I made a single perfect cheeseburger
Or maybe it is? It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to post much let alone have time for many cooking projects at home. Covid had an unexpected affect on business that we didn’t see coming. Demand has increased many times over and a day off is few and far between.
Last week I had a chance actually cook a meal at home and since fresh local produce is in large abundance I decided to go with stuffed bell peppers. I had made a ‘street corn’ sausage at the shop that week and I immediately knew that would be the base of the stuffing. The sausage had grilled corn, green onions, cilantro, cotija cheese and seasonings. I mixed that with a wild rice blend topped with tomato sauce and cheese. As soon as I had my first bite I was inspired…I need to make a stuffed bell pepper sausage!
Despite a long list of ingredients each component played perfectly together. All of the flavors I was going for shined through. I wanted a third of the farce to be fresh veggies, cheese, spices, etc… The ratio was perfect! The green peppers, onion and corn were all sauteed or grilled prior combining.
STUFFED BELL PEPPER SAUSAGE:
26 lbs. ground pork
236 grams plain or Kosher Salt.
650 ml Ice Water
1200 g. Green Bell Pepper
900 g. Walla Walla Sweet Rose’ Onions
1350 g. Sweet Corn
100 g. minced fresh Garlic
130 g. Green Onion
140 g. Cilantro
280 g. Tomato Paste
1100 g. cooked Basmati Rice
520 g. High Temp Swiss
520 g. High Temp Cheddar
20 g. Chili Powder
20 g. Cumin
20 g. Red Chili Flake
20 g. Smoked Paprika
20 g. Achiote Seasoning (Spiceology)
20 g. coarse ground Black Pepper
I ran the pork once through the grinder using the 7mm plate and on the second pass I added all of the fresh ingredients and rice. The ice water, spices, salt and tomato paste were mixed together and then added along with the cheese to the farce. I mixed until I just started to see signs of protein extraction or binding then stuffed into natural casings. The crew were all blown away by these brats and exclaimed they were the best sausage we’ve ever offered. I’m inclined to agree.
This project took several days overall but it was worth it. I started with a batch of ghost chili cheddar beer cheese sauce a couple days ago. Last night I made a small rib roast that had been taking up too much freezer space for way too long and started on a bread project. This morning I got to work on some footlong hoagie rolls, picked some bell peppers from my folks garden and grabbed some local onions from the store. I spent the afternoon shaping, resting and baking the bread. After all was said and done I spent about 2 minutes inhaling one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. Philly has nothing on me.
I opted out of the traditional holiday meal/family gathering and mail ordered some Reuben fixings from Katz’s Delicatessen in NY. I paired the sandwich with a large selection of fine bourbon and a Deschutes Brewery Jubelale. Best Thanksgiving ever? Probably.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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 s**t 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)
I made ‘potsticker’ brats this morning…all the goods you might find in a potsticker stuffed into a casing.
I used pork, cabbage, green onion, red onion, carrots, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper, sesame sees, mushroom soy sauce and Chinese five spice.
I ran the pork through the grinder once before adding all of the produce and dry ingredients and running a second time followed by an addition of water and soy.
The mix works well as stand alone brat or removed from the casing and used as a pot sticker filling.
I haven’t noticed anything cheese related but I have noticed brats that are heavy with onion or garlic tend to turn faster. Letting them air dry for a couple of days (rather than wrapping in plastic daily) in the display case seems to give them extra life. I’m freezing everything within 4 days normally.
twilliams At the shop I make a pre-seasoned patty we refer to as the BOG burger. Bacon, Onion, Garlic. It’s made up with trim on the lean-ish side and to that I add bacon ends of pieces at a ratio of about 20%. I will also sprinkle in dried minced garlic & onion, Worcestershire, dried chives, black pepper and salt…I do this by eye. We sell a TON of them! I mix all of the dry ingredients with the trim meat and bacon prior to grinding twice through a 7mm plate. Before the second grind I splash in the Worcestershire and mix lightly.
Tex_77 We don’t have enough chicken wings to keep up with superbowl demand so the boss wanted me to take a picture of some buffalo chicken lollipops that she could post online to encourage people to look past wings and try some other parts.
I thought it would be a sad party with only one plate of food so I also made fried chicken, chicken sandwiches, broccoli and chicken salad, meatballs, ribs, stuffed jalapenos, chips, dips, etc… I had a sampling of things and gave everything else to an out of work neighbor.
Tex_77 It’s funny you mention McDonald’s because I was totally going for the drive-in burger joint fast food kinda vibe. Nailed it! My beef was on the higher end though. I was making summer sausage at the shop the other day and the only available product I had to work with was super lean beef roasts so I supplemented with pork back fat. Easily the best summer sausages I’ve made and the juiciest of burgers.