn’t have to stuff the smoker every time we smoke – so we try to squeeze every millimeter of space to accommodate as much fish as possible.

As the fish is racked, Tyson spices some and leaves others bare – our Traditional smoked salmon. The spices – Black Pepper and Coriander; Dill; and Cajun – are evenly sprinkled (or perhaps doused) over the salmon pieces. Once the salmon is sufficiently gussied up, the fish will chill in a constantly-circulating cooler. This creates a kippering affect, sealing in moisture and simultaneously fostering a thin bark around each slice.

salmon_rinsing

salmon rinsing

 

salmon racksalmon rack

salmon rack

salmon spice

 

salmon spicing trio
Atlantic Salmon, set to be smoked
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Smokehaus Recipe: Potatoes Au Gratin with Chorizo

Perfect for Easter (or any old time of the year), we spun a classic recipe, potatoes au gratin, with a Smokehaus twist: our own dry-cured chorizo. The subtle smokiness of the chorizo offsets but does not overpower the earthiness of the potatoes, and the flowery-buttery nature of Gruyere binds the casserole into a creamy, harmonious dish that is all at once bright, silky, and memorable. Oh – and incredibly rich. Speaking of Gruyere, we used a recent addition to our cheese case from Wisconsin: Roth Kase’s Grand Cru.

potatoesaugratinchorizo

Gratin Potatoes with Crispy Chorizo

Ingredients:

2-3 cloves garlic

1 tsp (or so) butter

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes

3 cups heavy cream, or a milk/cream mixture if you’re squeamish

1 tsp (or so) olive oil

1 link dry-cured chorizo

2-3 medium shallots

1/2 lb Gruyere

Scant teaspoon sea/kosher salt

Black pepper

1-2 bay leaves

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cut each clove of garlic in half and rub the raw ends evenly over a large casserole (or Gratin if you’re fancy) dish. Reserve the garlic for later. Next, butter the dish and set aside. I also like to shred the Gruyere about now, so I don’t have to worry about it later.

grated gruyere

Peel and slice the potatoes, making sure they are uniform. We cut ours in approximately 1/8 inch rounds, and this really did the trick. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine cream, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and squished-up garlic from the above – then add the potatoes and stir the concoction as best you can. Bring this up to a medium simmer, and once at this temperature, cook for 7-10 minutes or until the “sauce” slightly thickens and the potatoes become slightly flexible (but not soft). 

potatoesgarlic

sauceandpotatoes

While this is happening, skin the chorizo, then dice it into small chunks. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan on medium-high and saute the chorizo until it is crispy, 5-10 minutes. The goal is a crispy coating around a softer interior. When this is achieved, fish the chunks out with a slotted spoon but keep the oil in the skillet. Slice the shallots into rings and add them to the chorizo oil. Sauté for a few minutes, until soft but not crispy. Once again, remove the goodies with a slotted spoon. I suggest putting them in a white ramekin – the better to marvel over their jewel-toned transformation – but any old plate/dish/bowl will do. 

chorizoskinned

If you have completed the chorizo/shallot work, I bet your potatoes are ready at this point, I like to taste the cream sauce for salt. It should be flavorful but not quite salty enough; remember – the chorizo and Gruyere will amp this up.  Remove the pot from heat, and get ready to layer your casserole.  Round up all the ingredients and coral them around the buttered, garlic-ed casserole dish. Start with the potatoes; gently lay them (along with any tag-along sauce) evenly along the bottom of the dish. Next, sprinkle the shallots, then half the chorizo, then half the Gruyere. Next, spread the rest of the potatoes (gingerly) on top, then the rest of the chorizo. Remove the bay and any large hunks of garlic from the cream sauce, and then pour over the casserole. Coat with the remaining Gruyere, and bake, uncovered, in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

shallottoss

potatoesaugratinprep

We are now at the most unpleasant stage in this recipe: you must let it rest for at least 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven. During this process, the chorizo oil will reabsorb into the potatoes and the whole shebang will solidify, enabling a perfect slice. I recommend leaving the kitchen at this point to make the process a little less excruciating. 

augrainplate

augratinmoneyshot

Serve on its own, with steamed vegetables, or … BERKSHIRE SMOKED HAM!

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Smokehaus Recipe: Smoked Whitefish and Blue Cheese Pizza

I don’t know what took us so long to put our smoked Lake Superior whitefish on pizza – we certainly have tried every other Smokehaus goody this way. The whitefish is a perfect match for the blue cheese, as they are both somehow subtle and pungent at the same time, and neither seems to battle the other for a primary flavor position. The egg, while admittedly a little too far on-trend, is a beautiful garnish and adds a neutral flavor and a glamorous texture to the pizza. And let’s face it – there’s never too many eggs, especially in Smokehaus-land. We’ve adapted this recipe from the Cashel Blue website.

smoked whitefish and cheese

Cashel Blue Cheese and Smoked Lake Superior Whitefish Pizza

Ingredients:

1 8-10’’ pizza dough

Olive oil for drizzling

1/3 cup fresh spinach

1/3 cup smoked whitefish, de-boned, skinned, and flaked

2 oz Cashel blue, crumbled

1 large egg

Salt and pepper

Pecorino Romano for garnish

plated smoked whitefish pizza

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Roll out your pizza dough and set it to rest for 15 minutes or so. If you have a pizza stone, be sure to preheat it. We just use an inverted baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, on which we also built the pizza. If using the pizza stone, build your pizza on a cornmeal-sprinkled peel.

Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with the spinach leaves, then the whitefish, and finally the Cashel blue. Create a small well in the center of these ingredients and crack your egg into it. Season the egg and the pizza with salt and pepper.

smoked whitefish pizza prep

smoked whitefish pizza prep

oven ready pizza

Place pizza in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with shavings of Pecorino Romano. By the time you’re done shaving the cheese onto the pizza, it should be set and cool enough to cut.  Slice, eat, and rejoice.

rough cut pizza

smoked whitefish pizza beauty

 

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Smokehaus Recipe: Corned Beef Supper with Roasted Vegetables

Unlike most grocery store corned beef, our corned beef is fully cooked and ready to go. This means that you can rip off a chunk or two before you set it on the stove to boil, and it also means that it will not release the usual amount of tallowy scuzz that a raw product is prone to do. However, because it is already cooked, you must simmer it long enough to become tender. This recipe will also work for any old corned beef brisket: just follow the raw meat’s cooking guidelines.

corned beef supper

As my mother (the finest corned beef supper-cooker in the world) advised me, the most important thing to remember is timing: the vegetables and meat need to be ready at roughly the same time.

Smokehaus Corned Beef Supper with Roasted Vegetables 

Boiled Elements: 

1 corned beef brisket – 3-4#

3 med onions

4 stalks of celery

1/4 cup of pickling spice

5-7 cloves of garlic

1 head of cabbage – we use green, but napa, bok choi, or baby bok will work

salt and pepper to taste

Roasted Elements: 

5 carrots

2 turnips

3# small white or red potatoes (roughly 1 1/2 inch diameter – but fingerlings will do)

7-10 cloves of garlic

2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Course-chop onions and celery and peel the garlic cloves. These will contribute to the flavor of the boil, creating a sort of court bouillon effect which will season the meat, steam the cabbage, and eventually reduce into a sauce. Combine them along with the pickling spice in large stockpot and add brisket. Submerge in water, and put the whole shebang on a high-temp burner. At this point, you may add the salt, but I like to wait an hour or two and taste what the broth is doing; the meat will lend (or leach out) salt, but probably not enough. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat so the broth is at a lazy bubble.

The meat will need to bathe in this boil until it is tender – about 3 hours. You may need to add more water during this process. For the last 20 minutes of cooking, quarter the cabbage, add it on top of the boil, and cover the pot.

When the meat has been lazy-bubbling for an hour and a half or so, start the vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Peel and course-chop the carrots and turnips. The goal is to get all the vegetables to cook at the same time, so just make sure they are consistent sizes. Scrub your potatoes and leave them whole. Crush the garlic with a flattened knife. In a large mixing bowl or in your baking dish, combine all the vegetables with enough olive oil to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

corned beef supper prep

corned beef supper prep

veggie prep

Dump this mixture on a lipped baking sheet or in a roasting pan and pop it in the oven. After 20 minutes of roasting, use a spatula to upset the vegetables – this will allow more complete caramelization. Use this agitation method throughout the the roasting process. The vegetables should take 45 minutes to an hour to roast – they should be soft and caramelized when done.

roasted veggies

When the meat and cabbage is tender, remove them to a large serving platter and tent with foil. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer into a pitcher (we used a mason jar): adjust salt and pepper to taste – now you’ve got sauce! Discard the aromatics.
Serve the vegetables and meat together and adorn with your brothy sauce. Real good with lager and blueberry cobbler (but what isn’t?). If you have leftovers, you’re in luck: corned beef hash in the morning!

corned beef supper

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Catering is us

We have been working hard on a catering menu these days: our goal is to offer trouble-free platters as well as carefully composed appetizers or “bites.” Smokehaus food is unique, delicious, and beautiful – making it ideally suited for events. Our approach is to keep it simple and let the food speak for itself. After all, no amount of saucing or shaping can torture our stuff into anything better than what it already is: elegant, straightforward, and irresistible.