Tag Archives: tasso

Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse – LaPlace, Louisiana

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From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana
From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse and Restaurant
769 West 5th St.
Laplace, LA
985-652-9990


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At the bitter end of every trip I make back to Louisiana, I always head to LaPlace for a smoked meat care package to take back north. My stop on the last trip (two years ago, I know, bad blogger) was to Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse, not to be confused with Jacob’s Andouille which is also in LaPlace. (See my post on Jacob’s Andouille here).

Upon arriving at Wayne Jacob’s I was pleased to find out that they also run a restaurant with many of the items on the menu made with the smoked products that they produce!

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – LaPlace, Louisiana

I was also pleased to see this sign propped up just off the road in front of the establishment:

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

Unlike Jacob’s Adouille, Wayne Jacob’s does not ship their products because that would mean that they would have to change the way that they produce their meats, that is, the way it has been produced there since 1950. Admirable.

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana
From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

The restaurant was very busy for the lunch rush when I arrived and a little short staffed to boot, but everyone was super friendly.

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana
From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

I ordered a few appetizers to check out some of the fine Charcuterie work that David Rauch does in the back of the house, and I was super pleased that I got to go into the back and say hello to David and get a few photos of him at work! I also got a few shots of the cracklins that were cooling on the back counter before being bagged up!

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

David Rauch filling the stuffer:

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana
From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

The Hog Cracklin, a thing of southern beauty!

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana
From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana
From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

Upon arriving back at my table I found my food waiting for me. Boudin Balls with a Remoulade style dipping sauce (my Boudin Recipe):

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana
From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

Andouille Chips, thinly sliced Andouille which is deep fried and served with Creole Mustard (my Creole Mustard Recipe):

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

Finally, a wonderfully simple, gelatinous Hogshead Cheese served with Saltine crackers:

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

After getting my to go package of Andouille and Tasso I went out back to get a shot of the smokehouses:

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

And of course, as always, a shot of the woodpile:

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

I stuffed my package into my luggage, and flew back to Detroit. As soon as I got home I tore open that package and sliced off a piece of what is, in my humble opinion, the best Andouille I’ve tasted:

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

Notice the course grind and the large size of the casing, expertly filled with no air gaps, and lastly perfectly smoked, not overpowering…just perfect.

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

The Tasso from Wayne Jacob’s (my Tasso Recipe):

From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana
From Wayne Jacobs Smokehouse – Laplace, Louisiana

I enjoy the Andouille that I produce (my Andouille Recipe) and I also enjoy the one at Jacob’s Andouille. But in my humble opinion, as Andouille goes, the product that David Rauch produces in LaPlace is by far the benchmark.

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Cochon Restaurant Revisited

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From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

On my last visit to New Orleans I stopped into Cochon Restaurant, which I had visited a few trips prior and absolutely loved, especially since back then, I was invited back into the kitchen to take some pictures! (Here is the original post, followed by one of my favorite pics from that visit):

Cochon Restaurant

From Nola Cuisine

There were a few dishes that I wished I had tried on my previous dining experience, so I made another go at it. On a side note, Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski also recently opened a second Cochon Restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Cochon Lafayette

Donald Link’s book Real Cajun is one of my absolute favorites (My Review):

Here are the dishes that I had a second chance at sampling, well worth the wait! All of these are actually featured in his cookbook as well!

Fried Chicken livers with Pepper Jelly:

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Perfectly fried chicken livers on toast points, slathered with housemade Pepper Jelly and finished with a salad of mint leaves and sweet onions.

Wood Fired Oyster Roast:

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Cooked in the restaurants wood burning oven, these baked oysters, topped with a compound butter made with Vietnamese Chili sauce among other inredients, were easily my favorite of the appetizers. The plump Louisiana Oysters with the spicy, garlicky butter sauce were absolutely addicting. Definitely one of my new favorite Louisiana Oyster dishes, of which I have many.

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.
From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

I couldn’t resist trying Donald Link’s Boudin, as I was on a bit of a Louisiana Charcuterie hunt on this particular trip. Fried Boudin Balls with pickled peppers and housemade Abita Beer Whole Grain Mustard:

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Definitely a great tasting Boudin! I think they’re using chicken liver, instead of the traditional pork. There is also some poblano pepper in the mix:

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Donald Link has a great web show called Taste of Place. Here is his show about Boudin:

Here is my Boudin recipe:

Boudin Recipe

Lastly dessert, Blueberry Buckle with…get this…Hog Cracklin’ Streusel topping! There has to be some kind of award for most creative way to incorporate pork into a dessert, with delicious results!

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Of course, I will end this post with a picture of the restaurants woodpile, which is starting to become my signature on the sister site to this one American Gourmand.

From Cochon Restaurant – New Orleans, LA.

Related Posts:
Cochon Restaurant
Cochon Butcher
Real Cajun – Cookbook Review
Boudin Recipe
Pepper Jelly Recipe

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Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana

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From Cochon Butcher

My copy of Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana arrived last Thursday, and I was like a kid opening his first gift on Christmas morning, shuffling for something to open the box with, flinging aside the bubble wrap to stare into a beautifully photographed crock of Gumbo. The title is in big bold white letters REAL CAJUN, as if to say, ok, enough with the blackening already, enough with the notion that everything Cajun is super spicy, enough with the Bourbon Chicken in the food courts; let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Real Cajun, rustic, simple, home cooked meals.

It seems only fitting that the Chef owner of Cochon, and Cochon Butcher (no, I’m not forgetting Herbsaint), would have homemade Bacon as the first recipe in his cookbook, with the first “chapter” bearing the title La Vie Cochon, with recipes including Tasso, Boudin, Pork Belly Cracklins, and more. The most mouthwatering recipe in this chapter, in my humble opinion, is Smothered Pork Roast over Rice, a simple recipe based on his Granny’s preparation, with a photo so beautiful that I swear you will try to lick the wooden spoon before the sauce drips back into the pot.

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that he didn’t include more Charcuterie than he did, but I totally understand why he didn’t, keeping it practical for the home cook I guess. (I have my fingers crossed for a follow up book surrounding Louisiana Charcuterie, or a Cochon cookbook.) Don’t get me wrong though, the Charcuterie recipes that are included, Bacon, Boudin, Tasso, Deer Sausage, etc.. are top notch, I can’t wait to try Chef Link’s Boudin recipe, the photo is outstanding as are all of the photos in this book all by Chris Granger. I was looking for Chef Link’s Andouille, Hog’s Head Cheese, and Creole Mustard, but the recipes that filled these spaces totally made up for it and more.

The book’s recipes are wonderful in their simplicity (this is not a restaurant cookbook, although some of the dishes from his restaurants appear) with beautiful photographs that make me long to be in the stifling heat of Louisiana everytime I look at them. Some of the photographs from the book are hanging on the walls of Chef Link’s private dining facility Calcasieu, which is next store and upstairs from Cochon Butcher.

From Cochon Butcher

Real Cajun is mostly cookbook and part memoir, which all builds wonderfully around the recipes, just the kind of cookbook that I love, and reminiscent of another favorite of mine, Marcelle Bienvenu’s Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make A Roux? What comes through in both books is a love of Louisiana, real Cajun cuisine, family, and tradition.

This book is loaded with great recipes, I’ve tried out a few of them now, all were absolutely outstanding. Including Catfish Fried in Bacon Fat. The bacon fat adds an incredible richness to the crisp and moist catfish without taking over the flavor. I also made my own Tartar sauce as an accompaniment with crumbled Bacon added to it; what the hell right, the cholesterol meter is already broken. This is probably the best Catfish that I’ve made:

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

I also made the Chicken & Dumplings, a lot of great technique in this recipe, the best I thought was putting the pan into a 450 degree F oven to finish the dumplings. The stew is very similar to my recent Chicken Fricassee recipe, but the real magic happens when the dumpling batter is added and the whole pan is popped into the 450 oven. By the way, I made this for my wife and my Mom & Dad last night and they said the dumplings reminded them of Thanksgiving Stuffing, I agree. Awesome flavor with the addition of dried Oregano and raw minced onion.

From Nola Cuisine

I also used the Buckle recipe, but used Blueberries as they were the best fruit that I could find, his is made with fresh Peaches which aren’t in season right now. The Blueberry Buckle was dessert last night with good strong French Market Coffee, following the Chicken & Dumplings.

From Nola Cuisine

All in all, I haven’t been this inspired by a Louisiana cookbook since first reading the year 2000 publication of Commander’s Kitchen by Ti Adelaide Martin and the late great Jamie Shannon.

I don’t recommend just anything, but I really think that this a great book, loaded with not only great recipes, but stories to go with each one. My copy is already getting a little worn, the page with the buckle recipe has some dried egg white on it, the back cover has a sticky substance from my kitchen counter. All signs of a good cookbook I guess.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipe featured on this site!

Also take a look at my Bibliography of Creole & Cajun Cookbooks!

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Jacob’s Andouille

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From Jacob's Andouille

On my last day in Louisiana last month I decided to drive out to Laplace before going to the airport, to visit the self proclaimed “Andouille Capital of the World.” I originally meant to go to all three big one’s, those being Jacob’s, Bailey’s, and Wayne Jacob’s, but I only made it to Jacob’s, I decided I would rather chill out and explore some back roads in the area before a miserable day of air travel.

I did make it to Jacob’s and brought back some Andouille and Tasso to take home with me.

Jacob’s Andouille
505 West Airline Highway LaPlace, LA 70068
1-985-652-9080
Toll Free: 1-877-215-7589

The drive to Laplace from New Orleans is beautiful, driving over the wetlands and on the fringe of Lake Pontchartrain, I really enjoyed the fresh spring air and the sunshine.

Jacob’s is a short drive from I-10 at 505 W. Airline Drive, about a 40 minute drive from New Orleans and about 20 minutes doubling back to the airport.

Another option, like I said in an earlier post, if you don’t have time to make the commute to Laplace before returning home, head to Cochon Butcher in the warehouse district, they’re producing awesome Andouille, Tasso, Boudin, you name it.

From Jacob's Andouille

Jacob’s is a small storefront off of the often busy Airline dr., and if you’re not hungry for Andouille….there is a Taco Bell and Burger King across the street, kind of a buzz kill but I managed to block it out. No corporate swine please, just swine.

From Jacob's Andouille

Here is the pig on their front porch.

From Jacob's Andouille

By the way, my new ride was waiting for me in the parking lot.

From Jacob's Andouille

Upon entering Jacob’s you are of course slapped with a wonderful smoke aroma as should be expected. Here is the menu of their smoked items.

From Jacob's Andouille

I went for the Andouille and Tasso, pork of course, although they offer more health conscious versions of both, using Turkey and Chicken. Here is the beautiful pork Andouille in the case.

From Jacob's Andouille

Here is one of the cases of miscellaneous smoked items, check out the smoked pig tails.

From Jacob's Andouille

I paid for my Andouille & Tasso and packed them into my suitcase for the flight home. (By the way, that suitcase will smell like Louisiana smoked meats for the entire length of it’s use!)

I also drove around back to check out their trailers filled with Pecan wood which Jacob’s uses exclusively.

From Jacob's Andouille
From Jacob's Andouille

When I arrived home I had to pull out the Andouille and Tasso to sample and take some pics. Jacob’s Andouille is slow smoked with Pecan for 10-12 hours until it is a deep Mahogany color. Jacob’s has been family owned and operated since 1928.

From Jacob's Andouille

The Andouille’s flavor is very good, a wonderful level of heat, not too much, not too little, and a phenomenal level of smoke flavor. The pork is coarsely chopped and stuffed into fresh beef casings and is almost 2 inches in diameter. (Here is my homemade Andouille sausage recipe)

From Jacob's Andouille

I was less impressed with the Tasso.

From Jacob's Andouille

Although it had a profound Pecan smoke flavor, as well as a great texture, I thought that it really lacked seasoning. It just tasted like smoked pork, which would still be great for throwing into a pot of beans, but I actually much prefer my homemade Tasso recipe. I was kind of proud of myself with that conclusion.

I made a great pot of Red Beans the next day with these ingredients, recipe and photos coming soon!

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe
Cochon Butcher
Cochon Restaurant

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Crawfish Boil Recipe

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From Crawfish Boil

Any spring social event in Louisiana is most definitely going to be centered around a Crawfish Boil. This is a time to relax with family and friends, enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy the bounty of the season, live Louisiana Crawfish.

The magic behind your boil, in my humble opinion, remains in the hands of two details. Fresh, Lively Crawfish, and your cooking liquid.

Crawfish Boil Recipe

15 lbs Live Louisiana Crawfish
4 Large Spanish Onions, quartered
6 Lemons, halved
4 Heads garlic, halved widthwise
8 Fresh Bay Leaves
3 Bags Crab Boil
1 bunch fresh Thyme
1 Cup Creole Seasoning
1/2 Cup Cayenne, or to taste
1 1/2 lbs Kosher Salt
About 5 Gallons of water, or enough to fill a 30 Quart turkey fryer pot 3/4 full
3 lbs Small Redskin Potatoes
6 Ears of Fresh Corn, shucked, trimmed and cut in half

Bring the water to a boil in a 30 quart Turkey fryer pot with the onions, lemons, garlic, bay leaves, crab boil, cayenne and salt. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

From Crawfish Boil

Your crawfish should be picked through for dead ones and placed and washed by first hosing them down, then leaving them in the basket and placing it into a large pot, filling it with water, draining, filling with water, draining, until the remaining water is eventually clean, about 3-4 times. I’m not in the purging with salt camp, I don’t think it does anything more than what I described above.

From Crawfish Boil

While you’re waiting, and this is a very important part of this recipe, drink a few of your favorite ice cold beers and go visit with your company, this is a social event, relax enjoy! Have the washed Redskins waiting in the basket insert nearby and visit. Take advantage of the downtime!

Before adding anything to the pot, taste your cooking liquid! It should taste overly salty and overly spicy. Drink more cold beer, then add your basket insert to the pot with the potatoes. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. After said time has passed add the corn, and cook for about 10 minutes.

From Crawfish Boil

Bring the liquid to a boil and add the live Crawfish.

From Crawfish Boil

Bring the pot back to a boil as quickly as possible, give a good healthy stir and boil for about 5-10 minutes depending on their size.

From Crawfish Boil

Turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot and allow the crawfish to steep in the liquid for 20-30 minutes. The longer they steep, the spicier and more flavorful they will become. When in doubt as to how long to let them steep, pull one out and have a taste! When you’re sure that they are ready, lift the basket and let them drain. When they are well drained dump the contents of the basket onto a picnic table or any outdoor table heavily lined with newspaper.

From Crawfish Boil

Everyone please note, I don’t have any feeling left in my hands from working in the kitchens all these years. The girls were laughing as I was holding the basket with steam blowing off of it, this isn’t a dummy shot, just a big dummy holding a hot pot with bare hands.

From Crawfish Boil

Let your guests belly up to the table and eat until their hearts are content!

Here are some pics from our small but wonderful boil!

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

The full spread, the potatoes and corn take on all of those wonderful flavors. The potatoes especially, the skins dry out and develop that salt crust and the insides take on the spice.

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

Here is my baby girl Anna with her portion.

From Crawfish Boil

Yeah, that was a gag shot, we can’t even get this little one to eat chicken fingers, don’t worry though, I will keep cracking away on her culinary darings.

Thanks again to Charlie and the fine folks from Cajun Grocer for the generous portion of their premium Live Louisiana Crawfish!

This is my brother Brad. We don’t get together as often as we should these days but this boil was the perfect opportunity to do so and we had a wonderful time. Brad actually helps me with all of the technical details on this site and even hosts it for me on his server! He is also responsible for the new layout, which I absolutely love and has inspired me to start posting more often. Thanks for everything Brad!

From Crawfish Boil

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe
Live Louisiana Crawfish

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Cochon

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From Nola Cuisine

**UPDATE Here is my post on Donald Link’s newest venture Cochon Butcher in the same building as Cochon, right around the corner!

Also, Chef Donald Link’s cookbook comes out April 21, 2009, can’t wait! It’s called Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana
(Read my review HERE!)

If I were a pig (no comments please), and I could choose my final resting place, I would choose Cochon. My sacrifice would not be in vain because I would be assured that every part of me would be utilized to create some of the best dishes that I’ve had in New Orleans to date, and that my friends is saying a mouthful.

Chef Donald link, co-owner Chef Stephen Stryjewski and their crew are orchestrating an in house Boucherie everyday, bringing in whole hogs that are broken down, and turned into a plethora of different Charcuterie ingredients, some on the menu and some that change from day to day on their Boucherie plate, more on that later.

Upon first walking through the door of Cochon, the aroma of wood fire and smoked meats will make your knees buckle a little; stop and breathe it in, you’ve entered hog heaven.

The dining room is warm and inviting, kind of a Polished Country feel. Anyway, just look at the picture, I’m not an interior designer, I’m a kitchen guy. Lets just say that it’s a nice, casual and inviting dining room. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful.

Back to the food.

The bar offers a wide array of Bourbons, local beers, and even a few varieties of Moonshine. If you’re interested in something non-alcoholic Cochon’s Lemonade is the best I have ever had, no lie, a perfect balance of sweet and sour, I couldn’t get enough.

The back of the restaurant features a Chef’s Counter, where you can watch all of the action. They have an array of various pickles displayed on the counter as well as some potted herbs for use in the kitchen.

The entrance to the kitchen and service station showcases and stores firewood for use in the wood burning oven.

We started our meal with the Boucherie Plate, how could I not right? This day’s selection:

From Nola Cuisine

Clockwise from bottom left; Speck, Country Bologna, Country Pate, Hogshead Cheese (buried) Peppery toast points, Pork Rillette, housemade Pickles & Pickled Peppers, housemade Creole Mustard (the best I’ve had).

Detail of the speck, country Bologna, and Pate:

From Nola Cuisine

The Hogshead Cheese, perfectly spiced and delicious:

From Nola Cuisine

My entree was the Louisiana Cochon, which is pulled pork that is pattied and seared, served atop turnips and cabbage, with a wonderfully rich pork jus, and topped with crispy Cracklins’!

From Nola Cuisine

Detail of the Louisiana Cochon:

From Nola Cuisine

This dish really has a remarkable pork flavor, a smoky subtlety, and a richness that is beyond compare. I dream about this dish.

My wife had the Beef Brisket with Horseradish Potato Salad, equally phenomenal, while staying true to the casual country dishes of the south.

From Nola Cuisine

After we ate our meal I went up to the Chef’s counter to take some pictures of some meats they had curing in a temperature and humidity controlled case. One of the Sous Chefs saw my interest and invited me into the kitchen to show me around and take some pictures. I was elated. Here are some of the pics I got.

Smoked and cured legs on a speed rack.

From Nola Cuisine

A big old tub of Chow Chow in the walk in cooler. Next to it is a tub of fresh Pompano which was going to be the nights dinner special.

From Nola Cuisine

Coppa curing in the walk in cooler. Various pickles and sauces, all nicely organized in the tight quarters.

From Nola Cuisine

Below the Coppa, housemade Tasso, and below that housemade bacon.

From Nola Cuisine

Legs in different stages of cure in dry storage.

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

A just delivered pig waiting to be butchered.

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

I can’t thank the gentleman who took me on a tour of the kitchen enough, it was a wonderful experience that I will always remember. I’m blown away by the things that these guys and gals are doing at Cochon. This is a huge undertaking, and there is a lot of work involved, hats off to the Chefs and their staff, this place is a labor of love and it shows. I can’t wait to come back.

Here is a video of Chef Stephen Stryjewski butchering a pig and making hot sausage with warm peaches.

For more great pics of some of the food at Cochon check out Jason Perlow’s Cochon post at Off The Broiler.

Also:

Robert at Appetites has a great review with pics here.

Cochon is located at:

Cochon
930 Tchopitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 588-2123
Email: info@cochonrestaurant.com

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes on this site!

Related Posts:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Cochon Butcher right around the corner in the same building as Cochon
Pickle Meat Recipe
Boudin Recipe

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Crescent City Farmers Market

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On our most recent trip to New Orleans in February, I stopped by the uptown Crescent City Farmer’s Market on a Tuesday morning. It felt wonderful to casually stroll the market with just a light jacket, basking in the sunlight, knowing that back in Michigan folks were still weathering the worst winter I can remember to date.

I love Farmer’s Markets and this winter has made me long for mornings like the one that I had in New Orleans. Alas, here in Michigan spring has finally sprung, and I can finally go check out some of our own local goodies without 4 layers of clothing and snow shoes. Here are some pics from my visit to the Crescent City Farmers Market in New Orleans.

Crescent City Farmer’s Market

Ponchatoula Strawberries, blood red straight to the center, and sweet as can be, probably the best strawberries I can remember.


Nola Bean! was there with a menu of dishes created from some of the local ingredients.

After getting a look at those delicious strawberries, I couldn’t pass up a chance at the Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake on a Satsuma drop biscuit with Vanilla Bean whipped cream. Wow, I can still taste it. It tasted even better than it sounds, pure heaven.

Fresh fish and shrimp.


Local smoked meats, sausages, tasso.


Fresh flowers, herbs, plants, and trees.


Louisiana citrus, Satsumas, kumquats, navel oranges.

Louisiana Tomatoes and Cucumbers.

The Crescent City Farmers Market is open on Tuesday in Uptown New Orleans from 9 am to 1 pm River Road at Uptown Square. Directions

The Saturday market is located in Downtown New Orleans from 8 am to 12 noon on the corner of Magazine and Girod Street. Directions

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

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Andouille Smoked Sausage

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Well it’s Fall again, and in my house that means it’s time to fire up the smoker and start bulking up the freezer with Andouille, Tasso, and other seasoning meats for Gumbo, soup and stew season. I love the smell of the crisp fall air, mixed with the smell of rich pecan smoke. It reminds me of campfires from my childhood, and unless you have fallen into one, I’m sure those are good memories for you as well.

I finished a fresh batch of Andouille on Sunday, and I’m thrilled with the results, so thrilled in fact that I had to whip up a batch of Chicken & Andouille Gumbo for dinner last night. Here is a pic of last night’s Gumbo.

For my last batch of Andouille I experimented with the smoking technique, doing a longer cold smoke which resulted in a denser more cured finished product. For this batch I hot smoked at a temperature of 160-180 degrees for about 3 1/2 hours with Pecan wood, which is in the Hickory family. Both techniques were successful, but I have to say I prefer the hot smoked product. I used the same recipe for both (My Andouille Recipe). Some details in the production of this batch that I think make it superior are the following:

* Instead of grinding the meat, I hand cut all of the meat into 1/4″ – 1/2″ cubes. I think this produces a much better texture.

* I poked the sausages all over with a toothpick. This allows for easy smoke absorption, and you can also get rid of any air pockets that are there from the stuffing process.

* I completely let the casings dry out before smoking. I cannot stress how important this step is. I wiped the casings dry with paper towel, then let the sausages hang in the refrigerator overnight. You will know that the sausages are ready for the smoker when you can see the meat clearly through the casing.

To see a real Louisiana professional make Andouille, check out Jason Perlow’s Wayne Jacob’s Andouille post at Off The Broiler. Jason is doing God’s work over there, or the Devil’s work if you happen to be on a diet. 🙂

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes!

Related Posts:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe
My post about Jacob’s Andouille
How to link Sausage Recipe

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Andouille Sausage

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This is my latest batch of Andouille, I’m very happy with it. I used my recipe for Andouille but I changed my smoking technique a bit. I recently bought a Bradley Smoker, which now gives me the option of cold smoking which I did here. I smoked this batch at 90-100 degrees F for 10 hours with Pecan wood smoke, then I let it hang in the refrigerator for 3 days, to continue to cure and dry out a bit.

I cut into one link so that you could see the coarse texture. I hand chopped half of the meat from a 5 pound Boston Butt into small cubes, and ground the other half. I also added additional fat which I cubed, as you can see in the cut link.

This is not a paid advertisement for Bradley smokers. I love this contraption. It has a mechanism that feeds the compressed woodchips, called bisquettes onto a small hotplate that makes a perfectly clean smoke for 20 minutes then dumps the spent bisquette into a bowl of water, while feeding a new one onto the plate. There is a heat element in the smoke tower, that allows you to control the temperature. You can fill the smoke generator up with bisquettes and let it run for 8 hours without even touching it. It works so well that it almost takes the fun out of it for me. 🙂 I’m so used to tending the fire.

The only downside that I’ve found with this smoker so far is that you’re locked in to buying their Bisquettes“>bisquettes, but you can get them relatively cheaply on the net, about $15 dollars for 48 bisquettes. I paid around $300 for the smoker, which I thought was a steal. I first read about it in, what is in my humble opinion, the best cookbook to come out in years, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Detroit area Chef Brian Polcyn. Their recommendation really paid off, I really love my new toy.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes!

Related Posts:

Jacob’s Andouille

For more on Andouille see Jason Perlow’s All About Andouille post at Off the Broiler!

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Homemade Tasso Recipe

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Tasso (TAH-so) is a smoked seasoning meat used to flavor dishes like Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Red Beans & Rice. Tasso used to be made from the trim after an Acadian Hog Boucherie, thin strips, heavily seasoned, dried, then smoked for hours. These days however, most of the Tasso that is available is a little more fancy, more of a ham than the style of the old days, mine is somewhere in between. I always find it amazing how ingredients and recipes, that basically came from scrap and the poorest times evolve into Gourmet, I love it. Tasso will keep in the freezer and is pretty easy to make, but you have to do a little planning.
A few Tips:
After seasoning it, I recommend keeping it in the fridge, at least 3 days to let it cure, look at how nice and pink the center is.
Take it easy on the Cayenne when making your seasoning blend, start off with a small amount, then add to your taste, the amount here is moderate. It should have some heat, but I don’t like losing control of the heat in a dish I’m cooking because my Tasso was too hot, so I cut it back a little, for the same reason that you don’t salt stocks.
Here is my recipe for Tasso. I used a Boneless Pork Roast cut into about 4-5 inch long, 1/2 to 1 inch thick slices. This is seasoning for about 5 lbs of pork:

Homemade Tasso Recipe

5 lbs Pork cut as described above
Seasoning:

3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Tsp Cayenne or To Taste (see above)
4 Tbsp Paprika
2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp White Pepper
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Mix the seasoning together well. Rub the seasoning into the meat, you want a lot on there, call it 1/8 inch, use it all. Place on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate 3 days.

Before smoking put the Tasso on an elevated rack so that air can circulate around it, then put a fan on it for about 2 hours to dry it out. I also don’t use a water pan when smoking Tasso, this is something that I actually want to dry out during the smoking process.

I hot smoked this batch in an inexpensive upright barrel smoker using charcoal as the heat source (heated with a chimney starter, no lighter fluid or matchlight coals please.) I used Pecan chips that were soaked in water for 1 hour for the smoke.
I smoked this a total of about 4 hours, the first 2 hours at about 150-160 degrees F. The second two hours at 180-190 degrees F.
The object is to get as much smoke into the meat, before cooking it all the way through. I brought the internal temperature of the meat to 150 degrees F in the last 2 hours of smoking.
When finished I again put the Tasso in front of a fan for about 1 hour. Refrigerate. When completely cold portion and store the Tasso in vacuum sealed packages. Freeze.

Makes 5 lbs of Tasso

Related Links:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Pickle Meat Recipe
More on Tasso:
Check out these Pics at Egullet of Wayne Jacob’s beautiful Tasso and Andouille, made the old way in LaPlace, Louisiana.

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