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Smoke Signals Blog
Hearty & Full of Flavor
Ah, Saint Patrick’s Day. For the Irish, March 17 is a day of cultural celebration. For meat lovers all over the world, it’s a day of flavorful possibility. Yes, you can brine a brisket and slow-cook it in a Dutch oven for hours…But we’re quite happy dressing our Irish Brand Banger Sausage—a traditional Emerald Isle blend of pork, spices, and bread crumbs—with onion gravy on a bed of mashed potatoes for a traditional feast that takes less than 30 to fix.
History has it that the name “Bangers” comes from the fact that these sausages used to burst (bang!) while cooking due to the inclusion of bread crumbs (otherwise known as “rusk”) in the meat.
Just like any simple dish, Bangers and Mash is all about the ingredients, so most recipes you’ll find explicitly articulate the need for great quality sausage. We’re glad to oblige.
- 1 (12 ounce) pkg. North Country Smokehouse Irish Brand Bangers
- 2 lbs. white potato
- 1 large, white onion
- 1/4 cup of butter
- A tsp. of dried milk
- A pinch of dried mustard
- A dash of salt and pepper
- 6 cups of beef broth
- 2 cups of red wine
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
Cook the Irish Brand Bangers in a skillet over medium-low heat until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and move to the preheated oven to keep warm.
Place 2 lbs of peeled and cubed potatoes into a saucepan over medium heat, cover with water, and boil until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two. Mix in 1/4 cup of butter, a bit of milk, dry mustard, salt, and black pepper and mash until fluffy and smooth. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat; cook the onions until translucent and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Pour in 6 cups of beef broth and 2 cups red wine; boil the mixture down to about half its volume, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Traditional gravy is thin and liquidy, so you can cook longer to increase thickness to your preference.
To serve, place a sausage onto a serving plate with about 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes. Pour the onion gravy over the sausage and potatoes.
Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a universal, farm-to-fork safety and quality compliance program that awards food manufacturing companies with Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certifications, awarded North Country Smokehouse, a family-owned, artisanal smoked meat producer with a strong history of culinary excellence, the SQF Quality Shield.
A certification from SQFI is the only one of its kind recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and it is the only program with a food quality component added to its food safety platform. The goal of SQFI is to consistently apply standards of food safety and quality on a global level. The program includes assessment of all facets of the food-processing industry. It also helps ensure producers, suppliers, retailers and consumers that the food products manufactured in a specific facility are safe to eat and are of the best possible quality and consistency.
The SQF Quality Shield is the highest level of achievement the program offers for companies with “Comprehensive Food Safety and Quality Management Systems.” SQF certification is comprised of three levels, each with a more rigorous standard of compliance than the one before. To earn this certification, North Country Smokehouse was required to document and prove that quality actions are being taken to correct or prevent sub-par quality and inconsistencies through critical control points of production.
“We’re proud to receive the SQF Quality Shield and earn a higher degree of trust in the global marketplace. Achieving this certification is a testament to the hard work put forth by our Quality Control Department, managerial and production staff,” said Aaron Corbett, COO, North Country Smokehouse.
“The SQF Quality Shied is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to product quality and food safety, and we are proud to be considered a global leader.”
In New England, February is still deep winter. Pay no mind to the groundhog: it’s still another month before we get the slightest taste of spring, and hearty winter foods are all we want to eat.
Harsh winters are in our DNA so we embrace all the season has to offer. New Englanders have a unique sense of artisanship, respect for tradition, and strong values. We attribute some of that to overcoming the obstacles that come with a long winter. As New England natives ourselves, we share in stubborness required to do a job and do it well.
We stick to our guns, making sure our sausages are hand-crafted and smoked low and slow, true to Old World traditions. Long gone are the days spent standing over simmering stove tops to get the rich flavors you’re craving. Our authentic sausage recipes are fully cooked, meaning you can get the mouthwatering taste you crave in less than 15 minutes, simply heat & serve.
New England is a mecca for craft beer. We searched our favorite local brews to find the perfect pairing for our savory sausages: Here are three matches made in heaven - at least we think so.
Zero Gravity Green State Lager and Chorizo with Brandy Sausage
This crisp, fresh, and clean pilsner strikes a perfect balance in washing down the Mexican spices and subtle heat found in the Chorizo. Red pepper, cumin, and other Mexican spices are blended to conjure up some southwestern heat. The Brandy softens the profile just slightly, creating a well-rounded flavor.
The pilsners easy drinkability is the perfect refreshment for our zesty chorizo.
Stone Corral Chocolate Maple Porter with Andouille Cajun Style Sausage
For those with a sweet tooth, we introduce the Maple Porter and Cajun Sausage. The Andouille is both our best-selling and spiciest sausage – delivering and authentic Louisiana flavor that combines black, white, and red pepper spice, we smoke our sausages for hours on end, lending a deep, rich flavor.
Our spiciest sausage profile pairs with the delicately sweet, chocolate maple notes found in Stone Corral’s Porter. This beer is dark and rich, but not heavy. Made with fair-trade cacao nibs from Middlebury Chocolates to keep it extra local. The balance between spice and sweetness is inexplicable.
Lost Nation Mosaic IPA with the Whiskey Fennel Sausage
The juicy fruit flavors and a subtle hop bitterness in this IPA plays nicely with the distinct flavor found in this tasty sausage. Our Whiskey Fennel variety is warm and aromatic, pairing the subtle, licorice notes of fennel with the distinct flavor of Tennessee whiskey.
Lost Nation’s IPA is brewed with Mosaic hops, which mean a clean and crisp flavor balanced with just the right amount of bitterness. This combination provides all the bold flavor you could ever ask for.
We’re proud to collaborate with local brewmasters to bring the best possible products to the table. What are your favorite North Country Smokehouse pairings?
Perfectyl Portioned, Sweet & Savory Kabobs
Made with 3 fresh ingredients and a few flavorful pantry staples, the samoky sausage does the talking with this winning dish.
- 1 12oz package of North Country Smokehouse Natural Polish Style Kielbasa, sliced into ½ inch coins
- 10oz fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into large chunks
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 15-20 toothpicks or small kabob skewers, soaked overnight
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for marinade and set aside
2. Cut up sausage, pineapple, and peppers. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with marinade until everything is evenly coated. Using the toothpicks, skewer a piece of pineapple, pepper, and sausage. Place finished skewer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Continue with remaining ingredients until everything is used up.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until peppers are cooked through and sausage if slightly browned on the outside
4. Serve warm!