Tag: Certified Humane


How to Master the Double Cut Tomahawk Chop : An Epic Tale of Pork Chop Wonder

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.

The Voice of a Pork Chop

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 Update: STILL FIGHTING!

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.

The Perfect Heritage Porterhouse

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.”

Leftovers!

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!

The Magic of the Porchetta

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!

Paradise Locker Meats

Our Partners at Paradise Locker Meats

We are proud to toast Paradise Locker Meats on their anniversary!

Paradise Locker Meats
Paradise Locker Meats

Paradise Locker Meats is family-owned and operated meat processing plant and retail shop in Trimble, Missouri. In business since 1995, the Fantasma Family (Mario, his wife Teresa, and sons Louis & Nick) have gained a reputation for providing quality meat products and practicing humane killing. Paradise Locker’s facility is both USDA inspected and Certified Humane. They supply meat to some of the best restaurants in the country through Heritage Foods USA and the growing Kansas City market. The Fantasmas are also great curers of hams, belly and chops. Their line of award-winning sausages are created from family recipes that trace back to pre-World War II Europe.

Mario’s introduction to the meat business was at S&S Meat Co. where he worked as a runner. He pulled cuts for a year and then went on to became a butcher’s apprentice for several more years. When Paradise Locker Meats, a local processing facility, went on the market, Mario and Teresa jumped at the opportunity to own their own shop. Mario and Teresa took over Paradise in 1995 strictly as a custom cut shop with a very small “retail” section consisting of a single freezer. Their sons, Louis and Nick, started helping the family by cleaning up after their school day at age 15 and 13 respectively. In 2002, the facility caught fire and much of the structure was destroyed. Mario was forced to rebuild on new land in the nearby town of Trimble, but kept the name “Paradise” to let the community know that he would continue his work with local ranchers and farmers.

When Mario rebuild on 5 acres a year later, he “was planning on doing 10 hogs and 10 beef a week which is a pretty good number for a small plant.” The family added a smokehouse to do a little cooking and develop select smoked products. Soon, Mario was contacted by Doug Metzger, a hog farmer near Seneca, Kansas, who was already working with Heritage Foods USA. We were looking for a processing plant that was USDA-inspected and Paradise decided to take the next step in their history. In 2004, the Fantasma family switched the business from a state-inspected facility to a federally inspected one. This change allowed Paradise to ship across state lines and process out-of-state animals.

Fantasma Family
Nick, Mario, and Lou Fantasma at Paradise Locker Meats

The first Heritage Foods USA order was for 20 hogs for mail order customers. Over the next two years, this standing order grew to 60 hogs a week as we added whole sale to the operation. As the orders grew and grew, the Fantasma family finally decided to take a risk and stop breaking down whole deer to focus on the heritage hogs business with Heritage Foods USA. Patrick Martins explained, “They had to give deer season up in the hope that this kind of restaurant supported agriculture would stay.” We are proud to say that it has only become stronger.

Paradise takes humane slaughter very seriously. The pigs and cattle that go through the facility are treated with the utmost care and respect. During a recent visit to the facility, Louis showed the Heritage Foods USA team the misting fan in the hog pen for summer time to keep them comfortable. “I remember the misting fan arrived, and I was putting it together,” Louis said. “Our slaughter guys asked if we got a misting fan for the kill floor. I laughed and told them, ‘No, it’s for the hog pen outside.’ But that is how we look at it. We really take care of our hogs around here.” Paradise’s hogs are cut to order and the facility focuses on one breed at a time to be sure customers know exactly what breed they are receiving.

Paradise Locker Meats has grown a great deal alongside local farmers and Heritage Foods USA. Over the past decade, the operation has grown from five to 25 employees, and it has also played an important role in reviving the Kansas City food community of local farmers and restaurants. Mario feels that “as a slaughter house, we give the local chefs an opportunity to utilize the products from the farmers… enabling them to use more local products on their menus.” Paradise also boasts a continually growing retail outlet in the front of the plant.

On a recent visit to Paradise, Mario told the Heritage Foods USA team that their relationship “opened the doors for so many things. Now there are farmers markets that are opened up. People are wanting to raise their animals, have it processed, take it right to the market and sell it themselves. Heritage really helped us grow in that aspect.”

Paradise Locker Meats process 150 hogs a week and several cattle for Heritage Foods USA.

 

Hear the Fantasma’s on Heritage Radio Network:

http://www.heritageradionetwork.com/archives?tag=Paradise+Locker+Meats

http://www.heritageradionetwork.com/episodes/2767-Small-Slaughterhouse-Paradise-Locker-Meats

An Intro to Heritage Pork Breeds

The core of Heritage Foods USA’s mission is to preserve rare heritage breeds. We work hard to support family farms that raise their animals on natural diets and without the aid of antibiotics, which are common on industrial farms.

Red Wattle Pig
A Red Wattle pig raised by Larry Sorell at Lazy S. Farms

 

Heritage pork is sourced from  Certified Humane Red Wattle or Six-Spotted Berkshire stock. Some of our farmers, however, also raise other rare breeds – Duroc, Old Spot, Large Black, and Tamworth – which are available for purchase by request, or as porterhouse chops and cured hams.

Sorell_Sow_BreedBerkshire
A Berkshire sow with one of her piglets

Berkshire meat is elegant, luscious and smooth. The streaks of fat that run through Berkshire meat produces a round, buttery flavor that melts on the tongue. The firm and substantial texture of Berkshire meat was so cherished by the British monarchy that they exported the breed as far as Japan, where it is called Korobuta.

As seen above, the Red Wattle is the only pig left in the world that still has a wattle hanging from its jowl. Red Wattle meat is charmingly inconsistent; its expressive porky flavor is concentrated and even a little racy. Originating in the South Pacific, the Red Wattle pig populated the backyards of New Orleans during the 18th and 19th centuries where it was bred to stand up to the strong and flavorful Creole cuisine. These gentle red hogs are renowned  foragers: when allowed to roam, their meat develops earthy, herbaceous traces of the vegetation within their locale.

One of Craig Good's Duroc hogs
One of Craig Good’s Duroc hogs

Duroc meat is clean and crisp. Its taste and texture are polished and easy on the palate. Duroc pork is a standard – not too fatty, not too lean, not too strong – but is certainly more flavorful than its factory farmed cousins. In fact, Duroc genetics were used in the foundation of the pig industry, which gained momentum in the 20th century.

Tamworth meat is robust and gutsy, and is the leanest of the heritage pork breeds- making it an excellent source of bacon and jowl. Its balanced flavor is the pork equivalent of a red beer. Despite its presence on the Threatened species list, the Tamworth is a hearty, strong, resilient animal – making it an excellent candidate for the growing urban farm movement around the United States.

A Gloucestershire Old Spot sow from Craig Good's farm
A Gloucestershire Old Spot sow from Craig Good’s farm

 

Large Black and Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs are listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Along with the Red Wattle, they are the rarest pig breeds that Heritage Foods sells.

Originating in the Berkley Vale of Gloucestershire during the 1800s, the GOS was bred to lounge around in the orchards of England, where its sole responsibility was to clean up fallen fruit.  The breed became rare after World War II, when the shift to intensive pig production reduced interest in grazing pigs. Due to its supreme laziness, GOS meat is very delicate – even its fat is edible and milky. Old Spots carry a distinct layer of backfat and marbling within their meat, making them the bacon pig of choice for many.

The Large Black is a favorite of farmers who appreciate the breed’s intellect and docility. Its strength, hardiness, and ability  to forage make it a valuable asset for pasture-based farming. The breed is native to southwestern England and gained popularity in the 1800’s as farmers began to see that the animal could easily turn poor-quality feed into large quantities of high-quality meat. The Large Black’s physical characteristics – its dark skin and large ears – make it stand out in terms of appearance and efficiency: its dark skin protects it from sunburn during long hours of grazing, and its long ears shield its eyes from dirt while foraging. Large Blacks are also known for their lean consistency; however, they lack the excess back fat found in the GOS.

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