Sky Full of Bacon


Airwaves Full of Bacon 5: Michael Ruhlman, From Keller to Schmaltz • Great Chicago Charcuterie • Road Trip to the Kentucky Ham Lady, Nancy Newsom Mahaffey • Matthias Merges Gets Not Serious

Michael Ruhlman, From Keller to Schmaltz • Great Chicago Charcuterie • Road Trip to the Kentucky Ham Lady, Nancy Newsom Mahaffey • Matthias Merges Gets Not Serious

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First up, I talk with one of my heroes, Michael Ruhlman, in the extended version of an interview published at the Reader here. It took place at Balena and followed a public conversation with Chandra Ram of Plate (it’s at their site, if you’re a subscriber). Here’s what it looks like when he’s talking to her:

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I’ve made lots of things from Charcuterie, such as this and this, but really the whole site’s existence owes something to my making bacon because Charcuterie said I could.

Afterwards I mention some local charcuterie places to check out, so here are links for those: Paulina Meat Market, Gene’s Sausage Shop, Schmeisser’s, Andy’s Deli, Bari, Riviera, Ream’s, and Dreymiller & Kray. Here’s an old post about the last one, too.

Next, I go to Princeton, Kentucky to learn about Newsom’s Country Hams; regular readers will have already read about my Indy/Louisville trip with my kids. But here are things we saw that you’ll hear about. Here’s Nancy Newsom Mahaffey with a country ham as hard as varnished oak:

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Our tasting, preacher ham in front, prosciutto behind.

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This spring’s hams in the new ham house.

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The oldest hams with their “Civil War beards of mold”:

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The hams hanging in the smokehouse (photo by Myles Gebert):

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So how do you cook a country ham? Here’s a post on me cooking one according to a recipe from Charleston Receipts. I do this every Thanksgiving now.

Finally, I talk to Matthias Merges about Yusho and other things.

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This is from an interview originally conducted for a piece in Where Chicago that isn’t out yet, but I used another chunk of it, about his Hyde Park restaurants, at the Reader here. Ironically, my only review of Yusho here isn’t all that positive, but I’ve been back 3 or 4 times since and liked it better each time, and have no problem joining in the general praise as one of the places you gotta go in Chicago right now.

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