Duck Fat Gumbo with Homemade Andouille

Even sport super-clergy Mike Ditka loves making this wicked good Gumbo

This fat kurmudgeon has been busier than you. But that does not mean I have not had time to feed my many and varied vices. This is the good life after all.

Yesterday, in between long walks in the rain and diabolical plans made in subterranean confines for this coming fall, I made some killer Gumbo. I built this beast with Andouille I made last week and some duck fat that’s been waiting patiently in my icebox for the right time to attack.

Here’s the andouille:

5lbs pork butt
1.5lbs back fat
2 tblspn salt
2 tspn cayenne
1 tspn pink salt
1 tspn dried thyme
1/2 tspn mace
1/2 tspn ground cloves
1/8 tspn ground allspice
3/4 tspn dry mustard
1 cup diced onion
1 tblspn minced garlic
2 tblspn liquid smoke (or actually smoke it if you’re not terribly lazy)

Cut your meat and fat up into 1 inch cubes, dump everything else in there and mix with your hands. Put in your freezer until cold and slightly hardened. Grind through small die into a bowl set into another bowl set in ice (keep your tools in the freezer until use and keep everything as cold as possible to aid emulsification). Mix with the paddle (keep it in the freezer until you use it) for a couple minutes on medium. Add some ice water if you need to. Stuff it into pig guts.

That andouille is delicious. Now put that love letter to dominance into your Gumbo recipe:

3/4 cup duck fat
1 cup flour

Make a roux with that. Then take an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, a green pepper that are well minced and put that into your roux and sweat the veggies for about 20 minutes. You should also put in your andouille at that point. You can either have it parboiled, sliced and pan seared ahead of time or you can cook it in your Gumbo.

6 cups beef broth
3 qts water

Boil that then add 6oz tomato sauce and 14oz of stewed tomatoes, your roux mixture as well as 1tblspn of sugar, salt to taste, 2 tblspn louisianna hot sauce, 1 tspn Jim Baldriges, 4 bay leaves, 1/4 tspn dried thyme. Simmer that for about an hour or so.

Take some more duck fat and saute some frozen okra and then deglaze with white vinnegar. Add that, 1lb lump crabmeat and 2lbs of shrimp as well as 2 tspn of filex powder. Put everything together and simmer for another hour or so. Just before serving, add some more filex powder.

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Bourbon Reduction Sauce

I made this bourbon reduction sauce the other night to put over a pork steak I seared on the grill. It’s good. Honestly, though, I like an apricot glaze I made with apricot preserves, white vinegar and red pepper better. But here’s the bourbon reduction:

1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Bring it all to a boil and… reduce it.

It’s better than bath salts, but not as good as smiles.

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Flaming Zests

I’ve been casually trying to understand cocktails these past few months. It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure as I don’t want to support this fucking mixologist non-sense that seems to be inhabiting mustaches all around our fair city. But, let’s not throw the baby out with the gray water. A good drink is paramount to a good life and the ability to build a well-balanced cocktail should be in every self-respecting alcoholics quiver along with the ability to brew delicious beer and make good food.

I haven’t strayed too far down this path, but I do have a few favorites I like to make. The Old Fashioned goes with out saying. But more than an Old Fashioned, I prefer a good serving of rye with a dash of orange bitters and a single cube. That’s really about as much as you need to fuck with whiskey. But, if I do need some extra sugar in my diet, the Old Fashioned provides quite well.

In the summer I’ve been loving the Boulvardier: 1.5 shots of bourbon, 1 shot of Campari, .5 shot of St. Germain, garnish with an orange. I think historically this calls for sweet vermouth instead of St. Germain, but let’s be serious for a minute here.

If I want to impress someone staying at our house in the heat of a ruthless drought, I’ll serve them a couple Clover Clubs. That’s about as fancy as I can get with a drink right now, but it’s always amazing how the gin, grenadine, egg white, and lemon really become greater than the sum of their parts. And the sugar is not cloying.

I’m also partial to a Fizz or even a White Lady.

A Biff was great last weekend during football after a 48 hour bender. Bailey’s, bourbon, Couintreau. It’s a more than stable replacement for a Caucasion when you’ve run out of Vokda.

My wife is gay for the Elk’s Own at the Barrelhouse Flat. Rye, port, lemon, simple syrup, bitters & egg white. It’s really a remarkable drink. For that matter, I think just about any drink with Port in it is off the charts. Port gives an earthy, musky, grounding foundation where other liquors can be a little too Luciferic in that Steinerian/Anthroposophy kind of way. Know what I mean?

But all this is to lead up to this video posted above on how to flame your zests. It’s a simple technique that adds a complexity to your citric component that can otherwise be a bit too thin. I was compelled to post this after seeing Michael Ruhlman’s post on the Brandie Blazer this morning. Enjoy.

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While I was digging through the internets for Paan recipes, or Paan variations as the case may be, I came across a couple that listed Tutti-Frutti as an ingredient. Like the choona and the katha and meenakshi, I had to dig further to find out what this element brought to the table.

I came across a recipe for this on a slow-food blog, Time to Cook. Tutti-Frutti seems to be an old-timey endeavor where folks would take their fruit that was right on the edge and make into into a fermented preserve. Essentially, it’s like a fruit punch preserve that helps reduce wasted fruit and punches up everything from Paan to Ice Cream to… I don’t know, but I bet it would be good for cutting the richness of some scavenged meat as well.

Here’s the recipe scrubbed from Time to Cook:

Put a pint of brandy into a thoroughly sweet three-gallon stone jar.

Beginning with strawberries, the first fruit of the season, add in succession the various fruits as they appear in market, taking care to choose only those which are choice, firm and fresh.

Add a pound of sugar to each pound of fruit until the jar is almost half full, then use three- quarters of a pound of sugar to each pound of fruit.

Stir the mixture thoroughly for several mornings after each addition of fruit and sugar to dissolve the sugar, using for this purpose a wooden or granite-ware spoon and taking care not to mash the fruit.

Cover the jar securely and keep in the cellar or in a cool, dry place.

Use the following proportion of fruit: Two quarts strawberries, one large pineapple, one quart red cherries, one quart yellow cherries, one quart red raspberries, one pint large currants, one quart apricots and prunes, plums and peaches to fill the jar.

Leave the berries whole, cut the pineapple into suitable pieces for eating, seed the cherries, pare the apricots and peaches and cut into halves or quarters, and stone the plums and leave whole.

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Paan & A New Homebrew Recipe: Supari Ale

About a month ago I had the opportunity to visit the sub-continent of India. There was no planning this and no conscious willing of the trip. One day I was searching Craig’s list for some new client’s and 3 weeks later I was on the other side of the planet discussing global politics with a South African Swiss under the late night lights of Bangalore’s World Trade Center.

It was as if someone had snuck up behind me and clubbed me over the head with the opportunity to change.

There is a kind of mystery in India that has been maintained which I’m not sure we’ve ever even had here in the states. It has the psychic weight of a well kept secret, like a bubble all around you that you can never pop.

And the people were lovely. I had the opportunity to work closely over several days with about ten native Bangaluruns and less closely with several thousand others. But what I noticed in all of them was a lightness that I have never experienced in any group of humans collectively. There was an almost child-like and very charming silliness that blew my hair way back.

And the head wobble. That fucking lovely head wobble. Like a little antenna going off as they received transmission. I wanted to hug those little brown bastards every time their head went into wobble.

Not to mention the incredible kindness. It was the type of kindness so earnest and honest it brings to relief all of your own worst American shortcomings. Working out the day with these people laughing and holding hands and handing me pens with both of their hands like every act was sacrament. And me, with my heavy heart and aching liver, sour from the scotch I put down the night before so I could sleep on the upside part of the world. I felt lost, but I didn’t know why. I was making progress with a headstand.

In my head an old Braid track, “Eulalia”, was on heavy repeat… in a sense innocence makes you tense… If it was tension I was feeling, it was the kind of tension built only for release.

The streets materialized the sense assault all my neurons were under. Broken, bursting under foot, buzzing with 250s & scooters & tuktuks, splashing in muddy water while dogs play in city block piles of trash and human shit. There were no streetlights and almost no stop lights at all. Golden Bell flowers spotted the siteline in yellow and temples crawling in figurines.

One morning I was wandering around town before the sun came up. I like seeing the world in the morning, I feel like I’m catching it off it’s posture. Before I knew what I was looking for I found myself weeping at a Ganesh shrine that sat recessed in the wall of some pink building. The shrine was in better repair than the building it emerged from. The building less crooked than the rest of the city street. And I was all around me.

One night after dinner I got our driver to take us to a Paan shop. Paan is a kind of ayurvedic chew that is popular on the streets of India. Essentially, it’s a stimulant made from the areca nut or betel nut. They combine the betel nut with gulkand, cloves, cardomom and some calcium carbonate to help activate the stimulant. It’s all wrapped in a betel leaf. You chew it like tobacco. Like much of the India that I experienced, Paan is overwhelming, intoxicating, a little scary and completely seductive.

As soon as I got back to Chicago, I headed straight to Devon to pick up all the necessary ingredients to make Paan at home. I was able to find everything I needed at Kamdar Plaza and Fresh Farms including Meenakshi saffron chatni, a particularly powerful menthol, saffron and silver leaf additive that sends your Paan to the next level.

I’m also experimenting with a recipe for what I’m calling a Supari Ale. Built with a very thick body from plenty of remaining sugars (I’m actually wondering if a mead might work better for this), I’m trying to capture the experience of Supari – or Paan – in an appealing frosty beverage. It’s fermenting right now so I can’t speak to my success, but here’s the recipe I’ve started with. I’ll add rose water in the secondary to act as the rose petal jam or Gulkand.

Original Gravity: 1.091 (1.060 – 1.090)
Terminal Gravity: 1.018 (1.015 – 1.022)
Color: 19.47 (10.0 – 22.0)
Alcohol: 9.65% (6.0% – 9.0%)
Bitterness: 45.8 (30.0 – 60.0)

15.0 lb 2-Row Brewers Malt
1.0 lb Caramel Malt 40L
1.0 lb Special B – Caramel malt
0.5 lb Barley Flakes
6.5 g Simcoe (12.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
10.0 g Falconer’s Flight (11.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
1.0 oz Cascade (6.2%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
1.0 oz Goldings (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
1.0 oz Sorachi Ace (11.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min
1.0 oz Goldings (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
1.0 lb Honey
50 Cloves (whole) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
30 Cardamom (Whole) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
30 Black Peppercorns – added during boil, boiled 5 min
.25 Licorice Stick (Brewer) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
2 Lime zest – added during boil, boiled 5 min
wYeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale

I’m damn near certain I’m going to want to increase the spice profile, but I’d rather start small and build up than make an undrinkable beer. The jury’s out on the yeast strain. I wanted something to add a bit more to the spice profile, but was unsatisfied with any answer so just pulled the trigger on the strong ale figuring the phenols would do some work for me.

The hops are a bit all over the place, but that’s mostly because I was cleaning out my fridge. The moral of the hop story is you want to go floral vs citrus all the way down. Which, in my experience, is where you want to go with the whole flavor profile, but mixing in some bitter, sweet and acrid as well.

This balance is the secret to much of the Indian sense experience.

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Killer Knackwurst Preperation

I picked up a pound of knackwurst at Gepperth’s annual 50% off sale last month. During this long slog of a weekend I was inspired to cook that collection of stubby encased meats. Defamed tour de france hero Lance Armstrong came to my aid. Here’s what he said:

1 lb. knackwurst, raw
1 cup chopped onion
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup water
1 cup medium-to-light beer
2 tbsp. coarse-grain brown mustard
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. caraway seed
pinch of pepper
16OZ sauerkraut
1 large pot

  • In the pan, heat olive oil over a medium flame for approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup onion. Set the remaining onion aside for later use. Cook the onion for 1 minute.
  • Add knackwurst whole and reduce the heat. Cook the knackwurst until the casing is golden brown on both sides. This should take approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the sausages midway through the cooking time to ensure even browning on both sides.
  • After cooking the knackwurst, remove them from the heat and set aside for use later, but leave the onion. It is helpful to place the sausages on a plate with a paper towel so that the excess oil can drain off.
  • Brown the remaining onion over medium heat. When the onion is brown, add the beer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the water, molasses, caraway and mustard and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Add the knackwurst and sauerkraut. Cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Serve hot by dishing first a generous heap of sauerkraut onto a plate and topping with one knackwurst sausage.

This is a great meal that’s easy to make and fun to share after a black mass, body modification party or impromptu flogging session. Hail Satan!

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You’re number is coming…

Godspeed to the OTC crew, thanks for the ride.

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HOPS! Bubbly Creek Barrel Brawl Saturday July 28th

The southside homebrew club HOPS! is hosting a pretty cool event at the end of the month and yours truly will be participating. The Bubble Creek Barrel Brawl is a keg only competition where brewers face off in both a BJCP judged Best of Show as well as a People’s Choice award. Another in the growing genre of homebrew party/competitions, the winner of the Best of Show gets to brew the beer at Haymarket with Chicago Beer raconteur and winged bat, Pete Crowley. Pretty sweet.

All this is taking place at the Lumpen loft down by Maria’s, the Co-Prosperity Sphere, on Saturday July 28th between 1-5. To pick up your tickets go to, the tickets gaurantee entrance into the event, the chance to taste 28 different beers, and voting rights in the People’s Choice.

If you’re curious, I’ve brewed up a tight little brown girl I’m lovingly referring to as The Suede Denim Secret Police. She’s a filthy little hippie slut made with spicy, resiny hops, a nutty brown body some blackberries and a touch of coffee. The only thing she’s missing is a solid hack Om, a sack of grass, and some half-informed political whinnying. But I’m sure all of that will be on hand to round her out.

Come make my day and I’ll give you a back rub.

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Busy, Busy, Busy

Here’s a NY Times Op-ed worth reading.

I don’t agree with his reasons for why people are busy. At least, personally, the things I’m busy with are either meeting my needs for sustenance (work) or personal satisfaction (projects & play). I’m not afraid to not be busy. I love me my autonomous and unmolested time alone, I just don’t get it much these days.

But, while I don’t agree with how he sets up his argument, I find his conclusion inarguable. And it’s my hope that you and I can get better at it much sooner than later.

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Get Your Keg Gaskets at McMaster-Carr

Here’s an excerpt from a great post on that details the gaskets you’ll need to replace your corny kegs old rubber.

I decided to rearrange this post to be a little more straight forward with the information. The bulk of the info provided here was copied/edited/paraphrased from a Dec 2010 post on Homebrew Finds – so a big thanks to Chris (724b). Rather than copying the blog post’s text, I have pared down to just the relevant details no so this is easier to read at a glance. The links and numbers below are currently for ball lock kegs, but if you have the numbers/links for the o-rings for pin locks please let me know and I will add them to the list.

  • Dip Tube O-rings $1.96/100 – 9452K172
  • Dip Tube O-rings Quad Sealing $4.46/100 – 90025K368 (better seal, less force)
  • Post O-rings Buna-N $2.15/100 – 9452K23 (liquid post)
  • Post O-rings Silicone $10.71/100 – 9396K24 (gas post)
  • Lid O-rings Buna-N $12.69/10 – 9452K218
  • Lid O-rings Silicone $7.88/5 – 9396K926
  • Internal Quick Disconnect O-rings Silicone $6.11/100 – 9396K18 (see notes)

I ordered up some of these as I’m going through all of my kegs and updating the rubber and instilling a new buckyhouse policy to dismantle and clean my kegs between every usage ever since my little brettanomyces Chernobyl.

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