Charcuterie Masters 2017 Featured Competitor: Jack Peele of Jacuterie (Ancramdale, NY)
It took the power going out for the charcuterie-making lightbulb to go off in Jack Peele’s head.
The London-born Peele moved from New York City to Ancramdale, about an hour’s drive southeast of Albany, where his father owns Herondale Farm and raises beef, chicken, pork and lamb.
Looking for new ways to preserve the meat from the farm, Peele began making charcuterie as a hobby. But in late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy swept through, causing widespread flooding and power outages. The farm relied entirely on generators for a month, Peele said.
“That’s when [making charcuterie] became super-interesting,” Peele said. “I wanted to learn it in case there was a doomsday scenario.”
So Peele, whose prior culinary experience includes studying pastry at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, began to learn about curing meat. He pored over books, took a weekend course with a butcher in Seattle and built a curing chamber at the farm.
“I took the hobby to the next level,” he said.
Growing up in England, fresh sausage was a large component of Peele’s diet and is now a large component of JACüTERIE’s (pronounced Jack-Cuterie) offerings. When he started, Peele noticed that many nearby pork producers were taking their pigs to the slaughterhouse and getting back the same three products: Hot and sweet Italian and breakfast sausage.
Instead, Peele makes a 100-percent pork British Banger, as well as a curry-infused version he calls the Bombay Banger. Other offerings include a South African Boerewors, French Saucisson à l'ail, spicy Italian Calabrese, sweet and spicy maple jalapeno and a rotating type that changes each month.
Peele also makes more than four types of bacon, including sweet chili and maple, cured for seven days in sea salt and local maple syrup.
Peele, who went to an international school in London and later, United Nations International School in New York City, said he wanted to bring his worldly experiences into the food he was making.
Peele also makes at least a half-dozen types of salami that like his fresh offerings, reads like a world atlas. His favorite is still his first salami: Finocchiona, an Italian-style sausage flavored with fennel, garlic black pepper and red wine.
The Finocchiona, as well as Peele’s Saucisson Provençal, a Saucisson Sec seasoned with garlic, black pepper and herbs de Provence, won awards for charcuterie at the 2016 Good Food Awards.
The Spanish Fuet, a mild sausage seasoned with garlic, white pepper, white wine and nutmeg that’s Peele’s other favorite, has a similar flavor to his new Herondale salami. Every salami Peele makes is partially made with the Berkshire/Duroc crossbred pork raised at his father’s farm, but the new salami will be made entirely from Herondale-raised pork. Seasoned simply with “just the tiniest bit” of nutmeg and white pepper, the salami will allow the pork to shine, Peele said.
JACüTERIE is entering its fourth year of business and Peele said he’s expecting to come under USDA inspection this spring. Assuming JACüTERIE passes inspection, Peele plans to expand beyond the farm store and farmers markets to wholesalers. Selling wholesale would also allow Peele to start making prosciutto, pancetta, coppa and other whole cured meats.
“Being able to get this into more people’s hands is exciting.”
Please join us at Charcuterie Masters 2017 on February 25th to find out who’s going to be crowned Grand Champion royalty in Queens (NY)! For event details & to purchase tickets, please visit here.