Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From behind the veil

I have a friend who has gone behind the veil. It is a meaty veil. And tasty too.

I have a confession: I love sausage. I know that it is horrible for you. I know that it contains more salt and fat than you should eat in a month much less in one go, but I still love the stuff. I can't think of a type of sausage I don't like: dried, smoked, blood, pork, lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, high-end charcuterie or low-end hot dog (OK, I prefer the better type of hot dog, like a Koegel's Vienna, but have been known to enjoy an Oscar Meyer too).

You can blame my love of this incredibly unhealthy meat on rebellion: my parents never allowed me to eat hot dogs when I was a kid--my dad would start quoting Upton Sinclair and talking about ground up fingers. They eat red meat only a couple of times a year, and usually only when I cook for them. So some part of me is still a kicking, screaming teenager inside and gets an extra thrill when my teeth snap through that casing and the hot sausage juice floods my mouth. I try to tell myself that I make up for this nutritional weakness with the abundant vegetal nature of the rest of my diet (yeah, yeah, I see you rolling your eyes...).

Anyway, back to the veil. Tonight I was lucky enough to eat this for dinner:
Focus on the tubes of beauty in the foreground and on the left side of the plate: I present to you Brian Pinkelman's first batch of homemade smoked sausage. Brian is a brave man! He screwed his courage (and stomach) to the sticking place and plunged behind that veil! He didn't just intellectually accept that this product is made of vast quantities of fat but he tracked down fatty-enough meat (which apparently is hard to come by and requires a special order), manhandled it, mixed it, stuffed it and smoked it. And then, bless him, he shared it!

I am much too scared to go behind the veil. There is a big difference between knowing that sausage is bad for you and being elbow deep in the fat that you intend eventually to ingest. I fear that I would be overwhelmed with the visceral sight of the ingredients and would be unable to enjoy sausage ever again. And that is just not a risk I'm able to take.

God it was good. So good that after I finished mine I got on the phone and offered to babysit for his (albeit cute and infinitely better behaved than my own) kids if he paid me in sausage.

Or maybe I can come up with a trade--I was thinking as I ate the blissful thing that I wished I had some sauerkraut to go with it. Some homemade sauerkraut, something I have wanted to make but never took the plunge. What with the possibility of more Brian-creations on my plate in the future, I feel like destiny is telling me to ferment my first cabbage!

And speaking of fermentation, I got to enjoy the marvelous tube of meat with my first taste of my Brian's new beer--a toasty, tasty Grand Cru.

For those of you who brew, here is what went into it:
5 lbs 2-row pale barley
3 lbs wheat
1 lb caravienne (toasted barley)
2 lbs Michigan wildflower honey
1 oz hallertauer (hops--flavoring)
1 oz strisselspalt (hops--aromatic)
Belgian Abbey Ale Yeast

How that becomes beer is a bit of a mystery to me, but I know it involves a weekend day's worth of hanging out on the deck with friends, a full cooler of the last batch of beer (you know, to keep the inspiration up) and a big cauldron of stuff simmering away on the turkey-fryer/propane thingy and fiddling around with digital thermometer and lots of buckets and tubing. As Brian quotes frequently from The Joy of Homebrewing essential to the process is the phrase "Relax! Have a homebrew!"


Cynthia said...

That looks so good - can't wait to go behind the veil myself!!!

Anonymous said...

Is he going to the beer festival this weekend? Jeff and I will be there both days!

Kate said...

Poor Brian had a "torn between two lovers" conundrum this weekend and the big choo choo festival up in Owasso won out over BEER! I'm amazed--I even offered to drive the drunkards to and from the fest since I can't drink in the daytime in the summer without getting a horrible headache. But he's taking the critters and going off for the weekend to ride trains.

Jen said...

Kate, I'm with you - love, love, love sausage - of all kinds.

There are ways to make wonderful sausage with far less fat, if you ever want to try - shoot me an e-mail.

Jen said...

Kate, I'm with you - love, love, love sausage - of all kinds.

There are ways to make wonderful sausage with far less fat, if you ever want to try - shoot me an e-mail.