Chef Vaughn Good believes there’s a hole in the Lawrence food chain – a missing link between farmers and eaters. But the former sous chef at Pachamama’s has a plan to bridge that gap. And, yes, it involves bacon.
“Lawrence is really into local and sustainable. We have Iwig Dairy. We have Wheatfields Bakery and we have the Lawrence Farmers Market. I think it would be great to have a butcher and charcuterie shop,” Good says.
Good, who turns 30 years old in May, is planning to open Hank Charcuterie early this summer at 1900 Massachusetts. The name, derived from a measure of sausage casing, is to let people know that the butcher and charcuterie shop will be making its own sausages, pate, terrines and bacon.
A 2011 graduate of the International Culinary Institute in New York, the Lawrence native was at Pachamama’s for the past three years. When he began creating specials for the restaurant, he found himself returning to sausage again and again. And it was in the foie gras torchon that he saw a vision for his own future.
“I felt like it was time for me to see what I could do myself. I was happiest working on charcuterie projects and wanted to make it my main culinary pathway,” Good says.
His own space turned out to be former tire repair shop that he’s spent the past four months rehabbing. Beneath a pressed tin ceiling, he’ll have a small collection of tables up front and a large butcher counter that will serve as the store’s focal point.
Good plans to make charcuterie tasting plates that can be eaten at the tables inside or at a pair of picnic tables that he’s looking to put in the alley behind the shop. Hank Charcuterie will be about marrying old world and modern techniques.
“We rub our bacon with a cure mix and then Cryovac it [put it in airtight, sealed plastic bags],” Good says. “After that, we dry hang it and smoke it.”
He’ll also add sandwiches, a few lunch specials and a series of plated multi-course dinners in the months after Hank opens. In addition to meat, the shop will stock local cheese and make its own pickles.
Good has a pair of smokers – an electric smoker that will be inside the store and a second in the alley — as well as a Konro Japanese grill that tops at out at nearly 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
“I’m playing around with sous vide lamb chops. They get perfectly cooked center to center and then that really hot charcoal on the Japanese grill can sear the outside and get me a nice crust,” Good says.
The chef picked this corner of Massachusetts because he liked that saw it as a neighborhood with potential customers walking over to get inspiration for dinner.
“It can be more like back in the day when you got your milk from the milk man and your meat from a butcher,” Good says.[Images courtesy of Vaughn Good]