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Smoke Signals Blog
The shift towards locally sourced ingredients is real. Our customers want to know where their food comes from and trust the people who produce it. Enter - North Country Smokehouse.
We’ve been smoking meat for a long time, and we pride ourselves on the diverse flavors our products bring to the table. We live in a region that’s made a name for itself with the local flavors of sweet maple syrup, creamy cheeses and the very best in craft beer. It’s only right we partner with other local purveyors to develop two, all-natural, certified humane links; just in time for Memorial Day.
We began collaborations with Harpoon Brewery and Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company as part of our ongoing commitment to the local food movement, crafting recipes with fresh ingredients from our own backyard. These partnerships were made in sweet, meaty heaven – pairing our savory sausages with these regional, fan favorites was a no-brainer.
A New England staple with locations in Windsor, VT., and Boston, Harpoon Brewery’s award-winning IPA adds a notable flavor to our newest link. The Harpoon IPA Beer Bratwurst is balanced with bold notes of caraway and marjoram. The hoppy, citrus flavor comes just-in-time for the summer grilling season, and let’s be honest – beer and sausage belong together.
“There are so many wonderful friends and neighbors in and around Windsor, and we’ve had beers with most of them over the years,” said Dan Kenary, CEO and co-founder, Harpoon Brewery. “We’ve been pairing great beer with great social occasions for years, so working with North Country on something that would bring people together around a grill or table was the natural – no pun intended – next step.”
North Country Smokehouse also worked with South Woodstock-based Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company to create a custom cheddar cheese for the new, spicy Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage. The company was the first community-owned artisan cheese and dairy facility in the state.
“We are always looking for ways to collaborate with other makers in our region to provide customers with locally sourced options for their tables,” said Kent Underwood, President, and Chief Operating Worker, Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company. “We share in North Country Smokehouse’s commitment to producing handcrafted foods. We know that consumers will be able to taste the difference.”
In true, North Country Smokehouse fashion, these new products are hand-crafted in small batches and never include artificial flavors, fillers or dyes. The new sausages are packed in natural casings and free of nitrates, nitrites, and antibiotics. They are also Certified Humane, ensuring strict animal welfare standards are being met.
“We’re excited to partner with Harpoon Brewery and Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company as it enables us to use regional ingredients in more of our products. Today’s savvy consumers want to know the origins of their food and are especially interested in locally-produced foods,” said Aaron Corbett, COO, North Country Smokehouse. “These two new sausages honor the craft of each of our neighbors’ businesses and provide our customers with homegrown options.”
The two products are now available for sale and can be found at Whole Foods Market and Hannaford Supermarkets. Search locations near you on the store locator.
If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of grills firing up across the country. Eager to take the party outdoors, grilling season means gracing your table with the fresh flavors of the season.
At North Country Smokehouse, we believe everything tastes better after it’s spent some time over an open flame. Nothing signals the arrival of summer like smoked meats sizzlin' on the barbie.
We've launched 2 new, local products just-in-time for Memorial Day. Our new Jalapeno Cheddar sausage and Harpoon IPA Beer Bratwurst are sure to turn your run-of-the-mill meals into a scrumptious celebration.
Find these and other feast-worthy flavors inside this Ultimate Guide to BBQ Season and remember... Stay Low. Stay Slow. Stay Smoky.
Here at North Country Smokehouse, we’re practical people. We know there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken: That’s why we use traditional, family recipes passed down through generations. Another thing we know is that time is precious, and the more of it we can spend with our families and loved ones, the better. With that being said, we’ll keep this brief.
With a low and slow smoking process for all of our products, North Country’s focus is on timeless flavor above all else. While we craft our recipes the old-fashioned way, that doesn’t mean we’re afraid of efficiency. If we can prepare one meal and take away a week’s worth of leftovers, we’ll do it every time. After all, our products are hand-crafted to be the backbone for countless recipes.
Take our Spiral Sliced Ham, for instance. It’s well known for its classic, smoky-sweet flavor, glazed with a swirl of New England maple syrup and brown sugar. One of our most popular products, this cut is juicy, tender, smoked to perfection, and we’re always left wanting more once it’s gone. The message here? Don’t shy away from buying the 18-pound package, because we have three recipes to make the most out of this ham, and each one rivals the others.
Let’s Start with Dinner.
Begin by Cover the spiral ham with tin foil to prevent the meat from drying out. Place the ham in a preheated 325-degree oven for approximately 12-minutes per lb. A whole spiral ham will take approximately 3 hours to cook. After the ham has been removed from the oven, let sit for several minutes prior to serving. Don't be afraid to toss in your favorite vegetables alongside the ham, they will take on the savory sweetness of the meat for a perfect accompaniment.
The Sammy: Breakfast of Champions
After a night’s sleep, you’ll wake up the next morning ready for another delicious meal. Take the Spiral Ham out of the fridge and fry up a few slices on the griddle for a tried-and-true breakfast sandwich. Fresh eggs, cheese, and a flaky croissant complete the picture. This is what we call the extra hammy breakfast sammy. It’s the breakfast of Champions and doesn't take much time so you can move on with your day.
Lunchtime: Saving the Best for Last
Now, lunch is quickly approaching and you’ve worked up an appetite. Lucky for you, we’ve saved the best for last. Use what’s left of the spiral ham for a world-class Cuban Sandwich.
Pile it high on warm bread with swiss cheese, dill pickles, and toast it to perfection. It’s gooey, crunchy, and pretty much perfect. Nothing says comfort food quite like this.
There you have it: three ways to eat our spiral sliced ham. No drab leftovers here, each one of these delicious recipes is fit to be the hero.
North Country Smokehouse celebrated the grand opening of their new facility in October of last year. Significantly larger than the original smokehouse, the new building offers roughly five times the production capacity of the previous plant, presenting new opportunities to grow the business.
Building the new smokehouse in Claremont, N.H., was a top priority, the community being home to the company’s century-long evolution.
“North Country Smokehouse has always been a family-owned business and our founders have ties to Claremont that span generations. It was important that our community benefit from the added workforce required by the expansion. We now employ over 100 full-time residents, an increase of more than 200 percent,” said Aaron Corbett, North Country Smokehouse’s Chief Operating Officer.
Consistency is Key
Nestled in the valley of New Hampshire, with sweeping views of Vermont’s Mt. Ascutney, the new facility is the largest private investment in the city’s history. “It was important to maintain as much consistency as possible throughout the transition to the new facility, to ensure the products’ flavor and textures weren’t compromised in any way,” continued Corbett.
For more than two years, North Country partnered with CMC Design Build, Demand Management Institute and Eversource Energy to develop an Engineering Services Study. The purpose was to create a design that met the needs of food safety and compliance standards while ensuring the establishment was as eco-friendly and energy efficient as possible.
More than half of the new, 62,000 square-foot facility called for central refrigeration. Processing, packaging and storage areas require constant cold, controlled temperatures. To reach efficiency goals, North Country Smokehouse opted for a shell-in shell design with the production and staging areas of the facility enclosed to prevent direct exposure to the outside environment. This layer of tempered space added an extra level of insulation, helping to stabilize temperatures and increase efficiencies.
Food Safety Standards Set an Industry-Wide Example
“The entire plant was constructed to maximize food safety and minimize cross-contamination,” said Nate Larose, Director of Project Development for CMC Design Builds. “The USDA allows raw and further processed meats to flow through the same room but North Country Smokehouse opted for much more rigorous standards, building the entire plant to support the flow of product through the manufacturing process. This eliminated food safety risks and enhanced compliance with additional self-imposed standards from arrival to output.”
The new smokehouse rates among the top meat manufacturing facilities in the country from both an energy efficiency and food safety standpoint. “This is a project CMC Design Build is especially proud to be a part of. The new facility is an example of what other meat manufacturing operations should strive toward in the future,” continued Larose.
Beyond the Build – Real-Time Efficiencies
The facilities sustainable initiatives go beyond heating and cooling equipment features. The smokehouse was constructed with LED prescriptive lighting, high-performance insulated doors, sub-floor heating, and advanced filtration systems, all designed to aid in the facilities annual kWh savings. The new facility is currently estimated to save the company more than 1.2 million kWh per year.
Critical equipment and refrigeration updates are sent to the staff in real-time. This ensures repairs are made quickly and lessens energy loss associated with machine malfunctions. Heating and cooling equipment auto-adjusts to support on and off-peak production hours, and the LED lighting is motion censored, automatically turning off the lights in idle areas. In addition to the daily efficiencies performed by the building itself, the staff maintains a rigorous preventative maintenance schedule and participates in plant-wide recycling programs to ensure all the corrugated cardboard is recycled. Today, more than a year after the opening of the new facility, North Country Smokehouse remains committed to lessening their carbon footprint wherever possible.
To learn more about North Country Smokehouse, please visit www.ncsmokehouse.com.