Recipe: BBQ Beef Sliders

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. Kettle Club Beef Roast
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 18-ounce bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (check out our great selection in the shop)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slider sandwich buns

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping them in the pot. Add the barbecue sauce, increase heat to medium high and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the beef roast. Bring to a low simmer, cover and slow cook until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.
  3. Remove the meat from the pot. Use a fork and knife to separate the roast into small pieces. Set aside
  4. Increase the heat on the pot to medium/medium-high, uncover, and reduce the liquid until thick. Stir often to prevent burning.
  5. Return the meat to the liquid in the pan. Warm both thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

The Science of Sausage

Ever wonder who is behind the scenes making those delicious  sausages of the month? Meet our own Trevor Schultz, butcher and sausage savant. Trevor explains how he comes up with   featured sausages and his strategy for adding flavor depth to each one.

 

Where do you find inspiration for your sausage creations?

Ideas for sausages come from my surroundings, seasons and  available ingredients. When we have exceptional seasonal ingredients available, like fresh sweet corn or Michigan Blueberries, it’s pretty easy. Some ingredients take a bit more strategy. A while back, Kettle Range was asked to create a few sausages for an event, each featuring a different Central Waters Beer. The challenge here was to create a seasoning base for each sausage that accentuated the tasting notes of its paired brew.

 

To accomplish this, I sampled each beer and noted the flavors that were present. (Hard work, I know). I then formulated a seasoning base for each sausage that provided balance and depth. Sweet with bitters for contrast, mild flavors with strong to highlight the under notes and melding similar flavors to add intensity. All of these worked together to create a great depth of flavor.

 

Explain what is meant by flavor depth?

I want my sausages to be an experience for the palette. Meaning I want flavors to play off one another and come through sequentially. This is what we’re talking about when we refer to flavor depth. It can take a bit of noodling sometimes, though the idea is quite simple. I like to think about flavors in layers. Imagine you’re creating sand art and adding different colors to create an aesthetically pleasing display. Maybe you’re wanting a certain color to stand out, but also to meld with the colors on either side. Same idea here for building flavor profiles. We begin with low intensity flavors and move to higher intensity flavors, filling the gaps with accenting ingredients like salt.

 

Take for instance seasonings that are desired for a specific sausage, like fennel in an Italian. This seasoning is high in concentration, so it’s the first layer of taste that comes thorough. Then we have other layers of ingredients in lower concentrations like oregano, nutmeg and wine. These flavors linger and add complexity without overpowering the primary seasoning, fennel.

 

Tell us about this month’s featured sausage, the Roasted Corn Brat.

Spring and summer are easy because there is a plethora of fresh, seasonal ingredients. But late Summer brings one of our favorite grill-able treats, sweet corn. I start by roasting the corn in the husk to steam the corn until almost done. I then husk it, and put it back to the flame to finish it off, charring the kernels and changing the flavor beautifully. Add this to our original brat seasoning, and you have a perfect balance of sweet and salty.

 

Thanks for sharing your secrets with us, Trevor. Enjoy the sweet corn brat this August, Kettle Club!

Farmer Spotlight: Avrom Farms

To say that Hayden Holbert of Avrom Farms uses sustainable farming practices is an understatement. He speaks of his farm as an agro-ecosystem, each living thing an instrument playing its piece in the harmonious song of the land as Holbert orchestrates.

“Every organism here has a job,” Hayden explains. “We move our chickens across pasture daily so they may take advantage of the nutrients provided by the land, and also fertilize the pasture for future growth. By moving the chickens to new pasture every day and encouraging them to forage amongst the diverse polyculture of plants and insects, the result is a fundamentally different chicken.”

Holbert raises Freedom Rangers, a heritage breed of chicken known for its ability to utilize pasture and succulent flavor. These breeds tend to be higher in yellow omega 3 fat and contain less saturated fat than faster growing commercial breeds.

Freedom Rangers were initially bred out of protest of the fast-growing, industrialized breed of chicken, the Cornish Cross. They come from Northern France as part of the Label Rouge movement, which is similar to the USDA Organic Standards, but has much more stringent regulations on animal welfare with a focus on small, diversified farms. In addition to their superior flavor, Freedom Rangers are equipped to thrive in the outdoors and transform grasses, bugs, and grain into highly nutritious food.

“Choosing chicken breeds that are slow-growing is an important part of producing chicken with extraordinary flavor,” Holbert explains. “A chicken that has taken longer to grow will have more complex proteins, antioxidants, and vitamins than the 5 week old turbo-charged chickens common throughout nearly every grocery store in the United States.”

Hayden has been raising his Freedom Rangers chickens, heritage pork and even vegetables and mushrooms since he took over the family farm a few years ago. The land has been in Holbert’s family since his grandfather purchased the property in the 1950s.

“I’ve known since the age of six that I wanted to be a farmer,” Hayden says. “I grew up in Chicago but spent many summers enjoying the country life. Driving tractors, taking care of livestock – so agriculture has always been a big part of my world.”

Thanks for all you do for the for the sustainable agriculture community, Hayden! And thanks for the fantastic chicken!

Sausage of the Month: Blueberry Brat

While we may duke it our on the field or court, we can all agree that Michigan has its talents. They can grow some fantastic blueberries. It’s berry season for our western neighbors, and our butchers have incorporated these sweet delicacies into this month’s featured sausage, the Michigan Blueberry Brat!

Check out these fun facts about Michigan blueberries.

• Michigan grows around 100 million pounds of blueberries annually, making it one of the top producing state
in the U.S.
• Michigan produces 30 different varieties of blueberries.
• 21,000 acres of Michigan are dedicated to growing blueberries. Most are produced in Western Michigan in
near the Lower Peninsula where the sandy soil by the lake provides excellent conditions for growing berries.
Each acre produces around 5,000 berries.
• Blueberries are a super food. They contain more antioxidants than any other fruit and packed with vitamins
A and C.

Enjoy, Kettle Club!

Sausage of the Month: Bulk Breakfast

We’ve prepared our most delicious and versatile sausage for Kettle Club members this month, bulk breakfast. Heritage ground pork with flavorful hints of mace and sage. Grab the family and gather round the table for a hearty breakfast. Follow these simple and easy instructions for scratch sausage gravy.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Kettle Club Bulk Breakfast Sausage
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cups whole milk, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
6-8 Biscuits, warmed, for serving

 

Instructions:

  1. Crumble sausage into large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until browned and no longer pink, stirring frequently.
  2. With wire whisk, stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Stir often.
  3. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve over your favorite biscuit!

Cinta Senese: The Tuscan Beast

We’re featuring a special heritage swine breed for Kettle Club members this month, Cinta Senese from our friends at Curly Oak.

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.

At Kettle Range, we understand that the preservation of heritage breeds is important for genetic diversity and the future of our agriculture systems. That’s why we support family farms who work hard to keep these species intact.

 

Recipe: Cajun Pork Shoulder W/Maque Choux

It’s Mardi Gras season! And we’ve got a great Cajun recipe for your Kettle Club pork shoulder. Marque Choux (pronounced Mock Shoe) is a classic Southern Louisiana dish comprised of braised corn, tomatoes, peppers and spices. Though traditionally served as a side dish, you can create a fantastic entrée in your slow cooker with this Cajun pork shoulder recipe. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Ingredients:
2 lb. Kettle Club Pork Shoulder
1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning seasoning
1 10 – ounce package frozen whole kernel corn
1 large green sweet pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 14 1/2 – ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

Directions:
1. Season pork shoulder with Cajun or Creole seasoning coasting all sides of the meat
2. Place meat in the slow cooker. Add frozen corn, sweet pepper, onion, sugar, hot pepper sauce, and black pepper. Pour tomatoes over mixture in cooker.
3. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
4. Remove meat from cooker. Drain vegetables, discarding cooking liquid.
5. Serve meat with vegetables.

Makes: 4-5 servings

Get the Most from Your Beef Roast!

Hey, we get it. You’re tired of eating the same old traditional pot roast. We’re here to help. Here’s a few ideas on how you can stretch that beef roast in to some easy and delicious weekday meals!

Sunday: Cook Your Roast

Cook your beef roast on Sunday for easy prepping throughout the week. A good rule of thumb for cooking a roast in a crock pot is one hour per pound of roast (2 hours for your 2 lb. Kettle Club roast) on low.

For oven preparation, preheat oven to 375 degrees and cook 20 minutes for each pound of roast (about an hour for your Kettle Club roast).

Be sure to season your roast with salt and pepper and add liquid to tenderize and enhance flavor. Our famous Kettle Range beef bone broth works wonderfully for this!

When your roast has cooled, shred for easy preparation throughout the week. Store the beef in an airtight container with a little of the cooking juices to keep it tasty and tender.

Monday: Philly Cheese Steak Dip

Mondays can be rough. Make dinner easy. First, dice an onion and green pepper. Sauté the veggies in a hot pan with oil. When the onions are translucent, add 8 oz. of cream cheese and stir until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency. Add ½ cup sour cream and about 1 cup of your cooked, shredded roast (more if you’re wanting a meaty dip).

Dip using crackers or toasted French bread.

Tuesday: Beef Tacos

Ever wonder why taco Tuesday at Kettle Range is one of the most delicious days of the week? Probably has something to do with the amazing shredded beef our chefs use to create our heat and serve meals. What cuts do we use you ask? Roasts, of course! Shredded beef roasts make fantastic tacos and unlike traditional ground beef tacos, shreds can take on a ton more flavor when heated with your favorite taco seasonings.

Wednesday:  BBQ Beef Stuffed Potatoes

Is your twice baked potato missing something? Turn that side dish into a filling meal by adding BBQ beef.

Rub 2 potatoes with oil and salt and bake at 300 degrees for 90 minutes or until tender. Split cooked potatoes lengthwise and spoon out insides. Combine potato mixture with 2 tablespoons of sour cream, cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Add your favorite BBQ sauce to the cooked shredded beef. Combine the BBQ and potato mixture and return to potato skins. Cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until warm. Enjoy!

Recipe: Autumn Pork Stew

Ingredients:

1-pound fingerling potatoes

3 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch chunks

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 bay leaves

1-2 lb. bone-in pork shoulder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

 

Directions:

  1. Combine the potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic and ginger in a slow cooker. Toss in half of the flour and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the bay leaves over the vegetables.
  2. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the thyme and allspice and toss with the remaining flour to coat. Place the pork over the vegetables in the slow cooker. Add 2 cups water and the tomatoes, cover and cook on low 8 hours.
  3. Discard the bay leaves. Remove the pork roast and slice or pull the meat off the bone into large pieces. Serve in bowls with the vegetables and broth.

Pork Chops 101: Know your Chops

Sirloin chops, rib chops, porterhouse chops. You’ve seen them all in your Kettle Club share. That’s because we like to ensure you’re getting a variety of our premium heritage pork cuts. But we understand all the different names can be daunting. So, let’s talk chop.

What is a pork chop anyway?

All pork chops are cut from the loin, the section of the pig that runs from the shoulder to the hip. Here’s where things can get a bit confusing. Each pork chop goes by a different name depending on the area of the loin it’s cut from. Let’s start with a few popular chops from the front end of the loin and work our way towards the tail.

Rib Chop

Sometimes referred to as the center-cut chop or rib end cut, this chop is cut from the center of the loin near the rib area. It will contain a large eye of lean meat with no tenderloin. The rib chop is primarily cut bone-in, with the bone running along the side.

Boneless Chops

Our featured Kettle Club chop for August is the boneless chop. Sometimes referred to as the New York Chop, these cuts are located near the top of the loin. These chops are lean and taste amazing after a good brine bath.

Porterhouse Chop

Porterhouse chops are cut from the lower back behind the rib chops. They are identifiable by the centered bone that divides the meat from the tenderloin muscle. These chops can present a challenge when cooking as the tenderloin tends to cook faster than the loin section. But the intense flavor and beautiful presentation is worth mastering. Be careful not to overcook. A brine also works well for these delicious chops.

Sirloin Chops

These chops are cut from the hip area towards the back of the loin. Despite the fact that this chop packs a ton of flavor, it’s often overlooked because of its appearance. The cut contains various muscle groups, giving a bit of a mismatched look. The sirloin chop takes quite well to braising and will take on a ton of flavor from your favorite marinade.