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

Dry-Aged Fifth Rib Tomahawk + Reverse Sear Recipe

May 21, 2018 141 Comments

Dry-Aged Fifth Rib Tomahawk + Reverse Sear Recipe
Dry-Aged 5th Rib Tomahawk A tomahawk is a bone in ribeye that has gained popularity because the beef is mouthwatering and the giant bone offers an extraordinary presentation. Enter one of our newer offerings, what we call the 5th Rib Tomahawk.  We get these beauties our friends at Seven Hills Foods and they are locally sourced from farmers right here in Virginia. This steak is technically not a ribeye by USDA standards; those can only come from ribs six through twelve. The "5th rib ribeye” is actually the end cut off the chuck portion of a steer referred to as the chuck eye, with the massive 5th rib bone left intact for extra flavor and visual appeal. Because of how close the chuck eye is to the ribeye, it’s similar in in both taste and tenderness. The chuck eye boasts that really beefy flavor and is infinitely more tender than a standard chuck steak. To top it off, Seven Hills takes extra time to dry-age each of these 5th rib tomahawks for added tenderness and flavor. So why not just get a ribeye? Well, a chuck eye steak offers our customers more than just an intense beef flavor, it offers some serious value as well; what you might give up in taste and tenderness (it isn’t much), you gain in cost savings because of our aggressive pricing on this quality steak. We’re offering 5th rib tomahawks at  $15.99 per pound. Keep in mind that these cuts are not as readily available as traditional ribeye because only two available per steer.  If you don’t see any in the case just ask one of our butchers because we may have some in the back! Follow our cooking instructions below and you’ll be blown away by this amazing uncommon cut of meat. Stop by soon and ask about it, we can’t wait to hear your feedback! How to reverse sear a Tomahawk steak in an oven and cast-iron skillet Want to make the perfect medium rare steak but don’t have a grill? Easy…just follow this recipe to impress! Ingredients: Organic Butcher 5thBone Ribeye Organic Butcher Steak Rub Organic Butcher Black Garlic and Rosemary Compound Butter **All ingredients available for purchase at the Organic Butcher store, just let us know when you come by, or for an even more convenient way, call ahead and ask for a "5th rib tomahawk recipe bag” Instructions: Preheat your oven to 225-235 degrees. Remove a sliver of fat from the room temperature steak for use later. Season Tomahawk liberally with Steak Rub. Place your steak on cooling rack situated on a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 45 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temp of 125°. Remove steak from oven and let it rest. In hot cast iron pan, place the sliver of fat and allow it to render down. Place steak directly onto blistering hot cast iron, flipping every 45 seconds for about 5 minutes or until desired level of dark crust is achieved. Rest steak for 15 minutes. Top with Organic Butcher Black Garlic and Rosemary Compound Butter, slice and serve. Enjoy!   How to reverse sear a Tomahawk steak on a gas grill Want to make an amazing steak on your gas grill? Our Lynx gas grills are second to none and this simple recipe will have your family, friends, and neighbors begging for more. Ingredients: Tomahawk Ribeye Organic Butcher Steak RubOrganic Butcher Black Garlic and Rosemary Compound Butter* All ingredients and Lynx grill available in the shop! Instructions:  Season room temperature 5th rib tomahawk liberally with Steak Rub. Light your grill. Only light one burner of your Lynx grill, on one side of the grill or the other but not in the middle. Allow the internal grill temp to reach 225° and place your steak as far from the direct heat as possible, close lid. Cook steak for approximately 45 minutes, or until it reaches internal temp of 125° for a medium rare steak. Remove and let it rest. (If you like your steak a little more done take it to an internal temperature slightly higher or to desired level of doneness.) Turn your grill burner up to MAX and let the grill grate get hot for about 5 minutes. Place steak directly over hot burner to sear. Flip frequently, about every 15 seconds for roughly 5 minutes or until desired level of dark crust is achieved. Let steak rest for 15 minutes. Top with Organic Butcher compound butter. Slice and serve for the perfect presentation.  

Read More

Meet The Farmer Series - Seven Hills Foods

May 21, 2018 135 Comments

Meet The Farmer Series - Seven Hills Foods
In our first post of our new “Meet the Farmer” series, we are featuring Seven Hills Food. Seven Hills is the largest independent slaughter facility in Virginia with a mission of bringing local meat consumers and local meat producers together; with a focus on quality, transparency and sustainability.  Ryan Ford, owner of Seven Hills Foods, also happens to be the brother-in-law of The Organic Butcher owner, Don Roden, extending our family-run operation all the way to the farm. Some of the staff from the shop recently had the opportunity to visit Seven Hills and learn all about what sets them above the rest. Seven Hills’ operation is based out of the historic Holliday Street Plant in Lynchburg, Virginia. The plant was put through a 20-month renovation to bring it into the modern era, and to add digital systems that aid in product traceability from beginning to end. In addition to giving life to an old building, Ryan wanted to breathe some new life to the farm to table movement in the Old Dominion State. While locally sourcing food has been popular for a few years, there are limitations when it comes to proteins. Locally sourced proteins are frequently scarce or prohibitively expensive for many customers. Ryan and Seven Hills discovered that solving the problem of how to get locally-raised beef on the plate—took more than just raising healthy animals on a local farm. “You just can’t grow local proteins without processing [them]” says Ryan. “This has been the bottleneck that has existed and really prevented beef from being able to rise in the tide of local food.”Clearing that bottleneck drove Seven Hills to restore the Lynchburg abattoir. Their ultimate goal, however, is to restore a system of meat production that’s been lost for decades. “Around the 1960s, the industry consolidated”says Ryan, and with that consolidation came a lack of choice. Instead of having the ability to speak with the processing plant and getting custom selections, purveyors got stuck with pre-chosen, vacuum packed cuts of meat, being shipped in from somewhere across the country. It wasn’t enough for Seven Hills to offer locally sourced protein, they wanted to ensure unbeatable quality as well. “We realized that there’s a demand for a high-quality local product that far exceeds the supply in the marketplace,”says Ryan. Seven Hills has met this demand by meeting with local cattle farmers. Now instead of selling to anonymous, automated processing plants, farmers can sell their stock to Seven Hills knowing their cows will be treated humanely, with care, and will become part of a robust local food system. “If you want to know where your food comes from, then we’re the people you want to take a look at,”explains Ryan. “We’re always going to be a people place, this is a place where tradesman will be harvesting beef, not machines.” Instead of automating their processing plant, Seven Hills went the traditional route. This traditional, skill-based approach means that Seven Hills can offer something many chefs and butchers have been lacking for years: customization! Seven Hills welcomes special requests. If a customer wants a specific cut, or a longer dry aging process, all they have to do is ask. Seven Hills dry-ages their meat in-house, a process that removes extra moisture from the meat and creates a more tender and flavorful product. Dry-aging guarantees quality and is rarely done in processing plants due to the time, space and dedication it takes. Learn even more about dry-aging here. It was incredible to see first-hand the difference it makes when working with a small operation in regard to customization. A prime example is the Dry-Aged 5th Rib Tomahawk we recently started stocking. The 5thrib, aka chuck eye steak, comes from the chuck portion of the steak and is typically be a tougher cut, but Seven Hills is able to custom cut and dry-age these impressive steaks so you’re getting flavor and tenderness at a killer value. Learn even more about this cut here. Hiring tradesmen to harvest beef the old-fashioned way also allows Seven Hills to focus their technology and digital systems on something else vital to their business model—traceability. Seven Hills knows where every cow comes from, allowing them to offer customers highly specific product options. If a restaurant wants a case of steaks from Charlottesville, Seven Hills can ensure that the diners are feasting on local beef. Traceability also means Seven Hills can make changes to their lines if they need to. “If we have a chef or a butcher that says, ‘Hey we got a case of steaks from you that were kind of tough,’ we can actually react to that,”says Ryan.“We can go to the producer. It gives you a really good chance to create the highest quality beef over the long run.” It’s Ryan’s hope that Seven Hills can lead the way in a local protein revolution, “I think there’s excitement for everyone about the opportunity to create a branded Virginia beef line.”. He envisions a world where local processing can change what it means to order a steak at restaurants. “Whether the customer is a chef, or the guest of a chef in a restaurant, knowing that you’re two handshakes away from a live Angus beef steer on a Virginia farm is a powerful thing.”  

Read More

5 Impressive Meals for Mother's Day

May 08, 2018 131 Comments

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.

Read More

Dry Aging at The Organic Butcher

May 08, 2018 129 Comments

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.  

Read More

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!    

Read More

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.  

Read More

Get special discounts and
exclusive updates

Follow The Organic Butcher
On instagram
Special Orders