Every few years, my parents, Paul and Priscilla, host a party of extended family and friends to make a cured Armenian sausage called soujouk
. It’s pungent, spicy, hard, tough, chewy, delicious, often nearly black, and takes over a month to make. As with
many Armenian foods, soujouk is not widely available outside of specialty markets, and if you want to replicate Grandma Nouritza’s, you’re better off making it at home.
Since it's only worth making in huge quantities, before throwing a party my folks will ask their guests how many pounds of meat they would like and multiply accordingly. Alongside bird-watching and Ms. Pac-Man, cuts of meat are one of my father’s specialties. His father was a butcher who owned Monument Market in Everett, Massachusetts, and as Dad grew up, he learned the trade. These days, he gets his meat from his butcher cousin, Nish, or from guys who Grandpa taught to cut, grinding it himself in the basement. Raw and cured recipes necessitate higher-quality meat than what’s found at a supermarket, usually requiring a visit to your local butcher. Luckily for San Francisco, artisanal meats are all the mustachioed rage, so it should be easy to ride to one by penny-farthing.