What a great name for a cookbook from a smokehouse restaurant in Canal Park – Smoke on the Waterfront: The Northern Waters Smokehaus Cookbook.  

Inside this beautiful collection of stories, philosophies, recipes and food photos, you get a definite sense of place, and it’s a very unique place.  

After a welcome from owner Eric Goerdt, who writes about developing a love of food from his mom, Phyllis, and then later, as a Coast Guardsman stationed at Sitka, Alaska, developing a passion for preserving meat and fish with salt, by curing, smoking and canning. His adventures in Sitka, he writes, “were the inspiration for Northern Waters Smokehaus.”  

The owner’s welcome is followed by an introduction that tells the Smokehaus origin story. I especially like this line: “The Smokehaus began as a sliver of foolishness sliced out of a one-hundred-year-old mattress factory in the former red light district of a burgeoning tourist boomtown.”   The introduction also lays out the philosophy behind the book, which seems to be the philosophy behind the Smokehaus as well. The book is divided into seasonal sections.  

“The prevailing logic behind this decision is rooted in the reality of our existence as a family-owned and regionally oriented smokehouse and delicatessen in Duluth, Minnesota, but also in a deeper connection with our roots as human beings. We live in seasons.”  

The introduction includes a warning to anyone who decides to tackle a recipe.   “Make sure to take a look at the time requirements of a given recipe before diving in, as brining, drying and smoking are long processes.”  

The introduction ends with a list of recommended equipment, much of which can be found in most home kitchens, with the exception, perhaps, of smoking equipment and maybe a turkey fryer.  

Spring begins with T.S. Eliot’s famous quote about spring, followed by a brief essay on how cruel spring in Duluth can be and what kind of cooking can match it – “All of it,” the cookbook declares, but it begins with a brine for fish and a recipe for smoked salmon with a homemade Cajun seasoning.   The smoky piscatory offerings continue with King Salmon Candy (brown sugar smoked), Smoked Salmon Pate and Crispy Fish Skins.  

The spring section includes a sidebar story on how the Slammin’ Gordon got its name. Turns out customers regularly slaughter the pronunciation of the uniquely named Smokehaus offerings, such as Sitka Sushi and The Hedonist, but when a woman ordered a “Slammin’ Gordon,” meaning a “Salmon Garden” wrap, after the crew laughed their heads off, the name stuck for the former boringly named salmon wrap.  

The section is followed by a chapter called Homemade Pasta, which is described as “a brilliant vessel for the transportation of flavors.” That is immediately followed by a recipe for Lemon Pasta with Smoked Salmon.  

After four more interesting smoked fish recipes and another for Lake Superior Chowder, we get to the section on canning, followed by a recipe for canned fish.   Spring ends with a flurry of condiments such as Tartar Sauce, Wasabi Mayo and Tzatiki as well as how to cure roe, how to roast a Saucy Leg of Lamb and how to prepare a Gremolata Stuffed Trout.  

Next up is the season “when our reality is flipped upside down” – summer. Summer begins with a Treatise on Grilling and Barbecue Smoking by Greg Cougar Conley, whose titles include fry cook, HR director and sourdough enthusiast. That is followed by a chapter on Smoking a Brisket.   After some very delicious-sopunding recipes for things such as Smoked obs and Kimchi with Maple Sambal and Grilled Vegetable Salad, we get into the pickling section, with recipes or pickling a variety of veggies. That is followed by a section on fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi.   The summer section ends, appropriately, with a chapter on homemade ice cream, including a Curry Ice Cream.  

Autumn begins with an introduction to sausage, followed by recipes to make your own distinct varieites, such as Potato ‘Kraut Sausage and Smoked Andouille.  

That section leads into Greg Cougar Conley’s A Primer to Sourdough Starter.  

Autumn also includes an enire chapter on duck, from butchering to making Confit Duck Legs and Smoked Breast to Smoked Duck Hash and Three-Day duck Poutine.  

Finally we arrive at what the book declares “our longest (and some would say our only) season,” when Smoked Porketta, Turkey Breast, Ham and Bacon help keep the cold at bay (there are recipes for all of them and more). Here we also get recipes for Swedish Gravy, Green Bean Casserole and Tobacco Onions (there is no explanation of them).  

The book concludes with a photo of a Smokehaus sandwich for each season, and recipes for the sandwiches. So if you ever want to make your own Pastrami Mommy, you can do it by following the Bison Pastrami recipe on page 158 and the Misty Mountain Mustard recipe on page 75. Easy peasy. Or maybe it would be easier to buy a Mommy Pastrami from the experts.  

I predict Smoke On the Waterfront is going to make many appearances under Christmas trees next month. The cookbook was issued by University of Minnesota Press. A release party is being held starting at 6 pm Thursday, Nov. 16, at NSW’s new location in the DeWitt Seitz building (former home of Amazing Grace).