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Smoke Signals Blog
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There’s nothing better than a well-made sandwich, loaded up with all the good stuff. The perfect condiment, maybe a slice or two of cheese, and most importantly, stacked high with delicious ham or turkey. We believe in going beyond “good” and stand behind our commitment to quality by crafting the best tasting organic deli meats available, in the best possible way.
Label claims can be confusing and make picking the best for your family a real challenge. Our advice to you? Look for third-party certifications on your labels - they substantiate the claims being made. When you see them, you know the farms are being audited for things like GMOs and animal welfare, and you can be confident that you’re bringing the best taste and quality into your kitchen.
The certified organic symbol on our Black Forest Ham, Oven Roasted Turkey, and Sugar-free Applewood Smoked Ham tell you definitively which standards are being met. Certified organic approval means our farms are proven free from GMO’s, pesticides and synthetic additives. Organic regulations also require foods to be free from preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or dyes. Simply put, we start with real food, and hand-craft artisanal recipes using spices and a thick cloud of smoke to enhance the natural richness of the meat.
Certified Humane Raised & Handled
When you see the Certified Humane Raised & Handled icon on our organic deli meats, it means our food comes from farms that prioritize animal welfare. What does that mean exactly? We’re glad you asked. Our farms provide access to shelter and resting areas, and plenty of room for roaming and engaging in natural behaviors. We never use antibiotics or added growth hormones - EVER. We proudly display the Certified Raised and Handled logo on our deli meats as a symbol of our respect for livestock and the land.
Okay, so you’re not going to see a fancy third-party seal for this one. If one existed, we’d certainly hold the title. Ever wonder how we get that signature smokiness North Country is known for? Our secret is this. We slow it down.
Our business has evolved over 3 generations, each building on the passion and experience of the one before. What have we learned in all our years crafting small batch recipes? The quality of our products relies on 3 things: Time, patience and persistence.
We smoke our meat lazily, for hours on end. We don’t add artificial smoke flavor or speed up the process for the sake of making more. We take it low & slow, and we never compromise. The difference is reflected in the deep, rich flavor of our meats. You can see (and taste) the time and attention we put into every batch.
So, there you have it. Next time you’re standing in front of the deli case searching for better-for-you food choices to fill your lunchbox – it will be easy to find flavorful alternatives you can feel good about. You can choose products that deliver all the taste you crave in your sandwich and feel confident your meal has been made with care. You know your stuff
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It happens every year. Back-to-School season sneaks up and brings with it lots of time-consuming activities, like forms for filling, clothes for buying, and sports practices for shuttling to and from. After the slower days of summer, it can be hard to adjust. When it comes to question, “What’s for dinner?” are you fighting off the temptation to yell “Every man for himself!” in response? The answer is simple: Snack Dinner.
You heard right. Here’s our take:
Step 1: Prepare a few simple snacks. Make them delicious. Ingredients are the key here.
Step 2: Set everyone loose to fill their plates with what they want.
Step 3: Bask in the bit of extra time you have from no cooking and way fewer dishes.
The beauty of snack dinner is that it can be made up of virtually anything, from all the odds-and-ends in the crisper drawer to leftovers from yesterday’s lunch. But in case you need help taking it to the next level, here are a few of our favorite meaty, satisfying snack dinners to get you started.
Stack it Up
You know how at fancy parties, they serve things skewered on toothpicks? One of our favorite ways to make snack dinner even more fun is to skewer a couple tasty morsels on a toothpick to grab and munch (no black tie required). A classic combination (inspired by summer) is a slice of our double-smoked pepperoni, a ball of fresh mozzarella, and a cherry tomato on top. The smoky pepperoni lends a spicy punch to the mild cheese, punctuated by the bright burst of sweet tomato. It’s the perfect, balanced bite. But use your imagination and create your own stacks: Swap a bit of ham or smoked chicken for the pepperoni, or an olive for the tomato. Better yet, make a few of each so everyone can pick what they like.
Pigs in a Blanket 2.0
Those little sausages wrapped in dough aren’t outdated, they’re “time-tested.” Ever brought a tray to a gathering? They’re the first to go for a reason: they’re really dang good. The bold flavors of our Tomato Basil Sausage or Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage will take them to the next level. Wrap them in a piece of store-bought pastry, slice them up, then bake until the pastry is golden and the sausage has flavored it with its deep, smoky goodness. Cook up a few trays, call the troops, and watch them disappear before anyone can even manage to ask what you’re feeding them tonight.
Keep it Simple
For the busiest nights, stick with a classic. Slice up some vegetables, add a few of your favorite cheeses, and don’t forget to pile on the deli meat. Olives, nuts, and berries make perfect additions, too. The key to making a snack tray that will get gobbled up instead of picked at? Flavor, of course. Our maple-marinated, spice-infused deli ham and turkey lend incredible smoky flavor that will make this snack dinner intensely satisfying.
Next time you’re tempted to throw your hands in the air and admit defeat to your local fast-food chain, pause. As long as you have a few smoky, savory staples in your fridge, easy, delicious dinner is only a few minutes away.
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Business partners Mike Hammond and John Kelley describe it as a kitchen on four wheels, and that's just what it is. Detailed with white and gold lettering, and painted black all over, the big Epic Food Truck made its debut run at noon on a sizzling hot Friday at the North Country Smokehouse at 19 Syd Clarke Drive.
In no time at all, the company’s 100-plus employees formed long lines during lunch hour outside the truck’s service window.
On the menu were mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches smothered in barbecue sauce, hot gravy poutine, and deep-fried smoked duck.
North Country Smokehouse, the food truck’s sponsor, supplied all the meat products.
“This isn’t just anything. This is amazing. There you go,” said food truck employee Josie Lafreniere to one hungry customer.
Lafreniere handed out the sandwich baskets as fast as she could load them. For Hammond and Kelley, it was “hustle time” working the grill and deep fryers.
“This stuff will melt in your mouth — so good,” Lafreniere said to the next person standing in line.
Sharon Companion, North Country Smokehouse office manager, said Friday’s official launch of the food truck was to help promote the new business, and her company’s sponsorship.
“This is their first real event,” Companion said. “I just had my lunch. It was very good.”
Both Hammond, 46, and Kelley, 52, are longtime friends and co-owners of Farro Deli in downtown Claremont. The deli uses North Country Smokehouse meats exclusively.
While Kelley was recuperating from a skiing accident in January, Hammond pitched his longtime dream of starting a food truck business.
“We both like the same kind of food. We were already using (North Country Smokehouse) products at the deli. It’s top of the line,” Hammond said. “It’s called ‘epic’ for a reason.”
In April, the business partners purchased a used 2004 Freightliner diesel truck, in immaculate condition, that was a U.S. Postal Service vehicle in a former life.
Hammond said the truck needed three months to be outfitted with a pair of deep fryers, a grill top, two burner stoves, freezer, refrigerator, hot water heater, and other kitchen essentials in Virginia.
On Wednesday, Hammond and Kelley held a soft opening at Claremont Cycle Depot. They also have a city vendor’s permit to operate at Broad Street Park.
Hammond said the food truck will run on a flexible schedule as a catering service at weddings, festivals, and other events.
At North Country Smokehouse on Friday, Lafreniere said the food was “worth the wait.”
North Country employee Justin Rowe of Claremont was quick to agree.
The food was delicious, he said, “although I didn’t have the pulled pork. I had the duck fry things.”
“It’s really good,” said employee Ellen Donatelli of Unity. “The pulled pork — yes. They’re pretty good to us here.”
Article written by Allen Stein, The Eagle Times
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Paleo is one of the biggest diet trends at the moment and for good reason: people are getting great health benefits while eating really good food. The paleo philosophy and diet plan revolve around the idea that our bodies have evolved to handle certain foods: namely vegetables, healthy fats, and animal protein. (Read: Fantastic! All the bacon you want!) Who wouldn’t love this diet? Bring on the meat tornado.
Before you jump on the bandwagon, though, you should know about the flip side. The diet guidelines also suggest that our bodies haven’t adapted to digesting certain food groups and should be eliminated. On this list are: grains, dairy, sugar, and processed oils, just to name a few. If you’ve tried the Paleo lifestyle before, you know those restrictions can make it tough to pick healthy foods that are still delicious and packed with flavor. What’s a caveman to do?
Enter Smoky, Flavorful Paleo-Friendly Foods
Whether you’re just dabbling in the Paleo lifestyle or a seasoned pro, there’s no reason to eat the same boring old paleo staples over and over, or deny yourself some of your favorite foods. North Country Smokehouse has plenty of options that are Paleo-friendly while still having that deep smokiness and mouth-watering flavor you’re looking for. A caveman cannot live on hard-boiled eggs alone.
Remember how we said one of the best parts of going Paleo is all that bacon? Well, there’s a catch. A lot of bacon is made with sugar, either to add flavor or as part of the curing process. Some bacon you can find at the store is sugar-free, but falls flat in terms of flavor. And there’s nothing more disappointing than disappointing bacon. But never fear, cave dwellers, we slow-smoke our bacon to add incredible, mouthwatering flavor that doesn’t rely on extra sugar or artificial flavorings. Try wrapping a few slices of our Sugar-Free Applewood Smoked Bacon around asparagus spears and roasting or grilling them, for a quick, Paleo-approved meal that’s as flavorful and delicious as it is effective.
If you’re following a sugar-free or Paleo diet while also trying to keep your family fed, you know how hard it can be to come up with meal ideas that keep everyone happy. Enter our Old-Fashioned Natural Kielbasa, redolent with onion, marjoram, and other spices, and slow-smoked to perfection. Just slice up a few links, toss them with your favorite vegetables and a bit of olive oil, and dinner’s ready faster than you can say, “20 minutes in a hot oven.” You haven’t had vegetables until you’ve eaten vegetables roasted alongside Kielbasa, where they can soak up every bit of the smoky flavor.
When you’re new to a sugar-free lifestyle, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, eating the same old things on repeat, sacrificing flavor for simplicity and convenience. You can guess how we feel about that, right? Our Mexican-style chorizo is loaded with cumin, red pepper, and other Mexican spices, balanced with a hint of brandy, and packed with bold, punchy flavor. Served on a bed of grilled peppers, it’ll leave you saying, “Tacos who?” (Just kidding. It’s a little sad that tacos aren’t paleo-approved.)
Sugar-free and Paleo-friendly doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. In fact, all of our sugar-free products are smoked low and slow to lock in bold flavors and give you plenty of tempting, mouthwatering options while sticking to your diet. Now that’s a lifestyle trend we can get behind.