Behind Nancy’s Kitchen Doors

How We Do What We Do…An Adventure In Culinary Creativity

Part 1:

Nancy's pigs in a blanket

Most of us like pigs in a blanket, including me, but I never imagined us in the test kitchen making pigs in a blanket…from scratch…that’s right…from grinding, stuffing, wrapping, freezing to baking and serving up 600 servings of mini pigs in a blanket!


A few months ago we had been given the task of producing samples to showcase a particular product for a food show. Using their product, we were to create 600 sample-sized “Pigs-In-A-Blanket” plus creating gallons of accompanying sauces.


We decided to attack the task head on…starting with the choice of meats. We wanted to use only meat cuts that we knew we ourselves would eat. We decided to use store-bought ground beef, pork, fat back (this is basically unsmoked and uncured bacon), smoked jowl bacon (bacon made from the neck of the pig, a variety of spices, curing agents and ice.


Next the type of casing…in our first test, we used natural sheep casings which are actually (hang on)…the cleaned intestines of the sheep! We wanted to have a smoke-flavored product, (after all isn’t that the secret flavor of the best of hot dogs?) but we did not have a smoker large enough to accommodate the massive amount of product. After a considerable amount of research, we discovered smoked-enhanced synthetic casings made from collagen. We did a test run and found these did the trick and took our taste buds down memory lane. It imparted both the color and smoke flavor we had been trying to achieve.


Part 2:

Nancy's IQF Pigs in a blanket

The second part of the task was to create these “pigs-in-a-blanket” for a food show that could be heated in a toaster oven in a short amount of time. After baking these little gems on upper levels, lower levels, higher temps, lower temps, foil-lined, parchment-lined, seam side down, seam side up, we finally reached the perfect combination…the perfect time/temp ratio. And they were ready to be shipped.


With fear of the treacherous weather creeping up, we decided to hand deliver the IQF (individually quick frozen) “pigs-in-a-blanket” along with the two sauces to the Atlanta food show and made it… 24 hours before the IQF of the century!


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