Meat and Greet: October’s Foodie George Turkette

Pig’s Tale Charcuterie cofounder George Turkette may be a few credit-hours short of his culinary diploma, but he’s the kind of student who likes to stay after class. When Andrew Smith, his instructor for Meat and Seafood Fabrication at Fort Wayne’s Ivy Tech, brought in whole animals to break down, Turkette (an accelerated high-school grad who had toured as a guitar technician for the likes of Selena Gomez and Allstar Weekend) stuck around for hours to help out—learning, among other things, the art of whole-muscle curing. “It was a great way to understand food prep as a business,” says Turkette, who furthered that hands-on education after transferring to the Indianapolis campus. In no time, he was getting jobs with heavy hitters like Pizzology, Mesh on Mass, Cerulean, and Smoking Goose Meatery.

“We’re doing a dry-aged, cold-smoked bacon that will pack in even more flavor.” 

Eventually, Turkette was hired as the salumist at Vida, but was forced to take a break from butchering after cracking his collarbone during a biking accident. That’s when home-charcuterie enthusiast Troy Reed approached him about partnering on a line of artisanal, old world–style cured meats made from heritage-breed pork raised on humane, sustainable family farms. “I guess he figured I might be looking for a change, but I also loved Troy’s drive for getting the best ingredients,” says Turkette. Even Pig’s Tale‘s most basic selections take quality to the next level. “Instead of hot smoking, we’re doing a dry-aged, cold-smoked bacon that will pack in even more flavor.” 

George’s Favorite Things

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.