Scenario: you went out with the couple from your neighborhood, you stepped away from free range pork and got adventurous with a shared plate of bison sliders paired with a delightful Pinot Noir; they were to die for. The following week you picked up bison meat because it’s hard to find at times, and now you’re entertaining guests in a couple days. You’re admittedly clueless about this meat and it’s starting to cause actual kitchen nightmares.
If this sounds like an exaggeration, it’s not terribly far off. Cooking game meat isn’t something most people do in their own kitchens on a regular basis. It requires certain different considerations that can be overlooked even with free range pork, grass fed beef, and wild caught Alaskan salmon. Fortunately, once you’ve learned to properly prepare bison, similar strategies can be applied to a range of different wild game meats.
Enough of the introduction to Bison Meat, you have guests to serve so let’s get started.
Lean with it
Hold up there, Gordon Ramsay, don’t go slapping that bison steak on the grill just yet. A three-ounce bison steak serving boasts a lean 122 calories with a whopping 24.2 grams of protein. It’s a fabulous alternative to cooking beef, but it is not beef and shouldn’t be cooked like it. Beef is raised into having fatty, marbled meat (even grass fed steaks). In the wild, there’s no such regulation and the result is much leaner meat that cooks a lot faster. If you cook bison like a free range pork chop or your favorite beef cut, you might over cook the protein.
Slow and low wins with bison. The same theory can be applied to several other wild game meats.
Mind the flavor
Our palates are used to pretty specific flavors. While bison is incredibly delicious, the flavor is mildly different. More intense in comparison with domesticated animal meat, many people love the flavor and find everything else boring, while others find it overpowering our Bison is delicious and you’ll love it. A way to ease yourself and your guests into it is a ground mixture of bison and beef. Sometimes putting bison meat into dishes with other bold flavors helps to blend intensities. Different is delicious, but the process should be considered before plating an entire dinner party.
Don’t fear the wild, you’ve got the chops to lay down five stars at your game dinner. Fortune flavors the bold and with bison, you’ve got all of that and more.
Online gifting is something that is quickly becoming a way of life. In the past companies have made a whole business out of catalog mail order systems, but today it is even easier. According to The Washington Post a third of American adults buy something online with their computer or phone at least once a week. Having the ability to gift people and have it arrive safely at their home or office is now available at the touch of your fingertip. It is a perfect way to send friends, family, employees and clients gifts for any occasion, and what better gift for that occasion than meat? The improvements in shipping have made it possible to ship meat that is frozen and packed with dry ice in an insulated box all over the country!
As an employer, what can you get employees that shows them that says you care about them? Or what can you give clients that goes above and beyond what they might normally expect? Sending someone a gift card is okay, but they go out to eat once and that is all the use that they get out of the gift. However, when you send someone a box of meat they will remember you every time they go in their freezer, grill, cook, and eat. There is no better way to show your appreciation to the ones you care about than sending them something that they will truly enjoy. And what better way to remind your clients of your services and company for a long time.
With technology ordering meat online is very simple. Companies have created fast, user friendly, and secure websites where you can shop in minutes. Most of the time these websites are set up for either two different meat delivery methods. The first method is just being able to purchase when the meat is needed: ordering online just when you want to send a gift, need steaks, have to fill the freezer, or you’re having a cook-out. This method provides the consumer with the means to order when it is convenient for them and does not tie them down to a contract. The second method is a subscription based meat delivery. A subscription based method gives the consumer the luxury of not thinking about when they need meat; it just shows up at their door. However, this might overwhelm the consumer because they have to eat last month’s subscription before the new one arrives or they may have to get a bigger freezer.
The Pork Chop
The beginning of any great pork chop recipe is in fact a great pork chop. A great pork chop can go a long way for dinner because there are so many options. There are different marinades, rubs, barbecue sauces, gravies, and an endless amount of cooking possibilities for your pork chop. But where did it all start? It started with the pig itself. A pig that has lived a healthy and stress-free life is more likely to produce tender and flavorful meat. When an animal is under stress, their body produces more stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which causes their meat to be a little tougher and less tender. So, if an animal lives a stress-free lifestyle, they are more likely to produce tender meat. Tenderness is a key factor when serving any meat, especially a pork chop.
A pig that has lived a stress-free lifestyle most likely came from a farm where they could roam and be free-ranging pigs. According to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, “A free-range piggery is one in which the pig herd is rotated on pastures or cropland.” Many people who are not in the pig industry have never seen a pig run; their only thought of a pig is this huge, lazy animal. On the contrary, pigs are natural runners. Pigs with space to run and move around require a lot of work by the farmer. Many farmers that desire the best meat producing pigs are willing to put in the work and have a free-range style piggery. This way of farming becomes their lifestyle.
Where to get free-range pork
In today’s day and age you can buy pork online, you can even buy free-range pork online. Buying pork online is something that is becoming more and more popular. With large amounts of people moving to the cities, there is no longer a connection between the consumer and the farmer. That connection is very valuable because it lets the consumer know how the animal was raised and where the animal was processed, essentially letting the consumer know where their food is coming from. When you buy pork online you can browse around the website, look at videos, and even email the farmer to know exactly where your pork is coming from. This enables people from all over to become connected with and have that relationship with their farmer like they did generations ago.
Whether you’ve attained grill mastery or you’re just starting out, there’s one step in your meat preparation that you should never forget: marinating. Not only does it allow you some creative flair with your grilling, it holds a host of other benefits too. And you might not even expect some of them! Keep reading to find out what they are.
Above all else, marinating enhances the flavor of any meat. When you buy grass-fed steaks or wild caught Alaskan salmon, you’re already guaranteed quality. But marinating can help bring out the flavor of your meat while adding some light seasoning to it. Grass fed beef already has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and a nice flavor, but a little marinating never hurt anyone. And your choices of herbs and oils are practically limitless!
One of the greatest things about marinating is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be as simple as olive oil, lemon juice, and a few basic spices. More experienced or specialty chefs may get a little bit more complex in their recipes, especially for dry rubs, but that’s the beauty of marinating. You can make it whatever you like. Whether you buy grass fed steaks, free range pork, or any other type of meat from local meat farmers, a marinade can help you make it your own.
Believe it or not, there’s actually scientific evidence that marinating is good for you. When cooked at high temperatures, meat can produce Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs). But according to a 2007 study from researchers at Kansas State University, marinating meat can inhibit HCAs from forming. Of course, that doesn’t mean all of the other health precautions around meat can be ignored. Make sure you’re still working on a clean surface and that you disinfect all of your tools after you’ve finished working with the raw meat.
When you buy grass fed steaks online or in a store, you should already have your cooking plan in mind. And if it’s grilling, a marinade is key! What are you waiting for? Grilling season is starting and it’s time to get those marinades ready.
Coming to Freezers Near You
Looking for something different to do with your tax return this year? Available for limited time only (until March 31) are two unique beef bundles. These bundles are ready in-store at your convenience, and perfect for filling your freezers for family meals. Both options are all natural meats raised with no antibiotics, growth hormones, or animal by-products.
What You’re Getting
Wagyu Beef Bundle:
Approximately 25 pounds of highly marbled, locally raised American Wagyu beef that is the ultimate in taste and texture.
(2) 2 lb. Chuck Roast
(1) 2 lb. Rolled Rump Roast
(2) 1 lb. Stew Meat
(4) 5 oz. Swiss Steak from Round
(10) 1 lb. Ground Beef Squares
5) 1 lb. Patties (1/3rd, 3 per package)
Sale Price: $189 (Save $20)
100% Grass-Fed Beef Bundle:
Approximately 25 pounds of locally raised grass-fed beef that is full of flavor and so good for you!
(2) 2 lb. Chuck Roast
(1) 2 lb. Rolled Rump Roast
(2) 1 lb. Stew Meat
(4) 5 oz. Swiss Steak from Round
(10) 1 lb. Ground Beef Squares
(5) 1 lb. Patties (1/3rd, 3 per package)
Sale Price: $169 (Save $20)
Want More Options?
Stop in to check out some of our other offers in store, see our monthly specials, or find us at HarvestBox. We know that you will find something you like!
Creating Something Different
HarvestBox was started in June of 2015 at Byron Center Meats, a third generation, family-owned & operated meat processing company. The idea started when we asked ourselves, “is there a better way to connect families directly with family-owned farms, giving them an avenue to easily purchase thoughtfully raised, healthy meats?” Or as we like to say, “a better way to eat.”
(Then we got to work, and created a video!)
From there, we watered the idea until it came to life. We began to think, how can we deliver products conveniently, safely, and sustainably all throughout the US. We’ve taken the 70 years of meat processing experience gained here at Byron Center Meats and created something new. We’ve brought to you a variety of meat bundles that use whole animal portions in a variety of cuts families will enjoy using every day.
Finally, we sought out long-lasting, trustworthy relationships with only the best family farm partners. Farmers who share our passion for thoughtfully raised, healthy meats. What started as a quick doodle on a napkin (not kidding) came a nation-wide meat delivery with consumers from nearly every state. Today, HarvestBox is a culmination of a lot of good people working hard to do something different in the name of doing something right. We wanted to bring consumers the ‘local meat market’ feel that we have here in Byron Center. (more…)
We are introducing, just in time for summer grilling, a number of new fresh (uncooked) flavored brats:
–Feta Cheese & Spinach
–Bacon & Bleu Cheese
–Deluxe (Bell peppers & onion) COMING SOON
And, of course, we still offer our original recipe brats and Kielbasa. All flavors come with five brats in a package (1 lb) and are priced at $4.29. Spice up your summer camping or bonfires with these delicious choices! Serve on fresh bakery buns from Little Rooster with Mrs. Dogs or your favorite mustard.
We love our line of Coloma Nature Blessed fruits and veggies for a lot of reasons–freshness, resealable bags, convenience. Here’s even more reasons to love them.
“Fresh VS. Frozen
Frozen foods get a bad rap for being processed junk, but the truth is, some of the healthiest foods in the market are in the freezer section. Here are five reasons to stock up today on iced veggies and fruits:
- They’re mature–in a good way! The minute a fruit or veggie is picked, it begins to lose nutrients, so exactly when it’s plucked, and how long after harvesting you eat it impacts its nutritional value. Because most frozen fruits and veggies are frozen shortly after they are harvested, they are allowed to fully ripen, which means they are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and freezing locks in many of their nutrients.
- They’re just as nutritious (or even more so) than fresh. The differences above may be why frozen produce has been shown to be just as nutrient-rich, or even superior to fresh, a fact supported by two new independent studies. Scientists from Leatherhead Food Research and University of Chester, carried out 40 tests to measure nutrient levels in produce that had been sitting in a fridge for three days, compared to frozen equivalents. They found more beneficial nutrients overall in the frozen samples, in everything from broccoli to blueberries. In fact, frozen fruits and veggies packed high levels of antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein, and beta-carotene. This conclusion supports previous research, which found that freezing produce does not destroy its nutrients.
- They’re additive-free. Because freezing preserves food, no unwanted additives are needed in bags of frozen goddies, like spinach and strawberries. In addition, “naked” produce (e.g. no added salt or sugar) is the norm, so its easy to find fruits and veggies with single word ingredient lists–simply the fruit or veggie itself. Always check the ingredients, but I bet you’ll find at least a dozen varieties in the freezer aisle with absolutely nothing added.
- They’re super healthy shortcuts. I frequently visit my local farmers markets, and I’m a huge fan of fresh, in-season produce. But after a long day, I sometimes look at my bounty, sigh, and think, “Ugh, I wish it would magically prep itself.” One of my favorite things about keeping frozen options on hand is that they don’t require any washing, peeling, or chopping. And for many people that benefit is the sole reason veggies wind up on their plates.
- They’re versatile. I keep my freezer stocked with a spectrum of frozen fruits and veggies, and use them in a variety of ways. In addition to adding frozen fruit to smoothies, I thaw or warm it as a topping for oatmeal. Frozen veggies are my chief ingredient in stir fry dishes, but I also love to saute them in extra virgin olive oil with garlic and herbs, toss with a little quinoa or brown rice pasta, and top with a lean protein.” Reprinted with permission from Coloma Frozen Foods
Who Ever Heard of a CULOTTE steak?
Here at Byron Center Meats we have customers come in the store asking about “those culotte (coo’-lat) steaks” all the time. And yes, it’s pronounced just like the short skirt fashions of yesteryear.
The culotte steak has become the signature steak of Byron Center Meats. It is cut from the cap of the top sirloin as a boneless steak. It’s lean and oh so flavorful! We offer both 5 oz. steaks (frozen) and 8 oz. steaks (fresh and frozen).
Many customers say “You’ll never go wrong with a culotte steak!” They are priced below other popular steaks like T-bone, Porterhouse or Delmonicos… usually less than $6 per 8 oz. steak. If you’re wondering if the culottes ever go on sale, the answer is “Yes!” They are one of the most popular items of our annual truckload sale, always held the week before Mother’s Day. Many home freezers are filled with culottes as well as other popular items offered that week.
Grilling up your culottes: We recommend getting your grill up to high temp (about 400 degrees). Sear each side of the steak quickly until brown to your likeness and then reduce heat down to about 300 degrees. Cook to your desired doneness (use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of 145 degrees for medium rare – 160 degrees for medium). Pull the steaks off the grill 5-10 degrees before it reaches your desired temperature because they will continue to cook after removal. Rest the steaks for 5 minutes under tinfoil before serving for maximum juiciness.
Note: Grills and grilling techniques vary greatly and grilling temperatures and times may need to be adjusted to meet your needs. You know where to get great steaks to practice your technique!
It’s maple syrup time! We thought you might like to know a little bit about the maple syrup that we carry in our store. It is produced at R & M Farms in Caledonia, Michigan, located just 10 miles from our store. They and previous family members have been tapping trees on their centennial farm for more than 80 years.There are two methods of gathering sap from the maple trees. The traditional method involves spiles inserted into the trees and pails hung under those spiles to collect the sap. The preferred method used by many producers today uses flexible tubing attached to the spiles and a vacuum system attached to those lines. By “sucking” the sap from the trees, the yield can be twice as much as the bucket and drip system. Because it’s a closed system, the sap stays cleaner. Proper tapping methods do not harm the tree. And the labor of emptying all those pails daily is eliminated. All 600 taps on R & M Farms are hooked up to vacuum lines that direct the sap into a holding tank. From there it is pumped up to the “sugar shack” where the 3’ x 12’ evaporator boils the sap until it’s condensed into syrup. It takes at least 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup! That explains why real maple syrup is costly…but oh so good! We just received our first batch of 2015 syrup fresh from the farm! The pints are $10.59, the quarts are $15.79 and the half gallons are $28.59. Written by Kathy VanderStel who visited the shack on March 14, 2015.