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!