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Corned Beef & Cabbage

Saint Patrick was a missionary known as the apostle of Ireland in the second half of the fifth century in Ireland. He’s considered the primary patron saint of Ireland and it was his extensive missionary work in which he became celebrated. One told fable of Saint Patrick banishing all the snakes in Ireland, chasing them into the seas after they had attacked him.

He’s credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland. March 17, known as St Patrick’s Day, is believed to be the date of his death. The Catholic Church designated this day a celebration and feast in the early part of the 17th century. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City on March 17, 1762. Today St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world as a religious and cultural holiday. In the United States, this day has morphed into a holiday with many traditions. Wearing green, which symbolizes the return of spring. Shamrocks, a young sprig of clover used as a symbol of Christianity. Leprechauns, derived from Irish folklore which is said to be a solitary small bearded man who’s always mischievous. And or course corned beef and cabbage.

Corned beef is defined as a salted cured piece of beef, typically brisket nowadays. Years ago they used whatever kind of cheap meat they could get their hands on to corn. Corned beef was used extensively for trade and civilian consumption because of its non-perishable qualities. It also was used to feed many armies. To corn meat is to cure with salt. Many centuries ago, the salt used for corning was the size and shape of corn kernels. Salt, along with a few other ingredients and simple flavorings, was packed with the beef which preserved it. Although thought to be Irish by dissent, most Irish people didn’t eat corned beef in Ireland as it was a luxury item and cost-prohibitive. St. Patrick’s Day dish in Ireland is Irish bacon and cabbage. Interestingly enough, corned beef was one of those foods born out of necessity in the Irish diet in the United States. During the 18th century, when many Irish immigrants came to the U.S., they found their Irish dish was too expensive and replaced it with corned beef as it was much cheaper and readily available. Today we associate corned beef with St. Patrick’s Day. It’s used as part of an Irish American celebration for St. Patrick’s Day in North America. Corned beef was then combined with cabbage as these two were paired primarily because of cost. Corned beef and cabbage were readily available, cheap, and easily prepared.


3-4 pounds of corned beef

1/2 cup yellow mustard

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 small yellow or sweet onion chopped in small pieces or (minced is better) mix with 1/4-cup of the mustard.

Mix the brown sugar with the other 1/4-cup of the mustard (reserve for topping to finish).

Corned beef is inherently salty because of the curing process, so try to coax out some of that salt. I will recommend you use a step cooking method. Put the corned beef into a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cook for 5 minutes and pour the water into a bowl and reserve for the cabbage boil.

On a large piece of foil, apply minced onion mustard mixture on top of the meat, fat side up spreading evenly. Fold foil over and tightly bake in the oven at 325 degrees for three hours. Open foil and pour the mustard brown sugar mix over the top and broil for 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes bubbly and brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut and serve. Make sure to cut across the grain. This recipe is prepared with a corned beef brisket flat. (A rolled or larger piece of corned beef will take longer to cook).

As for the cabbage, pour the reserved water from the corned beef back into the pot. Taste to make sure it’s not too salty. If so, add more water. Prepare 1 head of cabbage sliced into a 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch thick.

Bring water to boil add cabbage and turn the heat down, simmering for 20 minutes.

Optional veggies such as potatoes or carrots are a good idea also adding them to the pot at the same time as the cabbage.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy this old tradition.

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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!


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.


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!


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


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.


Makes enough for 4 pork chops


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


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!

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Pork 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.



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


Combine all dry seasonings and mix.




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


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.

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


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.



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.


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BUYING GUIDE: Whole or Half a Hog



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


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.



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








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?).


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.


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. 


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.


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.



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

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