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The Virtual Gormand 17: Double-Smoked Ham

DSC00346Be it on Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, ham represents a traditional holiday feast dish. Any decently sized ham will serve a lot of people at the holiday table without breaking the bank. Plus, ham usually tends to be on sale just before holidays.

The commercially processed hams that we enjoy today bear little resemblance to the hams of old. Of course, there are relatively few family farms that raise pigs for slaughter for those families’ own consumption, and then prepare the hams using recipes and techniques passed down from one generation to another. Today, the retail market for ham has multiplied many times from what it was in the past, and consumer demand for ham is a now year-round phenomenon.

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From The CW Vault-Making Bacon!

The Virtual Gourmand 14: Makin' Bacon!

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This article was originally published April 2011 in the CW Magazine. With the recent cold weather, it is the ideal time to try this technique if you like. In fact, BigJohn and I put 30 pounds of pork shoulder into cure just last weekend.

I don't think there's another more universally loved food in America than bacon. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone (even among those who are forbidden by religious or dietary practices) who won't admit to liking bacon. There's just something about the salty-smoky-unctuously fatty taste of bacon that is unique among flavors.

A few months ago, I decided I was going to try to make some artisinal bacon. Christmas was on the way, and I wanted to (and always like to, as a matter of fact) make unique food products for friends and family as gifts for the holiday season. Who wouldn't like to get a package with a vacuum-sealed bag loaded with yummy bacon? I sure would.

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The Virtual Gormand 16: Something Different

Monday October 6, 2014

I want to be clear about something. I don't like barbecue. I LOVE barbecue!

Smoky. Spicy. Saucy and tangy and sweet. Pork, chicken or beef. From the grill or from the smoker. I love it all.

My wife, the Nurse, swears my blood type is barbecue sauce. Barbecue is the one food I never tire of, and the one thing you can always find in my home.

Whether it's a dry-rubbed brisket, a batch of mustard-sauced chicken quarters, a pulled pork shoulder or several racks of ribs - if there isn't any in my icebox, then check my grill. I grill or smoke three times a week, no matter what the weather. Six inches of snow and winds 'blowing' the temp to below zero? Fire up the Weber or the smoker!

For me, barbecue is like sex. Even if it is awful, it's still pretty good.

DSC00172Pork prices, while on the upswing (due to the Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus or PEDV for short, increased costs of feed and the weakened dollar), have been moderate of late. Knowing that pork is going to become increasingly expensive and therefore a lesser part of our future diet, I've been indulging in it this summer while it is still affordable. Consequently, I found myself last week with three racks of baby back (also known as loin back) ribs in my fridge that needed to be used.

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The Virtual Gourmand 15: Barbecue Without Fire

Yes, you read the title right.

“But,” you ask, “How can this seafood dish, which doesn't involve any fire at all, be called barbecue?”

DSC00041Let’s go back a ways to Pascal's Manale Restaurant in New Orleans. (It's still there today). A visitor from Chicago, who was a close family friend of the owners, raved about a buttery shrimp recipe he’d tasted back in his home city. The chef at Pascal’s Manale went back into the kitchen to try his hand at replicating the recipe, and came up with something he named Barbecue Shrimp. Barbecue Shrimp has been a popular dish at the New Orleans establishment ever since.

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A Rich Pour 37: Clynelish Distillery – A Story of Crofters, Clearances, Whisky and Wildcats

A Rich Pour 37 1November 14th, 2016

Clynelish Distillery is located in the northern Highlands of Scotland, a stone’s throw from the coastal village of Brora and the A9 highway. It is owned by the giant drinks firm Diageo.

The history of Clynelish is replete with stark contrasts – power and disenfranchisement, prosperity and poverty, and new versus old. In many ways, the distillery’s saga mirrors Scotland’s last two hundred years. Above all, it recounts the birth and evolution of a little-known but essential malt whisky site.

A person time-traveling back to early 19th-Century Sutherlandshire would encounter a land similar to many contemporary, autocratic Third World nations – a place where the welfare of commoners fell beneath the footsteps of the fortunate.

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