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!
The Organic Butcher is now carrying an assortment of Deborah Joy's Gluten-Free and local baked goods. For those of you who are sensitive to gluten or have just chosen to eliminate it from your diet, you will be thrilled when you try these.
While getting her master's degree in nutrition, Deborah learned that the processed food she was eating could cause problems for her digestive system and create a pathway for autoimmune disease. She changed her diet, eliminating gluten, processed foods, and sugars. Within one month she began to see results, her cholesterol was lower and she had more energy. Since then, Deborah has worked tirelessly to match the texture and taste of her baked goods to conventional recipes.
In addition to making these wonderful treats, Deborah teaches in-home classes on gluten-free cooking in Northern Virginia. She believes that a gluten-free diet shouldn't be a burden, but an enjoyable lifestyle. Trust us when we say that her chocolate chip cookies are seriously some of the best we have ever tried — you definitely won't feel deprived.
Stop in soon to try Deborah Joy's almond, chocolate chip, and peanut butter cookies. Plus, her assortment of muffins, bars and breads. You'll be glad you did!
We are gearing up for the Spring Holidays at The Organic Butcher. There is still plenty of time to place your orders for lamb, ham, pork, rabbit or briskets. Order online on our new website or call us at 703-790-8300.
Popular seasonal items and recommendations are as follows:
Bone-In Leg of Lamb (7-9 lbs) - $12.99/LB
Boneless Leg of Lamb (5-7 lbs) - $13.99/LB
French Lamb Rack ( 1.5-2 lbs) - $24.99/LB
Lamb Shoulder Roast - $10.99/LB
Lamb Shank (1.5 lb avg.) - $7.99/LB
Boneless Lamb Loin (@1 lb. ea.) - $29.99/LB
FRESH HAMS, SMOKED HAMS AND PORK
Skin-on Fresh Ham / Pork Leg (6-24 lb.) - $6.99/lb.
Nitrate-Free Semi-boneless Spiral Ham (6-8 lb.) - $9.99/lb.
Nitrate-Free Boneless Berkshire Hams (6-8 lb. and 14-17 lb.) $9.99/lb.
Berkshire Frenched Pork Rack - $14.99/lb.
Skin-on Berkshire Pork Belly - $6.99/lb.
RABBIT - $11.99/LB
First Cut BRISKETS for Passover - $8.99/lb.
Seder bones also available
We will have plenty of roasts, seafood, wild game, and fresh produce for side dishes.
Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary (epicurious)
Makes 8 servings
Ingredients (all available at The Organic Butcher of McLean)
1 (7-9 pound) leg of lamb, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick, and lamb tied
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped local, organic fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine or beef broth
Whole grain Dijon mustard (optional)
Pat lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with tip of a sharp small knife.
Pound garlic to a paste with sea salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a heavy knife) and stir together with rosemary and pepper. Put lamb in a lightly oiled roasting pan, then rub paste all over lamb. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. (Optional: Add whole grain Dijon to the crust, and cook at 400 for 20 minutes, then reduce to 350.)
Roast lamb in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into thickest part of meat (do not touch bone) registers 130°F, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (internal temperature will rise to about 140°F for medium-rare).
Add wine to pan and deglaze by boiling over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Season pan juices with salt and pepper and serve with lamb.
There's no better way to start a special meal than with a wine and cheese course. Red wine is well known as an aphrodisiac and cheese, well, cheese is just delicious and decadent. Along with meats and seafood, The Organic Butcher also carries a wide selection of wines and some carefully chosen cheeses. Below are some of our favorites.
We are always happy to help you pull together an amazing menu, stop by and see us!
One of our newest and most impressive local wines is the 2012 Chardonnay from Michael Shaps. Located in Charlottesville, Michael Shaps specializes in small production wines that have won several competitions and have been recognized by industry publications such as Saveur Magazine, Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate. The Michael Shaps Chardonnay is aged for 11 months in 100% French oak barrels and is made from grapes grown in a cooler part of Loudon County that retain their high acid content.
Barboursville Vineyards produces some of the finest wines in Virginia. Their signature 2010 Octagon is a blend of estate-grown Bordeaux varietals, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. It is medium- to full-bodied and has notes of dark plum, cassis, and mocha. It's a fantastic choice for a special occasion like Valentine's Day.
The Barboursville 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve is an award-winning and food-friendly red that is served at some of the best restaurants in Virginia, such as The Inn at Little Washington.
One of our best selling wines is the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from Elizabeth Spencer. Made from grapes grown in Mendicino, CA, this wine is pale in color and bursting with flavors of white peach and apricot, yellow grapefruit, and lemon blossoms. It is very citrusy and has a crisp finish on the palate.
The Elizabeth Spencer Sauvignon Blanc is also certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers, which guarantees that the grapes were grown to the standards set by the National Organic Program.
We also carry selections from Boxwood Estate Winery in Middleburg. Boxwood produces red wine in the Bordeaux tradition from estate-grown Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes. Their 2011 Trellis is predominantly Merlot blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It is medium- to full-bodied, brick-red in color, with notes of strawberry, pepper, tobacco and molasses.
We are very excited to have procured the last two cases of the excellent French Pinot Rosé by Michel Sarrazin. The Sarrazin Estate dates back to the 17th century but the wines gained in popularity in the 1970s and 80s. This Crémants de Bourgogne is a fabulous alternative to pricey Champagne. It's made by the same painstaking techniques as champagne, unlike lesser quality sparkling wines that add a shot of CO2 for bubbles. This sparkling rosé from Burgundy was made from Pinot Noir and fermented in the bottle.
A delicate pink, this dry rosé has tiny bubbles and a frothy, creamy mouth-feel. It has wild strawberry and lemon zest aromas, and is tangy and fruity on the palate with a crisp finish.
At The Organic Butcher, we carefully select cheeses from producers who are passionate about creating the best cheese from the best organic ingredients.
One such producer is Cowgirl Creamery located in Petaluma, CA. Their award-winning Mt Tam is an insanely rich triple-cream with flavors of cultured butter and hints of white mushroom. The longer this cheese sits at room temperature, the better.
Cowgirl Creamery's winter seasonal cheese, Devil's Gulch, has a rich, bloomy rind that is dusted with a mixture of sweet and spicy ground heirloom peppers. It's bright, sweet, spicy and creamy. This one won't be around for long, so get it while you can!
Cypress Grove in Humboldt County, CA is best known for their ashy, tangy goat cheese Humboldt Fog. Few people know of their sheep milk Lamb Chopper, which is made and then aged in Holland for at least three months before being shipped to the States. Lamb Chopper is soft, buttery, and sweet like salted caramel and fresh vanilla beans. This is a major crowd-pleasing cheese!
To accompany our cheeses, we carry an assortment of crackers and baguettes for you to choose from.
Julia Child's Beef Bourguinon is a classic recipe and here at the Organic Butcher we count down the days each year until the weather turns just cool enough to make this dish! It's hearty, delicious and would impress just about anyone.
Ingredients:1 (3 Pound) filet of beef, trimmed
Step 1 - With a sharp knife, cut the fillet crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Salt and pepper the fillets on both sides. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan on medium high heat, saute the slices of beef in batches with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil until browned on the outside and very rare inside, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the fillets from the pan and set aside on a platter.
Step 2 - In the same pan, saute the bacon on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon and set it aside. Drain the fat, except tablespoons, from the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Step 3 - Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered on medium-heat for 10 minutes. Strain the sauce and return it to the pan. Add the onions and carrots and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and the vegetables are cooked.
To make your own beef stock click this link for The Organic Butcher BEEF STOCK RECIPE. If you prefer using beef stock we recommend 100 bowls of soup beef stock. It is locally made in small batches with only the best ingredients, not to mention it's delicious.
When the weather is cool all we want is warm and hearty food! We decided to do a cool-weather take on the classic pulled pork by braising it in apple cider. This is a very simple recipe that can feed a lot of people and tastes delicious!
1 4-8 LB Pork Shoulder
Dizzy Pig's All-Purpose BBQ Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
4-6 C. Apple Cider
Old Mule BBQ Sauce
Step 1 - Pick up a 4-8 LB pork shoulder.
Step 2 - Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Step 3 - Liberally rub the entire pork shoulder with a dry rub and a bit of salt & pepper. We prefer the Dizzy Pig's All Purpose BBQ Seasoning for the dry rub.
Step 4 - Add a TBSP of EVOO to a pan and brown the pork shoulder on all sides.
Step 5 - Set the seared pork shoulder in a large baking dish and add the 4 cups of apple cider. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and let it braise in the oven for 3.5-4 hours. Once it is fully cooked let it rest in the braising liquid for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Step 6 - When it is done you should be able to easily pull it apart with two forks. Toss the pulled pork in a BBQ sauce. Place it back in the oven for a few minutes to heat the sauce and pork all together. We decided to use the Old Mule BBQ sauce because it's a delicious traditional style BBQ sauce and balances nicely with the already-flavorful cider braisedpulled pork. Old Mule is locally made and family owned.
*Pro-Tip - We like to chop up an onion or two and slow-cook them with the pork shoulder. They turn into delicious caramelized onions that you can save for burger-toppers or throw into a dish!
Grilling season is in full swing and we are loving every second of it! We really enjoy cooking whole fish on the grill, especially Bronzino. We often get them wild-caught from the Mediterranean and we recommend cooking them whole because it imparts a nice richness into the flavor of the fish. We kept it simple with just fresh herbs, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper but we have a great selection of different rubs and marinades in the shop that work great with fish. Red Snapper and Stripped Sea Bass are other good options for whole fish on the grill!
2 whole Bronzino
2 diced garlic cloves
1 sliced lemon
1/2 c. of chopped parsley
1/4 c. of a quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 c. of lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
On the Grill:
1 lemon - halved and grilled
Step 1 - Chop the parsley, dice the garlic and mix in with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper
Step 2 - Brush the inside and outside of the fish with your mix then stuff with lemon slices
Step 3 - Coat the rack of your grill with olive oil
Step 4 - Heat your grill to a Medium-High heat or 400 degrees
Step 5 - Cook for 6-7 minutes on each side, finish with a dash of sea salt and squeezed grilled lemon half to taste and enjoy!
(**If you decide not to grill, you can cook it in the oven at 375 degrees uncovered for 20 minutes**)
This fish pairs exceptionally well with a rich and full-bodied white wine. At The Organic Butcher, we are now carrying an amazing Chardonnay by local winery, Tarara Winery, located just down the road in Leesburg, VA., that is perfect for this dish!
This bottle is rich and complex with aromas of baked apple, mandarin, crème fraiche, and a slight smokiness that adds to the flavors of your dish. The Chardonnay has a long mouth-feel with a bright acidity, making it perfect for pairing with fish! This is genuinely one of the best bottles of white wine I've tried all summer.
I decided to stick with a mediterrean theme and picked up some local tomatoes and organic cucumbers from the shop and made a quick tossed salad with feta cheese, vinegar, salt and pepper. This meal can impress anyone and requires very little time and effort!