Nov 202017
 

I’m very happy to announce that registration is now open for SQL Saturday Chicago 2018! This year we have a new and larger location! Our event will take place at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

If you’re not familiar with SQL Saturday, it’s a free day of training for data professionals, covering a wide variety of topics relating to database administration, database development, business intelligence, and professional development. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to network. Registration for the event itself is free, with an optional lunch provided for $15.

Our call for speakers is also open – please submit your session(s) by 25 January 2018! We are always looking for new presenters. One of the founding principles of SQL Saturday is to develop new community speakers, so if you’ve ever wanted to present at an event like this, please consider submitting!

Our call for pre-conference sessions is also open! If you are interested in delivering a pre-con, please email abstracts directly to sqlsaturday719@sqlsaturday.com. Pre-conference session abstracts will be accepted until Friday 22 December 2017 at 5:00pm CST.

I hope to see you all in March!

Nov 142017
 

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written for a T-SQL Tuesday, but I saw this month’s topic and felt compelled to throw my 2 cents in. Our host for the month, Ewald Cress (@sqlOnIce) is asking for us to write about people who have made a meaningful contribution to our lives as data professionals.

There have certainly been a lot of people who have helped me get to where I am with my career today, but for this post I’d like to take things back to the very beginning. He wasn’t my first boss, but was the first DBA I ever encountered in the professional world. He also got me my first real DBA position when a spot opened up on his team. Chuck Rummel (@crummel4), this post is for you.

The first time I met Chuck was at a job interview for what would come to be my first job out of college. I recognized Chuck’s name from all my years of Boy Scouting, and I seem to remember that he had highlighted the line of my resume that said I was an Eagle Scout. That served as a pretty darn good icebreaker, and we ended up spending just as much time talking about camping and outdoor adventures as we did about technical topics.

Like I said, I ended up getting the job…as a .NET developer. It turns out that even though I wanted to be a DBA really badly, most companies aren’t going to hire one straight out of college. Oh well – gotta start somewhere, and for me that was writing and optimizing code that pulled lots of data from databases. Databases maintained by a team that Chuck was in charge of. I can remember very clearly the first time I needed to add an index to improve a query’s performance, but I couldn’t add it myself due to lack of permissions. I marched around the corner to Chuck’s cube to request rights to create indexes and very promptly got shot down. It turns out that denying requests from developers is kind of a core job skill for DBAs, and I got to learn this first-hand by being on the receiving end for a while.

Helping and teaching others – what Chuck does best.

I can also remember the first time I passed a certification exam – it was something for SQL Server 2005. I was so proud of myself, and made a point of showing my result sheet to Chuck, partially (ok, maybe mostly) to show him that I really can do this DBA stuff. After about 2 years of developing applications, learning good querying practices, and maybe dropping hints that I wanted to work for him every once in a while, a position opened up on Chuck’s DBA team and I don’t even think I had to apply for it.

So now I’m a DBA, living the dream! I’ve got sysadmin rights and a boss I really look up to. Then my education truly began. Of course there was tons of database skills to learn along with details about the environment, but there’s also the finer points of business. While it’s quite easy to shoot down a rookie developer’s request for permissions, it’s slightly different when such a request comes from someone above your pay grade. Chuck, you taught me all of these things, and so much more. You taught me what it’s like to work on a good team with great chemistry. You taught me what to expect from a great boss, something that I’ve really only experienced once more since leaving your team. You also taught me that there’s no shame in wearing Far Side T-shirts that might have a hole or two in them to the office, because when your workplace explicitly states they have zero dress code these things need to be taken advantage of!

In short, thank you for getting me going on the path to where I am today by being a terrific leader, manager, and friend.

Sep 142017
 

by @WidowPage

When I started writing this series of posts, this was the one I couldn’t wait to do.  But in addition to my fabulous and glamorous DBA job, I also coach my daughter’s volleyball team and that is about to kill me!  I felt like I couldn’t do this post the justice it deserved if I just whipped this post out so I waited until I had the time to do it right.

Of all the cure recipes I’ve written about, this one is the most fun because the beer really enhances the pork’s flavor.  If you were to taste the bacon, you wouldn’t be able to say “wow this bacon was cured in beer.”  And I’m sure there’s some science behind how it works, but for now just believe me when I saw that you should try this.

I got the recipe from here.  The ingredients are:

  • 5 lb of pork belly
  • 750ml beer
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pink salt (cure #1)

Let’s talk about the beer.  In the original recipe, the authors used a tripel.  In case you aren’t up on your brewing practices, tripels got their name because the recipe uses triple the normal amount of malt.  Modern brewers also use candy sugar and the resulting alcohol levels can be quite high.

But I’ve also never felt restricted just to tripels.  My local liquor store offers me this selection.

 

 

This selection prompted me to experiment.  I’ve tried stouts, porters, lagers, even a smoked beer.  I can’t tell too big a difference in the flavor but the pork will take the color of the beer.  For this round of bacon curing, I went rogue and tried a hard cider.  I picked Angry Orchard’s Walden Hollow which comes from Rome, Jonathan, Macintosh, Newton Pippin, Golden Russet, Rhode Island Greening apples.

In the first step of the recipe, you take the sugar and salt, boil them into water.

Once that water/sugar/salt mixture is cool, add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well and add the pork belly.  Let it sit refridgerated for a week to 10 days.

Stay tuned:  Only 2 more posts to go!

 

Sep 072017
 

by @WidowPage

I’ve made red wine bacon before and it’s become one of my favorites.  It’s not something you would eat for breakfast, but it goes so well into many recipes.  Here’s my list:

Grilled Peach and Bacon Salad

Spaghetti with Beef and Bacon

Chicken Bacon Flatbread

Mushroom Bacon Casserole

It’s also great in stews and coq au vin and it’s amazing in beef bourguignon.

One other thing: Until you get a chance to try bacon that isn’t mass-produced, you don’t realize how much flavor real bacon has.  Producers like Oscar Meyer inject their bacon with water because they sell it by the pound.  Water is a cheap way for them to bring their bacon up to the weight on the package.  When you taste bacon that hasn’t been watered down, your taste buds will be surprised.

So let’s go.  I found this recipe here.  For every pound of pork belly, you will need:

1 1/2 tsp Morton’s kosher salt
1/2 tsp curing salt #1 (sometimes called Pink salt #1 or Prague salt #1)
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp of brown sugar
2 tbsp of garlic powder
1/2 cups red wine (don’t use expensive wine)

I adjusted my recipe to the size of my pork belly and I was short on the Kosher salt so I substituted some of the Himalayan salt.  See my post on salts as you do NOT want to make substitutions for the curing salt.

Put all of that into a plastic bag.  Make sure you double bag it because it will inevitably leak in your fridge.

And that’s all you gotta do.  Put it in your fridge and then flip it over daily so the cure gets a chance to soak into the belly.

Sep 062017
 

by @WidowPage

Thank you so much for sticking with me but this is when the bacon gets really good!   I got this recipe from here.

Let’s start with a gratuitous pork belly photo.

It’s a nice piece of belly. It’s earned a bourbon cure. Use the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of bourbon, divided
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp curing salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


Now the recipe calls for brushing the bourbon on the pork belly before combining it with the dry ingredients.  I don’t do that.  I pour ALL THE BOURBON into a ziplock bag, add the dry ingredients and put in the belly.  Like this:

 

Pro tip:  Double bag it or else you will end up with cure dripping all over your fridge.  It will make your fridge smell good, but it is messy.

Put the belly into your fridge for 7-10 days, flipping once a day.