MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- In his restaurants, he was known for his incredible skill in creating delicious cured meats -- salamis and coppas and sopressatas.
Now, a local chef has created his own company hoping to create world-class charcuterie right here in the Twin Cities. In this week's edition of DeRusha Eats, Jason DeRusha talked with Mike Phillips, the man behind Red Table Meat Co.
It is almost impossible to take just one bite of the incredible artisan salumi coming out of Northeast Minneapolis and Red Table Meat Company.
Chef and sales rep Peter Ireland brought over the Extra Vecchio and the Pork Queen.
As chef at Craftsman Restaurant, Phillips was universally praised for his charcuterie -- the art of curing meat into ham and salumi -- but the road to creating his own place has taken years.
The process starts with great farmers, producing great hogs.
"To me, we have some of the best pigs in the world, so why not highlight them and say we make those products here," Phillips said. "People are surprised to hear me say the USDA is here every day."
Mike's developed recipes for 16 different meats. The meats hang in a temperature and humidity-controlled dripping room to reduce moisture and concentrate flavor. It simulates Italy's weather.
"The idea is to mock the days and nights of the fall when the pigs would be butchered," Phillips said.
Then they sit in an aging room. Some styles for weeks, others for months.
Phillips' dream almost didn't happen after he crashed in a 2013 Cyclocross bike race.
"Ten seconds into the race, down I went, and I didn't get off the ground for a half an hour, until the emergency room," he said.
But just like the perfect salumi takes patience to persevere, he kept fighting. His struggle not unlike his drive to create a product that is uniquely Minnesotan.
"I want people to come to Minneapolis and say, 'We gotta get that.' I want them to go back to wherever they are going and say, 'This is Minneapolis. This is what goes on in Minneapolis.' This is what they believe in in Minneapolis."
Demand is so high, Jason tells us Red Table is doubling it's manufacturing to keep up. You can get Red Table Meat at Lunds and Byerly's locations, Surdyk's Cheese Shop, France 44 and St. Paul Cheese Shop. It's also showing up at restaurants like Sanctuary, Modern Cafe, and Nicollet Island Inn.
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