50 Most Progressive

Yesterday our salty faces were on the Charlie home page! Every year this wonderful magazine chooses 50 locals in Charleston for their 50 Most Progressive series, and we couldn't be amongst better company! Evans Craddock wrote the article, which we've resposted below, and Olivia Rae James took the photo! Thanks you two and thank you Charlie Magazine! Click here for the link and check out the whole list!

Article: It started with a hog.

Well, technically, it started when Rustin and Teresa Gooden met while working in a hostel in the Everglades of Florida. Fast forward a few years, throw in a smattering of travel to places like Alaska and Portland, a farming apprenticeship (Teresa), graduation from Portland State (Rustin), and the two settled in their home in McClellanville, South Carolina, prepping for a hog roast in hopes of making friends with the neighbors.

After brining said hog with saltwater, they soon discovered their potluck dinner guests enjoyed the salt the smoker left behind just as much—if not more—than the hog itself. “I remember seeing people eat spoonfuls of it, and we were like, ‘um, that’s salt you know,’” Teresa laughed. And so, the seed of what is now Bulls Bay Saltworks was planted.

The salt-making process begins with water collected at high tide from Bulls Bay, an area carefully monitored by the Department of Health and Environmental Control. After a solar-powered evaporation process, flaky (and smack-your-momma-good) salt comes to life. The process itself isn’t easy, and Rustin and Teresa will be the first to admit that they don’t sleep much and learn something new every day. Like that time Rustin spilled 500 pounds of salt (that’s three to four months of work for you salt novices out there), for instance. Their response? “We didn’t get angry—we got a little sad,” says Teresa.

“Yeah, but then we just kept moving and went to go get some more salt water,” Rustin adds.

That laid back attitude, combined with their passion for a sustainable lifestyle and love of the Lowcountry community, makes them more than your average artisan salt makers. Though the two have put in tons of man hours and encountered major obstacles (like losing their home to fire), the humble couple are quick to point in the direction of others in town when it comes to their growing success, noting a long list of locals who rooted for them from the start.

Passing the salt just got a whole lot tougher.

The Oaxacan

Last month we started a little series on cocktails to introduce our salt into the world of mixology. As you may have read in the first post, we asked a handful of bartenders and cocktail experts to work up some recipes for our bourbon-smoked flake, but we've been pretty excited about our Carolina Flake in the Made in the South awards, so we're using it in this recipe! Without further ado...Our second post!

Mick Matricciano is second up on the blog. After working several bars in downtown Charleston, including The Gin Joint, the Belmont, and the bar at the Ordinary, he decided to focus full time on his own project. He and his friends Brandon Wogamon and Matthew Fendley started up Cannonborough Beverage Co. crafting small batch sodas using fresh produce and natural sweeteners. You can find them on tap at restaurants all around Charleston and also at the CHS Farmers market in Marion Square. Be sure to swing by and give them all a high five if you visit!

THE OAXACAN

Ingredients

1.5 quality Mezcal
.75 Averna
.75 Carpano
6 drops saline*

*Saline:

Yes, we're putting our salt back into the water for this recipe! Dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt in 5 ounces of water.

Recipe

Stir and strain over ice, finish with flamed orange twist (or regular orange twist if that's too fancy)


Notes from Mick

First off the saline. It's 1 to 10 (salt to water) it's a great thing to have around for cocktails. Basically sodium acts as a flavor inhibitor for bitterness when used in small quantities. I figured it would be really cool to use an amaro so you could actually get way more depth out of the drink. In this case, I picked a Mezcal (smoky and rich) and paired it with Averna (bitter toasted nuts and chocolate) and sweet vermouth. Normally the ratio I gave you would be wayyy too bitter (heavy on the Averna) but with a little salt water, you'll get way more complexity and a perfect balance.

Salt Made Simply

Back in September, shortly after our hog roast, we had the pleasure of taking photographer and artist Rinne Allen out on a little trip to harvest salt. She has been working on a series for Times Magazine on harvesters of the South "exploring the many uses of nature’s seasonal yield of ingredients." Her first post documented Alabama Chanin and Billy Reid's homegrown cotton and we couldn't be more thrilled to see we're the second installment in the series! Follow along on her journey around the South, there is no doubt in our minds there are going to be some amazing updates!

Click here to see all of the photos and to read her post! Each photograph on the post has a caption describing our process. Thank you Rinne!


Fifth Annual Made in the South Awards

As Southern makers, we’ve been counting down the days to Garden and Gun's fifth annual Made in the South Awards! We’re humbled to be named a Runner up in the food category, alongside some wonderful companies!

Check out the link to read up on the other food winners and winners in the other categories: Click Here!

A big shout out to our McClellanville neighbor, Oliver Thames, who won the overall award with Bulls Bay OYRO. We hope you’ll visit the link to support all the talented folks who’ve been chosen (nothing makes a better holiday gift than a product handcrafted by a Southerner!). Also, we hope to see you all at the Jubilee this year!

Lean + Meadow

About three weeks ago we had the pleasure of meeting Lean Timms, a photographer currently living in Jacksonville, FL. She was visiting Charleston to photograph several portraits and features, and made the ride out to McClellanville to hang. There are tons of great photos on her post and a wonderful write up, but we wanted to share a couple and an excerpt. Enjoy and click the link to read the full post: http://www.leanandmeadow.com/journal/bulls-bay-saltworks

“Lately, I have been finding that more and more I am enjoying the times where I get to see and photograph food in its most natural, basic state. I love learning where it comes from, how it is made and then I love getting excited about how I can turn it into something delicious for the dinner table. Not only is the process and the story such an invigorating part, but the people, like Teresa and Rustin, who make their life's work about producing innovative, quality, and natural products from the land - and sea - is what pulls at my heart strings most.  It gives me goosebumps. It leaves me curious, thankful and wanting to learn more.”

Salt-n-Pepa

Everyone is well aware of the wonders salt does for food and the rim of your margarita glass! After the release of our Smoked Flake we wanted to delve further into the world of the cocktail. Beyond the margarita rim. We've been well-inspired by our friends at Bittermilk and have decided to experiment for a few months with a variety of cocktails! Yes, those notes of oak and sweet, sweet bourbon you might pick up from our Smoked Flake can also be found in their Old-Fashioned Number 1, because we use the same barrels after Bittermilk bottles their fixins. 

For the next few months we'll be posting a couple recipes for cocktails using our Smoked Flake! We've given away a couple samples to bartenders around the states and many have welcomed the idea of crafting a cocktail or tweaking a recipe to fit the salt!  If you like what you see, please feel free to share the recipes and let us know your thoughts!

Our first cocktail comes to us all the way from Brooooooklynnnn, New Yorrrkkk! Stephen Palahach (@SPalahach) is a drink writer and bartender working at Jack the Horse Tavern on the corner of Cranberry and Hicks. He is a punch bowl of drinking knowledge and writes for the Mason Jar by Shindig, check out some of his writing here!

Salt-n-Pepa

Ingredients

1.5 ounces Vida Mezcal
.75 ounces fresh lime juice
.75 ounces red bell pepper syrup*
.5 ounces Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
4 slices cucumber
Large pinch Bourbon Barrel Smoked Flake

*Red Pepper Syrup:

To make the red bell pepper syrup, boil a quart of water in a saucepan and stir in a quart of sugar. Add a whole chopped red bell pepper to the pan. Using a blender, puree the mixture well. Strain the contents into a nonreactive container and allow to cool before using. 

Recipe

Use a muddler to lightly pound the cucumber slices in a boston shaker tin. Add all other ingredients, plenty of ice, and shake vigorously. Use a fine strainer to double strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with soda water.

Garnish with a stack of skewered cucumber slices topped with a little smoked salt. 

(Note: We forgot the skewer, so we shoved the cucumbers into the glass.)

Martha Stewart American Made

The time has finally come! We were announced Food Finalists in the 2014 Martha Stewart American Made competition and you can start voting for us and your other favorite artisans and vendors. Online voting starts today and ends on October 13th! When you click the link there will be a little vote button below our details and next to the photos. Click that! You'll get six votes every 24 hours, so please tell your friends and spread the word!

You can pass along this link: goo.gl/rJcJHU

Please feel free to share this all on social media as well! "The more social shares on Facebook and Twitter, the better the maker's chances of earning one of 200 wild-card finalist spots for grand-prize consideration."

Thank you for taking the time and thank you for all of your ongoing support!

Three Margaritas

It can get well over 140 degrees in the salt tent when it hits the mid-90s outside. For those of you living in the lowcountry, you can only imagine what that meant this past week, so we tested out some margaritas for you. (Margarita salt on the rim, of course.) There are three recipes below that have been tweaked and adapted from different sources, let us know what you think or send us some of your own! We love trying out other recipes.

The steps are pretty simple, all you need to do is blend the ingredients together and pour into your salted glass. We've found that using a tiny amount of agave around the rim leaves a prettier finish since it catches and holds more salt! If you're in need of some margarita salt, you can purchase some in our store: Margarita Salt. Each recipe serves 1.

Spicy Watermelon

½ oz. Tequila
½ oz. Triple Sec
About 8 oz. watermelon
3 sprigs of cilantro
2 slivers of jalapeño
1 lime

Blackberry Basil

½ oz. Tequila
½ oz. Triple Sec
½ cup frozen blackberries
3 sprigs of basil
1 lime

The Curra's Margarita

½ oz. Tequila
½ oz. Triple Sec
½ cup ice
½ avocado
3 sprigs of cilantro
1 lime