Had a nice little drive out to Mass this weekend to check out how some of my favorite breweries and butcher are doing. A way too short visit to Tree House’s new location in Monson, followed by my first stop at Trillium, picking up some growlers and the last of the Barrel Society bottles at Night Shift then rounding out the trip with SausageFest at The Meat Market, all before getting home in time for AJ’s 30th birthday. Let’s dive into the pics shall we?
Found myself in Massachusetts around noon a couple weeks back and it was like my car had a mind of it’s own: it headed straight to The Meat Market for lunch. I picked up this sando with pan-fried sirloin, gooseberry mustard and chow chow, and followed it up with a Maine Root Root Beer. A perfect way to lunch it up.
This post serves as a friendly reminder to you all to make it out for some delicious fried chicken at The Meat Market before the end of the season, too!
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When I went to go pick up beef heart for my Michigan Style Coney Sauce I lucked out; they were having a special dinner that night. And not just any of their dinners either, not like they’re awesome Fried Chicken Nights they have every week in the summer. No, this was much …weirder. It was an all organ meat dinner. Yeah, you read that right. The lineup for the night:
- Heart Kebabs
- Deviled Kidneys
- Pickled Tongue
- Fried Gizzards
- Chocolate Blood Pudding
I’ll admit, even after having some different dishes at the Hill Farmstead Dinner at Armsby Abbey like pig ear, lamb brain, and veal sweetbreads, this was definitely out of my comfort zone. And while some of the organ meat I’ve had in the past has been presented in a relatively approachable manner, there was no hiding what you were eating at The Meat Market. It was all out in the open.
There were times when it was a little tough to put down. It’s a texture thing and I’m sure with more consumption of offal I will get used to it, but being relatively new to it, there were a few bites I rushed to wash down with my drink. Elise was… rather uninterested. I don’t blame her. She did try a little bit of each and had more than a few spoonfuls of the blood pudding, so I’m proud of her for that. Overall, I’m glad to have had the experience and am looking forward to my next new and interesting meal at The Meat Market!
— Yesterday I did some bitching on Facebook about how shit like pickle slices and whole peppers and other shit do not belong on hot dogs, and ended it with the statement “I am a simple man. I just like my meat topped with more meat.” I figured I’d back that up today with the meat sauce recipe I use for making hot dogs at home.
This is a mashup between two different style dogs: the Coney dogs they have in Michigan and the mini hot dogs we have in the Capital District that are slowly creeping their way around New England. I’ve done a post on mini dogs in the past, so if you’re looking for more info on those, check it out here.
I apologize for the lack of pics but I was on a time crunch and also it’s tough to clean up and take pictures every step when you’re grinding and dealing with raw meat like this.
I’ve tried a few variations of the Coney sauce recipes, and I’ve kinda picked the parts of them that have worked and made it my own. Check it out and let me know what you think.
- 1/2 cup beef tallow (you can use lard here instead but make sure it’s animal fat whatever you use)
- 1 trimmed cow heart finely ground
- 1 pound ground round (you’re aiming for 2.25 pounds of meat total, so add more or less round to however much beef heart was yielded. Some people actually grind some hot dogs into the mix here. I am not against that and have done so in the past)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp of crushed saltines (I use my “brass knuckles” meat tenderizer)
- 2 tomatoes
- 16 oz beef stock
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 6 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
For the dogs:
- mini dogs
- mini buns (I get both of mine from Hembold’s)
- good yellow mustard (I use Plochman’s Mustard)
- finely chopped white onion
- In a large pot heat tallow on medium heat. Simmer meat mixture until it turns just brown. Mix and chop the meat as it cooks to make sure it doesn’t clump up.
- Make a roux by melting the butter then adding the crushed crackers until it just starts to brown, then set aside.
- Optional: Halve the tomatoes and roast them at 450 degrees with some vegetable oil on top until cooked. Discard the skins and set tomatoes aside. Otherwise, just rough chop them.
- Add stock to meat and simmer for 20 minutes at a slight boil. Add roux, tomatoes, and spices and simmer this down to the proper consistency.
- Controversial step: hit it with an immersion blender and obliterate any chunks that are still sticking around. Purists will bitch about this step but they also can’t achieve the consistency I can with the immersion blender. This is where the skin on the tomatoes will matter, if you did not peel the skins you will really want to blend it.
- Spice it to your liking. The above is a great starter and will be really close to what Coney Sauce is in Michigan. However, my friends and I are all pretty much fans of hot stuff so I usually throw some Sriracha, crushed red, and a few drops of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy ghost chili sauce at it.
- Split your buns ahead of time, it’s easier to do this while they’re room temp.
- For those not lucky enough to have a hot dog steamer, you should at least have a wok and bamboo steamer. Stack some buns in there and steam until they get just soft. No one likes a soggy bun.
- Cook your dogs by your preferred method. I’ve steamed them and also fried them in butter. Both are acceptable options. Even better is frying them IN the meat sauce. Boiling is never acceptable.
- Open your bun, place a dog inside and then spread a healthy dollop of Coney sauce over the dog.
- Top with chopped onions.
- And lastly top with yellow mustard.
Boom, there you have it. Coney Mini Dogs. The recipe above is half of what I usually make. I generally make way too much sauce and buy too many hot dogs and buns. However, they freeze well and something easy to whip up when the guys are over for a few beers.
How do you plan on preparing it for consumption?
I’ve had beef heart two ways in the past two days. Once at The Meat Market itself, where they were having an Offal Dinner the night I went to go pick up this heart. It was skewered and seasoned there.
The second time was last night, where I made some proper Michigan-style Coney sauce using the meat from the heart I posted yesterday. I trimmed as much fat and connective tissue off as I could.
I’m by no means a skilled butcher and may have taken off some more of the meat that someone with more experience would, but everyone knows that true, good Coney Sauce is made with as much beef heart as you can get your hands on, so I definitely go out of the way to get the good stuff. Posts on both the Offal Dinner and my Coney Sauce recipe are forthcoming.
After seeing The Meat Market in Great Barrington on Alec Lopez’s Facebook page and checking out some of their completely wild pictures I knew I needed to make a visit. It was an absolutely beautiful day out and we were looking for the perfect place to sit outside with some grub and the pooch. I headed on over to The Meat Market’s Facebook page and asked if they were Kuma friendly. They said they were dog-lovers and he was absolutely welcome. I knew we were going to dinner that night!
As you can see they have a pretty unique way of frying their chickens (in lard, mind you. None of this “oil” bullshit). They heat their cauldrons with smoking hot coals of burning wood, and they say they’ll even “burn a hole in your yard” and do the same thing for catering at your home. I can get down with that.
I unfortunately missed out on the lard-fried doughnuts. But damn did they look delicious.
As this is primarily a meat market I had to go inside and take a look at what they had to offer. I have to say if I lived in Great Barrington I’d be all over this joint. The selection looks fantastic and I really like what they’re doing with the place. Some of the events they hold look absolutely fantastic (I’m looking at you “Pig’s Head Three Ways”).
I had the bag cooler in the car with a few beers and my always handy Southern Tier tasting glasses we picked up at their tour (they hold 12 ounces and are perfect for drinking on the go). We broke out some New England Brewing Co. Gandhi Bot leftover from the half case I got at the last Doom Saloon tasting and some Brouwerij Lindemans Kriek which was honestly waaaaay to sweet for me. Even Elise wasn’t feeling it.
It took a while (granted, they had sold out of chicken and we showed up during the last hour of their dinner service) but the chicken finally came out; it was god damn delicious. The batter they’ve made creates a nice crispy crunch on the outside, with thin layer of almost fried dough consistency on the inside before getting to some seriously juicy chicken. It was absolutely fantastic.