Friday, January 13, 2012


Terrible name. Incredible stuff! It is my new 'go to' sauce for all kinds of things now. Super simple to make, keeps a week or so in the fridge, if you can make it last that long!

Andrew's Venezuelan Guasacaca
1 medium California avocado or 2 Hass avocados (soft and brown spots removed, peeled)
1 Anaheim pepper (green) (seeded and chopped)
1 bunch green onion (green tops only... no white)
1 bunch parsley (both leaves and stems... bottoms of stems cut off)
1 bunch cilantro (both leaves and stems)
8 - 10 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
Juice of 2 limes
1.5-2 Cups corn oil or vegetable oil

Put all ingredients except for the oil into the blender. Start blender and  add the oil slowly.  If you need to add a little oil to get the blender going, then work with it and try to maintain an emulsion. 
Place the guasacaca in a container or squeeze bottle and leave refrigerated for a day to allow the flavors to harmonize a bit.
Use on anything, but especially chicken and pork.  Commonly used  tossed with pulled chicken meat inside of an gordita. Excellent on tamales, with chips, on eggs. Anything!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Double-Smoked Bacon Bellies

Our newest creation... Double Smoked Bacon. 

Double-smoked bacon has its roots in Eastern Prussia, the land that has in part become modern-day Poland, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic. In Eastern Germany, butchers commonly sell the smoldered pig belly under the name Ger√§ucherter Speck.  This special bacon is smoked for 12 hours.... Rested in the smoker, and then smoked again another 12 hours. A blend of Hickory and dried Juniper woods gives it a beautiful mahogany color, and a unique  smoky flavor. As it has been double-smoked to 160 degrees, it can be prepared and eaten 'as-is', or added to your favorite recipe or dish. 

Available for purchase at


Here's how to make your own.

  • 1 5-6 lb. quality pork belly. The cut between end cut and center seems to have a nice combination of lean/fat
  • 5 oz. Pure Kosher or Sea salt
  • 2 oz. Cure #1 (Pink Salt)
  • 4 oz Dextrose

Combine ingredients and coat belly. Put in large resealable bag or vacuum seal. Refrigerate at 38-40 degrees for 7-9 days depending on thickness. Flip daily. Bellies are 'cured' when they feel firm throughout and no 'soft spots'. Remove, rinse well. Soak in cool water for 20-30 minutes. Put on rack and air dry 24 hours someplace with good airflow, or use a fan.

Smoke at 180-190 for 12 hours... I add heavy smoke after 1 hour, and then at five hours. Let smoker run down or turn off depending on model.  Remove bellies, remove skins, and repeat smoking process. Let rest 12 hours, then slice or leave whole and vacuum seal.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Corned beef update

Just look at that color! Going to Sous Vide the beef ribs... Cook the Plate cut... Reserve the Point cut for Pastrami this weekend!

And here it is...
The point cut brisket came out excellent... However the ribs were simply AMAZING!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We have Labels!

Sometimes it's just the simple things... But everyday we get a little closer to our GOAL!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Semi-Cured HOT Spanish Chorizo

Made this a few weeks ago... Just pulled it down after it has lost 40% of it's weight. This stuff is excellent, but SPICY!! I will post a recipe soon for using it on some sopes or with some eggs... Great by itself with some wine and crackers too!

Recipe: (Adapted loosely from a Len Poli formulation)

12 lbs Pork Shoulder
3 lbs Pork fat, skin removed
2 heads garlic (Heads, not cloves... Yep)
1/2 cup Cilantro finely chopped
2 TBS. Cumin, ground
1 TBS. Ground Black Pepper
1 TBS. Ground Coriander
2 TBS. Ground Annato seed
4 ounces Gold Tequila (Drink two, use two)
5 TBS. Course Sea Salt
1.5 TBS Curing Salt #1
2 tsp. Ascorbic acid
1/4 cup Bactoferm F-LC Starter Culture
4 Serrano Chiles
8 oz. Dried Chile Pequin
8 oz. Dried Habanero chili
10 oz. Chile Arbol
8 oz. Chile Guajillo

De-seed and Stem Chilies (Except chile pequin). Toast all dried chilies lightly and then add a few cups of water to cover. Add Garlic (De-skinned) and fresh chile. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Once cool, blend and retain.

Grind Meat and Fat through course plate. Keep fat separate (And COLD). Add all ingredients AND chile sauce. Mix well. Run through medium plate of grinder. Add fat and blend some more.

Stuff into LARGE 36-38 Hog Casings in 36" Inch Segments. Tie at centers and hang. They should have good ventilation... If possible put a fan on the first day or two (No longer or the casing may 'harden' and dry out). Weigh and remove at 40% weight loss. (About three-four weeks)! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Corned Brisket Beef and Corned Beef Ribs

Well... 6th of March is upon us... SO time for some Brisket curing to ensure we are ready for the 17th... This year I decided to also cure some Bone-in beef ribs... I love the beefy flavor of them, And I think after the cure, they will take to the slow cooking quite nicely... We will see... They sure LOOK great! I used a 'Full' brisket, with both the 'point cut' and the 'plate cut'... It weighed in about 9 pounds.

In a large saucepan, HALF filled with water... Add...

2 cups Diamond Crystal salt
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Honey
2 TBS. Chopped fresh ginger
1 Cinnamon stick
1 TBS. Yellow Mustard seed
2 TBS. Coriander seed
2 TBS. Black Peppercorns
1 TBS. Cloves
1 TBS. Allspice Berries
4-5 Crushed Bay Leaved
4 Crushed Chili Arbol

Bring to a simmer and let all dissolve....

Cool to 80 degrees and stir in 1.5 TBS Cure Salt #1. Put brisket and ribs in large plastic non-reactive covered container and fill with ice to 2/3 of the way up. Add Spice mixture, and enough water to ensure all meat is covered... Refrigerate for 10 days, turning daily and making sure all is covered in brine.

The Final Product!

Bone-in Pork Bellies, Smoked at 140 degrees for 5 hours using a combination of Hickory, Applewood and Juniper. Skin removed, fat side peppered. Froze for 2 hours and sliced. EXCELLENT Flavor!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Dry Cured Bacon Update... (off to the Smoker)

Here are a few of the rib-in bellies, with the savory cure at day 5!!! They are getting quite firm, and the color is looking great... Might be ready for the smoker by Wednesday! I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bone-in Dry Cured & Wet Cured Bacon

Working on a 'sample' for my friends at BACONMANia. Taking some bone-in Berkshire belly quarter, and dry-curing one and wet-curing the other. The goal is to produce an ultra-premium 'bacon steak' for them to market to their masses.

If you aren't aware of BACONMANia... Check them out here  Or follow them on Twitter at #BACONMANia

These things are THICK... So I am going to cure for 9 days.

Dry Cure:

  • 1/2 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (I have been using Cargill commercial, but same stuff) If you use Morton's instead, 4 ounces.
  • 1 TBS. Curing salt 
  • 1 Cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 TBS. Pickling spices
  • 4 Bay leaves, crushed
  • 1 Head of garlic, smashed
  • 2 tsp. Crushed red pepper
  • 1 TBS. Black peppercorns, lightly crushed

Mix it all together and lay out on a sheet pan... Put as much of it as you can into the belly... Crush it in there... If doing multiples... Stack them... I cure mine in Rubbermaid style containers with a loose top. Refrigerate. Flip daily.

Wet Cure:

  • 1/2 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (I have been using Cargill commercial, but same stuff) If you use Mortons instead, 4 ounces.
  • 1 TBS. Curing salt 
  • 1/2 Cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 can of Guinness beer
  • 4 Bay leaves, crushed
  • 1 Head of garlic, smashed
  • 2 TBS. Black peppercorns, lightly crushed
Mix all together and size a vacuum bag to fit the belly... One Belly per bag.... Put belly in and fill with spices/liquid. Seal loosely. Refrigerate. Flip Daily.

I'll follow this up when I smoke them in a few days...


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random ramblings...

Dreamt I should rebrand the Burke's Fine Meats truck and make it vegetarian last night. No more Pizza rolls before bed EVER! I should have all the details on the truck, exact launch location and menu posted by tomorrow night... So much to do... Damn A.D.D! Hmmm... Maybe we need a good salad on the truck!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Charcutepalooza (say it with us, “shar-coo-ta-pa-loo-za”)

Came across this and as it involves Michael Ruhlman (Without whom, and his 'Charcuterie' book, I would have never stumbled upon how much I enjoy this).  Sounds like a lot of fun... This month is Duck Proscuitto. I'll keep you all posted... Click on the piggies for more info! Should be a fun year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buffalo Wing Chicken with Blue Cheese-Sausage! ;-)

Burke's Fine Meats Buffalo Wing sausages
  • 5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 lbs boneless  chicken thighs
  • 2 lbs Applewood smoked bacon (Preferably from Burke's Fine Meats)
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 4 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs fresh marjoram(Or 1 Tbsp good fresh dried)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp abscorbic acid
  • 2 cups Franks Hot sauce 
  • 1 cup Tapatio Hot sauce
  • 5 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbs Kosher salt
  • 2-4 oz Blue cheese depending on how much you like it
  • Hog casings (Larger 32-34mm ones... The collagen ones don't seem to like the butter)
    Semi freeze meats and grind through medium plate. Use a little ice with the bacon so it doesn't smear in the grinder. Mix in blue cheese. Refrigerate. Mix all other ingredients together. Pour over meat, mix well in meat mixer or with gloved hand.... KEEP COLD! Refrigerate for 12 hours. Stuff and link to 6". They grill pretty well, but tend to flame up from the butter. I usually simmer them on the side burner of the grill for 10 minutes, then finish them on the grill for marks and color. Serve them up with some nice potato flour or other soft rolls. They are also pretty good chopped up and tossed with some Penne pasta and some fresh Basil.  Good stuff.

    BTW: These are available for order if you want some... Email me for now... Working on setting up an online and brick-and-mortar store!

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    baconMANia Truck.

    I was given the opportunity to help a friend of mine with his Food truck the other day... His second night out.

    I arrived around 2:00pm and we eventually got everything prepped and fairly ready to head out... The planned stop for the night was the OC Fairgrounds for a pre-launch/presell for their New Years Eve party. After a crazy ride through the backstreets of Santa Ana, we arrived at our venue...

    There were about 14-15 other trucks there and we fell into our place and got everything going... The vibe was pretty good, and the crowd/customers all seemed excited about being there... These people were DEFINITELY there to EAT!

    The menu consisted of bacon chili, an incredible bacon grilled cheese loaded with goodies like mushrooms, jalapenos and green apple slices with a tomato soup dip, a trio of bacon balls, filled with bacon-mac-cheese, beef tenderloin with blue cheese, and a PBJ, all rolled up in a slice of bacon and deep fried, bacon cheese crisps, and bacon candy. 

    Crowd response was excellent, and we ran out of food early, but managed to come up with enough to make most people happy. All in all a good time and made me long for cooking for crowds again... If you are into this sort of thing, love bacon, or just want a great sandwich, hunt them down.

    It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun... And I never knew how much I'd like shots of Jack with bacon grease... A LOT of Jack...  Oh... and I got a shirt. Now to sell them our Burke's Fine Meats BACON!!

    Reviews are HERE:



    Beef tamales with Turnip puree and roasted red sauce (Part 4 of 4) The conclusion.

    So. Been way too long since I've updated here... Lots going on and I need to catch up. Didn't get a good pic of the tamales, but, here's how to throw it all together...

    On a warmed plate, put 1/2" of Turnip puree on an 8-10" circle. Fry up and brown in butter for 2-3 minutes a side two beef tamales. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the red sauce... Garnish with some licorice basil in a fine chiffonade, or some toasted husked pignolia's.  I'm sorry I don't have any pix... But trust me, they are absolutely amazing.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Beef tamales with Turnip puree and roasted red sauce (Part3 of 4) The turnip puree...

    This stuff is amazing. Great by itself, but even better with the tamales and red sauce... We are getting there... Tamale post tomorrow!

    • Four Turnips about baseball sized
    • Four Russet potatoes
    • 8 Tbs. Butter
    • 2 Cups Buttermilk
    • Salt
    • White pepper

    Peel and cut up Turnips in 1" cubes and potatoes in 2" cubes (Turnips are 'denser' and seem to take longer to cook). Boil in salted water (I make mine as salty as seawater) until done... About 25-30 mins. Add butter and buttermilk... Use stick blender to reduce to a soft 'mash'. Season to taste. Voila!