Author: Patty Lee
The double cut tomahawk chop looks like something cut by God’s own butcher — it is as powerful a presentation as it is elegant, the kind of thing that makes meat lovers genuflect with love even as they wonder how to cook the darn thing. It’s over two inches thick and it takes some secret knowledge to nail it at a perfect medium while getting all the flavor, juice and texture out of the chop without incineration the outside, without having to go lower slower… the finished product must be seared to perfection, and when cut open, be as pretty and pink as any thing ever to grace your plate. The pay off is huge. You don’t want to screw it up. Don’t worry, we are here to help.
We owe our two-hit technique to Zach Allen, the chef at Carnevino, the Batali and Bastianich citadel of steak out in Las Vegas. These are the same chops they serve there, and at Babbo, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure, the only way to describe the experience is epic. You can plan an afternoon around one of these chops.
First thing: Brine. While not entirely necessary with luscious, healthy, Heritage pork, it definitely helps with these extra-thick cuts to make sure that you won’t dry them out when you put them in the broiler.
Brine is easy. We use just salt, and for a minimum of four hours, but you could add a little brown sugar and leave ‘em in the fridge over night.
An alternative to adding that extra bit of sweetness to the brine, is to try a balsamic and sugar glaze to add during the final minutes of cooking – just half a cup of balsamic and about six teaspoons of sugar reduced by about half until the remaining liquid will coat a spoon. Takes about 15 minutes, and you kitchen will smell like vinegar, but can be done way in advance. This will add just a little sweet tang to the chop – not enough to compete with the beautiful taste of the meat, just a note to add a little value to a very thick slice of pork.
For now just dry off the chops and hit them with Kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Now, fire up the iron skillet. Make it smokin’. Begin by searing and rendering the fat cap on these honeys – you can cook them side to side in their own goodness. No need for oil.
Flip them every two minutes or so – the quick flip method encourages more heat through the entire chop, and you’ll start to see a nice crust on the outside. Everything here is done by vibe, but when it looks nice and brown, maybe 8 – 10 mins total cooking, take them out of the pan, and let them rest, tented, for about 10 mins.
That’s the secret. The meat is still cooking, you’ll have a lot less to travel now to get them to medium. Meanwhile, put the pan in the broiler to keep it hot.
After ten minutes, paint them with a bit of the glaze, return them to the pan, and put then under the broiler. You will be surprised at how fast they cook. Flip them in 4 or 5 minutes and give them another 4 or 5 on the other side before taking them out testing them for doneness with a thermometer. Just north of 120 degrees is where you want to be – don’t forget they’ll cook while they rest. The glaze will have caramelized and is just going to be a sweet kiss, not a big flavor. Set them aside, tent them, give them 8 or ten minutes, and serve with confidence.
After a few rounds with the knife and fork you can separate the two chops right between the bones for an extra round of gnawing. The beauty of these chops is they take much longer to eat than they do to cook and have the odd quality of building the ego of whomever is enjoying them. Serve with heroic, big wine.
There is no denying the siren call of a Heritage pork chop, the sort of thing that would have made Homer crash his ship. Or, make a man sing about the Voice of a Pork Chop. Some folks might think it’s weird, but it makes perfect sense to us, and to Bob Dylan, who was a big fan of Jim Jackson, a blues and hokum songster who recorded this song in the late 1920s. Hokum, by the way, means comedy songs and shtick, and was big back in the days of medicine shows and vaudeville. This song was based on a popular gospel theme, bringing religion straight to the dinner table. The Voice of a Pork Chop?? Indeed!!!!!
Sam Edwards is still fighting two years after a fire savaged his entire facility including his home, his smoke house, and literally thousands of hams. It was an incredible blow to everyone that is part of the chain — Heritage had thousands of hams on hand that Sam would normally smoke and cure, and an entire network of family farmers who depend on Sam’s business every year was left stranded.
But Sam was quick to make partnerships, and a new league of American curemasters stepped up and entered the high-end Heritage ham market with purebred, pasture-raised hams.
Sam is still trying to rebuild — hold ups from lawyers and insurance companies are keeping his hands tied, but plans for a new facility are already on the table, and Sam is working hard with partners across the South to produce the famous Edwards product.
“I spend a lot of time going to Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, checking on our different products with collaborators who are working with our original recipe. I’m thankful for what they are doing for us… It’s not a long-term solution but they are keeping us viable.”
The Edwards hams were more intense before our fire, like the difference between a mild cheese and a sharp cheese…
The one new product to look for is dry-cured Heritage Lamb, hopefully ready for late spring.
“Craig Rogers of Border Spring Farm in VA is providing the lamb… We were rolling it out pre fire, had already tested it and think we found the right recipe and were ready to start shipping when the fire hit, so we are anxious to get that online.”
But the big news is that July is when we’ll be getting to the first batches of new Edwards Surryano Hams that began curing in July of 2017 — the ham that started the revolution.
“After our fire, in 2016, we began sending our hams to a smokehouse in Kentucky to be ready in 2017,” Sam reminds us, “but they burned down in Feb 2017 and we lost 6000 pieces of ham…”
It’s been an incredible battle to get back up and keep on doing it — Sam is a true hero to us, one of our favorite partners, not to mention a damn nice guy. We can’t wait.
This from our friend and in-house scribe Mike Edison:
“Check out these pics of the perfect Heritage porterhouse chops. This was the biggest one I ever saw, probably about 17 ounces, and two inches thick. I used the method Zack from Carnevino told me about — you gotta cook it in two shots, and even though it is as thick as a phone book, I nailed it, perfect medium in the center, perfect salty crust without incinerating it. Had it with collard greens I wilted in the pork fat and my favorite Rioja which they sell at my local steak house for three times what I get it for at the bottle shop.”
A reminder to all of our friends who want to “nail” a pork chop, Zack Allen at Carnevino says, “We let it come to room temperature, then we cook it to 90 or 100 degrees, just mark it on both sides and sear the fat cap a bit, then we let it rest for as long as we can – it might go up another 10 – 12 degrees just resting. The key is not trying to cook it all at one time. The second time it goes on a higher section of the grill and we finish it off… we get it to our medium rare.”
Mike adds: “Zach’s idea of hitting it twice is brilliant. I cook in an iron skillet and it’s not easy to cook a steak or chop that thick…this is the perfect pork chop hack. I sear it and then finish it in the broiler. Not for nothing, this is the best tip I ever got.”
Dear Heritage Foods Supporter,
It has been a tremendous year for Heritage Foods, heritage breeds, and heritage farms.
With success comes challenges: Right now there is a movement in the commercial food industry to change the definition of the word “heritage,” and attempt to lay claim to the very thing that has defined us and sustained our farmers since we began selling heritage breeds in 2001.
It’s funny that “heritage,” a word that meant little to big business when we started, is suddenly so appealing.
The definition of “heritage” is simple, and tied to a proud history:
HERITAGE livestock and poultry are purebred genetic lines that can be traced back unchanged to an original herd or flock prior to the beginning of industrial farming.
There is no such thing as a new heritage breed. We understand trendy marketing, but “heritage” means something significant to us, to our farmers, to our customers, and to our industry.
As we look to 2018, we will continue to fight for genuine heritage farms and breeds.
It’s important to remember that when our partner farmers originally decided to raise heritage breeds, they were taking a huge risk. Traditionally, the only established, secure, and reliable sales outlet for farmers was the commodity market — venues like commercial supermarkets and the fast food industry — which pays pennies on the pound for product and demands the very worst of industrial farming protocols just to make a profit.
By committing to heritage breeds and slow, traditional farming practices, our farmers have become entirely dependent on those who understand the value of genuine heritage breeds. Call it community-supported-agriculture, or chef-supported-agriculture if you like, but at its heart Heritage Foods is a network of hardworking American family farmers who believe in your right to the healthiest, most ethical, ecological, and tastiest food imaginable.
By buying certified heritage you can be certain that not one penny goes to industrial farming. Your continued support ensures heritage breeds gain in strength, numbers, and importance in our national dialogue on food.
We are always on the lookout for new and exciting culinary adventures — especially in the charcuterie world and with our oven-ready creations — but our brand is based on time, tradition, history, and respect. That is the true meaning of heritage.
We hope to hear from you early and often in 2018!
Thank you for your support.
One of the best things about making big dinners is having leftovers for lunch the next day.
Usually, if we have some steak or lamb left over, it is going into a sandwich. But have you thought about making hash? Lamb hash is a very special treat indeed — just like beef hash all you have to do is chop some potatoes and onions and peppers and have at it (you can always find a recipe online if you don’t feel like free-styling)… with lamb you can add a bit of curry, and it still goes great with eggs or just on its own.
Doing unexpected things with the leftovers is the hallmark of a great chef. Ham sandwiches are great, of course, but how about whipping up a cordon blue? And if that ham has a bone-in, you are looking at the beginning of some great soup.
Here’s an easy tip: pretty much all leftover meat is good on pizza.
Here is another: pretty much all leftover meat is great in a taco.
Leftovers are definitely an art form in themselves. But as ever, it all starts with the ingredients!
When it is a classic, Heritage maple sugar-cured ham it is so much more than a ham that the old descriptors no longer apply.
This is a holiday waiting to happen. This is the thing that brings families together. This is the thing that puts smiles on faces. This is wholesome, pasture-raised, maple-cured ham, the cornerstone of American cooking, loved universally as a centerpiece for a holiday meal, casual dining, or as the main ingredient in an iconic ham sandwich.
These hams are already cooked so they are ready for eating, but a little heat will help bring out the delicious juices of the heritage meat. You can add a family favorite glaze, or stud it with cloves, cover it with cherries and pineapples — there is no spice or seasoning this delicious ham won’t welcome.
Many years ago, before the Internet had connected us (and deconnected us in may ways, as well), a friend brought me a steak for my birthday. It was a massive rib-eye, cut thick, straight from the butcher’s case, except he wrapped it in holiday wrap and put a bow on it. When he brought it by, he told me to put it in the fridge.
At the time it seemed like an odd gift. My wife thought my friend was nuts, “Who does that?” she wanted to know. “He can’t just be normal and get you a book or a CD or a new tie?”
Thank god he didn’t get be any of those things, because he has horrible taste (I would have ended up with a self-help book, or a Wayne Newton CD he ironicall thought was “the greatest thing ever”), instead I got a fantastic dinner for two built around an aged ribeye that would have cost just by itself about $200 in a decent steak house.
I bought some very good wine to go with it – the kind of stuff that sells $100 a bottle in a restaurant, but only a third of that from a local bottle shoppe – and now my wife the naysayer is still talking about that dinner as one of the most romantic and satisfying we ever had at home. Moral of the story? My friend the weirdo is now my friend the genius.
(Bon vivant, food writer, raconteur)
The magic of the porchetta, the old-world roast perfected by third generation artisanal butcher Thomas Odermatt, is that it makes everyone look like a genius.
This oven-ready roast is a taste epiphany that only old world techniques can create: skin-on belly is wrapped around the center-cut de-boned loin roast, and generously seasoned throughout. The porchetta is perfectly seasoned with garlic and fresh herbs, and sourced from our elegant, luscious and smooth Berkshire pork. All you have to do is put it in the oven.
Truly, there is not much more to it than that. And then watch your guests ooh-and-ahh over your great taste and magnificent technique!