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Smoke Signals Blog
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There’s something about cold weather that makes a person crave hearty dishes full of savory ingredients and satisfying hunks of flavorful meat. The urge to hunker down and fortify your defense against the cold with a tasty homemade meal is relentless and pressing. You want something simple, but gratifying; a recipe that doesn’t take hours to make or involve too many ingredients.
We have three recipes that you can whip up without much to-do when what you really want is to huddle up by the fireplace after an active winter day. We’re talking slow-smoked, handcrafted, bursting with flavor meats that are certified humane and get-in-my-belly good.
May we humbly suggest using your favorite North Country Smokehouse sausage as the vehicle for getting warm, melty cheese into your mouth? Consider yourself warned: our organic kielbasa makes moderation seem ridiculous, nay, pointless. Once you’ve prepared the fondue and the savory scent of sizzling sausage has permeated your kitchen, cut the sausage into generous hunks and add in some bread and fruit for variety. Ready? Get your skewer loaded up, and dip with reckless abandon for a cheese-on-your-chin meal that puts winter in its place.
Chili With Sausage
Andouille or Chorizo - we can’t decide, but adding some heat to your chili in the dead of winter is an easy way to spice up a meal that’s pretty much made for cold weather. Our Chorizo’s sweet heat brings south of the border meets Tex-Mex taste to your simmering pot of goodness, while Andouille sausage brings the bayou to you for a gumbo-like experience. For a Paleo version, this recipe provides some inspiration, and if you’re a fan of beans, this recipe hits the spot. We suggest slicing up an NCS sausage and throwing it in the mix to add a major boost of flavor without a ton of work. The longer you can let all the deliciousness simmer, the better, so throw it in the slow cooker and let the flavors mingle all day long. Don’t forget the shredded cheese and jalapeno!
Loaded Baked Potato Bar
Ahhh, the potato. Simple, unassuming, versatile. Laugh in the face of winter as you heap a steaming baked potato with all the things that make you drool. That leftover chili in the fridge? Use it! Chives, sour cream, jalapenos, and shredded cheese? Yes to all of it! And holy blasphemy, don’t forget the bacon. Our Fruitwood Smoked Bacon is thick and meaty, slow-smoked to tender perfection and the ideal companion to top off your loaded potato. It’s fast, it’s easy, and if curling up next to a cozy fireplace had a taste… this would be it. Load it up!
Now that you’ve got your winter recipe-fix, you can spend less time stressing about what to cook and more time doing what matters to you (without ever sacrificing flavor). Integrity, ingredients, and the slow-smoked preparation of the meat that hits your kitchen table—that’s what matters to us.
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duBreton President, Vincent Breton, Promotes Former Chief Operating Officer
Vincent Breton, President of duBreton, has appointed Aaron Corbett as Chief Executive Officer of duBreton USA and its subsidiary, North Country Smokehouse. In his new role, Aaron will contribute to the strategic planning and development of both companies, as well as oversee daily operations, sales, marketing and management of the smokehouse in Claremont, NH. Prior to accepting the role of COO at North Country Smokehouse in 2015, Corbett held the Director of Operations title for Boulder Organic Foods, and received an MBA from the University of Southern California.
duBreton, the leading organic and certified humane pork producer in North America, acquired North Country Smokehouse in 2015. Aaron was tasked with scaling efficiencies at the new, 62,000 sq. foot facility, maintaining exceptional quality standards and overseeing entry into new retail markets. “It’s an exciting time for North Country Smokehouse.” says Corbett. “For decades, the company focused solely on Foodservice. We’re committed to maintaining those partnerships but realize there’s a growing consumer demand for sustainable, smoked meats. Our relationship with duBreton gives us an advantage over other producers. We’re vertically integrated, so we’re not exposed to the risks associated with sourcing meat from outside our own network. That means our farming, feed & husbandry standards are never compromised, which positively impacts consumers and customer partners.”
North Country Smokehouse products can now be found in several leading retailers including Whole Foods Market, Hannaford’s Supermarket, Stop & Shop, Big Y, Market Basket and HEB. The company continues to pursue expansion in the US.
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Taking the Hassle Out of Keto Meal Prep with Three Easy Meals
Whether your goal is to feel good in your body or lead the pack at your next CrossFit class, eating keto is the current king of diets. From weight loss to managing various health conditions, keto has many proven benefits. Before you dive into that bacon-filled can of worms, hang on! Keto eating can be time-consuming - first ask yourself, is this way of eating right for you?
Keto, aka, the ketogenic diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that’s designed to help you burn fat more effectively. The goal is to put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis where your body burns fat - not carbs - for energy. This way of eating may not be right for everybody, though, and it’s advisable to talk to your doctor before trying.
Here’s what you can eat on a keto diet:
- - Natural fats like butter, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil
- - Meat
- - Fish and seafood
- - High-fat diary like cheese, heavy cream, butter
- - Veggies (that grow above ground, aka, non-starchy)
- - Eggs
- - Most nuts and seeds
- - Berries
And here’s what you should avoid when eating keto:
- - Breads, pastas, rices
- - Sugar and sugary foods
- - Sugary drinks, soda, beer
- - Fruit
- - Milk
- - Potatoes
Of course, this is just a thumbnail view. Menu restrictions, paired with the time-consuming nature of meal prep can make the keto diet a bit intimidating for anyone who’s short on time.
Take the furrow out of your brow because we’re committed to helping our keto-eating friends find a way to have their bacon and eat it too. Use these delicious recipes to have some quick and delicious wins up your sleeve for when you’re hangry, hungry, or simply short on time.
BREAKFAST: Egg Cups With Deli Ham
If it has North Country Smokehouse Ham, it’ll be somewhere in the ballpark of full-blown delicious, and that’s why we breakfast with this protein-packed meal. It’s genius, really - use our Organic, Sugar-Free Deli Ham to hold together egg and cheese and voila! you’ve got yourself a keto-licious breakfast.
To Make It: Line a muffin tin with slices of Deli Ham and sprinkle in some cheddar cheese. Crack an egg into each ham cup, and do your best to not drool into your food. Bake at 400 F for 12 minutes or until cooked through. Check out the full recipe here.
LUNCH: BLT Lettuce Wraps
It’s lunchtime, not cook-for-3 hours time, so whip up this bacon-filled meal for a convenient way to stave off hunger without straying from your state of ketosis.
To Make It: You’ll need four slices of bacon - we recommend Organic Applewood Smoked, 1 diced tomato, a tablespoon of mayo, pepper and, if you’re feeling wild, some avocado. Just mix it up, distribute it evenly into three large lettuce leaves, wrap those babies up and feast away. Need further instruction? Helpful pointers can be found here.
DINNER: Zoodles N’ Kielbasa
Need dinner in a pinch? Call on this quick and flavor-packed zinger. Your taste buds will thank you and you won't miss the carbs.
To Make It: Cook up some of our Organic Kielbasa and set aside. Saute some shallots and garlic with wine, cook until reduced by half and then stir in heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Add your zoodles (zucchini noodles - pro tip: you can buy these pre-cut at most grocery stores) and stir in the Kielbasa for a fast and filling dinner. See the full recipe here.
Not only can a keto diet be quick and easy, but when you’re eating high-quality protein produced with high quality ingredients and slow-smoked to perfection it makes a world of difference in flavor and satisfaction. We know that’s what you’re here for.
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Years from now, when you're reliving memories from holidays past, what will come to mind? Hopefully, scenes of the family gathered around the table, a crowded kitchen filled with delicious smells, and sounds of the football game coming through from the living room. It’s unlikely that memories of grocery shopping and meal preparation will stand out among the rest. Although, there’s quite a bit of that in our near future, isn’t there?
As a family-owned operation, we want you to spend more of your precious time on the things that matter most, during the holidays — and, always. To us, that means great conversation over the best food we can possibly prepare, shared with our very favorite people. If you’re on the same page, there are two ways for us to help you win your valuable time back during the most hectic time of year...
The first: preparation. We take the time to handcraft and slow smoke our hams to give you a tender, savory, and fully-cooked starting place. There’s not much more you need to do in order to serve something totally delicious to your family.
The second: We’ve compiled the most tempting holiday recipes with their very own plan for leftovers, so you can make the most of every minute and morsel.
From Cranberry-Glazed Ham to the Ultimate Scones
A glazed and glistening spiral-sliced ham at the center of the holiday table, paired with a tart, sweet cranberry glaze is always irresistible. That same smoky sweetness is the perfect addition to a batch of ham and cheese scones for the next morning’s breakfast. Buttery, flaky pastry, studded with bits of juicy ham and local cheddar melting into every nook and cranny…excuse us while we salivate.
For this route, we recommend an incredibly tender Applewood Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham because the blend of smoky and sweet is perfect for the main event and breakfast the next morning.
From Guinness-Brined Ham to Genius Breakfast Hash
The holidays are all about classic flavors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a new spin on an old favorite. Case in point: this Guinness-Brined Ham. We took an Applewood Smoked Maple Cured Ham and let it marinade in an Irish Stout and Brown Sugar brine for a few hours before popping it in the oven. The rich, malty stout is the perfect addition to the tender sweetness of the ham and it intensifies the smokiness.
Ham this flavorful deserves a second appearance. Try adding pieces to an Irish-inspired breakfast hash with crispy, salty bits of potatoes, topped with a fried egg or two.
From Ham and Biscuits to the Best Breakfast Sandwich
Sometimes it’s best to just let its bold flavor speak for itself. An Applewood Smoked Pit Ham is incredibly lean, insanely flavorful, and slowly smoked. It’s also boneless, so it’s easy to slice and pile high on homemade biscuits, and shared around the table.
Save a few of those biscuits from your holiday meal to create the ultimate ham and biscuit breakfast sandwich, to which we love to add a smear of maple horseradish mustard. Make it your own with an egg, a bit of melty cheese, or even a handful of spinach.
All of this said, the best way to save time? Stay focused on what really matters. Be present. Hug your family.
Happy holidays to you and yours.