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Cedar Mill News
Volume 6, Issue 10


October 2008
Bales smoker
The smoke comes from a box that burns wood pellets. All the smoke is contained and pumped into the cooker section where the meat hangs, which explains why the onsite smoker is such a well-kept secret—no smoke escapes to the air.

Bales smokes their own!

Odus Bales, the founder of Bales Thriftway, was always looking for a way to do things a little differently that would set the business apart from the competition. When he built his new store in 1989, he decided to include meat-smoking equipment in the butcher shop. “We found a guy who knew all about meat curing,” recalls Ken Findley, Odus’ stepson and former owner of the grocery. “He brought some recipes with him, and we continued to develop new items over the years.”

In-store delis and bakeries were just appearing in grocery stores in those days, and providing their own smoked meat proved to be a popular addition. “People used to bring in whole fish that they had caught and have us smoke it for them,” Ken recalls.

The original equipment still turns out delicious pepperoni, baby back and beef ribs, bacon, hams, smoked chicken and turkeys, jerky and of course mouth-watering smoked salmon and halibut. Jesse Terrell is now in charge, having worked his way up from counter clerk to smoker expert and meat cutter over his ten-year career at Bales. He enjoys the freedom to experiment and try out new recipes and combinations and get feedback from customers.

Jesse TerrellThe meat, fish and poultry for curing comes from the regular stock. It is marinated and/or injected with flavor or rubbed with dry spices, and then hung in the cooker at around 200° for up to two days, depending on the type. Each batch is then vacuum packed and cold-stored until it’s put out for sale.

In addition to the “dry” smoked meats, Jesse and the crew also turn out corned beef (they sell hundreds of those every March!) and pastrami which are vacuum-sealed and sold in the smoked-meat counter. They also produce Bales own sausages, sold in the bulk meat section. The sausage pumper forces ground and seasoned meat into casings for links. And it’s all done there in the back—talk about local food!

They still occasionally get special orders, especially around the holidays. One family has a batch of Swedish potato sausage made up every year for their family dinner. State health regulations now prevent them from smoking meat brought in by customers, but if you have a favorite sausage or cured meat recipe, they’d be happy to give it a try.

sausageThese delicious smoked meats are perfect as the center of a quick & tasty meal, just add salad & bread!




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Published monthly by Cedar Mill Advertising & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229