Take a few obsessed food bloggers plotting to make choucroute from scratch, add a beautiful day, a welcoming rooftop in Brooklyn, a cheap charcoal grill and a few beers and you’ve got the perfect.. err.. fire hazard!?.. but what a way to spend an afternoon! This little outing reminded me of my chicken wings grilling days on Paris rooftops, except that i didn’t get fined this time.
We like to throw little challenges at each other for fun and when Marc proposed to stink-up his apartment with a batch of fermenting cabbage we said, hey.. we’ll make the sausage from scratch! (it’s actually claire who said that.. my reaction was more like: Oh Chriiist!). Fast forward two weeks and here we are on this Williamsburg rooftop. I made the knackwursts a day earlier with the help of my butcher and while they dried under the sun before smoking Marc and Claire got down to business and produced something amazing for lunch. I’m talking about the best hot-dog that ever walked the earth .. wait.. hot-dogs don’t walk, do they?
Claire made the buns from scratch and marc brought a delicious green mango-maple relish. The hot-dogs came from La Cense and were grilled over hot coals. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome this combination was… err..well, i guess i just did! The bun was delightfully chewy, not the dissolve-in your-mouth crap from your street corner cart, the relish provided a piquant bite that paired really well with the juicy dog. We added some sauerkraut and a few pickled ramps to the mix and ended up with hot-dog respect at its finest my friends. Brooklyn represents!
What you see is known in the professional jargon as the Happy knackwurst drying-bacteria developing stage. That’s when the sausage picks up that typical red tint from the paprika. I’m not a biologist but i think it happens when the bacteria is woken-up by the heat and start partying like its 1999, it creates a red cloud of bacterial joy. Did i already mentioned that i’m not a biologist? It’s day 5 after we ate our first bactewurst and nobody has died yet. If i stop twittering it means something bad happened. Keep your fingers crossed.
I’m not sure if it’s hallucinations from inhaling too much hickory smoke but i swear we could see the Statue of Liberty from the roof. Never noticed it before! Lady Liberty hasn’t shaved since that all economic crisis started, and she traded the torch for the bottle. Oh well, when times are bad…
Seriously, we have no idea who this person is. While we were smoking sausages and minding our own business, a group of French roof people joined us. They unloaded their grocery bags around us. They graciously offered some ice cold 1664 beer that we promptly accepted (duh!). They shared their food and we chatted for a while until they realized that they were at the wrong party. Next roof over!
You gotta love the French! A votre sante monsieur!
What’s *really* interesting on this picture is that No Recipes has No Laces too. What about that for a scoop? Much more interesting than the sausage smoking if you ask me. The problem is if i attempted to be that cool i would probably trip over and end up in the hospital, or in this case i would hang from a rooftop by a sausage link, but damn.. No laces IS cool! Yea.. that’s sausage smoking over hickory.. whatever.. but Converse without laces IS the shiznit!
The verdict? These knacks are awesome and totally worth the efforts. We got the recipe from Ruhlman’s Charcuterie and everything from the texture, the seasoning, the smokiness and even the knack sound as we bite into them is spot-on! Mission accomplished.
Later we got drunk and felt asleep on the roof. The grill caught fire. I started to cry like a little girl. We got rescued.
Just another saturday afternoon…
- Recipe adapted from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
- Makes 5 lbs of Knacks
- 3 lb boneless lean veal shoulder, diced
- 2 lb boneless well marbled pork shoulder butt
- 40 g kosher salt
- 6 g pink salt
- 15 g coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tsp mace
- 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 140 g nonfat dry milk powder
- 250 ml ice water
- 10feet hog casings
- Combine everything except water, toss until mixed, chill until ready to grind.
- Grind through small die.
- Add water to the meat, mix with paddle attachment until uniform and sticky (1min on medium speed).
- Cook a spoonful, taste, adjust seasoning.
- Stuff, and twist into 6inch links, let dry 1 or 2h in fridge or room temp.
- Hot-smoke at 180F until internal temp is 150F, about 2h. Transfer to ice bath then refrigerate for up to a week or 10 days. or frozen 3 months.