Featured Cut: Baby Back Ribs

Summer has finally arrived, and our butchers have prepared a special cut for our Kettle Club shares that include pork—baby back ribs.

What are baby back ribs?

Pork ribs can go by many names depending on the region from which they are cut. Baby backs, named for their short length and tenderness when compared to spare ribs, are cut from the back of the pig. They are connected to the backbone and nestled beneath the loin muscle (think pork chops). Because of their size in comparison to spare ribs (cut from the belly section of the pig) they cook a bit faster, making them a fantastic rib for grilling.

Tips for grilling baby backs

We know that grill can be intimidating at times. Not to worry, we’ve got a fail-proof recipe and a few tips that will make you a rib grilling master.

The key to juicy and tender baby backs is to maintain a consistent temperature while grilling over indirect heat. This is usually around 300-325°F  for gas and charcoal grills.

Use a rub to add flavor and texture to the ribs. Here’s an easy dry rub recipe that we love:

Baby Back Ribs Dry Rub

1/4 cup paprika
1.5 tablespoon (packed down) brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne (more if you want a kick!)
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix your dry rub ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle rub on ribs generously and rub into every nook and cranny you can find. Cover ribs tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Fire up the Grill

As mentioned, it’s best to grill baby backs using indirect heat with a grill temperature of around 300-325 °F Once your grill is ready to go, unwrap your ribs and place them face up on the coolest part of your grill. Close the lid and kick back for a while! Your job for the next 2 hours is to ensure your grill isn’t exceeding a temperature of 325°F  adjusting as needed.

After an hour, begin monitoring the internal temperature of the ribs using a meat thermometer. 180-190°F  is the sweet spot for baby backs. This is a little higher than what we recommend for cooking other cuts of pork. Why you ask? Ribs are “done” when they are 145°F internal temp, but they may still be tough. If you take them up to 190 to 203°F, the collagens and fats melt and make the meat more tender and juicy. When your ribs come up to temperature, brush with your favorite BBQ sauce on both sides.  Kettle Range has some fantastic BBQ sauces for sale in the shop, and we’ve taste tested them all. Just ask your friendly store clerk for some flavor profiles.

Be sure to rest your ribs for at least five minutes before serving. This will allow the meat to absorb the juices for tenderness and more intense flavor. Enjoy!

Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie

While our own Chef Erik is sometimes reluctant to give out all his secrets, in light of this delicious holiday, he’s agreed to share his recipe for one of our most popular heat-and-eat meals, Irish-inspired Shepherd’s Pie. Enjoy, Kettle Club!

Ingredients for Mashed Potatoes:

2-3 large, Russet potatoes

Kosher Salt

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup heavy cream

 

Ingredients for Filling:

3/4 cup chicken stock

1 lb. ground beef

1 small, yellow onion diced

1 large carrot, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed or diced

 

¼ cup dry red wine

2 teaspoons fresh thyme chopped

1 bay leaf

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

 

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1-pound peas

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For Mashed Potatoes:

Peel and rough-cut potatoes. Transfer to a large pot and cover with cold water by at least 2 inches. Season water with salt. Boil 10-15 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced by knife. Drain potatoes in colander and transfer into large bowl with butter. Whip on high until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to lowest setting and slowly add cream until smooth (you may not need all the cream).

For Filling:

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook stirring and scraping bottom of pot until vegetables are softened (about 4 minutes).

Add red wine and bring to a simmer over high heat. Cook until wine has almost evaporated. Add chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf and Worcestershire. Sprinkle corn starch over mixture in pot and stir. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce has thickened (about 20 minutes). Discard Bay Leaf. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper.

Cool filling and cover with mashed potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy!

Sausage of the Month: Kettle Range Hot Dogs

We’ve officially hit the half way mark of winter! And we want to celebrate by bringing back our famous Kettle Range hot dogs. Just because it’s still a bit chilly for grilling doesn’t mean we have to miss out on these house-made specialties. Stay warm indoors and try this delicious twist on the classic corn dog.

Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1/4cup canola oil

1 can green chilis

1 package Kettle Range Hot Dogs

½ cup Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. Dice Kettle Range hot dogs into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add egg, oil and milk; stir gently to combine.
  1. Add diced hot dogs, green chilis and cheddar cheese.
  2. Bake 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Recipe: Bold Black Bean Pork Chili

Baby, it’s cold outside! Not to worry, we’ve got the perfect recipe to conquer those winter woes. Nothing combats chilly like chili, and we’re arming you with a pork shoulder roast and our special blend of seasonings that balance heat with sweet. Stay warm everyone!

Bold Black Bean Pork Chili

Ingredients:

2 pounds Pork shoulder cut in to 1” cubes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 large Onion (small diced)

2 Red Bell Peppers (small diced)

4 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 – 14 ounce can Petite Diced Tomatoes (or crushed Tomatoes)

1 package Kettle Range chili seasoning

1 1/2 cups Tomato Juice

2 cups Chicken Stock

2 15 oz. can black beans

Cilantro Leaves (to garnish)

Sour Cream (to garnish)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until brown on all sides, stirring occasionally. Remove from saucepan; set aside.
  2. Add onion, garlic and peppers to same saucepan. Cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in browned pork, undrained tomatoes, black beans, tomato juice and broth.
  4. Add Kettle Range chili seasoning blend and tomato paste.
  5. Bring a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until pork is tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish individual servings with sour cream and cilantro.

Featured Cuts: Flank and Skirt Steak

Flank and skirt steak are back for the holidays! We received some amazing feedback this summer after featuring these cuts in Kettle Club shares that included regular steaks. Since you’ve all become flank and skirt experts, we’re taking your skills a step further this month.

Holiday feasts are all about presentation. Imagine how impressed your guests will be when cutting into a tender roll of skirt or flank to reveal an exquisitely tasty stuffed center. What they will know is that it’s delicious. What they won’t know is how easy it was. Be the shining star of your holiday gathering with this easy steak pinwheel recipe.

Ingredients

1  lb. flank or skirt steak, pounded
1 clove garlic, cut in half plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 (1 pound) bag spinach, sautéed
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, cut into small dice (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups packed freshly grated Italian cheese  (Asiago, Parmesan, Pecorino, or Mozzarella)
Kitchen twine as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Place the steak between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat tenderizer, pound outthe steakto 1/4″ thickness. Remove the plastic wrap and place the steak on a cutting board
    2. Make a marinade by whisking together oil and vinegar. In a zip-lock bag or container large enough to accommodate steak, let meat marinate in vinaigrette at least two hours and up to six, refrigerated, turning once.
    3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach by the handful and toss with tongs until it wilts (3 to 5 minutes). Mix spinach with minced garlic, egg, rosemary, bell pepper, bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
    5. On a flat surface, lay out steak and spread out so the grain is running in front of you, left to right. Evenly press spinach mixture into entire flank steak. Sprinkle and press cheese mixture into spinach mixture, then tightly roll up, jelly-roll style, into a log.
    6. Cut a long piece of twine. First, wrap around the length of beef then wrap around the roll, securing it every couple of inches. Knot the twine and cut off dangling ends.
    7. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat oil over high heat. Sear flank steak on all sides, about 5 minutes total cooking time. Place flank steak on foil or parchment-lined cooking sheet and roast on center rack of oven 25-30 minutes, or until cooking thermometer registers 135 degrees, for rare and medium rare pieces.
    8. Remove to a cutting board with a well, and tent with foil. Let rest 15 minutes. Remove foil and, with a sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Remove twine and serve.

Recipe: Pie Crust with Lard

YIELD: Makes 2 pie crusts with lattice topping

INGREDIENTS

5 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 cup chilled pork lard, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

10 tablespoons (or more) ice water

PREPARATION

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and lard; using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add 5 tablespoons ice water and mix with fork until dough begins to clump together, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough together. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into disk. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. If necessary, soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.

Sausage of the Month: Seasoned Sausage for Holiday Stuffing

We’re helping our Kettle Club members check a few items off their  grocery lists this Thanksgiving! This month’s sausage is perfect for that holiday stuffing recipe just like mom use to make! Here’s a holiday favorite from us.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 2 pounds good-quality white sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (20 cups)
  • 4 inner celery ribs, finely diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced (1 cup)
  • 1 sweet onion, finely diced (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1-pound bulk pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 3 cups Turkey Stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a large baking dish. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast for 25 minutes, stirring, until lightly browned and crisp.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, melt the 1 stick of butter. Pour half of the butter into a small bowl and reserve. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Scrape the vegetables into a large bowl. Add the sausage to the skillet in lumps and cook over moderately high heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Return the vegetables to the skillet, add the sage and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the stock and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan, until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  3. Scrape the sausage mixture into the large bowl and add the toasted bread cubes. Add the remaining 2 cups of stock and stir until the bread is evenly moistened. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread the stuffing in the baking dish and brush with the reserved melted butter.
  4. Bake the stuffing in the center of the oven for about 1 hour, until it is heated through and the top is browned and crisp. Let the stuffing stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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.

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.