Category: Breeds


Cattle Share from the Kitchen of B&B Ristorante, Las Vegas

Participating in our 1/8 cattle share program challenges you to eat like a true chef. Cattle shares are the most direct way to support sustainable farmers and are a great way to access exceptional beef produced outside of commercial scale.

Our partnering chefs and loyal customers have come to love our yearly cattle shares. This marks Chef Jason Neve’s second year bringing in a 1/2 cattle to B&B Ristorante, Las Vegas. He wrote a wonderful thank you note to farmers Craig and Amy Good, which we are delighted to share with you along with photos from the restaurant.

“I think we are the ones that are privileged to be working with such a great product.  I have been in the kitchen since 8:30 this morning like a kid in a candy store cooking up this part and that part.  I LOVE IT.

 Just finished the Neck Ragu that we will serve as a pasta tonight.  It took 24 hours to cook, and you can taste every minute of care from the time that you put into raising a great animal, the Fantasmas’ care in slaughtering and our time cooking it.”

For more information about purchasing a cattle share of your own click HERE.

Jason Neve

Chef Jason Neve

Born and raised in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Jason grew up around the water and all of its fresh seafood. An early interest in cooking for family and friends evolved into an education at the Culinary Institute of America where he graduated in 2003. Jason moved to New York City to train at AIX Restaurant under Chef Didier Virot. In 2005, Jason was part of the opening team at Del Posto. Jason’s aptitude in the kitchen and his passion for cured meats lead him out west to Las Vegas in 2007. After five years at the helm of the kitchen at B&B Ristorante, Jason was appointed Culinary Director of B&B Hospitality Group’s Las Vegas operations.

Clover Creek Katahdin Shoulder

tender shoulder350

clean

mineral

perfectly balanced

sticky fat

mint

cream

herb

cinnamon

olive

grassy

clove

delicate

Chris and Ray Wilson, along with their daughter Sarah, have been raising sheep on their farm in Northeastern Tennessee for nearly 20 years. As a child of farmers, Chris hopes to one day pass down the farm to her own daughter. As she explained, “That is what you farm for – to pass it on to the next generation.” Clover Creek Farm spans 50 acres of land at an elevation of about 1650 feet. Chris, Ray and Sarah practice sustainable agriculture but when Chris found the land nearly 20 years ago, the land had been depleted by previous conventional farms and was completely over grown. Chris spent 5 years restoring the land and creek; with a focus on soil recovery and establishing the native grasses so it would be a sustainable farm. Chris was named Conservation Farmer of the Year in 1999 for her efforts.

Clover Creek Katahdin sheep graze on native grasses, such as blue grass, and clovers that are abundant in the Tennessee area. They are born outside and spend their entire life grazing with their mothers. Following the motto “farming in harmony with nature,” Chris raises her sheep using rotational grazing methods. Chris and Ray take pride in their lambs, explaining, “The lamb are not a commodity. We put a lot of work and effort in to give them the best life possible.”

The Katahdin sheep is the result of the innovative thinking of a Maine farmer named Michael Piel. In the 1950’s, Piel brought three sheep from St. Croix in the Caribbean to his farm. He crossed these “African hair sheep,” as they were known, with his own flock of “Down” breeds (more typical wooly meat sheep found in New England), producing a lambs he called Katahdin after the highest mountain in Maine. The Katahdin does not need to be sheared and produces a well-muscled, lean but meaty carcass. The Katahdin lamb is a meat breed and not a wool breed, making it especially flavorful and delicious with nutty, full flavor.

Red Wattle | A Rare Occasion

 

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Red Wattle pork is sweet, buttery and earthy, with a subtle spice and a hint of cinnamon. Its expressive porky flavor is concentrated and bold. The Red Wattle is one of few breeds left in the world with wattles hanging from its jowl.

Our Red Wattle pigs are raised by Larry and Madonna Sorell, farmers we’ve worked with since the beginning in 2002, originally growing heritage turkeys and eventually becoming the undisputed kings of Red Wattle pigs in the USA. Because of a fierce dedication to the genetic purity of the breed and thanks to relationships with the Amish community that took years to develop, Larry and Madonna are a major reason why the Red Wattle, once critically endangered, has been upgraded on conservation lists by the Livestock Conservancy.

Though the history of the Red Wattle pig is unclear, many believe that the breed came to our shores from New Caledonia and populated the backyards of New Orleans’ homes in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Red Wattle was once thought to be extinct but a wild herd was found in Texas in the 1970s. Today their numbers are still limited but we have seen population recovery due to the increased demand for their exceptional pork. In 2014 the North American Red Wattle Hog was upgraded from “Critically Endangered” to “Threatened” by the Livestock Breed Conservancy.

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Heritage Turkey Photos from Judy

We LOVE when our friends share their culinary adventures with us. Here are some great photos of an innovative way to cook-up the traditional American Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Dr. Judith Mazza is a long time supporter and wonderful photographer. She is President of the DC Chapter of La Chaîne des Rotisseurs, the world’s oldest and largest international food and wine society. 

Send us your photos, recipes, and stories and we’ll feature them here at our Community Table, the place where we gather to share our thoughts and ideas and everything we learn from you!

Thanks Judy for these wonderful Heritage Turkey photos!

 

Mazza Heritage Turkey (1 of 11) Mazza Heritage Turkey (4 of 11)Mazza Heritage Turkey (10 of 11)

YUM!

What’s With The Goose? The History Behind Eating Goose At Christmas

Goose, the once-common farm bird, has a rich legacy of multi-purpose value. Geese proudly boast down feathers, dark flavorful meat, and rich high-temperature cooking fat.

As natural foragers, geese are more content grazing than feeding on grain alone and require the freedom to roam in search of tender grasses. Their preference for grazing has made them difficult to adapt into factory farm conditions.

Ducks were more easily adapted to commodity food production. However, the hybridized commercially raised duck is a different bird than it’s predecessors, which were selected over centuries for flavorful dark meat and the perfect amount of fat. Frank Reese, our heritage poultry farmer, can trace his Rowan, Buff, Aylesbury, and Appleyard ducks back over 200 years.

The duck and geese raised by Frank at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch, spend 6 months sauntering through meadows, foraging, and swimming. Their active lifestyle and diverse diet develop flavor in the birds – something factory farms will never be able to replicate.

Traditionally duck and geese were harvested in Winter, Frank Reese explains –

In the old days you’d never harvest a duck or a goose until after you had freezing weather. The old people really felt that the cold weather allowed the duck to put down or the goose to put down that important layer of fat that was needed to make it taste like it was supposed to.

The longer it takes to grow the better it is.

Goose and duck should have a lot more fat [than other poultry] – that’s how the animal stays warm, but that’s also where all the flavor is. That gives the meat it’s taste. The fat should be kept and used for frying potatoes and all kinds of stuff. It’s very very rich and it doesn’t take much.

Because our birds have lived longer, that means you are going to have to really be careful when you cook them because you can overcook them and dry them out. You can get too much fat out of them. And because these are ducks that have actually been in water and swam and have been active you are going to have to cook them a little longer and slower.

You know, as grandma said, “We ate everything but the ‘honk’ ”.

Frank suggests referring to an older cookbook such as Fanny Farmer for heritage goose and duck recipes and preparation techniques.

Heritage Foods USA Goose & Duck prep tips:
1. Before roasting rest your bird at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Generously salt both inside and out of the bird and fill the cavity with
aromatics like garlic, thyme and sage.

3. Prick small holes all over the skin being sure not to pierce the meat. This allows the fat a chance to render out during roasting and ensures crispy
delicious skin!

4. Cook low and slow. We can’t emphasize the importance of this enough. We
suggest cooking at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Geese and ducks are both red-meat birds, and unlike other poultry their rich breast meat should be served medium-rare. The best way to ensure the dark meat has enough time in the oven to become tender without over cooking the breast is to remove the breast part way through roasting.

6. For extra crispy skin add some of the fat drippings to a sauté pan placed over medium high heat. Remove the leg quarters from the bird and sauté both the legs and the breast skin side down for 3-4 minutes. Do not flip them. Be sure to only sauté the skin side!

6 Common Thanksgiving Turkey Mistakes

Thanksgiving Turkey Mistakes
Thanksgiving! There’s no other meal so rewarding yet so anxiety ridden then this once yearly feast. Your heritage turkey is going to be the star of Thanksgiving dinner. Protect your investment and your reputation this year by avoiding these 6 Common Thanksgiving Turkey mistakes!

1. Give It A Rest
Sometimes the best ingredient is time itself. No matter what recipe you follow, plan to rest your heritage turkey at least twice during your cooking process— once at the beginning, and once at the end. Before you begin cooking let your turkey rest outside of the fridge for at least 40 minutes.

Allowing your bird to come to room temperature first will decrease the time it spends in the oven. This will help improve texture and prevent the white meat from drying out.

The second rest should come after you take your turkey out of the oven. Put down the knife! If you want your turkey to taste as good as it looks it needs to rest. Plan to give a full 30 minutes before carving.

2. Skip The Stuffing, But Don’t Forget To Stuff
Long gone are the days of warm, doughy stuffing overflowing from the cavities, nooks and crannies of holiday turkeys. Thanks to science, concerned mothers, and a better understanding of food borne illness it is now accepted that cooking stuffing inside of the actually turkey is a big no-no.

Play it safe and prepare your stuffing in a separate baking dish, but don’t ignore that cavity! Think of it as your flavor cave. The perfect basket to hold all of your favorite aromatics- herbs, citrus, onions, fennel, and don’t forget lots of salt and pepper!

Fill it up but keep it loose. Over stuffing can cause your heritage turkey to cook unevenly.

3. To Brine or Not To Brine
Brining has gained considerable momentum over the last few years. Many cooks have come to love this technique, which adds an additional buffer against dry white meat. When you use a traditional liquid brine both the salt and the liquid permeate the meat. The salt acts to help relax the proteins, aiding in tenderness, and a small percentage of the water is retained, increase the overall weight just slightly and helping preserve juiciness while roasting.

This works great for your average grocery store bird who’s a lack of natural fat can cause it to dry out quickly in the oven, but when you use a brine, even a delicious recipe full of herbs and spices, it does little to impart actual flavor. We will spare you the boring science of molecule size and cell wall semi-permeability and just say that no matter what you add to your brine the internal meat of the turkey will only retain the water in the solution. Adding water will help against drying out, but that water will also act to dilute the turkey flavor.

With a commercial bird this isn’t such a loss. Your average grocery store turkey isn’t known for its deep, rich turkey flavor, but heritage breed turkeys are unique. They are very distinct in their flavor and you run the risk of losing that richness.

There is a middle ground in the battle over the brine and that is the dry brine. This technique involves generously salt your turkey inside and out and allowing it to rest uncover in your refrigerator for 24-48 hour. Rinse the salt off before starting your final pre-over preparations and proceed as you normally would. The salt is still able to work its magic and help add tenderness to the turkey without adding the wateriness of a liquid brine. Trust us, the generous fat found in heritage turkeys (as much as 10 times that of their commercial counterparts) will be all you need to keep your turkey juicy and delicious this year.

4. Low and Slow Baby!
When compared to their commercial counterparts, our heritage turkeys enjoy a long leisurely lifestyle roaming and forging on the open prairie. Unlike your average grocery store turkey, whose fast growth rates out paces their bodies ability to develop and store fat, heritage turkeys are known for packing on the pounds!

They can develop as much as 10 times the amount of fat when comparing the white meat from both. This means a turkey that is juicier and more flavorful, but that fat needs time to render.

Cooking at a low and steady 325 will ensure your bird has enough time in the oven to render out that fat and break down connective tissue while still keeping it safe from drying out.

5. Live By The Thermometer
The only way to know if your heritage turkey is done is to take its temperature. We recommend pulling your turkey out of the oven when the thigh meat reads 165. The internal temperature of your heritage turkey will continue to rise even after you pull it from the oven.

If you are really a heritage turkey perfectionist you may opt to divide your turkey into pieces before cooking. This is best done separating the leg and thigh quarters from the breast. Because white meat and dark meat cook at different rates, this is the only way to ensure perfectly cooked and tender dark meat without over cooking the white meat.

Many chefs also swear by starting their turkeys breast side down and roasting them in that position for the first hour or so. This can help protect the white meat while the dark meat gets a head start on cooking, but be warned— if you’re planning to roast a big ol’ turkey this year, it ain’t easy flippin’ a big, hot, greased up bird without the help of a small crane.

6. You Carve What You Eat
Finally. You’ve navigated your way through the many perils of preparing the perfect Thanksgiving meal. Time to carve! While every movie ever made featuring a turkey dinner shows the turkey being carved and served right from the table like a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting, no one actually does this and ends up with a good result. This is a step that is best left in the kitchen.

After presenting your beautiful heritage turkey, remove both halves of the breast from the turkey in complete sections and slice. Carve and pull the remaining dark meat from the legs and thighs. Be carful not to slice more turkey then you plan to use immediately. The best way to store turkey and all meat for future meals is un-carved.

Still have a heritage turkey question!? Leave your question in the comments and please share your favorite Holiday tips with us!

Have a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Goatober is Here!

American Goat meat.
Celebrating everything Goat.

Americans LOVE cheese. Cheese consumption in the US has TRIPLED since 1970. This trend has been equally true for goat cheese. We’ve also begun to make more artisan cheeses at home here in the States, which is a point of pride for American cheese makers– but there’s still one thing we don’t do a lot of. Eat goat meat.

This doesn’t really seem like much of a problem but the goat dairy industry faces a very unique challenge that the standard dairy industry doesn’t. What do you do with male goats?

You very well can’t milk them, but unlike male cattle that have market value for what we will call their ‘burger potential’, male goats don’t draw the same demand. If high school economics taught us anything, we know that without demand farmers can expect to receive very little payment for what amounts to a lot of time and resources invested in raising these little goats. In the worst-case scenario male goats are ‘disposed of’ as early as possible to avoid spending money the farmer can’t recoup.

This is where the idea for No Goat Left Behind came from. Anne Saxelby, a New York based cheesemonger sought to find a sustainable end market for these animals. By guaranteeing farmers that there will be demand for male goats the farmers are now able to commit the resources needed to raise them through adulthood. This year marks the 4th anniversary of our Goatober project!

The most important variable in this equation has been the support of our many partnering restaurants and butcher shops. Without the commitment to incorporate goat onto their menus we would not have been able to generate enough support to sustain this project.

Having the support of so many well-respected restaurants and butcher shops has had a much bigger impact than we could have ever imagined. The impact restaurants and butcher shops have on driving trends in food is
unparalleled. We’ve seen interest in goat meat from the average customer grow every year since the inception of No Goat Left Behind. We want to thank everyone who has helped make this project successful, and thank all of the participating restaurants and butchers for their trust, vision, and leadership.

For more information about Goatober and all of our seasonal projects visit our Projects Page!

Glazed Heritage Ham

Our Guide For The Perfect Ham

Glazed Heritage Ham
Honey Mustard Glazed Heritage Ham.

A beautifully cured ham is one of the most convenient, delicious, and versatile additions to any menu. Because cured hams are fully cooked they are able to be enjoyed hot or cold. This allows for easy entertaining while still offering a delicious and impressive centerpiece. Weighing about 11 pounds each, one bone-in ham will serve 18 guests, or as many as 26 when prepared as part of a family style meal.

A cured hams ability to stay fresh in your refrigerator longer then other meats also adds to its convenience and economic value. When sourced thoughtfully from responsible producers, cured ham is a sustainable alternative to deli meats and other daily convenience foods.

Our heritage hams are expertly prepared by the Fantasma family curemasters and have won numerous awards for their flavor and texture. The most important ingredient in our hams is time– both time spent on the farm where our heritage breeds are allowed to grow and mature naturally, and time in the curehouse, where they are patiently cared for and aged.

Our heritage hams are perfectly balanced in flavor and boast a rich buttery texture with a sweet and savory finish. All of our pork is from pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free animals. The pigs are raised with care using traditional methods guaranteed to produce the very best tasting meat and are processed at a Certified Humane facility.

Our breeds include Berkshire, Red Wattle, Duroc, Gloucestershire Old Spots, Large Black, and Tamworth. Each heritage breed boasts its own flavor profile, and we encourage you to try them all.

Follow our guide bellow for the perfect ham served hot or cold, and leave a comment with your favorite ham tips!

To Serve Warm

Gently warm the ham in a 325° oven with at least 1/2 cup of water, wine, or stock in the pan. You can cover the ham with foil to help ensure it doesn’t dry out. Using a meat thermometer, remove your ham from the oven at 130-135°. Remember, your ham is already cooked; you’re just warming it through.

If you are planning to use a glaze, wait until the last 15-30 minutes of cooking before applying. Any earlier and you’ll risk burning the sugars in the glaze before the ham has time to warm. Heat your ham low and slow, but don’t be afraid to crank it up at the end to get that nice crispy, caramelized bubbling glaze, always being sure to keep a watchful eye the whole time!

PRO TIP: Allow your ham to rest outside of the fridge before cooking. A room temperature ham will require less total cooking time resulting in a juicier ham! And don’t forget– always rest your meat before carving.

To Serve Cold

Our Maple Sugar Cured hams are fully cooked and ready to enjoy. If you are planning to serve your ham at room temperature simply allow it to rest covered on the counter until the initial chill from the fridge has subsided.

PRO TIP: Left over ham will keep in your fridge for 3 weeks, or it can be frozen for up to 6 months.

The History of Ham

Vintage Ham Ad from 1922
Vintage American Ham Ad, Morris & Company; 1922

The history of ham traces back to ancient traditions. One of the most important prerequisites for the development of civilization was the preservation and storage of food. Drying, smoking, and curing were some of the earliest methods discovered by the ancients. The advent of curing enabled cities, people and cultures to flourish.

The preserving of pork leg as ham has a long history. Many credit the Chinese as being the first people to record curing raw hams, while other have cited the Gauls. It cannot be argued though that it was certainly a well-established practice by the Roman period. Cato the Elder wrote extensively about the “salting of hams” in his De Agri Cultura tome around 160 BC.

The popularity of ham can also be traced to the producers’ geographic location. The conditions required for curing meat need to be such that it is not so cold that the ham freezes, unable to cure, or too warm causing the ham to spoil. The result is distinct areas around the world renowned for their particular hams. Italian prosciutto and Spanish Serrano, as well as American country ham from Kentucky and Virginia are all located on what can be described as the worlds Ham Belt— a geographic area bound by latitude and historically producing the world’s most revered hams. With the advent of technology, climate control and the mechanization of many of our food production methods geographic location has become less important for the production of ham, but these original ham centers are still prized as being the finest ham producing regions today.

Ham remains one of the most consumed pork products in the world. On average Americans eat 193 sandwiches a year, with ham being by far the most popular choice. The curing process for dry cured ham begins by rubbing the fresh ham with salt and sometimes sugar, spices, and nitrates. Italian prosciutto and Spanish Serrano hams are made with a pure salt cure and no added nitrates or nitrites. Some American hams are also nitrate free. When used, nitrates ensure a pink color and cured flavor in a short amount of time, and provide some anti-microbial benefits as well. Nitrates are not a modern addition to the curing process; they have been added to hams in the form of saltpeter for hundreds of years and in the form of impure salts for millennia.

Meat naturally contains a small amount of nitrates, which allow it to take on a beautiful color on its own. The longer a ham is aged, the fewer added nitrates are necessary. Many American hams are cured with brown or white sugar in addition to salt. The sugar is not added for sweetness, but rather to soften the harshness of the salt and the toughening effects of nitrates. Red and black pepper is sometimes added as well, lending some flavor but also discouraging bugs from attacking the ham. Machines are typically used to rub the cure into factory-produced ham, but as any ham artisan will tell you, the hand of the skilled salter is important.

Whatever your ham of choice, join us in celebrating the rich history and tradition of this ancient food.

Fun Ham Facts

Almost every country in the world produces Hams. Here are of some of the better known hams of the world: prosciutto, Westphalian, Parma, Smithfield, Virginia, Kentucky, Country, Canned, Bayonne, York, Mainz, Prague, Asturias, Toulouse, Dijon, Black Forest, Bohemian, Serrano, presunto, Bradenham, Estremadura, Prazska sunks, and szynka.

-Some ham experts prefer ham made from the left leg of a pig, believing it to be more tender. This idea came about after observing that a pigs scratch themselves with their right leg, engaging those muscles more and deducing that the more muscled right leg would be tougher.

-Pigs are not native to America; Hernando de Soto is credited with bringing the first 13 hogs to the New World in 1525.

-American “city” hams and “country” hams: “City” hams are processed in a wet cure or brine and typically smoked, not aged. “Country” hams are dry-cured and aged, producing a stronger flavor that is saltier and drier.

-On the Apollo 13 mission, the crew managed to create a functioning CO2 filter out of duct tape and glazed ham.

-Due to a Civil War surrender agreement, Virginia Baked Ham was given that name to insult the residents of Virginia.

-Chicago artist Dwight Kalb made a statue of Madonna from 180 pounds of ham.

For more information about hams please visit

 

S. Wallace Edwards and Sons

Cooking Issues

FoodReference.com 

National Ham Council

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