Recipe: Slow-Roasted Honey Glazed Pork

INGREDIENTS
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. chopped garlic
¼ cup chopped scallions
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 bunch asparagus, halved
6 Yukon potatoes, diced
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup honey

PREPARATION

In a large bowl, combine one cup of the soy sauce with the sugar, garlic, and scallions, stirring until mixed.

Place the pork in the marinade and toss to coat evenly. Marinate for one hour.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, honey, and remaining soy sauce, stirring until smooth.

Place the pork and chopped vegetables in the slow cooker and spoon the honey glaze over the top of the, making sure to fill the cracks and crevices on top.

Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours. Once the pork is cooked through and tender, remove the vegetables and pork from the tray, making sure to save all the juices.

Slice the pork into ½-inch slices, and plate with the roasted vegetables. Spoon the reserved pan juices on top of the pork, and enjoy!

September Featured Cut: Top Round London Broil

For those of you who receive regular steaks in your Kettle Club share, we’ve prepared a mouthwatering spin on a timeless dish, London Broil.

Origins

Despite its name, the dish isn’t English at all. In fact, it originated right here in North America and is said to have popularized in Philadelphia around 1931. The name actually refers to the method of preparation and not the cut of meat itself.

The original method of preparing London Broil used flank steak, pan seared medium rare and cut across the grain to be served. Today’s London Broil is typically marinated and prepared from a variety of cuts including top round, sirloin tip and chuck steak.

Cooking Tips

Your Kettle Club London Broil comes from top round and arrives pre-marinated in Joe’s famous Black Diamond marinade that includes soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and a variety of other seasonings.

To enjoy the traditional dish, preheat the grill or broiler and place the meat on a rack 5 inches from the heat source. Cook for 8-10 minutes on each side to achieve a perfect medium rare temperature. Remove the meat from the heat and place on a cutting board to rest for 2 minutes. Slice the meat thinly remembering to cut against the grain to loosen any tight tendons that might cause the meat to be a bit chewy. Enjoy!

Recipe: Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Thyme Cherries

Return from Door County with a bounty of cherries? Try this pork chop recipe topped with a balsamic thyme cherry sauce.

Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Thyme Cherries

Ingredients:

Pork Chops

1 clove minced garlic

Salt and pepper to season

 

For the Balsamic Thyme Cherries:

2 cups fresh pitted cherries, quartered

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to season

1 clove very finely minced garlic

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1 or 2 Tbs. honey

Instructions:

  1. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and rub the outside of the chops with the minced garlic.
  2. Grill the chops until fully cooked. A meat thermometer should read 160 degrees F when testing the chops at the center.
  3. Simmer the balsamic vinegar over medium heat until it is reduced to a syrupy consistency.
  4. Set aside to cool or immerse bottom of the pan in cold water to cool down the reduction. Toss in the other ingredients and allow to stand for about an hour or more before serving over the grilled pork chops.

Sausage of the Month: Door County Cherry Bratwurst

As Wisconsin as cheese curds and beer, Door County cherry picking is a time-honored tradition. And Kettle Range is excited to incorporate these delectable gems of the peninsula in this month’s Kettle Club shares. Our butchers have prepared a seasonal bratwurst with tart cherries straight from Wisconsin’s cherry mecca.

Door County Cherries

The history of cherries in Door County runs deep. The first European settlers to the peninsula could rely on vegetable crops for sustenance farming but due to the rocky terrain of the landscape, found it challenging to yield anything more than what they needed to get by. The search began for a cash crop that would flourish in the rocky soils of Door County.

In the late 1860’s, a Swiss immigrant named Joseph Zettel arrived on the scene discovering that fruits like apple trees prospered in the area because the shallow soils left only a few feet from the roots to the bedrock. This provided adequate drainage for such fruits that are prone to root rot, a devastating plant disease.

The success of the apple trees attracted two University of Wisconsin horticulturists who began experimenting with other fruits such as plums, strawberries, raspberries and the most famous, cherries, which proved especially efficient at growing in Door County.

Door County cherry production continued to prosper and hit its peak in the 1950s with 700 cherry producers growing nearly 50 million pounds of cherries annually. Today, the Montmorency cherries that grow in Wisconsin account for 90% of all the tart cherries grown statewide.

Like Door County cherry picking season, these brats have a small window of availability. Don’t miss out on these seasonal Wisconsin delicacies in August!

Farmer Spotlight: The Schlimgen Family

We like to think of our Kettle Club members as family. Which is why we would like to introduce you to some of our extended family, the Midwestern producers who work tirelessly to ensure you have access to the healthiest, most sustainably raised meats. Meet the Schlimgen family!

Walk through the lush pastures of Dreamy 280 and you can see why Lisa and Dennis Schlimgen chose the name. The picturesque rolling hills speckled with content cattle roaming and ruminating on the nutrient rich forages are what makes Wisconsin farms so special.

“We feel that it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the land and implement sustainable beef raising practices,” Lisa explains. “The beef we produce is humanely raised without animal by-products and is hormone and antibiotic free.”

Raised on farms only miles away from where they currently reside, Lisa and Dennis shared a passion for agriculture and continued to make farming a family affair. They purchased Dreamy 280 near Blue Mounds in 1989, and began raising a few head of cattle along with a family.

Their three children, Julie, Patrick and Hope took an interest in showing off their superior cattle and have been stacking the family’s trophy room with ribbons and plaques for years. Though now grown, they are still actively involved in the family business. Patrick takes a special interest in genetics, sourcing the best cows for their herd which is comprised of angus and a few shorthorn.

The Schlimgens are the epitome of responsible husbandry and environmental stewardship. We thank them for not only what they do for Kettle Range and our customers, but for the sustainable agriculture community.

Heritage Breed Spotlight: Cinta Senese

Cinta Senese: The Tuscan Beast

We’re featuring a new heritage swine breed at Kettle Range Meats, Cinta Senese.

Originating from the woodlands of Tuscany, the breed is characterized by its black coat and white stripe (cinta in Italian) and genetically designed for free-range living. Their long snouts allow them to fulfill their passion for dirt digging while floppy ears protect them from any branches that might hinder their mission.

The breed is tightly tied to Italian tradition and is now listed among those culinary excellencies that render Tuscany so famous around the world.

How does it taste?

You’ll find rich flavors in the featured cuts from the Cinta Senese breed. The meat tends to be richer in color and contain a higher concentration of unsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6. These concentrations give it a smooth consistency and intense, meaty flavor.

Interesting Fact

The breed was a focal point in a painting produced by Italian artist, Ambrogio Lorenzetti in 1338. The painting is now featured in the town hall of Sienna, Italy.

 

Did you know? By purchasing meat from Kettle Range Meats you’re keeping heritage breeds like Cinta Senese from becoming extinct.

Meat quality and environmental adaptability were important genetic traits desired by our agrarian ancestors. But today, commercial agriculture calls for a faster-growing pig, pushing heritage breeds like the Cinta Senese on to the endangered species list.

Kettle Club Sausage of the Month: Uncured All Beef Hotdog

You’ve spoken and we’ve listened. We’ve prepared a special summer classic for our Kettle Club members this month, uncured all beef hot dogs! But what does “uncured” mean anyway? And why are they considered healthier than cured meats?

Cured vs. Uncured

A typical hot dog that you buy in the store has most likely been cured unless otherwise labeled. This means that a form of nitrates and nitrites have been added to enhance the color, flavor and shelf life. These are still important qualities that we all want in our hot dogs, but we can get the same results by adding nitrates in their more natural state. At Kettle Range, our butchers prepare your delicious hot dogs by adding celery juice powder. This helps stabilize the meat and adds flavor. These naturally occurring nitrates tend to be healthier as well. According to the Mayo Clinic and other health sources, artificial forms of sodium nitrates can be detrimental to your health and may cause damage to veins and arteries.

Does this method of preservation mean you need to cook your hot dogs any differently? Nope! The dogs are fully cooked and ready to be grilled or heated.

Kettle Club: What’s for Dinner This Month?

Skirt and flank steak are often underappreciated despite their great flavor profiles. These cuts both come from well exercised areas of the cow which means they get a lot of blood flow. That also means they pack a lot of flavor! For those of you that receive regular steaks in your monthly Kettle Club share, you’ll be getting a 1 lb. package of flank or skirt steak this July. Let’s learn a little more about these steaks and walk through some cooking tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of these flavorful cuts!

Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is cut from the plate, or underside of the cow. It’s the cut of choice for making fajitas and stir fry due to its great flavor. Because it comes from a very muscular area of the cow, it can be tough if not prepared and served properly. To ensure you’re getting maximum tenderness, you can marinate skirt steak before cooking. Be sure to use a marinade that includes some an acid (lime or lemon juice, soy sauce or vinegar). The acid helps break down some of the touch muscle fibers making the cooked steak more tender.  You can quickly pan sear or grill or broil skirt steak slowly to reduce any tough texture.

Flank Steak

The flank steak is cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. Like skirt steak, it’s known for its flavor but can be chewy if not prepared properly. One of the most important aspects of serving flank steak is ensuring that it’s cut against the grain. “Grain” is a term that refers to the direction in which the muscle fibers are aligned. It should be relativity simple to determine the direction of the grain by looking at the cut. Cutting against the grain helps loosen long muscle fibers that can make cooked meat chewy.

Now that you’re an expert on flank and skirt, let’s enjoy some summery fresh carne asada tacos!

Carne Asada Tacos

1 pound flank or skirt steak

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 limes, juiced (about 2 Tbsp.)

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin seed (if have whole, toast and then grind)

4 garlic cloves, minced (4 teaspoons)

1 jalapeño chili pepper, seeded and minced

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

 

Fixings:

Chopped avocado

Lime wedges

Corn or flour tortillas

Thinly sliced radishes

Thinly sliced lettuce

Pico de gallo salsa

 

Marinate the steak: Whisk to combine the olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, black pepper and cumin. Stir in the minced garlic, jalapeño and cilantro.

Place the steak in the marinade and refrigerate for 1-4 hours or overnight.

Preheat grill: Preheat your grill for high direct heat with part of the grill reserved with fewer coals low, indirect heat.

Sear steak on hot side of grill: Remove the steak from the marinade. Lightly brush off most of the bits of cilantro and garlic.

Place on the hot side of the grill. Grill the steak for a few minutes only, until well seared on one side (the browning and the searing makes for great flavor), then turn the steak over and sear on the other side.

Move steak to cool side of grill: Once both sides are well seared, move the steak to the cool side of the grill placing the thicker end of the steak nearer to the hot side of the grill.

Test with a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Pull the meat off the grill at 115°F to 120°F for rare, 125°F medium rare, 140°F for medium. The meat will continue to cook in its residual heat.

Note that lean flank steak is best cooked rare while skirt steak can be cooked well without losing moisture or flavor because it has more fat marbling.

Tent with foil and let rest: Place the steak on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Slice steak across the grain of the meat: Use a sharp, long bladed knife to cut the meat. Notice the direction of the grain of the meat and cut perpendicular to the grain. Angle your knife so that your slices are wide and thin.

Serve with grill toasted tortillas: Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side in a dry skillet or on the grill until toasty and pliable.

Enjoy!

Heritage Breeds: What’s in a Name?

Our patrons often ask us about the breeds of swine we source for our delicious pork products. The simple answer, heritage breeds. But what are heritage breeds, and why are they important for genetic preservation of the swine species?

What is a Heritage Breed?

While there is currently no set definition for the phrase, heritage livestock breeds are the breeds that flourished in the agrarian societies of our ancestors. Long before the modernization of agriculture when pigs were raised primarily on pasture, it was important that these animals possessed the necessary skills needed to thrive in specific environmental conditions. Genetically speaking, we refer to these skills as traits, and keeping these traits intact ensured that our forefathers could produce a bountiful supply of meat to feed their communities.

Why are Heritage Breeds Important?

But modern agriculture has moved away from raising pigs on pasture, and hardiness, sturdiness and adaptability are no longer desirable attributes. Instead, commodity pork producers seek faster-growing animals that reach market weights in record time. The shift in genetic selection has led to an overall decrease in the swine breeds of the past. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization reports that 20% of the world’s cattle, goats, pigs, horses and poultry are currently at risk of extinction. A consequence of this potential extinction would be the loss of unique traits that could help these animals thrive in any future, harsh conditions.

What Kinds of Breeds Do We Source at Kettle Range Meat Company?

Here at Kettle Range Meats we work to source these important heritage breeds. We source these breeds not only because they’re great tasting when compared with commodity pork, but we also want to support the farmers who work hard to keep these breeds intact for the future success of our agriculture systems. Let’s look at just a few of the breeds we serve up:

Duroc

Originating in the United States, the Duroc is one of the fastest-growing heritage breeds. They tend to put on a lot of intramuscular fat making them knows for the tender shoulder roasts.

Red Wattle

Characterized by a fleshy wattle on either side of their neck, these breeds are best known for their rich textured and delicious hams.

Hereford

Developed in the United States, this breed was named for its shared coloring with Hereford cattle. Their pork is tenderly delicious due to a high proportion of intramuscular fat.

Berkshire

This breed is sometimes referred to as kurobuta, which is Japanese for black pork due to their hair color. They are known for their savory, umami flavor.