Tips and tricks from our expert staff. From Recipes to product recommendations we will be your knowledge source for all things Butcher. 

Our Top 5 Favorite Items to Throw on the Grill

May 26, 2016

Our Top 5 Favorite Items to Throw on the Grill
Summer officially kicks off this weekend. There's nothing more American (except Fourth of July) than Memorial Day Weekend when grills fire up across the country "from sea to shining sea."  Around this time every year, more and more customers inquire about our favorite items to grill. We thought we'd put together a short list of our top 5 grilling picks. In no particular order, they are as follows: 1. Pork Ribs Pork ribs are the ultimate BBQ staple. We carry both Baby Back and St. Louis Style ribs. Don't know the difference? Check out our previous article on the subject. To get pork ribs nice and tender, remember the two words "slow" and "low." Be patient and you will be rewarded with meat that is fall-off-the-bone delicious. 2. Custom Burger BlendsUp your flavor quotient by blending several different cuts together. The combinations are limitless. For more guidance on creating the juiciest burger ever, check out this article. 3. Ribeye SteakDue to the ribeye's high-fat content, it is an amazingly rich and decadent cut of meat that grills up perfectly. We like them medium-rare and with nothing but a splash of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt.  4. Berkshire Pork ChopsThe Berkshire Pork Chops are the grand-daddy of all pork chops. They are heavily marbled and were bred especially for the King of England. Berkshire pork is renowned for its richness, texture, marbling, juiciness, tenderness and overall depth of flavor. These are sure to go over well at any cookout — just make sure your guests are worthy! 5. Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs & BreastsChicken, especially conventional chicken from the grocery store, can seem mundane and bland. But our local, free-range birds are a whole different story. They are flavorful, incredibly moist and easy to cook. We recommend marinating thighs and breasts overnight in our brand new, house-made Poblano Tomatillo Lemongrass marinade then tossing them on the grill. You'll love the zesty and bright flavor this mixture gives to the chicken. Ask us about our wide selection of spices, rubs, marinades and sauces. We also carry all the grilling and Big Green Egg accessories you will need to kick-off the summer season with gusto!  

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Delight Your Valentine with these Perfect Pairings

February 09, 2016

Delight Your Valentine with these Perfect Pairings
You and your Valentine make an outstanding couple. Likewise, the ingredients in the following recipes can certainly stand alone, but when brought together make for one stellar dish.  STEAK + FOIS GRAS This is a marriage made in heaven between the richness of the fois gras and the savoriness of a perfectly cooked steak. You will not be disappointed. Try Hangar for a variation on the usual filet. Tournedos Rossini from NYT Cooking SCALLOPS + BACONSometimes the obvious choice is right under your nose. This pairing has been around forever, but is so simple we usually dismiss it. The sweetness of the scallops and the smokiness of the bacon were made for each other. Bacon Wrapped Scallops from Primal Palate CHICKEN + WINEWe know what you are thinking, "chicken for a special occasion?!" But you need to trust the French. The French know love. Slow braising a succulent, free-range chicken in a good red wine and brandy transforms this dish into something seriously seductive. Coq au Vin from the Barefoot Contessa FILET + LOBSTERThis pairing is a classic, like red lipstick and a crisp white dress shirt. This is by far our most popular order every Valentine's Day. Any why not? It's straightforward and luxurious, plus a breeze to prepare. Both the filet and lobster tail can be tossed on the grill and done in a jiffy. This is low-maintenance perfection. To take this pairing to the next level, top both with a rich herbed butter.Herbed Butter Recipe from the Kitchn The Organic Butcher has everything you need to create the perfect Valentine dinner. We are happy to suggest wine pairings and have a wide selection of cheeses and chocolates.

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Burgers: Create Your Own Custom Grinds for Super Bowl

January 30, 2016

Burgers: Create Your Own Custom Grinds for Super Bowl
Super Bowl Sunday is a week away and while it's mostly about football, we know it's really about food. If you are planning a menu for the big day but have dismissed the idea of burgers as too boring, think again! Everyone loves a good burger when done right, i.e. juicy, beefy and flavorful. We'll let you in on a little secret — the key is in the blend of meats you use. There are wonderful variations worth exploring when it comes to selecting which cuts of beef to use for your patties. By adding different cuts you can change the flavor profile of your burger in a myriad of ways. The key to an extremely juicy burger is to create a grind with an overall protein-to-fat ratio of 70/30 for medium-rare to medium-well and 80/20 for rare. As long as you maintain this ratio, you can experiment to your heart's content. Some of our favorite grinds include short rib, hangar steak, and sirloin. For a smokey flavor, try adding bacon. Ask us, we are happy to suggest some creative and flavorful combinations.  One of the most famous burgers on the scene these days is from the Charleston, South Carolina restaurant Husk. There, Chef Sean Brock has blended chuck, flank steak and bacon for a mouth-watering — yet not overly fussy — cheeseburger. The recipe is below and a complete showstopper! Husk's Famous Cheeseburger Ingredients (makes enough for 10 cheeseburgers)  For the special sauce 1 3/4 cups mayonnaise 1 1/4 cups yellow mustard 5 tablespoons ketchup 1/2 cup Bread and Butter pickles, drained and cut into 1/8-inch dice 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, drained and cut into 1/8-inch dice  grated zest (use a Microplane) and juice of 1 lemon 1 tablespoon hot sauce  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 tablespoons pepper vinegar  For the cheeseburgers Custom grind of 1 (3-pound) fresh boneless chuck roast, 12 ounces fresh flank steak and 3 ounces bacon 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 10 burger buns, preferably potato rolls 1 cup white onion, shaved 20 slices American cheese 50 Bread and Butter pickles   Directions For the sauce: Combine all of the ingredients in a large container and stir together to blend well. Cover and refrigerate. (Tightly covered, the sauce will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.) For the cheeseburgers: Portion the meat mixture into twenty 3-ounce patties, about 1/2-inch thick (each burger gets 2 patties). If not cooking right away, arrange on a baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. (The patties can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook; it’s important that the patties are not ice-cold when they hit the hot pan.) Generously butter the tops and bottoms of the buns. Toast on a griddle until nice and golden brown. Reserve. Heat grill or two 12-inch cast-iron skillets until as hot as possible. Divide the patties between the two hot pans. When the patties are nice and charred, about 2 minutes, flip them over and cook to desired doneness. Place the onion slices on 10 of the patties. Place a slice of the cheese on all of the patties and allow it to melt, about 30 seconds. Stack the non-onion patties on top of the onion patties. Remove from the heat. Smear both sides of the buns with special sauce. Place 5 pickles on the bottom half of each bun. Add the burger patties and top with the top halves of the buns. Serve at once.  

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September 12, 2015 1 Comment

How to Cook 100% Grass-Fed Steaks (There is a Difference!)
100% Grass-fed meat is from cows that are pasture-raised on grass, from start to finish. They are rich in good fats, and managed sustainably. Compared to conventionally raised meats, which get little or no exercise, it's leaner and there is true muscle integrity in the meat. But leaner doesn't mean tougher. Cooked more gently, grass-fed meat is juicy and tender.  When cooking a grassfed steak, you'll want sear it and then allow it to finish cooking at 325F. This allows the naturally-occurring sugars to caramelize on the surface, while keeping the muscle fibers from contracting too quickly. Tough grass-fed steaks result from over-exposure to high heat, which causes the muscle fibers to contract tightly and become chewy and dry.  The biggest mistake people make when cooking grass-fed beef is over-cooking it. These five tips will ensure a perfectly cooked steak every time. 1. Lower the cooking temperature. Because grass-fed beef is leaner than its grain-fed counterpart, you need to cook it at a slightly lower temperature (at least 50 F) for 30-50% less time. Otherwise, you cook off the fat and are left with a dry, tough, unappealing mass of meat that’s lost many of its nutrients. (The more cooked your grass-fed beef, the more Omega 3s you lose.) 2. Invest in a meat thermomenter. You may know how to eyeball when conventional meat is done, but because grass-fed beef is leaner, you don’t have the same kind of wiggle room for mistakes. A meat thermometer will ensure you cook your meat just the way you like it — every time. The desired internal temperatures for grass-fed beef are: Rare — 120F Medium Rare — 125F Medium — 130F Medium Well — 135F Well — 140F IMPORTANT NOTE! To achieve the desired temperature, remove the meat from heat when it’s about 10 degrees lower than your goal temperature. The residual heat will finish cooking the meat over the next ten minutes as you let it rest. 3. Start steaks at room temperature. This is a good rule for all meats, but especially for grass-fed-beef. By starting your meat at room temperature, it will take less time to reach the ideal internal temperature while cooking. This gentler cooking method will help your meat stay juicy and delicious.  4. Don’t play with your meat. Avoid the temptation to poke steaks or roasts with forks or pat burgers down with spatulas. This lets all that delicious fat escape, giving you a less juicy end result. 5. Give your meat a rest. When you’re done cooking your meat, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing into it. This allows time for the escaped juices to reincorporate back into the meat.  GRASS-FED RIB-EYE STEAKS WITH BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE (Epicurious) INGREDIENTS1/2 cup balsamic vinegar1/2 cup minced shallots1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for steaks and grill1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley2 tablespoons drained capers2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves4 3/4-inch-thick grass-fed rib-eye steaks3 garlic cloves, pressed4 teaspoons smoked paprika2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper PREPARATION Simmer vinegar in small pan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Add shallots, 1/4 cup oil, and crushed red pepper; return to simmer. Remove from heat; whisk in parsley, capers, and thyme. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Rub both sides of steaks with oil and garlic. Mix paprika, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle on both sides of steaks. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Brush grill rack with oil to coat. Grill steaks until cooked to desired doneness. Transfer steaks to plates. Spoon vinaigrette over. The Organic Butcher of McLean has a wide range of 100% grass-fed meats, order online or come in and see us. If you prefer more marbled meats, we also carry humane, antibiotic-free, pasture-raised beef (with access to grain).

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September 02, 2015

Lacking Ideas for Labor Day? Let Us Help!
Labor Day is fast approaching and if you're anything like us, your weekend is packed with get-togethers, parties and plenty of opportunities to flex your culinary muscle. If inspiration hasn't struck yet, here is a list of ideas to get you motivated. Whether you're into smoking, grilling or slow-cooking, we've got you covered. It's a busy week, be sure to call ahead to place your order. Labor Day Items Berkshire Pork Baby Back or St. Louis-Style Ribs Berkshire Pork Shoulder Brisket - whole packer cut for smoker Whole Fish - wild-caught Red Snapper, Bronzino Bone in Chicken Breast and Thighs Waygu Hot Dogs Bison Hot Dogs Sausages - Wild Boar, Green, Bratwurst, Lamb Merguez   Too many great steaks to list here! A wide variety of spice rubs and sauces   And don't forget about our great selection of wine and beer. Happy cooking!

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August 22, 2015 1 Comment

A Primer on Cooking Oils & Fats
The question of which dietary fats are good and which are bad has caused a lot of confusion lately. Some fats are heart-heathy, some are not. Some oils are processed with chemicals, some are not. Some break down at high temperatures, some do not. Some sound healthy because of the word vegetable in their name, but aren’t. What’s a cook to do? We thought we’d put together a short primer on which fats to use and when. Bookmark this page and refer to it when in question. BAD FATS/OILS Most cooking oils on the market are processed with chemical solvents, steamers, neutralizers, de-waxers, bleach and deodorizers before they end up in the bottle. Highly processed seed oils contain very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, that can have detrimental health effects when consumed in high quantities. Sadly, these oils are in nearly everything we eat nowadays. Grain-fed livestock, is also high in omega-6. A diet high in omega-6 is associated with an increase in inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and cancer to mention a few. Here are the industrial oils to toss from your kitchen:Canola oilVegetable oilCottonseed oilSoybean oilSunflower oilSafflower oilCorn oilGrapeseed oilRapeseed oilRefined palm oilSesame oilRefined peanut oil GOOD FATS/OILSThese are the saturated fats and healthy plant-based oils from meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, and avocados that are loaded with omega-3s. It has recently been debunked that saturated fats cause heart disease. In fact, it’s the very removal of these from the American diet and the increase of sugar and carbohydrates that has attributed to a whole host of health issues, including obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammatory conditions. Saturated fat has been shown to have positive effects on the body, including helping the liver to function more effectively, boosting the immune system and aiding in the regulation of hormones. Some things to keep in mind during food prep: Saturated fat is typically more heat stable and doesn’t oxidate as quickly as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which makes it more suitable for frying and other high temperature cooking. Nut oils and olive oil are more fragile and can be cooked with but are best used unheated to retain the most antioxidants, vitamins and flavor. Expeller-pressed or Unrefined oils (where the oil was extracted using a mechanical process rather than chemicals) are best for high temperature cooking such as deep-frying. Avoid anything labeled Refined. The smoke point of a fat or an oil is the temperature at which it gives off smoke, and starts to break down and oxidize, losing nutrients and developing toxic properties. Most foods are fried at around 330°F so it’s always best to choose a fat or oil with a smoking point just above that. Best fats for hot use (with their smoke points):Beef tallow (400°F)Lard (370°F)Duck fat (375°F)Schmaltz (375°F)Ghee (450°F)Avocado oil (400°F)Coconut oil (350°F)Extra virgin olive oil (325°F)Grass-fed butter (350°F ) Best for cold use:Extra virgin olive oilMacadamia oilAvocado oilHazelnut oilAlmond Walnut oilFlaxseed oilGrass-fed butterCoconut oil At The Organic Butcher, we carry a wide array of high quality oils and animal fats, and can help guide you toward the right choice for your needs. Just ask!

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