Enter Frank Balestri's Soppressata Contest | Bleader

Monday, August 30, 2010

Enter Frank Balestri's Soppressata Contest

Posted By on 08.30.10 at 02:47 PM

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Every year Chicago police officer Frank Balestri hangs more than a quarter ton of homemade soppressata in his garage. And he's not the only one. The Italian-American tradition of family-style home "supersod" stuffing sessions may be a "dying art," as he says, but last year his third annual Soppressata Contest attracted 35 contestants entering their own spicy, southern Italian cured sausages. Based on early feedback he expects some 75 entries in this year's event, which he holds in September to kick off the late fall and early winter soppressata season.

The contest is a mere month away—Sunday September 26. Doors open at 3 PM and the judging begins at 4 PM at Park Place of Countryside Banquet Hall, 6240 Joliet Rd., Countryside. To enter, contestants—competing for three Golden Pig trophies—simply show up with one presliced soppressata. After judging they're offered to the crowd.

For noncompetitors, $10 buys dinner (Balestri's own Italian beef, sausage, mostaciolli, linguine and clam sauce, and a sweet table). There's a cash bar, and Italian gift baskets and a homemade soppressata press will be raffled off. Profits go to the Italian-American War Veterans Post #2. (Call 708-588-1756 for info.)

Balestri, aka "the Sodfather," began holding the contest as way to preserve the tradition and hand it down to the next generation. However, "You don't have to be Italian to do this, " he says. (Though unless you hung your supersods at least eight weeks ago it's too late for you.)

Here's part one of the Sodfather's three-part demo to get you started for next year. Marvel at the hanging forest of sausage in his garage at the end of part three.

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