Featured Cut: Spatchcocked Chicken

Nothing makes the weekend dinner table quite as welcoming as a whole, roasted chicken. But that Sunday bird requires quite a bit of preparation and cook time. Well Kettle Club members, we’ve prepared a special treat that’s going to make that chicken an easy Monday meal! We’ve spatchcocked it!

What it is Spatchcocking?

Spatchcocking is a preparation method in which the backbone of the bird is removed. This allows the bird to lay flatter when cooking. What does that mean for you? Well for starters, it cuts down the cooking time by almost half! Approximately 35-40 minutes compared to a the traditional whole bird that takes at least an hour.

How does it taste?

Ever wished you could get a more even crisp on the whole bird? Well spatchcocking does just that. Flattening allows for the entire bird to be exposed to the heat source, creating an evenly crisped skin.  It also allows the bird to cook more consistently. Breast meat can often dry out before the dark meat is finished cooking. A spatchcocked chicken will cook more evenly, leaving all your favorite pieces tender and juicy.

How about carving that bird? That’s a breeze too. Because the bird is lying flat, it’s much easier to determine where to cut without hitting any bone or cartilage. Now that you know all about the preparation, let’s move on to the best part, dinner. To roast a spatchcocked chicken, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking dish with foil and insert a rack. Place chicken on top of the rack and rub with oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper or, your favorite chicken seasoning.  Bake skin side up for 35-40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers at 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving to seal in the juices. If you want to fire up the grill, check out this great recipe, Chicken Under a Brick.

Ask the Butcher: Are Your Cows 100% Grass-Fed?

This month’s Ask the Butcher questions wants to know, “If your cows are 100% grass-fed, what do they eat in the winter when there’s no fresh grass available?”

Great question! This is another question we receive quite frequently. We love our Wisconsin summers, and so do our cows. During the spring, summer and fall months, our cows graze on the luscious rolling hills that make our state so beautiful. But winters can be rough. That’s why our producers work hard during harvest season to ensure cows are meeting their nutritional requirements in colder months without supplementing grains. This is done by producing hay and haylage. Let’s take a deeper look at some of these feeds and how they’re produced.

Hay

Hay is a great way to preserve fresh grasses and keep cows healthy in winter months. In Wisconsin, farmers typically seed with a mix of clover, ryegrass, alfalfa and fescue. When forages are at their peak nutritional value, they’re mowed and dried in the field for 3-5 days. Ever heard the adage, “If the sun is shining, make hay?” The sun is an important part of drying the freshly cut forages for storage. Hay typically has a moisture content of 15-20 percent. This ensures that it is dry enough to keep from producing harmful bacteria, but wet enough to avoid combustion. The dried grass is raked in the field and formed into bales for winter storage.

Haylage

Haylage is made much in the same way hay is, but dried for a shorter period. It typically has twice the moisture content of hay, about 40-60 percent. After the grasses are cut and baled, they are wrapped to eliminate exposure to air. The high moisture levels and airtight environment results in a fermentation process. The fermented forages produce natural acids that preserve the feed throughout the winter. The entire preservation process results in a high-quality feed that provides more nutritional supplementation for cattle.

Thanks for this month’s question regarding winter feeds! Keep those questions coming, Kettle Club Members!

Recipe: Chicken under a Brick

Ingredients

For the Brine

  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 brick, wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil

 

 

Directions

  1. To make the brine, whisk water, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Place chicken in brine, breast side down, and set in refrigerator for 1 hour.

 

  1. While chicken is brining, place garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle and work into a smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in lemon juice, olive oil, and rosemary. Set aside.

 

  1. Remove chicken from brine, pat dry with paper towels. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, place brick directly over fire, cover gill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place chicken over hot side of grill, skin side down. Place brick on top of chicken and cook until skin browns and crisps, 10 to 15 minutes.

 

  1. Remove brick, flip chicken over, and move to cool side of grill. Brush chicken with garlic and rosemary mixture. Cover grill and let cook until an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve.

Sausage of the Month: Apple Cider Bratwurst

Nothing pairs with pork like apples. And our butcher staff has prepared another seasonal delicacy for our Kettle Club members this month, Apple Cider Bratwursts. Made with fresh apple cider from Jacobson Orchards in Waterford, these delicious fall bratwursts are perfect for that last cookout or even this hearty breakfast casserole. Don’t skip out on these sweet and savory brats folks!

Apple Cider Bratwurst Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup non-fat or low-fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped sage
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound sourdough sandwich bread crusts removed and cubed
  • 2 apples peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 1 lb. Apple Cider Bratwurst cut into half rounds
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded and divided

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs, milk, mustard, sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large bowl. Coat a large 9 by 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Layer half the cubed bread into the casserole dish. Top with half the apple, half the sausage and half the cheese. Top with the remaining bread, apple and sausage. Reserve the remaining cheese in the refrigerator for step 4.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the casserole trying to moisten evenly. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Bake casserole, covered, until it is steaming hot and the center is starting to puff, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove foil, top with the reserved cheese and continue baking until the cheese is melted and the top is golden 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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.