As promised, I had our Ninja butcher Dave extract a brisket from a hog today. The cut is from the same area you would find on a cow. You can find it just above the top of the belly within the first 5 ribs from the front of the hog.
Some of you have seen my ‘diet’ references around here. I have been on a low carb diet plan, along with exercise for the past 2 years…last weekend was the anniversary. It hasn’t been an easy journey but nothing worthwhile should come easy.
I’ve always been fat and I was always bullied about it. When I was about 8 years old I put an end to all photography as I couldn’t stand looking at myself. Every year my parents would get a call when it came time for school pictures. Often times this included the use of middle finger. As the years passed the only photos that I ‘allowed’ was for the purpose of an identification card.
2 years ago my parents rented a beach house in Oceanside, OR… Before and during the trip it was discussed that we all need to make a positive change in regards to our health. In particular our weight.
Knowing that it would be my last weekend of eating ‘real food’, I indulged. My plan was to eat as much seafood as I could that weekend being on the coast and all. When it came time to eating out I kept going back to my favorites…burgers, pizza, beer and Reuben sandwiches.
Upon returning from the trip I cleaned out the cupboards and fridge of ‘off-limit’ items. No more rice, beans, bread, sugar, corn, potatoes…beer (insert sad face and whimpers.) It was nothing but fresh meat and green veggies from now on.
When I make up my mind to do something I am more determined than most people and this was a ‘do or die’ decision. Failure means a premature death. Failure is not an option.
During the first few weeks of the diet I observed immediate results. I also came across Walton’s Inc. and Meatgistics at about the same time. I noticed that many of the sausage seasonings were mimicking the very things I was now trying to avoid on the diet. Most notably Pizza and Reuben sandwiches. I could now enjoy my favorite meals with a product that is easy to portion and has virtually no carbs.
I was determined to lose 100 lbs. by my 1 year diet anniversary. I lost a steady 10 lbs. per month for the first 6 months but was frustrated that I didn’t lose any ‘girth’. I was still huge and the lack of physical results was frustrating…but I kept going.
I was having a discussion about this with my dad and his friend which gave me a pat on the back and put things into perspective. It was also at this time that my dad divulged that he had taken a picture of me while were on our trip without my ‘permission’. Had I known at the time I would have likely demanded that he erase the image immediately. Had he not taken that photo I may have lost my way. When I saw my before image I was more determined than ever…this [censored] is real. I am really losing weight!
By August of 2018 I was down 90 lbs. and finally to a size that I could start exercising without wanting to die. I didn’t want to wait until October to hit my 100 lb. goal. I wanted to get there by my birthday in early September…so I did!
It was at this point that my clothing really started ‘hang’. Pre-diet I was wearing a 4X shirt and had a 66" waist. One year later I dropped one shirt size. By Thanksgiving I was a 2X. When Christmas came I was into my first 1X shirt since 2003…most notably my Audioslave and Lollapalooza concert shirts that I had saved. Luckily and ex-girlfriend had saved all of my prior clothing. There is no way I would have been able to afford clothes had she not done that for me.
When I first started the diet I was using an app on my phone that wanted me to enter my ‘goal weight’ so I threw 200 out there thinking I would never get close to that in a million years. When I hit 225 lbs. I knew that the goal was well within my grasp. I got this.
Over the next few months my weight loss slowed and my size remained steady but I was still at a decent pace. I had been working out an hour per day 6 days a week on an elliptical/recumbent hybrid since August. On April 6, 2019 I hit my ‘unreachable’ goal of 200. Whoa!
I could have easily stopped there. Nope. I need to push goal posts to better myself. I only needed to lose 15 more lbs. to be half the man I used to be…so I did! At this point I was wearing a large shirt and had a 32" waist. These are numbers I hadn’t seen since I was 12!
I promised myself that when I hit 185 that I would reward myself with a burger. By June 1st I hit my next goal and was ready for my reward. My son who lives a few hours away wanted to be there for the occasion but I knew it would be a while before we could get together…so I moved the goal posts yet again.
It was too hot for working out at my place so I decided my reward for now would be less exercise unless it had a negative impact. It slowed progress but I still managed to drop weight. That’s a reward I can live with!
Lots of people lose 100 lbs. and that is certainly something to brag about. Many people lose 150 or more. Few people can brag that they weigh half as much as they used to. Far fewer can say they lost over 200, so why not try?
In mid August a new butcher shop opened up in my area called ‘Butcher Butcher Walla Walla’ On my first visit the owner mentioned they might be looking for a sausage maker. Over the next few days I visited his shop and made purchases daily. Each time I would ask questions about the shop, their process, equipment, etc… It has been a while since I’ve looked for work so I was cautious. Rather than filling out a resume I delivered 14 different kinds of sausage and threw some jerky in for good measure. I was hired!
By August 20, 2019 I weighed in at 170 lbs… Boom! It’s burger time! One problem…my son wasn’t here. We had been planning on visiting the same beach house to take a before and after photo of my weight loss. I figured this would be a good time for a burger with the kid. This would also give me a little more time to go beyond the 200 lb. barrier…so I did!
I left for my trip last Friday morning weighing in at 164 lbs with a 31" waist and totaling a massive 206 lbs weight loss. I drove 4 hours to Vancouver, WA. to a Killer Burger location and had my first burger in 2 years accompanied by my son and parents. I can’t imagine a better group to celebrate with!
I’m not the only success story here though. As I mentioned in the beginning, this was a group effort. My father lost over 60 lbs and my mother lost over 40! As a family we have lost well over 300!
Walton’s Inc and the Meatgistics community were a huge part of my success. I really could not have done it without all of you. Food related hobbies gave me the drive and focus to stay on task and the camaraderie here is an inspiration. Thank you for making this, my 1000th post, possible!
-Joel (aka Joe Hell)
We get some pretty random requests for sausage at the shop and the boss just can’t say no…I think he does it just to mess with me sometimes. lol. Oddly this one was requested twice in the last week.
The latest request was for a Swedish Christmas Sausage called Potatis Korv, or simply ‘Korv’. Apparently the boss wasn’t aware that this is a holiday thing! I browsed several recipes online and all of them seemed pretty similar. Equal Parts Pork, Beef to Potato/Onion with Allspice and Black Pepper.
5.5 lbs. Pork trim
5.5 lbs. Beef trim
I did not get an exact measurement on the potatoes and onion but it was 7 good sized Yukon Gold Potatoes (raw) and two medium Sweet Onions (raw) equaling a total of 5.5 lbs. for a combined total of 16.5 lbs. ingredients. Feel free to play with ratios.
150 grams Kosher Salt
4 t. Black Pepper
4 t. ground Allspice
I ran all of the meat and veggies through the #32 grinder using the coarse plate and laid out on a sheet pan evenly. I sprinkled about half of the salt and spice mixture over the top, tossed lightly then sprinkled the remaining spices. I then set the pan and grinder head in the freezer to chill for about 30 minutes.
Next step was a final grind through the coarse plate, a quick hand mix to ensure uniformity before covering and resting overnight in the fridge. I made a test patty for the crew and it turned out great. Cooking over low heat produced a great crust from the potatoes. I’d describe this as a breakfast in a sausage. The potatoes and onion reminded me hash browns and gave a soft yet defined texture. The Allspice and Pepper gave it a mild and savory finish. I’me sure I’ll be making this one again!
We use the Tubed 35-38mm casings at the shop for everything which makes for a nice, plump sausage. Many recipes called for links at about 4" in length so that’s what I went with. These eat like a meal so the smaller size seems to work well. If you try these for yourself let me know how it goes and post pics!
It’s been discussed here on occasion the desire for a patty maker for breakfast sausage. The Weston patty maker is great but the patties are substantial. I had some 100 mm casings that I had no immediate plans for so I figured that I’d stuff it with a breakfast mix, freeze and portion out on the slicer. It worked great!
This method is an inexpensive method for the home guy. I’ll be purchasing the large rolls of poly tubing for the shop soon. This is really going to speed things up!
Part of my diet success was due to replacing every day foods such as pizza and Reuben sandwiches with a sausage alternative. So long as the flavors were there the craving for bread was easier to deal with.
Bagels with cream cheese are delicious but loaded with 4 days worth of carbs in my case. I’ve been toying with the idea of an everything bagel fresh brat for several months and finally got around to it…it’s everything I hoped it would be! Here is my easy recipe for a scratch made fresh brat.
My first step was to come up with the seasoning. I looked at numerous recipes online and came up with a blend that I was happy with.
Everything Bagel Seasoning:
1 C. Poppy Seeds
1 C. Sesame Seeds
1 C. Dried Chopped Onion
1/2 C. Black Sesame Seeds
1/2 C. Dried Minced Roasted Garlic
Everything But the Bagel Brat:
11 lbs. Ground Pork
100 grams Kosher Salt
250 grams Everything Bagel Seasoning
300 ml Ice Cold Water
Mix salt, seasoning and water and let hydrate for 5-10 minutes. Mix with well ground pork and let rest overnight. Stuff into natural casings. Let sausages rest in fridge for several hours uncovered to dry the casings slightly. I’ve found you get better snap when biting into them after drying.
I experimented with a smoked honey mustard recipe recently that you guys might like. While the smoke character didn’t come through as I would have hoped I think with some added time in the smoker it might just work. It’s a solid recipe either way.
For the smoked preparation you will need a something to smoke your seed in or on. I used brewing bags that would normally be used in beer brewing and doubled them up as to lose as few of the mustard seed as possible. You might also be able to use a sheet pan. I smoked the bags of seed for approx. 3 hours on Hickory but I’d suggest possibly doubling that amount of time.
I figured while I was doing this I would also add some smoke to salt, crushed red pepper and dried pinto beans. The smoke character came through nicely in all three with the beans and chili becoming the most fragrant. I feel the salt could have used some more time too but overall it was ok.
For the recipe you will need the following ingredients:
3/4 C. Smoked Yellow Mustard Seed
3/4 C. Smoked Brown Mustard Seed
1 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 C. White Vinegar
1/2 C. Honey
2-3 oz of your favorite Whiskey (in my case Weller)
1 t. fine sea salt
1 t. Tumeric
A pinch or two of Allspice (optional)
Combine Vinegar and Honey in saucepan and heat just until the honey dissolves and allow to cool to room temp. Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive container such as Tupperware, cover and let rest at room temp overnight. Take a shot or two of Whiskey. The following day you may notice that the seeds have soaked up all of the liquid. If so, add a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar and/or whiskey and stir. If there is excess liquid add a bit more seed. Take another shot or two of Whiskey. At this point you will want to refrigerate the mustard for the next six days. Be sure to finish the remaining whiskey during this time…most important.
At this point the mustard is ready to be enjoyed as a whole grain version or you can use a processor to make it a bit creamy. While I haven’t tried it yet I’d bet that a big dollop of Horseradish would kick this one up a notch. Enjoy!
It’s onion time in the valley right now and the culinary uses are endless. This year I tried something new by dehydrating about 15 lbs in the Weston 80L dehydrator. Also new to me is this version of sweets…these are a new red variety that might even be sweeter and milder than the original.
It took over 24 hours at 160 to get to a moisture content I was happy with and I then finished in the oven at 225 for about 40-45 minutes stirring them at the halfway point.
As they dried they became sweeter and sweeter and the finished product was toasty and crispy like potato chips. These are way more fun than ‘Funyuns’ snacks. I will be using these in all sorts of projects. They are sweet enough that there might even be a savory dessert on the horizon.
Jalapeño Poppers have been a diet staple for the last couple of years. They are a quick and easy low-carb snack, side dish or main course. The filling can easily be adapted with taco meat, sausage or bacon for a heartier meal. They can be wrapped in bacon, ham, etc… Leftovers go great in a number of egg dishes!
1 - 8 oz. package room temperature cream cheese
1 C. Shredded cheese of your choosing
1/2 pickled Jalapeno
3 TBL Hot Sauce
Crushed Tortilla chips or Bread Crumbs
Cut opening in peppers lengthwise and remove seeds and pith. Finely dice leftover pepper and pickled jalapeño. Whip room temp cream cheese with fork until fluffy. Add shredded cheese and diced peppers and Hot Sauce. Mix thoroughly.
Add cream cheese mixture to quart sized zip-loc and remove corner. Pipe cream cheese into the cavity of each pepper until overflowing. Dip exposed cheese into bread crumbs or crushed tortilla. Omit this step if wrapping in bacon. Drizzle peppers with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until crumbs are browned and peppers slightly wilted. Let rest 5 minutes.
These also work well in a smoker or on the grill using indirect heat.
Chef These turned out great. I didn’t follow the ratios exactly as a “cup” of fresh ingredients are subjective. I seasoned the meat and veggies and ran them through the 7mm plate twice. When cooked they were a bit crumbly for I’m glad I reduced the veggies. These have good heat from the amount of pepper and raw garlic. These are my approximate measurements:
Tex_77 The picture doesn’t do justice but tonight I made dinner for the folks. We had shop ground .4/lb burgers using the Weston patty press on a local made brioche bun, homemade spicy habanero pickle relish, Tillamook cheddar and bacon with grilled asparagus, tots with sriracha dipping sauce and mac salad.