Posted on

In Remembrance of 5 Things Past; or, Searching for Lost Things

Happy Friday, everyone (and Happy Birthday, Eric Goerdt!), though I’m writing this on a Wednesday, since tomorrow/yesterday is/was my birthday, and I’m really trying to take some time for myself, for once.

Mother Superior is angry.

I’m here, in the past of your current present, at Amazing Grace Bakery and Café, at 7am, sipping on dark roasted coffee, slowly picking apart a chocolate espresso muffin which we’ll call my birthday cake (I don’t particularly enjoy cake–hold your pitchforks, please! Preferences are allowed), watching a red-tailed black shark bully or maybe just play tag with the rest of the aquarium; and you’re existing sometime in my new future, reading this blog post, thinking where is Ned going with this, is this setting of the scene really necessary for a blog post about five things that happened this week at Northern Waters Smokehaus; though you might have had a realization like I have, on occasion, that often some of these five things of which I write happened on another week, or are happening over a span of time that includes previous weeks, this selfsame moment, and will continue on into the future weeks, and furthermore that reading a piece of written language often involves a detachment of oneself from the standard temporal flow in which we have entrenched ourselves; and that, in reality, every week we have found ourselves in this wibbly-wobbly, time-wimey ebb-and-flow of thoughts expressed and received.

(I realize in this moment, after having written that sentence, that I must go back and change a number of those commas to semicolons.)

Folks, it’s my birthday week, so I’m not holding back. You’re going to get the trains of thought that I normally reserve for the quiet aloneness of floating downward from the waking world into the valley of dreams—yes, for me, it’s a valley; and last night there was a robin hatchling for whom I tried and failed to find some seed, dice that I mistook for my own that belonged to my very disappointed therapist, and thousands of resplendently beautiful and terrifying spiders in that valley—and in some ways, you already have.

What was I going on about? Oh, yes—
Here are the five things we came up with to share with you. Hopefully nothing too noteworthy or exciting has happened, because it is out of my hands.

  1. Birthdays! October is a birthday-heavy month for us. I’m sure to miss one, in addition to me and Eric, we also have Nic, Jeremy, and Jacob finishing their lap around the Sun this month. What else is there to say? A birthday is really just like any other day, except certain people might treat you a little differently if you’re friends on electronic social media and they happen to notice your name next to a birthday cake icon. For a fun time, try wishing everyone you encounter at the Smokehaus this month a happy belated birthday. You can wish someone a belated happy birthday all but one day of the year and be right on the money. Them’s good odds.
  2. We’re going to The Wedding Fair! This year, we have refocused no insignificant sum of our energy into the catering side of our business. From weddings upon weddings, to the Glensheen gala, to Best of the Wurst, and so many pop-ups—not to mention (but hey, here I am mentioning it) our 20th Anniversary Party—we have had a heck of a year outside the charming confines of our deli storefront. The Wedding Fair, this Sunday (October 14th) at the Minneapolis Convention Center, is an exciting opportunity for us, since it will put us face-to-face with a large audience that potentially isn’t already following our business, and perhaps has never heard of us. We’re bringing a modest sampling of what we can offer—ham and pimiento bites, salmon and scallion cream cheese bites, a sweet brochure whipped up by our design team—and preparing ourselves to discuss virtually anything anybody wants to talk about (related to our food and catering services). Those who have experienced events we’ve catered know that our culinary skills extend far beyond what we offer in the deli.
  3. We got a new power outlet! Another installment in the Series of Capital Improvements. We needed more power, and we got it. Bonus Thing™: We’ve cleared out the design/mail order office in preparation for what I believe is our final reflooring of the capital improvements season. Perhaps whomever I can convince to edit this post post-reflooring will supply a photo of the new floor, and if they don’t, this is a fun and awkward sentence for you to have read.

    Check out that new outlet on the left!
  4. We smoked chickens! This past weekend, we catered Hoops Brewing’s Okoberfest celebration, and as Eric just informed me is traditional for Oktoberfest, we served smoked chicken alongside our brats and sauerkraut. If you’re bummed that you missed out on this opportunity, don’t worry: The chicken was evidently so good that we’re working to bring it onto our menu in the near future, as a half-chicken basket special for two.
  5. Hummus! Our prep team made eight quarts of smoked poblano and ancho hummus, just to see how it would turn out. We had an extensive tasting session at our weekly Dungeons & Dragons gathering, and I can say that the hummus turned out quite well. It has a very gentle bite and rich, smoky undertones, and pairs extremely well with fragments of hot naan, and a cold pilsner lager. There is still some room for perfecting the recipe, but soon enough it will be available from our grab-and-go case and might make its way onto our sandwich line—perhaps as a vegan substitute for the cream cheese on our Fuzzy Bunny sandwich.

That’s all for this week. This has been a wild Wednesday, which you’re reading about on Friday, with high-speed winds, a murderous Lake Superior battering the shore and flooding large segments of our basement and forcing our delivery/prep department home, and somehow still a steady stream of customers—who must love to suffer in the cold wetness of it all—gracing our shop with their presence. I’ll catch you, dear reader, next week as I pull a similar write-early-in-the-week-so-I-can-take-Friday-off stunt. Hopefully—and totally within my control—with fewer trips through my self-created wormhole, because I have re-read this piece a dozen times, and am still not sure where or when I have ended up.

#imaginecanalparkunderwater
Posted on

5 Things That Happened This Week At NWS

Perhaps you’re a regular reader of this blog, or perhaps this is your first time. Either way, I’ll begin by saying that, by and large, most weeks at NWS end up being very similar—we work the grind. Exciting stuff happens around here so often that the extraordinary ends up feeling pretty ordinary. As such, I usually default to some sort of cheekiness in my introductions to this blog. It livens up the writing process for me. However, I’ve had a realization that some of these seemingly mundane happenings in my workplace might actually be more interesting than I had previously realized, and that maybe I take for granted working one of the coolest jobs I have had/one of the coolest jobs to be had. So, with that, here’s five things that are either pretty rad, or that I’m going to spin into radness, that happened on or around this week.

  1. We got a new POS! For the uninitiated, that’s point-of-sale, not piece of [excrement], though sometimes technology feels like that, doesn’t it? Xevious Stevenson, our awesome Client Success Manager (nabbed that title from his business card, since it seems very fitting, considering the work he put in on our transition day) spent a very full workday installing the system, fielding our plentiful (excessive?) questions, reprogramming the system to our specifications, and cracking jokes alongside us as if he had been a part of our team for years. Transitioning to the new system happened on a very busy Thursday, so we’re grateful to our customers for bearing with us. Our hope is this new system allows us to fully integrate all of our departments seamlessly, to limit the confusion between our several distinct departments we have recently come to know. As a nearly five-year employee, I have been amazed every year by our continuous growth and success. Hard work and commitment to quality appears to pay off, friends.
  2. We have new employees! I’m not sure how shy they are yet, so I’m not going to start dropping names to the masses, but it seems like we’re hiring the cream of the crop. New coworkers are great, because they tend to have very positive outlooks on what a jaded, bitter old soul like me considers tedious work. All jokes asidecough*where’s the joke?*cough—it’s great to have more hands on deck, because the workload has not slowed down for us here at Northern Waters. It’s also always exciting to add to the wall of heights.
  3. We have a tomato surplus! Inventory/ordering/production is a challenging speculative enterprise. Sometimes you’re slotted in a tight barrel of tomato-heavy salads, sauces, and sandwiches, and the next week you realize the weekend crew was totally skunked, and now there’s twelve full racks of tomatoes and nowhere to put half of them. Yes, I just googled surfing slang, and no, there will be no glossary at the back of the book. Anyway, I was very amused by my coworkers’ reactions when the order came in on Monday, doubling our tomato supply. Today, the prep department has been hard at work on a 160-sandwich pickup order, so hopefully that puts a dent in the inventory. And if it doesn’t, I’m crossing my fingers for the return of Meatball Mondays at NWS. Relevant to the topic, here’s a favorite song of mine. The only thing that’s wrong with it is its <2 minute duration.
  4. Olivia sliced a ton of bacon and was pretty excited about it! To be honest, there’s a few people I’ve met in my life who probably dream about slicing and handling this much bacon, so her excitement doesn’t surprise me. This is part of the Sisyphean preparation for the infamous Mail-Order Season, which never really ends, but has vague terminal points in the middle of November and the beginning of January. Back to the bacon—she even provided me with a photograph. Enjoy.
  5. We are on the cusp of two awesome weekends! As I have previously mentioned, this weekend we are heading down to Best of the Wurst, hosted by Sociable Ciderworks. That in itself is pretty cool, but I have no doubts the following weekend is going to top it. On September 29th, at Hoops Brewing and then at Rex Bar, we are throwing a big ol’ public hootenanny to celebrate twenty years of smoking something (mostly fish and meats). There will be free food (provided by us), free beer (provided by us in conjunction  with Hoops), and free music (provided by bands featuring members of our team—curated by myself, Greg the H.R. wizard, and dynamic design duo Jacob and Zac). We’ll be closing the shop’s doors at 4pm, so that all of our employees can party down with you. I didn’t know Eric when he began this business, but just a few moments of interacting him will give you an insight into how proud he is of this little deli.

So, there you have it. Count ‘em up, because you just got six things (and some slick anecdotes) for the price of five. That’s what they call extra value. See you at next week’s five things blog, unless my in-progress exposé on bison pastrami, or the first installation upcoming Practical Guide to Northern Waters Smokehaus series hits the web first, or if you come in and talk to me while I’m working in the deli. Anything is possible if you follow your dreams.

Posted on

5 Things That Are Happening At Or Around NWS

Welcome back, dear reader. August has been an exciting month for us here at Northern Waters Smokehaus. We have added fresh faces to our team, said goodbye (see you later? During mail order season? Please, help) to some old friends, sold a whole bunch of tote bags, and generally embraced the end-of-Summer fatigue as a way of life. Here’s some insights into what’s on our minds this week:

  1. Option 1 has commenced!
    For the month of September, Bunchanan St. will be closed to vehicle traffic and used as a public seating area. This is part of Imagine Duluth 2035‘s Imagine Canal Park initiative. This initiative also includes a pop-up park at the Lighthouse Lot at the end of Canal Park Drive, and has been implemented to reinvest in Canal Park and it’s ability to host “uniquely crafted community-oriented spaces.” For more information, check out the press release.
     
  2. Nighttime delivery is coming to a temporary end.
    The season is coming to a close: Days are getting shorter, the lunch rush is getting (marginally) slower, and the students—most of our delivery team—are heading back to school. As a result, we’ll be cutting our delivery hours back to 10am-5pm, with a cutoff for new orders at 4:30pm daily. We look forward to seeing you down in our deli during the Autumn evenings, and our evening delivery drivers will see you again next Summer.
  3. We signed up for Best of the Wurst!
    We’re pleased to be taking part in this year’s Best of the Wurst at Sociable Ciderworks. The event promises “all the sausage you can eat” and benefits non-profit Fair Vote MN. We’ll be serving up some NWS charcuterie classics, as well as some new, exciting recipes currently in development. Tickets are available here.
  4. We announced our 20th Anniversary party and afterparty.
    This just in: NWS’s 20th anniversary celebration will be taking place on September 29th at Hoops Brewing. The afterparty, featuring a roster of NWS employee bands, will happen at the Rex Bar in Fitger’s. Our community has done so much for our business, and we are very excited to give back with what should be a very memorable day of proper NWS revelry. We’ll be closing our deli early that day so everyone can get in on the fun. More information can be found on the Facebook event page.
  5. NWS got their first standing desk.
    This one speaks for itself. A signature NWS innovation.
    Thanks for tuning in, friends. See you next week.
Posted on

5 Things- Summer Madness!

Summer officially begins on June 21st, but here at the Smokehaus, it effectively starts Memorial Day Weekend. As the weather warms up, tourists and locals alike naturally gravitate towards Lake Superior, Canal Park and Park Point (along with all of the other incredibly beautiful outdoor spaces in Duluth) to soak up that precious surf and sun.  Memorial day weekend is usually when we start to notice that the lines extend a little further down the hallway at our lunch rush, the summertime SECONDARY lunch rush starts in earnest, and that we have a generally hard time getting in and out of our beloved workplace. Right about now you’ll start to notice that our 5 Things blogs will get away from talking about plans, product development and visioning our business, and will probably shift more towards the nuts and bolts of what we will do in earnest for the next 4 months; sling sandwiches.  We have a minute, though, to talk about some other stuff. Let’s get into it!

 

 

What’s ‘On Deck’?  Great question! The answer is more creature comforts. We’ve had a really nice deck right outside our door for the entire time we’ve existed here at The Dewitt Seitz building, and through the years we’ve added more tables and chairs to accommodate our growing number of patrons. Since we don’t have a ton of space in our actual deli, the deck really becomes our dining room for a lot of people. We’ve had it in our minds for a while to put a some of our personality outside of our shop, and the deck offers the perfect canvas. Our amazing team here at The Smokehaus brought the vision to life by buying umbrellas, planters, flowers and furniture, along with creating custom decals to decorate some of the furniture. Our customers have absolutely loved the small but cozy touches that we’ve added, and we’ve even heard rave reviews from our staff. Having a beautiful outdoor space that matches what we do inside the building is just another small step along the way for us in crafting a customer experience that is both memorable and comfortable.

 

 

The Smokehaus just keeps popping up! The businesses that we partner with are extremely important to us. We are so incredibly lucky to have a business partner right here in Canal Park that we not only respect as a business, but is also comprised of our good friends.  Our old pal Dave Hoops has a pretty great (and important in the world of Duluth beer) brewery just about a block away from our Deli. Hoops Brewing also loves great partnerships, which is why they are allowing Northern Waters Smokehaus to curate a pop up restaurant in their taproom on the first Friday of each and every month. We love to draw inspiration for these pop ups from the incredible beers brewed at Hoops, and we’ve done everything from ribs and kimchi to Bison Buddies snack sticks to good old fashioned bratwurst and polish sausage. One thing that we haven’t done much (until the last couple Fridays) was tacos… which seems crazy, right? Our homie TK brought the prerequisite brawursts and accouterments to the party, along with our famous Smokehaus Canrne Adovada tacos. Lo and behold, the tacos were were a huge hit and the first thing to sell out ( pairing brilliantly with Hoops’ Keller Pils ). Catch us each and every month at Hoops for more exciting snacks and, probably, tacos. Speaking of…

Taco Tuesday is maaaaaybe just a little played out. As a concept! Not as a way of life, obviously. But, we recognize that many many places do a riff on Taco Tuesday (including us) and that many of them ripped the concept off from a rather large taco corporation with an inexplicably Anglo-Saxon name purported as their leader (including us). But that doesn’t mean that Taco Tuesday can’t be special, and here at The Smokehaus we do our utmost to make it the best of the best. The aforementioned Carne Adovada tacos from the Hoops popup have always been a staple of our Tuesday special, but we’ve recently really expanded our taco horizons even further. This past Tuesday brought Gringo Tacos. More John than Juan, the Gringo Taco is just like Mom used to make: ground beef (except we grind the beef ourselves), cheddar cheese, iceburg lettuce, tomatoes and salsa (house made). We know that most people get the crispy taco shells that  you toast in the oven, but we weren’t prepared to go quite that far in the name of kitsch, so we decided to offer house-made corn tortillas and soft flour tortillas. Other awesome and even fusion-like flavors of tacos we’ve slung have included Green Curry (a nod to the cuisine of Indian food guru Madhur Jaffrey) and just a plain old (not at all plain OR old) pulled pork taco with simple accompaniments of onion, cilantro and salsa. Got a hankering for a Tuesday taco flavor? Hit us up! We’re trying to change the taco game each week, and we will take any help or suggestions that you have to offer. We feel as though there is always room for collaboration. And tacos. Always tacos.

So Fresh, So Clean- In the past few years, we’ve taken a lot of care in sprucing up and ramping up the functionality of our tiny deli and storefront. Think about it; we had the television show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives show up 8 long years ago, and ever since have been reacting to the astounding amount of business that it has brought our way. Our deli was definitely going through some growing pains trying to accommodate the droves of hungry food tourists beating down our door, but we did it. And we think that we did it pretty well. With all of the big changes that have happened, you often don’t have a moment to contemplate the significance of the small changes. This week, our property manager decided that we were next on the list for a refresh of paint, so we jumped at it! It’s still a work in progress, but we feel that the color scheme that we picked really goes a long way in making the space inviting and calming for not only patrons but our staff as well.  Check out the beginnings here, and come see the final result in person. We think you’ll approve!

Scavenger Hunt- 2018 is the year that we celebrate 20 years of Northern Waters Smokehaus. Knowing what a milestone this is for any business, we decided that we should take the time leading up to our actual anniversary (September) to do some fun stuff for the community that we live in, which coincidentally is the community that supports us so beautifully. Maybe it’s not such a coincidence, but one thing is for certain; we wanted to let Duluth know how much it means to us. More is in the works in the next few months (I won’t get into it here), but we figured we’d start hyping what we think will be a really fun part of our summer- A Scavenger Hunt! In the month of July, we’ll be releasing clues via our social media outlets for a giveaway of 20 (see what we did?) Cajun Finn sandwiches. We chose the Finn because it is not only our most popular sandwich, but we feel our most iconic. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for clues starting July 2nd and win some lunch! Why wouldn’t you?

 

 

Get here in the Summer! Also, get here in the rest of the year. Duluth is beautiful, and it makes us really happy to share it with the people who appreciate it. See you soon!

 

 

 

 

Posted on

Low & Slow Corned Bison and Kraut

Ingredients/accoutrements bought beforehand:

  • Seeded Rye Bread (I prefer Levy’s Real Jewish Rye)
  • Butter, for toasting bread during sandwich assembly
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Russian Dressing
  • Pickles (venture from the standard dill pickle. If you haven’t tried half sour pickles, you’re missing out.)
  • Sauerkraut (We sell our kraut in 16 oz jars. For this recipe I suggest two jars, 32 oz worth of kraut. We will be braising down the kraut with the corned bison.)

The Low & Slow Corned Bison:

Our corned bison comes typically in a 3-4 pound shoulder cut. And remember, they come fully cooked so we are just reheating while we are cooking down the sauerkraut. Typically we portion our sandwiches with  ¼ pound of protein – so with a full 4 lb corned bison, you’ll yield about 16 sandwiches. But the best thing about it is the kraut and corned bison keep refrigerated well for those many late-night sandwiching opportunities.

During the reheating process, we will be adding the sauerkraut to the corned bison, allowing it to braise down very nicely.   


Cooking Equipment:

  • Deep roasting pan or large dutch oven with lid. Pan should be at least 6 inches deep.
  • Tin foil for baking pan.
  • Sheet pan for toasting cheese and bread.

Reheat time is on average 45 minutes per pound.

Reheating Instructions:

  • Reheat Smokehaus corned bison:
  • Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F.
  • In deep roasting pan, place corned bison
  • Fill with water until the corned beef is submerged.
  • Cover and place the pan in the oven.
  • Check every 45 minutes to see if liquid needs replenishing and use a thermometer to temp the corned bison. 
  • Continue this process until internal temp reaches 165.
  • After the appropriate amount of time has passed, pull pan out and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  • After cooling time has passed, pull corned bison out of pan to carve. Remember to always carve against the grain. Cut into 1/8th – 1/4 inch slices.

The Reuben ’06

Sandwich assembly:

  • On a sheet pan, butter one side of each piece of bread. Place bread on sheet pan.
  • Apply Russian Dressing on each slice of bread.
  • Pile the cut corned bison on on side of the bread.
  • Add sauerkraut on top of corned bison.
  • Put a slice of cheese on top of corned bison and kraut and one slice on other piece of bread.
  • Turn oven on to broil and place sheet pan/sandwich in oven.
  • Broil/bake until cheese is bubbly and melted.
  • Pull out when finished and assemble.

Enjoy the sandwich cut into halves, and with a pickle!

Store leftover corned bison and kraut  for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Posted on

5 things: From The Shop + A Recipe!

Five Friday Fishmonger Favorites (by Reggie Asplund)

Unnecessary instances of alliteration for the offseason. 

With the madness of summer and the holiday season done our often busy deli has returned to the restful lull that is the winter offseason in Duluth. Though the cold can be a tad bit of a challenge, here are five things us fishmongers enjoy during the offseason.
 
1. Seasonal samplings of smoked savory sustenance.
We like to eat. You like to eat.
Free food is pretty fantastic, which is why we’re playing around with some pretty sweet sample plates in the shop. So if you’re stopping by and see some up on the case, please help yourself! Need another? We won’t judge. We’ve been sampling more than we’d care to admit.
5 things deli samples
2. Limited lines lead to lunacy and laughter.
The summer often yields to a somewhat serious full staff. Though we never take ourselves too seriously our game faces are most definitely on and ready for the never-ending crowds that often swarm our small storefront. When the crowd finally ends, we often find ourselves having, well, a bit of (read: potentially way to much) fun with the quietness this beautiful offseason provides. So please enjoy the banter, say hi, make a joke, laugh with us a bit, and enjoy the lack of a lengthy line with us. Let’s all beat the winter blues together!
3. Creative cleaner creates clever creature capture. 
Ah yes. The dreaded deep clean. Or is it?
Harrison, one or our beloved assistant managers, seasonally hides small animal figures around the shop to be scavenged for while we clean. This leads to some rather creative hiding but also a nice little reward while we clean every nook and cranny of our shop. So while you’re passing through or waiting for a sandwich, take a look around and you might just spot a few little ones awaiting their discovery.

4. Whimsical wizard wails wordy wonder. 
It’s been around for nearly three years, but it certainly deserves a replay.
 
5. Big bad bourbon breakfast beats blues. 
Yes. Bourbon for breakfast.
We aim to minimize waste (throwing food away is never enjoyable), and lately I’ve come to saving our leftover bread for a bountiful breakfast the following day. Recipe below: a modified bread pudding that’ll warm the soul, stick to your bones, and probably clog the arteries. Nevertheless, enjoy!
Pudding
3-5 cups day-old ciabatta, sourdough, or french bread, cubed in 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp melted butter
2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 apple
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat over to 350º.
In a medium bowl beat together eggs, melted butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in sugar until dissolved, then mix in milk, set aside. Finely chop apple, set aside.
To prepare, arrange a single layer of bread pieces in a well seasoned 9 or 10 inch cast iron pan. Sometimes I’ll lightly(!) coat it with melted butter, no more than a tablespoon. Top with a third of the apple and walnuts. Repeat. And again. Carefully pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread into the pan. This should get close to filling the pan but not quite. Feel free to top with extra cinnamon, apples or nuts… this is about winter survival right?
Bake for about 60-70 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the eggs and milk have set. I often place foil over the top for the last 15 minutes to prevent the top bread cubes from getting too dark, but keep an eye on it.
While that’s going, go get your first round of dishes done. Do ’em quick, as we’ve got a little bit more to do.
Whiskey Sauce
Yes, I did say bourbon, though just about any whiskey will do.
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup whiskey (I use Jameson or Bullet Bourbon)
In a medium saucepan, on low heat, melt the butter and sugar together.
Then add cream and whiskey. Gently mix and bring to a slow, rolling boil.
Let it slowly boil down for a good 15-20 minutes. We’re looking for a nice heavy, caramelly sauce.
When the bread pudding is done carefully drizzle sauce over it.
Let it cool for just a bit, then grab a big metal spoon and enjoy.
For extra winter warmth, serve with a batch of Northern Waters Breakfast Sausage and hot black coffee. Don’t worry, you can ski this off in no time at all.
5 things reggies pudding
Blog post written by Reggie Asplund
Posted on

5 Things- Volume 12

We are nearing the end of the year, we are dusting off our ugly Christmas sweaters and we are making spare room for all of the seconds, thirds and fourths we will be having at our family gatherings. But before we reach that magical time of the year, we’re keeping our dancing shoes on and we will continue to party and enjoy the amazing camaraderie that exists and the Smokehaus.

So with that said, let’s cue the Adventure Time theme song (it’s okay if you don’t know it you can sing along).
“Adventure Time,
C’mon grab your friends,
We’re going to very distant lands.
With Jake [the smoker] and
Finn [the sandwich],
The fun will never end,
It’s Adventure Time!” 

This week was full of adventure:
1- THE FLOOD

At 6:30AM on Friday our basement started flooding. Water was flowing in from every crack it could find but our wonderful crew hiked up there pants, changed their plans and grabbed a squeegee. Friday felt like the scene in Hercules where he cuts the dragon’s head off and three heads grow back. Shouts to our wonderful team for stepping in and helping us stay afloat!

 

This week was also full of spoooooky tiiiimess:

2-Rocky Horror Red Mountain ft Chelsy from Vikre!

Our friend Steve Sola is letting us use this video that he took of a local favorite band in Duluth, Red Mountain. Our delivery-daredevil and basement-badass Jeremy Ehlert SLAYS guitar in this band. You can’t see him but you can hear him shred. (We love you, Jeremy!)

Not pictured but also important to mention: Ned’s band Alamode & Jacob’s band the Social Disaster also played on Halloween night at the Rex Bar. Did we mention they were all born on October 11st!? 

 

Have you hugged a carnivore this week?
3- Halloween in the shop 

Harrison Cross is the man of many costumes. He’s known for killer dance moves, exceptional puns, and going all out on Holiday extravaganza. This year he really raised the bar on his costume game and expressed his carnivore lifestyle more visually and larger than life. We also had a visitor from the New Yorker giving us advice on what kind of beans to purchase for our Chemex (Thanks, Cam)!

This week was full of cute liver caskets!

4- Are you a be-liver? 

Extra! Extra! Find these in the Grab-n-Go in our Deli soon! We will be packaging these cuties up and selling them 1/3 lb for your party convenience. Country Paté lovers unite!

And every week we’re all about Awesome Burgers

5- Can you say onion rings? 

The Restaurant does burger Mondays and this weeks special burger looked like a dang good time. Stop in next Monday to see what chef James cooked up for ya!

Posted on

5 things – volume 9

5 Things – Volume 9

Here’s some stuff that occurred this past week at The Smokehaus. In chronological order this time:

#1. Sunday night Staff Meeting! We crammed ourselves into the common area of our small office. We ran down the agenda, we chatted and laughed. No shortage of laughter in this place. Then the newbies got their height marked on the wall. It’s tradition. And it’s a mirror into the past of all the beautiful humans that have made their mark (hehe) on the Smokehaus in years past.

 

#2. Order Up! So…. There’s been some confusion. When sandwiches are shouted out to shop patrons they are set under a sign that once read “Pickup.” This was, however, not where one would pick up an order they called in to our Pickup department. Pickup patrons can conveniently skip the line and our Pickup staff will bring your order right out to you in the alley way on the North side of the building. That all makes sense, right?! ☺ So, we think our new signage might help alleviate some of the confusion… what do you think? More custom lettering by the one and only Flo.

 

#3. The titan among sandwiches is released on the nation. It’s been a long time coming, but as we dipped our toes into the trending world of Sandwich Kits it was only natural that our best-selling sandwich be one of the competitors. You can read more about how this sandwich came into being in this post. If you ever find yourself staring longingly in the direction of the Smokehaus, you know how to bring it home now. Get ‘yer Cajun Finns sent to your doorstep.

#4. PIXIES! A favorite band for at least 2 Smokehausers (Mary and Nick C), the Pixies were in St Paul this week and Steve-man, Mary, Greg, and Jeremy all went down to see them. They were awesome! They played everything from Caribou to Motorway to Roswell. After the show, we headed to a bar around the corner and were utterly amazed to see Black Francis and Joey Santiago in the next booth over. Magic!

 

#5. Birthdays and a tweet. A few fine folks celebrated birthdays this week including Eric, Jeremy, Jacob, and Ned. If you’re a local you probably know and love them. Plus extra love from the fine peeps behind the Homegrown twitter handle. Well that was nice! Thanks @dhgmf

Posted on

5 things – volume 8

5 Things: Volume 8

Hi people of the internet. Here’s 5 things that happened at the Smokehaus and our beloved Restaurant this week.

chicken sandwich

#1. Specials!
We perfected the new Wednesday special up on Woodland Ave (Northern Waters Restaurant). Our new fried chicken sammy is to die for! Things that may or may not be featured on this special: buttermilk brined, hays-tenderized chicken breast, Franks hot sauce, cracker breading, local brioche buns from Lake Superior Bakehouse, Smokehaus bacon, avocado, top secret spice blend and/or a rotating mix of toppings for new and delicious creations every week. Every Wednesday!

gourds

#2. Fall Decor
Our shop is pretty cute, but there’s always room for more cuteness! Hannah brought in a few gourds to decorate the shop and help us feel ok about summer being over. Hopefully she brings in a snowman when winter hits… (did you know the record low for December in Duluth is -27 degrees?)

hockey skates

#3. Is anyone missing a pair of hockey skates?
A random box showed up the other day. Its labeling was pretty unclear, it was addressed to us, but it had multiple labels and we were a little hesitant to open it. But our curiosity always gets the better of us. Turns out it was hockey skates, belonging to someone who has really small feet and no connection to the Smokehaus. Weeeeiiiird. Needless to say, we had to discuss this event and all its infinite possibilities for several minutes that day….

wall of boxes

#4. Holiday Season looms over us like a wall of boxes (literally).
October means we’re gearing up for Mail Order’s peak Holiday Season which happens every December. For three glorious and also insane weeks our Mail Order elves work nearly round the clock to make food, package food, and ship food to thousands of customers around the country. Fun fact: after Minnesota, California is where we sent the most boxes to last year. Hello West Coast! So… this week a new seasonal employee started in our Mail Order dept – welcome Zac! He’s the first of many elves who will be joining the team to pack, pack, pack their little hearts out. During peak time, it’s one person’s job just to make boxes – not kidding.

5 things gooseberry jam

#5. The perks of being an employee of the Smokehaus.
When there’s leftover food, employee’s enjoy. This week folks in the shop spread layers and layers of Mary’s dreamy gooseberry jam on our Hausmade rye. Mary’s recipe uses five-spice. You know how she does.

Post was co-created by Stephen Pestalozzi.

Posted on

Cajun Finn – The Inside Story

The humble beginnings of a Titan among sandwiches

The Cajun Finn is our most popular sandwich by far – we outsell our second most popular sandwich (The Cold Turkey) by nearly double the amount of Cajun Finns. Invented early on in our deli life – around 2004 – the sandwich began as many of recipes did – with the help of customers and the use of ingredients that happened to be around.

Regular customer, dream pop superstar, and all around cool guy Al Sparhawk happened to be in the shop to purchase his favorite at the time, Smoked Atlantic Cajun Salmon. Eric asked if Al wanted to try a sandwich, and Al and Eric basically improvised until they came up with a fairly cohesive mish-mash of the ingredients we had for the purpose of experimentation, including pepperoncini (Eric had a huge hot pepper faze), roasted red peppers (because ripe tomato season is too damn short in Northeast MN), and wild leek cream cheese (I wish we could still make this, but we’d have to hire a team of licensed foragers to bag up an airplane-hanger’s worth every season to keep up with demand).  A sprinkling of greens and a freshly-baked stirato later and before you could say “The Great Destroyer” a wonderful sandwich was born.

Variations on the sandwich have included double cream cheese, no cream cheese/add mustard, add bison pastrami (Affectionately called “The Big Diaper”) and of course the celebrated jean jacket – adding Sriracha and cilantro. But the original recipe, invented on the fly to please a regular, is still a peppery, smoky, sweet, and spicy sandwich that is hard to beat.