- ¾ cup kosher salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup smoked paprika
- 4 Tbsp garlic powder
- 6 Tbsp ancho chili powder
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 tsp coriander
Time to say goodbye to those savory slow cooked roasts and hello to everyone’s summertime favorite, pulled pork sandwiches. Lucky for you Kettle Club members that receive pork shoulders in your shares, you’re equipped to make everyone’s summer a little more delicious.
Check out our simple tips for perfect pulled pork that will have your BBQ guests putting in special requests for every summer come.
Season that Shoulder!
Don’t be so tense! It’s only dinner. Nothing helps loosen those muscles quite like a massage. Your pork shoulder agrees! A spicy rub down with a salt-based seasoning can help tenderize your shoulder while adding some delicious flavor. Salt is comprised of sodium and chloride ions that denature or unwind the proteins of highly worked muscles. These altered proteins can then retain more water, keeping the meat moist during the cooking process. Check out one of our favorite BBQ rubs, perfect for a smoked pork shoulder.
Fat side up
Let gravity do its thing! Whether your smoking, braising or slow cooking, the fatty cap of the shoulder will add incredible flavor and tenderness to your finished product. Set your shoulder fat side up and let the flavor rain down!
Use your trusty tools!
Dare we say it again? Okay, we will, use your thermometer! Whatever your cooking method, 225 degrees is a solid sweet spot for cooking low and slow. We recommend checking your shoulder often until it reaches 180-185 degrees. This is the temperature in which the fat will begin to render adding flavor and tenderness. For a 2 lb. roast, this will take around 4-5 hours depending on your cooking method.
Let it rest
Resist the urge to jump right into that amazingly cooked roast. Give the shoulder 20 minutes to lock in the juices and flavors. You won’t be sorry!
Get your hands dirty
Okay, so maybe for your guest’s sake, use gloves. But, under no circumstances should you begin cutting up that beautiful roast you just worked so hard on! Use your hands to gently pull the meat apart and separate through any connective tissue. Every bit of your sandwich should melt in your mouth.
Easy on the sauce!
Don’t get us wrong, we love our BBQ sauce, but we love the taste of heritage pork even more! Getting too heavy handed on the sauce can hide the delicious flavor of the pork and your yummy spice rub. Let eaters choose how saucy they get with it.
Let’s hear it for the underdogs! Those beautiful little hidden meat gems that are often passed over for a thick cut beef ribeye or pork tenderloin. Check out our favorite underrated cuts!
Talk about a well worked muscle! Cows can chew up to 7,000 times per day! This means a ton of flavor for those cheek muscles. For best results, chargrill or cook direct for up to 40 minutes with constant movement. Try this as a substitute protein for beef tacos!
The Chuck Eye
Often called the “poor man’s ribeye” the chuck eye steak is located at the rear of the steer’s shoulder just in front of the ribeye primal. Because of its close proximity to the ribeye, it shares many qualities and characteristics. It’s tender and flavorful just like it’s close relative, but petite in comparison. A perfect meal for one!
Not quite as popular as the beef brisket, this cut is just as tender and flavorful. It responds well to a slow and low environment on the grill or a perfect fit for your smoker.
Pork Skirt Steak
Cut from the inside of the spare ribs, this cut is extremely versatile. Give it a nice soak in your favorite marinade and a hot, fast ride on the grill. Serve over rice and veggies or top a fresh salad.
We have a fantastic cut lined up of those of you that receive regular steaks in your Kettle Club share, grass-fed beef cheeks! Not only are they healthier than many traditional and familiar beef cuts, cheeks pack a ton of flavor! Let’s take a deeper look at what makes this cut so versatile and delicious.
The Chew about Cheeks
Cows love to chew! Unlike other mammals, cows have the unique ability to digest cellulose, or plant fibers such as those found in grass. Structurally, these fibers are super strong, and take a bit of work to unlock their viable nutrients. Cows accomplish this quite well with the use of two important body parts. The rumen, a compartment of their stomach that acts as a fermentation vat to break down strong plant fibers, and their mouths. Ever notice that when you see a cow it’s chewing? Cows chew a bit harder than other animals because food needs to be chewed twice before entering the fermentation vat of the rumen. This helps break down the fiber and unlock nutrients faster. Cows spend nearly eight hours every day chewing their food. This can total upwards of 40,000 jaw movements per day!!!
What’s this mean for cheek muscles? They’re super strong! The continuous chewing movement means more blood flow to the area and toned muscles that result in an enormous amount of flavor for the cut!
It’s almost swimsuit weather! And we’re all looking to cut a few calories we might have gained over this long winter. Substituting beef cheeks for more traditional cuts can help! Beef cheeks are lower in fat and calories, and higher in protein when compared to most roasts and popular steaks. Cheeks also have more immune-supporting vitamin C and vitamin B and more than 200% more iron! Check out the nutritional comparison below:
Beef roast: (100 g)
Beef cheeks: (100 g)
How to I cook them?
Unlike other muscles that don’t get as much of a workout like tenderloin and shoulder (chuck), these cuts need proper preparation to break down strong muscle fibers for fall-off-the fork tenderness. We recommended braising, or cooking with a mixture of both quick, high, heat and low, slow heat. Check out this recipe for Braised Beef Cheek Tacos! A fantastically fresh and healthy meal for spring!
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:
This native Tuscan hog is prized for its delicious, extremely tender, buttery flavor and intense marbling. A favorite of chefs and charcuterie makers, the cinta is extremely rare. As recently as the ’90s, the Cinta was considered to be endangered, but a few dedicated farmers, including our partner Ken Kehrli, are working hard to bring it back.
Characterized by a fleshy wattle on either side of their neck, these breeds are best known for their rich textured and delicious hams.
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.
Louisa Hallewell will be traveling to Kettle Range from her sustainable farm in the Gascony region of France to teach THREE hands-on courses.
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Ever wonder who’s working behind the scenes at Kettle Range Meats? Well wonder no more! Our entire staff works hard to ensure you’re getting the highest quality, best tasting meats in Wisconsin. And we want you to meet them all. First up, Chris Scallon. Chris has become somewhat of a local celebrity in the chili world. With a Golden Ladle from Potawatomi’s Chili Bowl, and a first place win from WMSE’s Rockabilly Chili contest, he made Kettle Range synonymous with great chili in 2018.
What do you do at Kettle Range?
I guess my title would be sous chef. I do a lot of food preparation for our heat-and-eat meals. Cutting, slicing, dicing, chopping, packing. I also assist in menu creation, so we can keep adding new items to our overall menu. Oh, and I man the cauldron. The cauldron is what I call our large industrial kettle. It’s where we make things like chicken and beef broth. It’s essentially where the magic begins.
What inspires your award-winning chili concoctions?
I get a lot of inspiration from the incredible products we have access to. Right from the start, we’re sourcing quality meat from local farms. We have a talented butcher staff here that can create amazing products from those meats, like sausages. Those flavors inspire innovative ideas for meals, chilis and side dishes. The Ropa Chili (Rockabilly Chili contest winner) stemmed from one of our heat-and-eat meals, Ropa Vieja. The distinct flavors were incorporated into what turned out to be a delicious and unique chili.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The freedom to create new things. We love getting feedback about our meal program. It’s a great feeling to put out a new meal and get a positive response from our customers. Thanks for all you do, Chris!
Join Chris this weekend as he defends Kettle Range’s Golden Ladle title at the 13th Annual Milwaukee Chili Bowl. Purchase your tickets at the shop and save $5 on admission!
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 lb. Kettle Club Smoked Beef Sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped Kale
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
3 cups chicken broth
2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Our butcher staff has created up a special holiday sausage for Kettle Club members this month, Traditional Polish. Our head of production and Master Butcher Joe Parajecki shares his fondest memories of this classic holiday treat.
I come from a Polish family deep rooted in tradition—especially when it comes to holiday meals. Fresh Polish sausage, sometimes with sauerkraut, sometimes with fresh grated Horseradish, has always been a staple at our holiday table. I remember fondly my grandmother making sausages on the days that would lead up to Christmas, the smell of garlic and marjoram filling the house. The smell would linger on and we would waiting in full anticipation during on Wigila Dinner Christmas Eve (a tradition including foods that come from the four corners of the earth: forest, sea, field, and orchard) but we would have to wait until after Midnight Mass to enjoy it. Each year I continue this tradition with my family using the time-honored recipe passed down from my grandmother, and I share it this month with you. We’ve prepared fresh polish sausage using my grandma’s recipe for our Kettle Club members this month. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have over the years.