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

5 Impressive Meals for Mother's Day

May 08, 2018

5 Impressive Meals for Mother's Day
Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and we’ve got ideas to make sure the mother in your life is treated to a day she won’t forget! Skip the crowds at restaurants and serve her one of these delicious butcher-approved recipes. 1. Duck Egg & Asparagus Frittata by The Organic Butcher's Chef Matt Ingredients: 2 shallots thinly sliced 1 bunch local spring asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces 8 duck eggs ¾ cups ricotta chees or softened chèvre (we recommend Caromont Farm's Chevre) 1 tbsp chopped chives 1 tbsp chopped tarragon 1 cup shredded lamb chopper cheese Instructions: 1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and sweat shallots until translucent, add the asparagus and saute for 3 to 4 more minutes 2. Beat eggs with ricotta or chevre and season with salt 3. Add eggs to the pan and sprinkle the herbs on top, season with some fresh cracked pepper if desired 4. Top with cheese and put in broiler for about 8 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown, and the center of the egg is set 5. Allow to cool then slice into wedges and serve to Mom with a glass of champagne! ;-) 2. Grilled Wild-Caught Alaskan Halibut Niçoise with Market Vegetables By Andrew Knowlton from Bon Appetit. 3. Seared Scallops with Mint, Peas and Bacon By Rhoda Boonefrom Epicurious. 4. Fresh Maryland Crab and Spinach Quiche - Paleo By Cheryl Malik of 40 aprons. 5. Dill-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Farro, Pea, and Blistered Tomato Salad By Katherine Sacks from Epicurious.

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Dry Aging at The Organic Butcher

May 08, 2018 1 Comment

Dry Aging at The Organic Butcher
  This Blog post is dedicated to the aging process we value so much at the Organic Butcher. Dive in to learn all about the difference between wet and dry aging, why and what we age, how we do it, and all the nuances in between.  Did you know we age our meats on site, ensuring our customers receive the absolute pinnacle in quality? Our expert butchers closely monitor both the wet and dry aging process and sell the meat at the ideal moment of flavor and texture development. Master butcher, Greg Herring, who plies his art behind our counter most every day, explains why. “If you ate beef the day after it was slaughtered,” he says, “it would be tough as shoe leather. The muscles bind up... You have to let them chill out.” Aging meat is a process of highly controlled decomposition; enzymes break down some of the fibers in the meat over time, giving it the tenderness found in a good steak. Wet and Dry Aging Compared Beef can be aged in two ways: wet or dry. Flavor-wise, wet-aged beef is, well, beefy. It’s beloved by carnivores for a reason. Keep in mind that, as Greg noted, all beef is aged for at least four to ten days before sale to tenderize the cut. Wet aging “sort of happens along the way” from harvest to retail purchase, says Herring. Most abattoirs aim to break down an animal immediately and get it to their distributors, who like us, may then elect to wet age the beef for up to another month or so before deciding it’s tender enough for sale. Wet aging allows the meat to be cut into retail-size portions early in the process, because no evaporation occurs to shrink the meat. Dry aging, on the other hand, requires that the beef be left in large cuts—small cuts will shrink and dry out to the point that no useable meat remains. The “sub-primal” (read: big) cuts are hung in a space like we have on site; controlled for temperature, humidity, and air flow. The enzymatic action that tenderizes the meat happens more quickly with dry aging, even though the process itself offers more flexibility than wet aging. When it comes to dry aging, both the animal and the cut matter. Meat with more fat marbling dry ages better overall than lean meat or lean cuts, because, says Greg, “fat content slows the process of aging, tempers it a little bit.” Dry aging involves a fair amount of water evaporation and therefore shrinkage, and the outer portion of the cuts (the “crust”) must be cut off before retail distribution because it becomes extremely dry, almost like beef jerky. Lean animals or cuts will shrink more and develop a more penetrating crust—meaning more product loss. Dry aging is more expensive overall than wet aging. Unlike wet aging, in which cuts can be stacked and transported in vacuum-sealed bags with no unused space, dry aging demands a lot of space and air flow even during transportation; combine that with the amount of beef that is cut away during the trimming after aging is complete and it makes it a higher-loss, higher-expense process. Dry aging may be more costly than wet aging, but it’s also more interesting, says Herring. Dry-aged beef offers its own kind of fantastic flavor. The process yields a product that’s denser (thanks to water evaporation), more tender, and more taste-intense than wet-aged beef. Bacteria, enzymatic activity, and oxidation combine to shift the meat’s flavor in dry aging. After 28 days, the beef will have pretty much hit its maximum tenderness, but the flavor profile can continue to change for a long time after that. Between 30 and 40 days will likely yield a beef cut with intense but still beefy flavor and optimum tenderness. Here at The Organic Butcher, beef is typically dry aged for between 35 and 60 days. But, sometimes we get stuff that already has 28, 45 days of dry aging on it. Dry aging can also just be a way to store product, for example we sometimes get a cut in from a distributor that does their own dry aging, cut the steaks a customer requests, and store the rest. We’re continuing to age at that point, but effectively just storing it. That’s actually the safest way to store dry-aged meat—returning it to dry aging. It’s possible to vacuum seal the dry-aged cut, but the result will be a shortened shelf life. The beef will remain edible after two weeks, but the texture will begin to go south and funk will begin to predominate, according to Herring. “It’s not unsafe. It’s quality you’re losing.” Going All the Way: Long-Duration Dry Aging Extreme dry aging (100+ days) something we do on request, is a personal preference with a lot of variables at play, says Herring. One of the advantages of dry aging is its flexibility, both in terms of the factors at play and aging duration. Herring explains: You have a bit more versatility with what you're manipulating. You can manipulate the temperature, the amount of air circulation, the humidity, and each of those will affect the final product, the flavor. If you want really complex, nutty flavor, then you lower your air circulation, and you'll get way more [flavor]. You’ll have mold on the outside; those flavors penetrate, and the cut will taste almost like a fancy cheese. The longer you go, the more you can develop. At about 60 days, you stop really developing the classic dry-age flavor, because the aerobic enzymes have consumed all they can. But you can continue to dry it at that point. The beef will keep losing moisture, which concentrates flavors. It's just like reducing a soup. All the collagen, fat, nutrients, and minerals get more and more concentrated as you lose water content…. You're creating a craft, nuanced, interesting product. Is Dry Aging Safe? Short answer: Yes, assuming it’s done right. If it’s not, you’re going to notice—the meat will smell, look, feel, and taste (not that you would get that far!) awful. Long answer: Yes. Remember, all meat aging—dry and wet—is controlled decomposition. Properly dry aging meat requires the right temperature, humidity level, and air flow. All these variables have wiggle room depending on the butcher’s goals. Herring notes that dry aging, done properly, is safer than wet aging because, in the absence of liquid and the presence of air flow, any contamination remains on the cut’s exterior, in the “crust” that develops as air circulates around the meat. Says Herring, “With dry age, contamination stays on the outside. It doesn't penetrate, doesn't move around the cut, because there's no water activity to move in.” As for eating the exterior—the “crust”—of dry-aged meat, it’s not dangerous, it’s just, in Herring’s opinion, not terribly tasty. As mentioned, the cut’s exterior gets dry and hard during the dry-aging process, so it’s unappealing to eat. The outer layers also act as a barrier against contamination, and mold will grow on the cut’s surface. So, even though it’s safe to eat, standard practice dictates cutting away any hard or moldy portions after the aging process is complete. Health-department rules require that the exterior portions be removed for serving in restaurants, anyway. If you’ve ever eaten a really whiffy, odiferous dry-aged cut, it’s probably because the meat wasn’t trimmed back far enough. Dry Aging: Not Just for Beef Yes, it’s possible and useful to dry age other meats. Beef stands to benefit the most from dry aging, though, since of all commercial proteins, it presents the most variability in tenderness. Lamb, veal, and pork are generally tender to begin with; it’s cooking technique that’s most likely to make or break these meats. Dry aging game birds is a longstanding practice. “Hanging” birds was, before the advent of refrigeration, pretty much the only option for preserving meat besides smoking or salting. Pork can definitely be dry aged, and we do that often – if you haven’t tried it you’re missing out. Just ask one of our butchers for it at the counter. About dry aged pork, Herring explains it’s “not the same as dry aging beef. You don't have the enzymes that break down the texture as much, so you don't get much more tenderness, [though] you get a little bit.” Pork can’t be dry aged for as long as beef because of pork’s higher water content, which makes aging riskier when it comes to spoilage and meat loss. But, according to Herring, even a week of dry aging an apparently unmarbled pork chop can work miracles. “Suddenly all this marbling blooms out of it… The texture gets a little firmer. It gets juicier… It blows people's minds the first time they have it.” And you can dry age more than just the chops of a pig, we also dry-aged pork belly; leaving the skin on for protection and aging it for a whopping three months! About the pork belly Greg says “It was amazing…very, very complex. So rich.” There you have it—dry aging in a nutshell. We offer a number of aged cuts and if you don’t see them just ask at the counter. Trying out a dry-aged cut could open the door to a delicious new world.  

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Fresh West Coast Halibut + Recipe

April 20, 2018

Fresh West Coast Halibut + Recipe
Wild West Coast Halibut is in! They’re averaging 10-20lbs right now and boast a firm flesh with a mild buttery flavor. This makes them ideal for: Grilling, Roasting, Pan Searing, Broiling, Steaming, Poaching, and Smoking. Follow our simple recipe for delicious pan-seared Halibut topped with our house-made roasted garlic, thyme & lemon compound butter! Recipe: Pre-heat oven to 350  degrees. Season Halibut with only salt Heat pan till hot with 1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil until the oil shimmers Place halibut skin side down in the pan and let sear for 3-4 minutes. Do not flip and put the pan in a 350 degree oven and roast for 6 to 7 minutes Remove fish from pan and add some sliced shallots, asparagus tips, thinly sliced lemons, capers and cherry tomatoes Sauté for 4 minutes and season with fresh chopped parsley Place fish on top of the sauté vegetables and add a hearty scoop of our house-made roasted garlic & lemon compound butter and enjoy! Come see us soon!    

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Garlic & Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb Recipe

March 21, 2018

Garlic & Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb Recipe
We've created a simple and delicious recipe for a Garlic & Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb.  Ingredients: 8-10 lb. Bone-In Leg of Lamb  1 bunch fresh thyme 1 bunch fresh rosemary 8-10 cloves peeled garlic, cut in half lengthwise 1-2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil Mint Sauce  Extra butcher's twine (request when picking up the leg of lamb or in the notes section at checkout) Instructions: Request Bone-In or Boneless Leg of Lamb tied and pick up all ingredients at the shop! Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 1" deep slits through out the roast, rub with EVOO and stuff with the cloves of peeled garlic. Season with salt & pepper. Secure a layer of fresh herbs with some additional butcher's twine. Roast at 350 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 125/130 degrees. About 1 hour for a boneless leg and 1.5-2 hours for bone-in. Remove herbs and crank oven up to 450 degrees for 10 minutes until the outside has a nice browned crust. Let rest under tented foil for 30 minutes, slice and serve with mint sauce.  

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Venison Chili Recipe

January 31, 2018

Venison Chili Recipe
Looking for the perfect dish to feature on Game Day? Try our spicy and delicious Venison Chili!  ______________________________________________________ Venison Chili Recipe  ½ C bacon – chopped – 4-5 strips 2 LB ground venison 1 LB venison stew – ask the butcher to cube for Chili 2 TBSP Lane’s ancho espresso rub (optional) 1 spanish onion – chopped 2 carrots or 1.5 C – shredded ¼ C garlic – minced 1 poblano pepper – diced 4 TBSP cumin 3 TBSP paprika 3 TBSP chili powder 1 6oz can tomato paste 2 C red cooking wine 1/2 TBSP maple syrup 2 cans diced tomatoes 1 can kidney beans salt & pepper to taste Instructions: Cook bacon until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside for garnishing the chili at the end. Season the venison with Lane’s Ancho Espresso rub or salt & pepper. Sear until meat is browned on all sides in the rendered bacon fat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, pepper & spices. Cook covered for 40 mins on medium/low heat or at a low simmer. Add tomato paste, red wine & maple syrup. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by about half. Add diced tomatoes and cook covered until the venison cubes become tender, about 2-3 hours. Add the beans and enjoy! 

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Top Sirloin Roast Recipe - An Easy and Impressive Roast for The Holidays!

December 05, 2017

Top Sirloin Roast Recipe - An Easy and Impressive Roast for The Holidays!
This recipe features the Top Sirloin Roast which is available on our Holiday Menu. This cut is tender and has rich beefy flavor.   We've paired the roast with Fingerling Potatoes & Shallots seasoned with Salt & Pepper and topped with Iberico Lardo slices as well as Brussels Sprouts & Carrots drizzled with Honey, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.  Plate these veggies then lay the sliced Top Sirloin over top.  ______________________________________________________   Ingredients: Top Sirloin Roast - ask us to season & tie it for you!  Extra Virgin Olive Oil Butcher Shop Steak Rub Fingerling Potatoes Shallots Sliced Iberico Lardo Brussels Sprouts Carrots Honey or Hot Honey *All ingredients available for purchase at the shop!*   Instructions: Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees and bring roast to room temperature. Roast the season and tied Top Sirloin uncovered for 45-60 minutes or until internal temp reaches 130-135 degrees. Let rest under loosely tented foil for 20-30 minutes before slicing the roast. While the roast is cooking prep the potatoes by cutting them 1/4" thick and thinly slice the shallots. Season with salt & pepper and lay flat in a roasting pan. Lay the slices of Iberico Lardo overtop. Put these in the oven when the roast is about half-way through and cook the potatoes for 25-30 minutes or until done. The  Lardo crisps up during the cook, save these cracklings to use as the garnish! Lastly, cut the brussels sprouts & carrots to desired size. Drizzle honey or hot honey for an extra kick, olive oil, salt & pepper. Put these in when the top sirloin roast is almost done and roast for 15-20 minutes or until they're nicely caramelized. Plate the veggies together and lay the slices of sirloin and Iberico cracklings over top for an impressive and delicious presentation!            

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