Hitchcock Deli: The Deep Dive

2015 is my Year of Meat. Let's get a jump on things, shall we?

My friend Marika (aka The Hamazonian) and I met for drinks and nosh. The mission: explore Georgetown, an up and coming neighborhood south of Seattle. Chef Brendan McGill made a sweetbread lover out of me, so I was curious to try his latest place, Hitchcock Deli. Situated in a corner space with oversized windows, from the street, the deli case beckoned. Lunch is the bulk of their business and the day we were there, they got killed! A post-work happy hour menu has limited but worthwhile offerings, including and beer, wine, and champagne by the glass. Bubbles and Brats? Bring it on!

Hitchcock has a multitude of sandwiches, but these days, the media is clamoring for a global mash up under the guise of a Cuban sandwich: Italian-style roast pork, American-style smoked ham, housemade pickle planks, Swiss cheese, on a Vietnamese baguette.

Still life, Hitchcock-style. 

 Dear Good People, take note. You want this. Trust me. 

Meet Graham Leon, Hitchcock partner and general manager. Over the counter he kindly offered, "Would you like to try something?" 
"Yes, I want to try it ALL!" 
And we did. Let's take a look....

Everything is made in house, from the sauerkraut to the mustard garnish. And Hitchcock, they take meat to another level. Here we start with turkey breast, brined, then smoked smoked over Eastern Washington applewood. Corned beef is made from grass-fed Painted Hills brisket. Brined 11 days, and braised with coriander, pepper, and spices. Roast beef? This is the real deal. They use Painted Hills all natural eye of round, seasoned and roasted medium rare. And of these offerings, the smoked ham was my favorite. Light on the smoke and salt. Just the way I like it. This is Carleton Farms boneless pork leg, brined 7 days and smoked over applewood.

The porchetta, made with rosemary, crushed red pepper, fennel, orange zest, salt and pepper from Carelton Farms pork loin, wrapped in pork belly and slow roasted. Pate de Campagne, a favorite, for sure. This country-style pork liver pate is made with blanched pistachios, diced pork fat, and wrapped in house-cured bacon. 

Lonza, or otherwise known as lomo, is dry-cured pork loin. Chef McGill tells me theirs is from a heritage breed pig (Duroc and Danish landrace cross) from Ephrata. Cured in salt, washed in white wine, and aged for 6 weeks in the cave. The bresola is dry-aged, semi-cured Painted Hills eye of round, seasoned with red wine and clove.

Check out this pastrami. Hitchcock uses Painted Hills all natural beef, cut traditionally from the short plate. It's brined for 11 days, then smoked for 18 hours.

Dry-cured Basque-style chorizo, seasoned with pimenton, a sweet, spicy, smoky, paprika.

 In the name of 'research'....

While the soup looks great, the $5 rillettes caught my eye.

 And here it is. Rilletes de Porc. Pork belly confit, beaten with fat until the muscle fibers separate, seasoned with quatre epices (black pepper, clove, cinnamon, and mace). Served on a bed of arugula.

It's interesting how a simple thing like mustard can tell you much about a place. In the photo, tucked between the arugula and the crostini, the mustard is made in house. At Hitchcock, they also make cheese. The byproduct of that process, the whey, has a second life. Brown and yellow mustard seeds are fermented in a gallon of whey for three days. The fermented mustard seeds are then strained, and incorporated in their housemade coarse mustard.

Bratwurst. I'd happily travel across town for their bratwurst. Best I've ever had. From what I could gather, it's considered a traditional German bratwurst, bound with cream and egg, then seasoned with nutmeg and white pepper. I consider this a new staple, and plan to have a perpetual stash in my freezer.

And finally, the Hitchcock Georgetown crew: Meat production manager Meagan Lass and partner/general manager, Graham Leon. Megan is a preservation and fermentation devotee. Graham tells me, "She has sausages hanging in her living room!" And for her initial interview, she brought sample sausages. Curious, I asked about Graham's background. "I owned a cupcake shop in LA, worked at Kaiser (hospital) for a bunch of years, and taught English in Japan." Bringing all those elements together, making charcuterie in a pocket neighborhood on the south side of Seattle? Makes perfect sense to me. Passion is in the product.