Monday, October 13, 2014

Who is the Meat Mama?

By: The Food Hunter

Leighann Smith, head of the meat department at Cochon Butcher in New Orleans, has been nicknamed the meat mama and rightly so. Leighann came to Louisiana with butchering in mind and immediately applied for a job at Cochon Butcher, a gourmet sandwich and charcuterie shop that specializes in house made meats. Though she learned the basics of her craft from reading books she has expertly honed her skills working full time at Butcher.



I met with Leighann, on a recent trip to New Orleans, and was immediately taken in by her hospitality and laid back, fun-loving personality. In the shop merely 5 minutes, I was handed an apron and gloves and put to work.



Leighann graciously spent her morning teaching me how to make boudin, the classic Louisiana sausage made of marinated stewed pork shoulder, savory seasoning and long grain rice.



She even showed me how to manually operate the vertical sausage stuffer...



and although it was hot to touch as it came out of the horn I successfully made my first sausage coil under her guidance.



Naturally, tasting was on my mind all morning and thankfully Leighann had some boudin ready for us to try! We shared a plate of the creamy dense sausage with a side of house made Germain style mustard and pickles. It was rich in flavor with hints of spice and paired perfectly with the spicy whole grain mustard made with Abita beer.



Part of being head butcher at Cochon Butcher means Leighann is also in charge of the charcuterie. Rows and rows of specialty meats at various stages of the drying process hang from the ceiling in a small room above the store which unfortunately I couldn't photograph. I did however get to try some of Leighann's creations including her yummy fennel salami.

Our time together could have ended there and I still would have been as happy as a pig in sh**...pardon the pun. But just as we were about to leave this happened.



To be continued...

28 comments:

  1. What an amazing learning experience.

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  2. Making my own sausage links is on my bucket list!

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  3. Wow! You had some really cool experiences while in New Orleans!

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  4. Oh, such fun! Your sausage coil looked perfect...and what an awesome closing shot.

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  5. Awesome! Gotta love that last shot! I LOVE MEAT!

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  6. What a great experience! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. That is awesome! I so wanna make my own now!

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  8. WOW - what a great experience! Can't wait to read more...!

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  9. That looks like an amazing trip!

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  10. How cool is that?! I can't wait to read what happens after the pig-on-a-dolly rolled on through.

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  11. What a fun experience for you....although, I'm more of a fan of seeing the meet after its been cut up. lol I seriously do not think I could be a butcher!

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  12. What an amazing experience. Your coil looks perfect! And how fun to get a hands-on look at how that sausage is made!

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  13. What an AWESOME opportunity to learn from a great talent! That would be so fun!

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  14. What a fun and educational experience!!

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  15. omg that pig!!! hahahaha
    your sausage looks perfect! (thats what she said...)

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  16. Love making sausage. Nothing quite like it.

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  17. Wow what an experience! I love that picture of the whole pig being wheeled in.

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  18. What a very neat learning experience! I love the pun and that pig! Though, I'm not sure how I would feel if they wheeled in a ginormous whole pig while I was waiting to get my dinner. lol ..who am I kidding. It wouldn't budge my appetite.

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  19. Oh, wow - This is just the coolest thing EVER!! I've never made my own sausage, but it's on my bucket list. Now I need a trip to New Orleans!

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  20. Your last pic is EPIC!!! I am so proud of you for nailing that coil. Very impressive. Actually, this whole post is pretty darn impressive!

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