Miami Chefs/Owners Andres Barrientos and James Bowers Urge Foodies and Bacon Lovers to Support Local and Follow the Pig
Officially launching their Kickstarter Campaign during their second annual Basel Biergarten pop-up in Wynwood during Art Basel week, chefs/owners Andres Barrientos and James Bowers of Miami Smokers, the city’s only smokehouse and producer of artisan bacon, are urging bacon-loving foodies, friends and fans to support their campaign to raise funds to build a fully functioning, humidity and temperature controlled community urban smokehouse and curing center.
Operating in Little Havana, the native Miami boys bring in local, high-quality, responsibly raised, heritage pigs from small, family-owned operations. Honoring time-honored traditions they rely solely on the use of salt, smoke and temperature/humidity control, coupled with the use of herbs and spices for Miami flare. In business for two years, the duo create bacon for area restaurants, servicing clients such as The Federal, Blue Collar, Azucar Ice Cream Company, The Fontainebleau including Michael Mina’s Restaurant 74, and the Biscayne Marriott, among others, as well as treats sold at local farmers markets, such as Candied Bacon, Bacon Jerky, Smoked Salt, and Toasted Krispy Treats.
As locals who witnessed, and played a part in, Miami’s continued evolution into a culinary town, Barrientos and Bowers have a bigger dream – a social obligation of sorts – to preserve the trend of supporting local, and help solidify it into a way of life. Their contribution: Miami’s own Artisans Curing Center (ACC), a curing facility that can be used by chefs and local artisans to produce delicious charcuterie in a controlled and monitored environment. With design plans underway, Barrientos and Bowers plan to file permits for construction of a USDA curing facility in January 2014.
In an attempt to fund the ACC, Miami Smokers has launched a Kickstarter Campaign to raise $25,000. A fairly new platform that facilitates crowd funding to bring creative projects to life, Kickstarter is a web-based forum for supporters to donate funds in return for “rewards”. Miami Smokers has a slew of pledge options, from $1 to $8,000, with rewards ranging from branded swag to food such as candied bacon and charcuterie of the month, and even private dinners or whole roasted pig parties. The Miami Smokers ACC project will only be funded if at least $25,000 is pledged by Friday, January 3, 2014 at 5:20 a.m. Supporters can monitor progress, learn more about the project, or donate at www.kickstarter.com/projects/miamismokers/miami-smokers-urban-smokehouse.
Born and raised in Miami and friends for over 15 years, Barrientos and Bowers both have long-standing experience in the culinary industry. Most recently, the pair worked together at Aaron’s Catering in Miami, where Barrientos is still executive chef, and Bowers served as sous chef. A pop-up brunch series where they created everything from scratch, introduced the friends to curing their own bacon. Their creation, especially the candied version, proved to be a big hit and the boys realized they had stumbled upon something special. The newfound passion led them to Tennessee where they met with Allan Benton of Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, who provides some of the nation’s top chefs and restaurateurs with bacon for their award-winning restaurants. Benton showed them his operation, shared the secrets of his perfected tradition, and even sparked the idea of creating their local smokehouse. Barrientos and Bowers returned to Miami and Miami Smokers was born.
Miami Smokers Urban Smokehouse is located at 529 SW 12 Avenue in Little Havana. The Kickstarter Campaign to raise $25,000 to build the Artisans Curing Center, is live now through Friday, January 3 at 5:20 a.m. Website: www.MiamiSmokers.com