Thursday, July 8, 2010
Arriving at the airport on my way back home, I quickly punched the address to the Sausage Shoppe in Cleveland into my phone. I needed some bratwursts, and I wanted to know what other regional delicacies they may have to offer. The place is known for their impressive array of homemade wursts, but I found some oddities under the glass case that I was unfamiliar with. From what I could find online, cottage ham is a product known only in the Cleveland area, and it comes from the pork shoulder. Much like 'raw' bacon, it has been cured and smoked, but requires cooking (i.e hours in a crockpot) before ingesting...unless it is smoked a second time. Then it can be sliced and eaten straight from the fridge. It is an intensely flavored smoked meat with the flavor of ham although it's not from the ham area on the hog. The meat was dense and a bit chewy, but not to the degree of a jerky. It's excellent with some Amish made swiss cheese and beer.
Double smoked bacon (speck) and double smoked cottage ham
Amish swiss cheese, cottage ham and speck
The other item in their case was double smoked bacon, or German speck. This is not the Italian version of speck which is smoked prosciutto, but rather it's bacon that has been smoked and cured just like normal bacon, but then it's smoked again to fully cook it. Although it looks just like raw bacon, it can be sliced and eaten as is, or cubed and fried with eggs for an intense bacony treat. Eating it cold feels unnatural at first, but the first bite is full of silky fat that melts immediately on the tongue and smoky meat that tastes like bacon squared. I couldn't get enough.
Back in Dallas, I did some research to find the origins of this double smoked bacon, and I learned that it's popular all over eastern Europe. I went to the best German deli around to see if I could get my hands on some, and I found a Hungarian product named Kolozsvari that was ready to eat smoked bacon. It had the same great flavor that I found in the Sausage Shoppe's version, but it was notably chewy without the silky, meltingly tender texture that I fell in love with. This was more well suited for dicing and frying with some eggs. I continued searching.
Kolozsvari Hungarian Smoked Bacon
Finally, at Central Market I located the Karl Ehmer brand double smoked bacon. At home I found it to be a close approximation of what I found in Ohio. Sure, I found a reliable dealer for all of you Dallasites out there, but be careful with this stuff, it's addictive and not so healthy. Has anyone else out there tried a similar product? Do you have a favorite brand?
- BBQ Snob
Posted by BBQ Snob at 7:18 AM
Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT