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When it comes to smoked meats, you’ve got to visit Gabe’s Country Smoked Meats in Maple City. 

GABE’S COUNTRY SMOKED MEATS | 12963 S. Maple City Rd., Maple City | 231.228.6224

Fresh cuts of marbled pork shoulder, sausage-friendly spices like garlic, coriander and mustard seed and a few armloads of hardwood make up the daily guest list for the smokehouse huffing behind Gabe’s Country Smoked Meats in Maple City. For a decade, the cozy country market has quietly created a subculture of addicts for their flavorful jerkies, smoky signature shoulder bacon and small batch smoked sausages. Gabe’s smoked kielbasa with its sublime balance of garlic and black pepper can be heated on the grill and eaten as is, but in the spirit of late winter survival, we made it the centerpiece of an Alsatian choucroute. Read on for a recipe that leverages the North’s best smokehouses and put some meat on your bones.

MyNorth Choucroute Garnie | Adapted from a recipe by Jacques Pepin | Serves 6
Ingredients

1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 1/2 pounds Maxbauer’s baby back ribs, cut into 2 sections

3 pounds The Brinery “Stimulus Package” Sauerkraut, drained

2 tablespoons duck or goose fat or peanut oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

12 juniper berries

2 large bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup dry riesling or pinot gris

1 pound Gabe’s smoked kielbasa, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces

5 Plath’s Meats skinless hot dogs

1 pound Burritt’s smoked pork chops

2 pounds medium potatoes (about 10), peeled

American Spoon Whole Seed Mustard

Mike’s Mustard

MAKE AHEAD

The choucroute can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated for three days. Reheat before proceeding.

Instructions

Step 1: In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the 1/4 cup of kosher salt with the sugar. Add the pork ribs; shake well to thoroughly coat the ribs with the seasonings. Seal the bag and refrigerate the ribs overnight or for up to 24 hours.

Step 2: The next day, preheat the oven to 300F. Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water and squeeze dry. Set a large Dutch Oven on high heat and melt the duck fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the sauerkraut, juniper berries, bay leaves, caraway seeds, black pepper, stock and wine and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.

Step 3: Meanwhile, rinse the pork ribs under cold water and pat dry. Nestle the pork ribs in the sauerkraut and bring back to a boil over moderately high heat. Cover tightly and bake for 1.5 hours.

Step 4: Remove the pork ribs from the sauerkraut. Cut down in between the ribs. Return the ribs to the sauerkraut and nestle in the kielbasa, hot dogs and smoked pork chops. Cover and bake until the meats are hot, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.

Step 5: Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water, add salt and bring to a boil over high heat; cook the potatoes until tender when pierced. Drain the potatoes and cover to keep warm.

Step 6: To serve, mound the hot sauerkraut in the center of very hot dinner plates and partially tuck in the pork ribs and the kielbasa. Arrange the hot dogs and pork chops around the sauerkraut. Alternatively, pile the sauerkraut on a large heated platter and garnish with the meats. Serve the choucroute with the boiled potatoes and assorted mustards.

MyNorth Choucroute Shopping List

Hit up these independent butchers in Northern Michigan for the porky building blocks behind this hearty Alsatian masterpiece.

Maxbauer | 407 S. Union St., Traverse City | 231.947.7698

Plath’s Meats | 2200 E. Mitchell Rd., Petoskey | 231.348.8100

Burritt’s Fresh Markets | 509 W. Front St., Traverse City | 231.946.3300

Gabe’s Country Smoked Meats | 12963 S. Maple City Rd., Maple City | 231.228.6224