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!
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.
Welcome to the first installment of our new Fall Recipe Series! The weather hasn't exactly cooled off but school is back in session and our mindset has shifted away from summer and toward cozier nights.
This recipe is simple and flavorful, but won't heat your kitchen up like a stew simmering all day. It's originally from Nigel Slater's book Tender but we've adapted it to make it a bit easier.
This dish is both paleo and gluten-free IF you can find Jerusalem artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, are tubors that look like ginger root but have a flavor more in line with a potato. They can be mashed, roasted or pureed and boast less carbs than a sweet potato.
Sunchokes are in season from October - April, so should be in stores and farmers markets soon. We substituted small new potatoes and purple potatoes for some color in the meantime. The final product was delicious.
Pork Sausage with Jerusalem Artichokes
8 pork sausage links (our gluten-free Bratwurst or Mild Italian work well)
4 medium yellow onions, cut into thick segments
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, halved
2 cups Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes
1 large lemon, cut into segments
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp grass-fed butter
Chicken stock or water to cover – about 2 cups
Salt to taste
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Heat the butter over medium heat, add onions and sauté until soft. Add garlic, mushrooms and Jerusalem artichokes (or potatoes) to the pan. Cook for a few minutes then squeeze the lemon segments and add them to the pan. Add fennel seeds and salt, then cover the vegetables with stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
When the Jerusalem artichokes are tender, uncover, and cook on high until all of the liquid has evaporated. Be sure to take your time and allow the vegetables to caramelize. Color equals flavor!
Meanwhile, grill or pan-cook the sausages until cooked through and browned.
Sprinkle parsley on top and serve.
Wine suggestion: Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc
Tired of chicken breast for dinner but not in the mood for red meat? Throw our Berkshire Heritage pork chops on the grill for an easy, but over-the-top delicious meal.
Berkshire pork is a heritage breed of pig, which was discovered over 300 years ago in Berkshire County in the United Kingdom. Berkshire pork is renowned for its richness, texture, marbling, juiciness, tenderness and overall depth of flavor. It is thought by many to be the Kobe beef of pork. It is said to have a very specific taste, not generic and bland or mild like regular pork.
Berkshire pork is a richer pink, almost red color and heavily marbled. They were specially bred for the King of England for his own personal meat supply, because of the excellence in the meat.
To take this pork to the next level, rub both sides with our Butcher Shop Steak Rub. For medium-thick pork chops sear both sides of the chops briefly over high heat to get a nice crust and then move them to an area of less intense heat, cover the grill, and let them cook through. Or leave a little pink inside for the perfect chop.
Served with an arugula salad and a nice vinaigrette, and you've got yourself a meal fit for a king!
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.
Let's talk tailgating! With the Super Bowl right around the corner this is the year to impress your friends. Ribs and wings are no-brainers when it comes to Big Game fare but that doesn't mean they have to be boring. We'll help you create a crowd-pleasing and finger-licking spread.
We carry both beef and pork ribs at The Organic Butcher. Our favorite pork ribs are Berkshire, a heritage breed known for its marbling and dark red color. We sell both St. Louis Style and Baby Backs.
Our beef ribs are locally sourced, tender and packed with flavor. They are often dry-aged which adds a remarkable depth to the meat.
If chicken wings are more your style, we carry organic, free-range chicken from PA and Virginia. It is antibiotic- and hormone-free, and is more flavorful than conventionally raised birds.
Rub vs. Sauce (the age-old argument)
There are many delicious ways to BBQ ribs, but most people fall squarely into one of two camps — the dry-rub folks or the sauce people. We won't pick sides and will gladly eat either. It all comes down to personal preference or where in the country you are from.
The Organic Butcher carries a variety of sauces and spice rubs that you can pick up along with your baby backs. One such sauce is Old Mule BBQ. It comes to us from a small, family-owned business in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. They take special care in making and bottling their sauces by hand. They never use artificial ingredients and rely on slow-cooking methods to thicken their products. Old Mule comes in three flavors— Original, Mustard and Hot.
Also in stock is a selection of dry rubs from the Dizzy Pig BBQ Company in Manassas, VA. Dizzy Pig is extremely creative with their spice blends and has fun mixing ingredients like coffee, pineapple and African Bird Pepper into their rubs. Their spices are always gluten- and MSG-free.
Inside or Outside
The weather has been unpredictable, to say the least, but rest assured that both ribs and wings cook up beautifully on the grill AND in the oven. Ribs are a little trickier in the oven but you can find a great step-by-step tutorial for pork ribs here and beef ribs here.
We love the recipe for wings with homemade blue cheese dressing in the Blue Ribbon Cookbook. It never fails to impress our guests. We've included it below:
2 pounds chicken wings
Perfect Roast Seasoning (1/4 cup kosher salt, 3 tbsp ground black pepper, 1 1/2 tbsp dried thyme)
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon Chinese plum sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1. Sprinkle the chicken wings with the seasoning. Let rest for 20 minutes.
2. In the meantime, preheat the broiler or grill.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the hot sauce, butter, plum sauce, and brown sugar. Set aside half of the hot sauce.
4. Broil or grill the wings, turning once, for 20 minutes. Slather the wings with the remaining half of the hot sauce mixture, making sure to coat both sides of the wings. Broil or grill until glazed and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes longer, turning once. Using a clean utensil, brush the wings with the reserved hot sauce mixture before serving.
5. To make the dressing: Mix together the sour cream and blue cheese. Serve with the wings.
Enjoy! (And don't forget the beer!)