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WalkerSpeak: Pork and the Kocurek Family Artisanal Charcuterie

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With the economy still in the tank and some of us marginally employed, why would we purchase Czech bacon at the price of $7 for a half pound?

First, it’s pork. Second, it’s one of our favorite artisan foods: charcuterie. This is the preparation of pork (mainly, though other meats can be prepared similarly) specialties such as pâtés, rillettes, sausages, and, of course, bacon.

If the product is made by those who adhere to a “slow-food” ethos, it becomes even harder to resist. This was our pleasurable predicament after sampling from the Kocurek Family Artisanal Charcuterie Saturday at the Pearl Farmers Market.

The Kocureks have been selling prepared sandwiches and packaged sausages, bacon and other hand-crafted foods at the Pearl market for some weeks now. Their stated mission is to “preserve the art of traditional charcuterie using local, free-range, hormone-free meat and game, and above all else, the preservation of our happiness in making authentic food with our family.”

Czech bacon, thickly sliced and seasoned with herbs and spices, comes from the Kocurek Family Artisanal Charcuterie in Austin.

Lawrence and Lee Ann Kocurek met at culinary school a decade ago, then moved to New York. Lawrence is an honors graduate from The French Culinary Institute and Lee Ann is a certified sommelier from the American Sommelier Association. They have a young son, born in 2009, who was their inspiration, after careers with top restaurants and wine merchants, to go into business for themselves in Austin.

As Lawrence described it, the bacon is not as salty as American bacon. It is seasoned, however, with a lengthy list of herbs and spices. The flavor was plenty bacon-y, and we didn’t miss all the salt we have become accustomed to. It sizzled nicely in the pan and turned very crisp. It was utterly delicious with scrambled eggs, green chile salsa and hot corn tortillas for breakfast, and in BLTs at lunch.

Later on Sunday, my husband and I pan-broiled the Kocurek’s Saucisse de Toulouse, a half-pound French sausage made with pork, wine, garlic, nutmeg and other seasonings. Served with an herb-scented pilaf of tiny green French lentils seasoned with salt pork and sliced fresh tomatoes, it was a perfect Sunday supper.

John Griffin took home with him his own packages from the Kocurek booth, not being able to resist the Boerewors sausage, a taste of South African-seasoned beef, pork and bacon with red wine, garlic, coriander, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and Worcestershire sauce among the spices. We’ll look forward to the report on that— or, better still, a taste!

To look at a comprehensive product list of the Korcurek family’s charcuterie, a schedule of the farmers markets they visit, and to sign up for their newsletter, click here.

Saucisse de Toulouse, pan-grilled and served with French Lentil Pilaf with Wine.

For the French Lentil Pilaf with Wine recipe that we served with the Saucisse de Toulouse (see below), click here.

Photos by Bonnie Walker

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4 Responses to “WalkerSpeak: Pork and the Kocurek Family Artisanal Charcuterie”

  1. Alex says:

    I am happy to see this review. All of the products from the Kocurek Family have been a real treat.

    It has been so much fun to try some of the items that we may not see every such a the Morcilla. Every item has an enormous amount of flavor.

    • Great that this worthy family business has your support, and thanks for your comment, Alex — I didn’t see morcilla on the list Saturday, but might have missed it. I can’t wait to go back and try some of the other products! BW

  2. Wish you would have given the address for them in Austin. Do they have a store? Do they ship? I’d love to try their product, but don’t get to the Pearl Mkt. Thanks