December 12, 2014

Sassaka is back!

The lumberjacks in northern Italy know how to keep warm. Centuries ago--even before salame was a widespread Italian tradition--the tree huggers of Udine along the Slovenian-Italian border needed a way to keep meat on their bones...and to keep their recently butchered harvest from spoiling.

In their cool cellars, they cured pork belly and back fat in garlic-marinated wine, salt, and whole black peppercorns. Both sides went into a cool smokehouse so the sweet smoke permeated the cured the slabs but didn't render the fat. The lot was finely chopped and blended to make a paste that could be packed into jars or rolled into logs. Kept cool and covered, the flavor-packed schmear would keep for months as the lumberjacks moved through the northern Italian forests.

To warm up from the inside out, those ancient foresters only had to warm up a slice from their hearty loaf then spread on a thick layer of sassaka. On top of hot toast, the "bacon butter" warms and begins to render for a rich and festive snack layered with sweet, smoky, salty flavor.

With this Italian inspiration, Smoking Goose has revived this winter tradition. Come on in soon for your allotment of bacon butter!

Prep at your table is simple. Let the sassaka come to room temp, about 20 minutes. Cut slices of crusty bread--the Italians prefer rye--and slather on the bacon butter while the toast is still hot.

Any leftover sassaka can be kept tightly enclosed in plastic wrap in the fridge. If properly stored, it'll keep till New Year's. But with flavor like this, we wager there'll be a need for seconds before 2015, Mr. Bunyan.

December 4, 2014

Confessions of a Minute Man: Life In The Cube

Bruce and Smoking Goose first saw each other from across a crowded room…literally. From behind his pint at Flat12 Bierwerks across the street, Bruce saw the flocks gathering here on our opening night more than three years ago. Since then, he's attended Meat School Classes and has been a regular Meat Minuteman for over a year!

Here he describes his experience... "Confessions of a Minute Man: Life In The Cube"

Have you ever wondered just how all those great, meaty treats from The Goose come to be? If you are like me, you probably have.
"Life in the Cube"
a Meat Minuteman memoir
by all star volunteer Bruce!

I am a home meat monger and had been making my own sausage and bacon for a few years when the Smoking Goose opened. When they started offering classes, I started taking them. After a couple years and about five classes, I discovered that they had a program called The Minute Man. For those of you that are not familiar with it, The Minute Man program allows you to volunteer to work in production at The Smoking Goose. Tell them when you are available and they will call and schedule you to work. In return, they pay you generously in meaty treats. You can do it as little or often as you like. Fortunately I have a flexible schedule and an understanding wife, so I signed on. Since last January I have been going in about one day a week and my meat skills have really improved!

On my first day, I was introduced to “The Cube”. The cube is really a building within a building at the Dorman Street Meatery. My first impression was sensory overload. It is bright white and stainless steel, cold, wet, noisy and crowded. Most of the time music is playing louder than the grinders, everything from Big Band to Heavy Metal and Rap. Inhabiting this space is a merry band of madmen who are the magicians of meat. Here they take lean and fat, salt, sugar, herbs and spices and turn it into all those great products.

After spending some time in there, several things have struck me. The first and foremost is that everything is handcrafted from the highest quality ingredients. Sure, machines grind and mix sausage meat, but the final assembly is all by hand. I have learned to stuff, tie and truss hams, sausages of all types and shapes, duck breasts, you name it. Everyone in The Cube can perform multiple roles, often shifting from one task to another and back again as the ebb and flow of production goes on. Everyone also has a careful eye for quality. If something slips by one person, someone else will catch and correct it.

The second thing is the quantity of product that is produced, especially given the handcrafted nature of it. Ever wonder what a half-ton of bacon looks like? Sign up for Minute Man duty and you’ll get your chance. The Goose ships all over the country so it is a constant balancing act to have product ready to go given that much of it has a six week or longer aging period. One batch comes out, the next goes in.

The last big thing I noticed is the amount of creativity. There is a constant search for new and different recipes for sausage and meats. A number of people contribute and often someone will bring in a test batch for everyone to try. Critiques are made and formulas adjusted to get the final product just right. The same applies to production techniques. There is always a search to find better ways to keep quality high and achieve the production needed.

It has certainly been a refreshing and enjoyable year. I can’t recommend it enough for anyone interested in improving their home sausage making skills or just wanting to learn the basics to get started. All the guys in the cube are pretty patient and willing to share their knowledge. I am a hunter and have always butchered my own meat, but my knife skills are also vastly improved. (And I still have all ten digits at full length!) If you are interested in giving the Meat Minuteman (and Woman) Program a try, call Kate or Sally at the Smoking Goose and they will get you set up. 317-638-MEAT (6328)

Oh, and that understanding wife, she now places her orders for the products I am working for!

November 5, 2014

Meat School Classes at Smoking Goose: Jan - Feb 2015


Holiday Gift Certificates are available!
call 317-638-MEAT (6328)

Whole Hog Butchering 
Thursday, January 22, 6-8:30pm SOLD OUT
or Wednesday, January 28, 6-8:30pm

or Thursday, February 12, 6-8:30pm
Meaty snacks and libations will be served!

Get behind the butcher's table as we go from nose to tail.


Together the class will break down a whole hog by hand through traditional, seam butchery techniques. Participants can take home a prime selection of the pork we'll be butchering that evening. Dress the part as we'll provide a your butcher's uniform including a Smoking Goose butcher's hat for you to take home along with your porcine treats!

Reservations required: $150 per person includes a hearty spread of snacks & drinks plus lots of fresh pork and a butcher's hat to take home.


How to register: Call 317-638-MEAT (6328) to get on the list or give registration as a gift!

The fine print: $50 deposit per participant is due at registration. This nonrefundable & nonexchangeable deposit will be applied to the total class cost which is due no later than 24 hours prior to the class.

Plans change? 
While the registration deposit is nonrefundable & cannot be applied to a different class, please let us know as soon as possible if you cannot attend the class so that the balance will not be charged to your card: 317-638-MEAT (6328).


Sausage Making 
Thursday, February 19, 6-8:30pm: SOLD OUT
Meaty snacks and libations will be served! 

The Smoking Goose team is dishing the butcher's secrets to sausage making and helping participants make their own sausage from start to finish. Together we'll butcher, grind, spice, mix, stuff, and smoke old-school, handmade encased meat treats. Dress the part as we'll provide your butcher's uniform, and take home sausages we make during class!

Reservations required: $120 per person includes a hearty spread of snacks & drinks plus lots of sausage and a butcher's hat to take home

How to register: Call 317-638-MEAT (6328) to get on the list or give registration as a gift!

The fine print: $50 deposit per participant is due at registration. This nonrefundable & nonexchangeable deposit will be applied to the total class cost which is due no later than 24 hours prior to the class.

Plans change? 
While the registration deposit is nonrefundable & cannot be applied to a different class, please let us know as soon as possible if you cannot attend the class so that the balance will not be charged to your card: 317-638-MEAT (6328).

October 23, 2014

Grow Grow Goose: now hiring! updated 12.17.14


How to Apply
All applicants are encouraged to apply in person 
Monday--Friday, 8am to 4pm, 

Applicants who cannot apply in person may submit cover letter & resume to jobs[at]smokinggoose.com 

No phone calls or social media inquiries please.

Retail & Guest Services
full time 

Each shift in our Dorman St. Meat Locker is kinda like hosting a meat party: greeting guests, preparing dishes from a rotating small plates menu, making displays look enticing, and sharing the delicious details about a quickly rotating selection of salumi, sausages, and smoked meats. 

Working schedule: 
Thursdays 2-7:30pm 
Fridays 11-8:30pm
Saturdays 11am-8:30pm 
plus additional hours for event and food service programming

Other responsibilities include product merchandising, conducting off-site product demonstrations and tastings, leading facility tours at Smoking Goose, and more. If you're a people person with a passion for great food, this could be your opportunity to be a meat ambassador.

Marketing & Distribution Coordinator
Full Time

Smoking Goose seeks a self-motivated individual with a great passion for food and the desire to work closely with our team. The ideal candidate will have an understanding of specialty food distributors, how they operate, and how best to provide support to foster these partnerships. Because Smoking Goose values relationships with our distributor partners, their representatives, and customers, the ideal candidate is expected to develop interpersonal relationships as the key to building upon our success. 

The right candidate is expected to be willing to travel and participate in a variety of food shows, product demonstrations, events, and other types of product training. Success in this position will be measured based on attendance at required events and the new accounts that are secured as a result of connections made during those events. Success will also be measured based on accounts profitably maintained and grown within these distributor partnerships.

Please review the complete position description and application instructions.

Sausage & Salumi Assistant
Full Time

Duties include portioning & cutting proteins, mixing spice blends, stuffing sausage casings, managing the smoker, tying and hanging cured meats, tending products in the Smoking Goose Aging Room, and moreApplicants must have an eye for consistency and quality as well as the ability to work in a cold environment and do some heavy lifting. Experience is not required, though applicants with prior experience are encouraged to apply. Training is provided. 

Packaging Assistant
Part Time working days with evenings and weekends off

Duties includes portioning, packaging, and labeling of Smoking Goose products. Applicants must have an eye for consistency and quality as well as the ability to work in a cold environment and do some heavy lifting.  Experience is not required and training is provided.

Salumi Apprenticeship Program
six months commitment with an optional three month butchering extension
$1,200/month compensation


Learn more about Smoking Goose's apprenticeship program and application requirements

How to Apply
All applicants are encouraged to apply in person 

Monday--Friday, 8am to 4pm, 

Applicants who cannot apply in person may submit cover letter & resume to jobs[at]smokinggoose.com 

No phone calls or social media inquiries please.

September 25, 2014

Ham Jam -- Lamb Jamb -- Jowl Jam: meat condiments!

new spoon-able meat treats are delicious as cheese board accompaniments, burger toppings, shellfish condiments, and more

Handcrafted from our house cured & smoked meats, these sweet-savory jams are the perfect accompaniment to cheese plates and perk up any sandwich. Schmeer Ham Jam over meatloaf before it goes into the oven and toss warm shellfish with Jowl Jam before plating. Add Lamb Jamb to tabbouleh or serve on the side for dipping crudités. Who's hungry? Let's jam!

Ham Jam
fruity with a gentle smokiness

Lamb Jamb
sweetly meaty and wild

Jowl Jam
spicy with coriander and black pepper

To make our meat condiments, we start by finely grinding rich, fruitwood smoked meat treats -- City Ham, Lamb Bacon, or Jowl Bacon -- and blending those tiny meat jewels with a cane sugar syrup spiked with red wine vinegar, mustard, and spices. These rich, thick, and spreadable jams should be stored covered in the refrigerator and taste even better after coming room temp.

Look for these three new treats to rotate on the shelves in our Dorman St. Meat Locker! 

September 19, 2014

Goose Gang Update: Kate!

We asked Kate if she was into good food. Without missing a beat she responded, "Aren't we all?" Sure it seems a simple question, but Kate was pulling at her philosphical roots. Her Butler University thesis used applied ethics to analyze the local food movement. What was her conclusion? "We'll be in good shape," she says. "And Smoking Goose is a big part of that."

Kate started at Smoking Goose as an administrative assistant and quickly took on customer service responsibilities thanks to her ever-friendly disposition, attention to detail, and quick problem solving skills. She'll be putting all those assets to work along with her in-depth experience with Smoking Goose products as she officially steps into her new role handling inside sales as Wholesale Account Representative.

Congrats, Kate, and thanks for all your work as part of the Smoking Goose Gang!

September 13, 2014

Meat School: Classes at Smoking Goose

Meat School is in session!
forget the apple for teacher; this prof is into protein

Charcuterie 101: Terrine Time!
Thursday, October 16, 6pm
Meaty snacks and libations will be served!

The wide, wide world of charcuterie encompasses making meat treats from sausages and bacon to salumi and ham. During this class, we'll focus on one area of charcuterie that, once mastered, allows for infinite variation. It's a classic from the old-world butcher's skill set: making Terrines! 

Named for the rectangular earthenware dish traditionally used in its preparation, Terrines are tender, rich loafs usually served by the slice before or at the start of a meal. Made with just about any type of protein or even vegetables (gasp! says the butcher), Terrines can be be rustic and simple or elaborate and elegant. Learning the solid basics of Terrine techniques offers inexhaustible options for both professionals and cooks at home.

Together with Smoking Goose owner and meat master Chris Eley, the class will prepare three different terrines from start to finish. Topics the group will master together include:
  • recipe formulations 
  • proper ratios: fat, lean, and liver
  • spicing variations
  • in-lays and layering: learn professional tricks
  • larding and wrapped terrines
  • cooking techniques
  • serving suggestions
Participants will take home a generous stash of a variety of Terrines. Dress the part as we'll provide your butcher's uniform plus a Smoking Goose butcher's hat to take home. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of Smoking Goose's USDA-inspected production facility as well as a private tasting with a smorgasbord of Smoking Goose meat treats, fresh baked bread, accompaniments, and libations. 

Reservations required: $125 per person includes snacks & drinks plus generous portions of a variety of terrines and a butcher's hat to take home

How to register: Call 317-638-MEAT (6328) to get on the list or give registration as a gift!

The fine print: $50 deposit per participant is due at registration. This nonrefundable & nonexchangeable deposit will be applied to the total class cost which is due no later than 24 hours prior to the class.

Plans change? While the registration deposit is nonrefundable & cannot be applied to a different class, please let us know as soon as possible if you cannot attend the class so that the balance will not be charged to your card: 317-638-MEAT (6328).

Saturday, November 1, 12-3pm at Conner Prairie
Meaty snacks and libations will be served!

Join staff from Indianapolis' award-winning meatery Smoking Goose as we all work together to go nose-to-tail, breaking down a whole hog by hand using traditional seam butchering techniques. As we work outside, around the campfire at Conner Prairie, Smoking Goose owner and meat master Chris Eley will guide participants in old-school butchering techniques and explain the professional's tricks of the meat trade.

Enjoy a complimentary tasting of Smoking Goose meat treats with paired libations at break time, and dress the part as we'll provide a Smoking Goose butcher's hat & especially commissioned butcher's apron for you to wear during the class and take home.

Reservations required: $150 per person, learn more and register online.

Also on November 1, join us for Prairie Plates: a four-course Whole Hog Dinner at 6pm in the Prairie House with cuisine from Chris Eley and staff from Goose the Market. Reservations required: $75 per person (tax included) and reservations available online.