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!
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!)
At The Organic Butcher we are often asked about our preference between Baby Back Ribs or St. Louis Ribs. We decided to go around and ask our staff about their opinion! Check out what everyone decided on and let us know what you think!
But first, let us discuss the differences:
Baby Back Ribs -
These come from the top of the ribcage between the spine and the spare ribs of the pig. They have meat between the bones and on top of the bones, and are shorter, curved, and usually meatier and leaner than St. Louis ribs.
St Louis Ribs -
These come from the belly side of the rib cage, below the section of back ribs and above the breast bone. They contain more bone than meat, but they also have more fat content which can make them more tender then the Baby Backs.
The Organic Butcher Staff Rib Showdown! St Louis vs. Baby Back Ribs:
Don - "If I'm cooking for a few people I'd pick the St. Louis Ribs because there is more fat and marbling in them which renders out into great flavor and tender meat, but if I'm cooking for a larger group I'd pick the Baby Backs because there is just more meat on the bones."
Wendell - "I like doing the St. Louis Ribs on the smoker because they have a higher fat content and it gives them a great flavor"
Wyatt - "I go for Baby Back Ribs because I like to smoke them and if I'm going to wait 2-3 hours I want as much meat as possible when they are done."
Jovel - "I like the Baby Backs because they are meatier."
Dave - "I'm picking the St. Louis Ribs because they have more flavor."
German - "I like the St. Louis Ribs because you can chew on the bone."
Carson - "I prefer Baby Back Ribs. Off the bat there is more meat and any way you season them they turn out pretty awesome. More meat, great flavor, more happy people."
Elyse - "I don't have a grill so I tend to go for The St. Louis Ribs because they are best for cooking indoors as they are flatter and can be easily used in recipes that require being browned on the stove top."
Turns out we are split right down the middle! Bottom line? You can't go wrong with either!
One thing all of us agree on? The cooking method.
Step 1 - Pick up your rack of ribs from The Organic Butcher.
Step 2 - With membrane removed, rub with EVOO and liberally season with The Organic Butcher Pork Rub or any of our other great dry rubs.
Step 3 - Big Green Egg or Smoker...fill with BGE Organic Lump Charcoal and mix in wood chunks or chips of choice. We like to use applewood chips. Heat smoker to 250 degrees and place ribs bone side down on grill grate. If using the Big Green Egg use the rib rack to stand the vertically to fit more (up to 5 on the large Big Green Egg). Cook at 250-275 degrees for 3 hours flipping once half way through (omit this step if using the rib rack). Make sure the meat pulls away from the bone easily to ensure that they are done. This way you will know they are tender and ready to go.
Cooking your ribs in the oven. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Wrap ribs loosely with aluminum foil and place on baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Cook for 2.5-3 hours. Optional - remove ribs from oven and pour or brush on bbq sauce. We have some great options at the shop. Turn your oven to broil and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.