Sausage of the Month: Traditional Polish

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.

Thanks, Joe!

Recipe: Slow Roasted Holiday Brisket

INGREDIENTS

2 pound Kettle Club Brisket

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch lengths

1 large onion, cut into quarters

2 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch lengths

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoons brown mustard

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

4 ounces peeled, finely grated horseradish root

1 quarts beef bone broth

1 bay leave

3 sprigs thyme

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Grab an ovenproof braising pan or pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Season the brisket liberally with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in pan. Add the brisket and brown it on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan or pot if needed, then add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste; cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat evenly.
  4. Combine the honey, mustard, vinegar and horseradish in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Add it to vegetable mixture. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring often dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the pan or pot.
  5. Return the brisket to the braising pan or pot (still over medium-high heat). Add enough broth to cover the brisket, then add the bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Once the liquid starts to bubble at the edges, cover and transfer to the oven.
  6. Slow-roast until the internal temperature reaches 165-170 degrees F (about 2 1/2 hours)
  7. Let rest for 10-15 minutes and slice against the grain when serving.

Tip: The pan drippings make an excellent gravy for serving your slow-roasted brisket!

Featured Cut: Grass-fed Beef Brisket

The Thanksgiving table is a glorious show with the turkey holding the spotlight. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get a little help from a supporting cast. Get a standing (or reclining) ovation from friends and family this year by adding a tender, slow-roasted brisket to the table.

Our butchers are handcrafting some amazing beef briskets for Kettle Club shares that include beef roasts this month. Before we get into recipes, let’s learn a little more about this diverse beef cut.

What is a brisket?

If we had to say steers had a glamour muscle, the brisket would be it! The brisket comes from the lower chest, or pectoral muscles of the steer and bears about 60% of the animal’s weight as it moves across pasture. Steers use their pectoral muscles at every step. Leaning down to get a bite of nutritious grass, laying down to get some rest, even reaching back with their heads to keep off summer flies. The pecs are always getting toned, which results in a flavorful cut of meat.

Remember back in August when we talked about what makes beef cuts flavorful? Of course you do, but let’s recap. Weight bearing muscles are constantly being toned which means there is more connective tissue and blood flow to the area. This results in the presence of Umami, or protein flavor. What’s important to remember about these delicious cuts is that they need more cook time to break down strong muscle fibers. Let’s talk about some tips for cooking and serving brisket.

 

Relax those muscles with a soak or spicy massage

Wet brine, dry brine, the winner is still up for debate among BBQ enthusiasts. What we do know for certain is that salt applied in any manner prior to cooking helps tenderize flavorful cuts like brisket. 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.  If you’re using a dry rub, make sure you’re coating every inch and getting that salt in all the nooks and crannies. For wet brines, ensure you allow at least 12 hours of relaxing soak time.

 

Slow and steady wins the race

Whether you’re oven roasting, smoking or using the crock pot, cuts like briskets need proper time and temperature to reach their full potential. You’ve heard us say it before and we’ll say it again, LOW AND SLOW! This allows connective tissue to break down slowly and results in a buttery, tender roast. A good rule of thumb is about 45-50 minutes per lb. when cooking at 250 degrees. Don’t forget to check it with your trusty meat thermometer regularly! An internal temperature of 165-170 degrees F is recommended for a slow roasted brisket.

 

If you want the best, let it rest!

Rest your cooked brisket for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing carefully against the grain. This allows for the juices from the fat to sink in and provides a tender finishing texture.

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!

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 Breeds: What’s in a Name?

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:

Duroc

Originating in the United States, the Duroc is one of the fastest-growing heritage breeds. They tend to put on a lot of intramuscular fat making them knows for the tender shoulder roasts.

Red Wattle

Characterized by a fleshy wattle on either side of their neck, these breeds are best known for their rich textured and delicious hams.

Hereford

Developed in the United States, this breed was named for its shared coloring with Hereford cattle. Their pork is tenderly delicious due to a high proportion of intramuscular fat.

Berkshire

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.

Kettle Club Sausage of the Month: Italian Beef

Joe the butcher has created a unique twist on a Chicago delicacy for our Kettle Club members this month. June’s Italian beef sausage has been prepared with mozzarella, fresh basil, oregano, and hot giardiniera. It makes a great sandwich right off the grill, or incorporate the flavor kick to your favorite pasta or pizza recipe.

What is Giardiniera?

Before you begin enjoying June’s distinctively delicious sausage, let’s talk a little about giardiniera. First off, let’s all say it together, “JAR-DIN-AIR-AH.” There, that’s better. Originating in Italy, the word giardiniera translates loosely to “female gardener” or “one who pickles vegetables.” And why not with all its fresh ingredients? Recipes differ, but most variations of the condiment include hot or mild peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower and olives. Italians used the method of pickling to preserve vegetables for the winter. It is thought that giardiniera was introduced to the United States in Chicago during the late 19th century following a wave of Italian immigration. The fiery condiment quickly became synonymous with Chicago’s famous Italian beef sandwiches and made its way into the hearts and refrigerators of area residents. For years, Chicago chefs and foodies have been perfecting their recipes and pickling techniques to bring giardiniera lovers a more heated version of the Italian original.

So, let’s tip our hats to our neighbors to the south and enjoy some great sausages this month!

Recipe: Perfect Pulled Pork

Let’s all enjoy the heritage pork breeds featured at Kettle Range this month and cook up a summer favorite, pulled pork! Check out this recipe that includes our own Chef Jeff’s famous BBQ rub.

Perfect Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

1 pork shoulder

Chef Jeff’s BBQ Rub, or any other that you are fond of

Brine Solution

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons dry rub mix

Directions:

FOR THE BRINE SOLUTION

  1. Add salt to cold water, and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar, dry rub, and bay leaves, and stir well to combine.

PORK SHOULDER PREPARATION

  1. Rinse the pork shoulder, and place in a large container. Pour in the brine solution until the shoulder is completely covered. Cover the container, and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  2. Remove pork shoulder from brine solution, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the pork shoulder in a baking pan that is at least 3 inches deep and that is bigger than the shoulder by at least an inch in length and width. Sprinkle dry rub onto the surface of the shoulder and massage in such that it adheres to the surface. Coat all sides. Make sure the fat layer on the shoulder is facing up before cooking! Place baking pan uncovered in a 225° F oven on the middle rack. Insert a probe thermometer into the center or thickest part of the shoulder, but not touching the bone. Monitor the temperature throughout cooking (a digital thermometer with an alarm function is the easiest way to do this). Do not remove from the oven until the center of the shoulder reaches 200°.
  3. When the shoulder has reached 200°, shut off the oven and let the roast cool for a couple of hours before removing from the oven. If the bottom of the pan is dry (or crusted with dried spices) then cover the pan with foil to retain internal moisture of the meat during the cooling period. When the temperature drops to 170 degrees or slightly lower, remove from oven. Place on a large, clean work surface such as a cutting board, and remove the large sheet of crusted fat on the top. Pull apart with two forks, it will pull apart very easily. Serve for friends and family!