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Since  1973

Perfect Pork Chops

We’ve all cooked that dry pork chop and wondered what went wrong. Today I’m offering a surefire way to enjoy that tasty pork chop without having to choke down dry meat.

Pork has changed over the years; what was once a sketchy food that most definitely needed to be overcooked in order to be eaten safely is now a great protein many enjoy. With the refinement in growing and processing techniques along with reliable refrigeration, you no longer need to cremate it to enjoy it.

Food habits are hard to change, (like overcooking pork), but with solid research and lots of development of pork, they have come up with suggestions as to how to cook it properly and still enjoy a moist, tender pork chop for any meal.

I really like grilled pork chops for the wonderful flavor; my cooking suggestion today is two different ways to prepare pork chops before grilling to help with the process: one is a wet marinade and the other a dry marinade.

Wet marinade, as it sounds, has a liquid feature (not always water) and includes seasoning, juices, vinegar, etc., that are blended and introduced to the pork for a period of time to embellish flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. Key ingredients to a wet marinade include an acid (citrus, vinegar, and wine work well), an oil (olive and avocado oils work great), spices, and herbs for flavor. The idea is the acid in the citrus or vinegar helps break down the tissue while the oil and seasonings infuse the meat with flavor while absorbing moisture. These ingredients and the time put into it will reward you with tender and juicy pork chops.

The other option is a dry marinade, which is a dry rub that’s applied to the pork before setting for at least an hour to impart its flavor into the meat. This can be your favorite dry rub or a number of seasonings that go with pork. The favorites are cumin, garlic, rosemary, thyme, onion, mustard, and peppers (black, white, cayenne, and chili). The dry marinade helps flavor the pork and creates a nice crusty exterior when cooked perfectly with a bit higher heat. They’re delicious!

Now for the most critical part: cooking. Your grill can be gas or charcoal, but either way, be prepared to spend some time there. Pour yourself some wine and enjoy the aromas coming off your grill while tending to the meat. Make sure you have a decent meat thermometer handy as this is the best way to tell when they’re finished.

After turning your meat several times, be sure to check the internal temperature in the thickest portion of the meat. Wait about 30 seconds for the most accurate reading.

Cooked pork temperatures have also changed over the years; the U.S.D.A. now recommends finished pork is 145 degrees with a three-minute rest. This new recommended temperature is a significant 15 degrees less than what was previously recommended and typically will yield a finished product that’s pinker in color than most home cooks are accustomed to … but they’re much more delicious, tender and juicy. I personally recommend a five-minute rest under a foil cover after bringing them off of the grill when they hit 145 degrees. Resting is a really important step in cooking meat. Steak, chicken roast, turkey, and pork all are generally tastier, more tender and juicier when rested after cooking. With a little preparation and attention to times and temperatures, you too can have a delicious, tender, juicy pork chop for dinner!

SIMPLE RULES FOR MARINATING EFFECTIVELY

Beef, chicken, and pork should be marinated for no less than one hour and no more than 24 hours.

Use plastic or glass containers. Plastic storage bags work great also.

Make sure to refrigerate while marinating.

Don’t reuse marinades once it has been in contact with your protein. You may use it to baste while cooking, but it must be discarded afterward.

DAVID’S DRY RUB

This rub works well with all kinds of meat, so use a little and save the rest for another meal! It’s also great on steaks!

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon onion salt

1 tablespoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Rub on pork chops and place on a rack so both sides can be open to the air in your refrigerator. Let sit for half an hour in the refrigerator, then let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cook on grill approximately 400 degrees, pour that wine and watch them cook. After turning several times, test the temperature and remove it at 145 degrees. Let rest for five minutes covered, and then serve.

WET MARINADE FOR A TANGY PORK CHOP

Makes enough for 4 pork chops

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

Pinch black pepper

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon granulated onion

1 chopped scallion

1/2 teaspoon mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients, mix thoroughly and pour marinade over the chops. Seal the top and make sure all ingredients cover the pork. Retire to the refrigerator for at least an hour. I prefer it for two hours.

Cook on the grill at about 350 degrees turning several times. With wet marinade, slower is better. Test with a thermometer, remove at 145 degrees, rest for five minutes with a foil cover and serve. Enjoy!

Pork Carnitas

carnitas

Pork carnitas is the recipe for this week. Easy to make at home and extremely versatile and tasty.

Pork carnitas, a Mexican dish, is a slow-cooked pork, usually pork butt. This meat is a shoulder piece, often called Boston butt, that has enough marbled fat running through it to make it juicy and delicious. One version of history reports, Campesinos (poor country farmers) prepared this delicacy in large copper pots, because of preparation time and the large quantity it made. It was often only made on special occasions, once or twice a year.

“Carnitas” literally means “little meats.” Prepared by slow cooking, this process breaks down the collagen and connective tissue in the meat and what’s left is extremely tender meat that falls apart into small pieces. Traditionally this meat was cooked in large amounts of lard, like being deep-fried. I’ve seen many recipes for carnitas with lots of steps, but this recipe I’m suggesting you try is easy and not a lot of work.

In my recipe, I don’t use any lard, as I certainly could use fewer calories. I don’t think it’s necessary as there’s no lack of flavor because of the lack of the lard. The natural marbled fat and juices from this piece of pork surely make it delicious.

 

I was educated by a friend about pork carnitas. It doesn’t need to be overly seasoned or spicy as it’s meant to be a base meat that you can add your own heat to with green or spicy chilies. Common toppings for carnitas are salsa, onions, beans, guacamole, tomatoes, and cheese, to name a few. Once finished, it’s great for many types of dinners. The traditional tacos, burritos, enchiladas, but try this also over white rice, toss with grilled vegetables, as wonton meat filling, or as an open-faced quesadilla with cheddar cheese melted on top. Any way you prepare it, it’s rich in flavor, easy to prepare, and oh so versatile.

DRY SEASONING RUB

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

2 tablespoons Kosher salt (I like the big flakes to help season it correctly)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Combine all dry seasonings and mix.

 

PORK CARNITAS

INGREDIENTS

4-5 pounds pork butt large chunk (I prefer boneless for ease)

2 cups salsa verde (I prefer the mild version of this ingredient, but you can use a spicier version if you can stand the heat)

1/4 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Using dry seasoning, rub the pork butt generously on all sides.

Place meat into a large crockpot, pouring salsa verde over the meat with 1/4 cup of water. Turn onto low and forget it for eight hours. (If crockpot lid isn’t really tight, increase water to 1/2 cup).

After eight hours, the meat has completely cooked and is ready to be forked apart (should be super tender). At this point, it’s ready to eat.

If you’re interested in getting authentic carnitas flavor after forking apart, turn the pork onto a sheet pan and place under broiler for five minutes or until crispy brown burnt crunchies appear and you’re ready to serve. Don’t forget: if you don’t want to do the work, it’s available at Butler’s all the time.

A simple recipe, and delicious. Hope you enjoy it.

Recipe by David Theiss Owner of Butler Gourmet Meats.


Slow Cooker 10-Bean Soup for Luck in the New Year

SIMPLE 10 BEAN SOUP

In every kitchen pantry on the bottom shelf hiding behind the bread machine or George Foreman grill, there is an appliance rarely used. Yes, it’s the Crock-Pot (or slow cooker). Pull it out, dust it off and I will give you ideas on how to slow cook soup.

 

The beauty of slow cooking soup in a slow cooker is that it does most of the work with very little preparation. Having the time to cook after a day’s work, sit down, and have dinner with your family, is always a challenge.

 

But, here’s a way to do so and still have the home-cooked meal with little effort.

 

Beans are one of the oldest foods known to man. Archeologists in Thailand have found evidence of pea cultivation dating back to 9750 B.C.

 

Peas and beans, even though broad in scope are both considered part of the legume family. Beans were found in Egyptian tombs dating back some 4,000 years.

 

Today, there are around 18,000 legume species, but only 14 are grown for human consumption.  No wonder beans were and are so important to the human diet.

 

Beans are the only food that fits into two groups on the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. Being both a vegetable and protein. They are high in complex carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fiber.

 

They are low in fat and sodium, cholesterol-free and rich in vitamins and minerals. Beans are a great part of a balanced diet. They are a natural source of folate, which studies have shown can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. Beans can also improve glucose control in diabetes. Not to mention they’re just darn good.

 

This recipe for 10-bean soup has been created from years of making soup on a daily basis. Simple is always good. Years ago, my Aunt Rosemary Smith told me that making this 10-bean soup was part of a New Year’s tradition that brought good luck for the following year.

 

It really is as simple as adding the ingredients to the slow cooker and turning it on. If you are interested in changing to different beans or peas, this recipe also works well with split peas, lentils or navy beans.

 

I also encourage you to add other seasonings or vegetables. This gives you the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind design. This recipe is delicious and comforting on a snowy evening, after the game or even after work. You come home and it’s ready. You can feel good about bringing your family to the table with a home-cooked meal instead of picking it up on the way, and it’s sure to be a hit.

 

What a better way to start the New Year.

 

SIMPLE 10 BEAN SOUP

Makes about 6 servings

1 16-oz. package of 10-bean soup mix (grab it at our store)

3 quarts cold water

1 T. garlic salt

1 T. chopped onion (dehydrated or raw)

¼ tsp. ground pepper

1 meaty ham hock (cubed ham or 4 thick-sliced bacon strips chopped into ½ inch pieces can be substituted)

 

TIP: Butler Meats prepackages their own variety of 10-bean soup mix as well as having the meaty ham hocks.

 

In a colander, rinse your beans and pick out any unwanted pieces. The beans are never prewashed as it defeats the purpose of the dehydration process before packaging. Add beans to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Measure and add the rest of the listed ingredients. Stir, cover with the lid and place on low temp. You’re done.

 

Note: This recipe is made the night before and can be started before going to bed. Cooking time is between 16-24 hours. The larger the beans will be firm and tender, while the smaller ones cook down to thicken the broth. Serve with warm bread and enjoy.

 

BUYING GUIDE: Whole or Half a Hog

 

HOG BUYERS GUIDE

A half hog can be approximately 115 lbs. And a whole hog can be approximately 230 lbs. The hanging weight hog.

 

BUYING A HALF OR WHOLE HOG

Buying meat in bulk is the most economical way to buy meat. You get the advantage of having the meat cut and wrapped the way you like it and at a bulk rate. 

 

During the month of January, we have a steal of a deal on buying a half or whole hog. We get questions about how to order a half hog and how to choose the cuts you want. We thought we’d take the time to answer some of the commonly asked questions and give you the advice we give to all our customers when ordering a whole or half hog. 

Half or Whole Hog Weight

HOW MUCH DOES A HALF OR WHOLE HOG COST?

During January we offer our best deal at $1.99 per pound for a half or whole hog. That equates to about $250 for a side of pork and approx. $500 for a whole hog. The regular price is $2.39lb.

 

WHAT CUTS SHOULD I GET?

Buying pork in bulk can sometimes be confusing, especially if you’ve never bought your meat this way.

The best place to start is to think about what cuts of pork you and your family like to eat.

Do you eat pork chops? Tenderloin? Ribs? Do you make smoked pork butt roasts? Soups and stews?

This will help us recommend to you how to cut your half or whole hog. You will receive freezer wrapped, in quality freezer paper, cuts that will last up to one year in your freezer.

Pork Ribs

Cuts of Pork: The 5 sections of a hog

Loin

Belly

Ham

Shoulders

Ribs

 

Loin

The loin section runs along the top of the ribs. You can choose to have this as a loin roast, specified as bone-in or boneless and desired size of roasts (average is 2 to 3 lbs). Alternately, you can have the loin cut into chops (bone-in) or steaks (boneless) and specify a thickness (average is 1″).

Belly

Fresh side, also known as pork belly, can be prepared in any number of ways. The belly is where the bacon comes from. 

You can choose to have it made into bacon, which is cured and smoked for you. Our no-nitrate maple sugar and hickory smoked bacon is a favorite among our customers.

Instead of having the side meat cured and smoked, you could choose to have it fresh to cure it yourself, slice it into pancetta or braise it.  Or ask to have it added to your ground or sausage meat.

Ham

The ham is another section that can be left fresh or cured and smoked. You can leave the ham whole, have it cut in half, cut into roasts or steaks. The most popular way to cut the ham is center cut ham steaks and leave the ends as roasts. 

Shoulder

The shoulder is located in the front section of the hog and the area from where the Boston Butt and Picnic Roast are located. The shoulder can be left whole, cut in half as a whole Boston Butt or Picnic or ground. The Boston Butt and Picnic can be further cut into roasts or steaks.

Ribs

The most popular way to have the ribs cut is “spare ribs,” which are basically the whole ribs. You could instead have them cut into what’s known as St. Louis style ribs.

Ground Pork & Sausage

Any meat that you specify or whatever is not included in the cuts you’ve selected can be ground and left as ground pork or used for sausage. You can choose from Italian hot or mild, Basque chorizo, cajun creole, or breakfast sausage.

 

CAN I ORDER HALF OR WHOLE HOG ANYTIME?

Yes, you can order a half or whole hog at any time of the year. However, January is the only month to get this smokin’ deal of $1.99lb, regular price is $2.39lb.

 

Please call us 775-883-0211 to order your half or whole hog, and choose how you would like your hog cut and wrapped.

 

Butler Meats sells sides of beef as well as pork.

Smoked Pork Butt Pulled Pork

Rice with sausage stuffing and traditional dressing

Tomato, “tomahto,” potato, “potahto,” stuffing or dressing or something like that. So, what’s the difference? Some say it’s whether or not it’s cooked in the turkey (ergo stuffing) or prepared outside the turkey and calling it dressing.

 

It has also been said anything south of the Mason-Dixon line is called dressing, as stuffing

sounds unpleasant. That may be the case, but this term is used all the time in cooking: stuffed chicken, stuffed pork chops, stuffed veal breast, etc.

 

While either term may be used interchangeably, they both bring a delicious side dish to mind, usually prepared with and associated with a special dinner.

 

History reveals to us it has been around for centuries with its first evidence in a Roman cookbook. In that time many foods were used for stuffing like seafood, rabbit, liver, brains, and little — if any — bread or starch.

 

A 13th-century cookbook had a recipe for a ram stuffed with small birds, and another recipe with a camel stuffed with sheep stuffed with bustards stuffed with carp stuffed with eggs. I guess making “turduckens” for holiday meals isn’t so bad then. Sounds like you’re feeding an army and lots of work.

 

Today’s stuffings are a little simpler, usually bread or rice with vegetables, seasonings and broth with maybe a few other simple ingredients. Of course, ingredients change regionally. Here’s a few I’ve seen that aren’t too crazy: apples, figs, squash, bacon, quite a few different kinds of sausages (from spicy to mild), cornbread, sourdough, onions, celery, rice, chestnuts, and oysters, to name a few.

 

I’m sure the debate will go on between stuffing or dressing, but one thing is for sure: They sure are delicious side dishes for any meal!

 

Today I have two recipes for you. One I always use and like, traditional and super simple, and one with rice and sausage our family has made for years.

 

RICE WITH SAUSAGE STUFFING

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups wild rice

4 cups chicken broth

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons salted butter

DIRECTIONS:

Start the rice first. Rice cookers work great. If using a pot, combine rice, all of the chicken broth and butter. Give it a quick stir, bring to boil, then turn down to a low simmer with the lid on — it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

In a frying pan, cook sausage and crumble while cooking, just to get the red out. Scoop out the sausage, reserving the fat to sauté the onions and celery for about 8-10 minutes until translucent.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, including rice and sausage, and fold over until well mixed. At this point, you may stuff the turkey cavity with the stuffing loosely and roast the turkey as usual. Or you can bake it in a baking dish in the oven separately by putting the stuffing in a 9-by-13-inch glass dish covered with foil and baking it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

TRADITIONAL DRESSING

INGREDIENTS:

12 cups dry bread, cubed

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cups celery, chopped in small pieces

2 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 cups chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

In a sauté pan, combine butter, onions, celery and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until translucent. Heat chicken broth. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and fold together until well mixed.

At this point, you could stuff the turkey cavity loosely and roast the turkey as usual or pour ingredients in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish, covered with foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

I hope you and your family enjoy each other and enjoy the gift of Thanksgiving.

Enjoy!

 

We have all the spices and seasonings you need for these two recipes and of course, you know we have you covered on sausage!

 

David Theiss is the owner of Butler Gourmet meats, serving Carson City since 1973.

 

Let’s Talk Thanksgiving Turkey

Buying a turkey for your holiday dinner can be confusing. We’ll answer the most important (and common) questions below about what you are getting.

 

Tom Turkey or Hen?

This depends on how many people you are inviting. Hen turkeys range from 8lbs. up to 18lbs. Toms range from 18lbs. up to 30lbs. The main difference is bone structure, there is more meat on a hen, versus a tom. As for the cooking differences, there are little, if any.

 

How Much? (click our chart below to download a copy).

Our recommendation is 2lbs. per adult (less for kids) to have moderate leftovers.

 

What Brand?

We suggest a Grade A, not injected or pumped, fresh not previously frozen then thawed to make “fresh” again turkey. Beware of the .29, .39, and .59 cent per pound turkeys, they may be cheap, but paying per pound for injected water, phosphates or salt add up on cost and decrease taste, and do not affect tenderness or moistness as claimed. We offer our premixed brine seasoning to enhance flavor and help with tenderness and moistness.

 

We at Butler Meats offer only Grade A turkeys that have never been injected with anything. You’ll find that our turkey will be the best you can find on the market – paired with our premixed brine mixture you’ll have the best turkey for your holiday dinners!

 

Call today to order your fresh non-injected turkey! 775-883-0211

 

Click on the images to download!

    

Butler Meats in the News!

Here is some praise for Butler Meats from the Nevada Appeal,

June 30, 2011.

 

Click here to read

The Block

Recipe: Braised Short Ribs, by David Theiss