Summer officially kicks off this weekend. There's nothing more American (except Fourth of July) than Memorial Day Weekend when grills fire up across the country "from sea to shining sea."
Around this time every year, more and more customers inquire about our favorite items to grill. We thought we'd put together a short list of our top 5 grilling picks. In no particular order, they are as follows:
1. Pork Ribs
Pork ribs are the ultimate BBQ staple. We carry both Baby Back and St. Louis Style ribs. Don't know the difference? Check out our previous article on the subject. To get pork ribs nice and tender, remember the two words "slow" and "low." Be patient and you will be rewarded with meat that is fall-off-the-bone delicious.
2. Custom Burger Blends
Up your flavor quotient by blending several different cuts together. The combinations are limitless. For more guidance on creating the juiciest burger ever, check out this article.
3. Ribeye Steak
Due to the ribeye's high-fat content, it is an amazingly rich and decadent cut of meat that grills up perfectly. We like them medium-rare and with nothing but a splash of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt.
4. Berkshire Pork Chops
The Berkshire Pork Chops are the grand-daddy of all pork chops. They are heavily marbled and were bred especially for the King of England. Berkshire pork is renowned for its richness, texture, marbling, juiciness, tenderness and overall depth of flavor. These are sure to go over well at any cookout — just make sure your guests are worthy!
5. Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs & Breasts
Chicken, especially conventional chicken from the grocery store, can seem mundane and bland. But our local, free-range birds are a whole different story. They are flavorful, incredibly moist and easy to cook. We recommend marinating thighs and breasts overnight in our brand new, house-made Poblano Tomatillo Lemongrass marinade then tossing them on the grill. You'll love the zesty and bright flavor this mixture gives to the chicken.
Ask us about our wide selection of spices, rubs, marinades and sauces. We also carry all the grilling and Big Green Egg accessories you will need to kick-off the summer season with gusto!
You and your Valentine make an outstanding couple. Likewise, the ingredients in the following recipes can certainly stand alone, but when brought together make for one stellar dish.
STEAK + FOIS GRAS
This is a marriage made in heaven between the richness of the fois gras and the savoriness of a perfectly cooked steak. You will not be disappointed. Try Hangar for a variation on the usual filet.
SCALLOPS + BACON
Sometimes the obvious choice is right under your nose. This pairing has been around forever, but is so simple we usually dismiss it. The sweetness of the scallops and the smokiness of the bacon were made for each other.
CHICKEN + WINE
We know what you are thinking, "chicken for a special occasion?!" But you need to trust the French. The French know love. Slow braising a succulent, free-range chicken in a good red wine and brandy transforms this dish into something seriously seductive.
FILET + LOBSTER
This pairing is a classic, like red lipstick and a crisp white dress shirt. This is by far our most popular order every Valentine's Day. Any why not? It's straightforward and luxurious, plus a breeze to prepare. Both the filet and lobster tail can be tossed on the grill and done in a jiffy. This is low-maintenance perfection.
To take this pairing to the next level, top both with a rich herbed butter.
Herbed Butter Recipe from the Kitchn
Super Bowl Sunday is a week away and while it's mostly about football, we know it's really about food. If you are planning a menu for the big day but have dismissed the idea of burgers as too boring, think again! Everyone loves a good burger when done right, i.e. juicy, beefy and flavorful. We'll let you in on a little secret — the key is in the blend of meats you use.
There are wonderful variations worth exploring when it comes to selecting which cuts of beef to use for your patties. By adding different cuts you can change the flavor profile of your burger in a myriad of ways.
The key to an extremely juicy burger is to create a grind with an overall protein-to-fat ratio of 70/30 for medium-rare to medium-well and 80/20 for rare. As long as you maintain this ratio, you can experiment to your heart's content.
Some of our favorite grinds include short rib, hangar steak, and sirloin. For a smokey flavor, try adding bacon. Ask us, we are happy to suggest some creative and flavorful combinations.
One of the most famous burgers on the scene these days is from the Charleston, South Carolina restaurant Husk. There, Chef Sean Brock has blended chuck, flank steak and bacon for a mouth-watering — yet not overly fussy — cheeseburger. The recipe is below and a complete showstopper!
Husk's Famous Cheeseburger
Ingredients (makes enough for 10 cheeseburgers)
For the special sauce
For the cheeseburgers
For the sauce:
For the cheeseburgers:
100% Grass-fed meat is from cows that are pasture-raised on grass, from start to finish. They are rich in good fats, and managed sustainably. Compared to conventionally raised meats, which get little or no exercise, it's leaner and there is true muscle integrity in the meat. But leaner doesn't mean tougher. Cooked more gently, grass-fed meat is juicy and tender.
When cooking a grassfed steak, you'll want sear it and then allow it to finish cooking at 325F. This allows the naturally-occurring sugars to caramelize on the surface, while keeping the muscle fibers from contracting too quickly. Tough grass-fed steaks result from over-exposure to high heat, which causes the muscle fibers to contract tightly and become chewy and dry.
The biggest mistake people make when cooking grass-fed beef is over-cooking it. These five tips will ensure a perfectly cooked steak every time.
1. Lower the cooking temperature. Because grass-fed beef is leaner than its grain-fed counterpart, you need to cook it at a slightly lower temperature (at least 50 F) for 30-50% less time. Otherwise, you cook off the fat and are left with a dry, tough, unappealing mass of meat that’s lost many of its nutrients. (The more cooked your grass-fed beef, the more Omega 3s you lose.)
2. Invest in a meat thermomenter. You may know how to eyeball when conventional meat is done, but because grass-fed beef is leaner, you don’t have the same kind of wiggle room for mistakes. A meat thermometer will ensure you cook your meat just the way you like it — every time. The desired internal temperatures for grass-fed beef are:
IMPORTANT NOTE! To achieve the desired temperature, remove the meat from heat when it’s about 10 degrees lower than your goal temperature. The residual heat will finish cooking the meat over the next ten minutes as you let it rest.
3. Start steaks at room temperature. This is a good rule for all meats, but especially for grass-fed-beef. By starting your meat at room temperature, it will take less time to reach the ideal internal temperature while cooking. This gentler cooking method will help your meat stay juicy and delicious.
4. Don’t play with your meat. Avoid the temptation to poke steaks or roasts with forks or pat burgers down with spatulas. This lets all that delicious fat escape, giving you a less juicy end result.
5. Give your meat a rest. When you’re done cooking your meat, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing into it. This allows time for the escaped juices to reincorporate back into the meat.
GRASS-FED RIB-EYE STEAKS WITH BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE (Epicurious)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for steaks and grill
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
4 3/4-inch-thick grass-fed rib-eye steaks
3 garlic cloves, pressed
4 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Simmer vinegar in small pan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Add shallots, 1/4 cup oil, and crushed red pepper; return to simmer. Remove from heat; whisk in parsley, capers, and thyme. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Rub both sides of steaks with oil and garlic. Mix paprika, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle on both sides of steaks. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Brush grill rack with oil to coat. Grill steaks until cooked to desired doneness. Transfer steaks to plates. Spoon vinaigrette over.
The Organic Butcher of McLean has a wide range of 100% grass-fed meats, order online or come in and see us. If you prefer more marbled meats, we also carry humane, antibiotic-free, pasture-raised beef (with access to grain).
Labor Day is fast approaching and if you're anything like us, your weekend is packed with get-togethers, parties and plenty of opportunities to flex your culinary muscle. If inspiration hasn't struck yet, here is a list of ideas to get you motivated. Whether you're into smoking, grilling or slow-cooking, we've got you covered.
It's a busy week, be sure to call ahead to place your order.
Labor Day Items
And don't forget about our great selection of wine and beer.
Gram for gram, liver contains more nutrients than any other food. In fact, liver provides:
Most of us know it is amazingly good for us but our brains and our taste buds are usually at odds with one another when it comes to liver. For the uninitiated, the taste of liver can be off-putting. This is why we were really excited when we found the following recipe. It combines liver and ground beef so the flavor is more subtle. You'll still get all of the wonderful nutritional benefits but in a much more palatable way. Enjoy!
Beef Liver & Onion Meatballs (Primal Palate)
1 lb Ground Beef
1/4 lb Beef Liver, finely chopped
1/2 cup Onion, diced
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine ground beef and beef liver.
Season with smoked paprika, garlic powder, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt. Continue to mix with hands until meat is equally seasoned.
Mix in the diced onion.
Form meat mixture into balls, slightly larger than an ounce.
Place in a baking dish and bake meat balls for 25 minutes.
Photo credit: Primal Palate
Get in on the excitement of this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament with The Organic Butcher of McLean! We've set up an ESPN Tourney Challenge Group to make entering a cinch this year. Sign up then pick your winners when the brackets are announced on Sunday, March 15th between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. EST.
For added incentive, first place in our pool will win a $100 gift card, second place will win a $50 gift card and third place will get two 12-14 oz New York Strip steaks!
Best of luck!!