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Posts from the ‘Recipes’ Category

Cooking the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Here’s our super basic, super simple and easy tutorial for roasting a fantastic turkey for this Thanksgiving. Now I know many of you may have your own tried and true ways of cooking your turkey, but we are keeping things simple. There are plenty of opportunities to add spice, flavor, and personal frill along the way so feel free to take this recipe and run with it.

Preparation: HD

This method will work with any fresh turkey, any size, brined or not brined, free-range, whatever. When purchasing a turkey, you figure about a pound per person. First and foremost, be sure your turkey is completely thawed before cooking. About an hour to half hour before roasting, take your turkey out of the fridge. Remove any packaging and be sure to check in the body cavity and neck for the bag of giblets. If you choose not to brine your turkey (which is perfectly okay), be sure to rub it down with salt and pepper. Here’s where you can add some flair. Many people rub their turkey with a flavored butter or oil, rub minced herbs and spices into or beneath the skin, or even put a few cloves of garlic inside the cavity. We recommend leaving your turkey unstuffed because it allows the turkey to cook more evenly. In order to successfully cook a turkey, you need the right equipment. A roasting pan with some sort of rack to remove the turkey out of the pan is recommended. You will also need a baster or simply a spoon.

Cooking: 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour two cups of water or broth into the bottom of the roasting pan, place the turkey breast side up in the rack, and place the roasting pan with the turkey in the rack into the oven. The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is about 13-15 minutes per pound. So a 16 pound turkey should take about 3 hours and 45 minutes. However, sometimes other factors come into play so it’s important to begin checking the temperature of your turkey about halfway through the cooking time to gauge how fast it’s cooking.

Be sure to baste your turkey about every 45 minutes to an hour and if at any time the skin is looking too brown or crispy, cover it with foil. As with any meat, the number one indicator to tell if it’s done is temperature. We recommend checking the temperature of your turkey in three places: the breast, outside the thigh, and inside the thigh. Once these three places register 165 degrees on an instant read meat thermometer, your turkey is done. Remove it from the oven and this is important, let it rest. Transfer the rack to a cutting board and cover the turkey with aluminum foil for about 15-20 minutes. This gives the meat to firm up and re-absorb the juices.

Finally, you’re ready to carve your turkey and enjoy!

Other Thanksgiving Recipes: 

Here is the printable for Cooking the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

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Best BBQ Sauce Recipes

We love a good BBQ sauce.. It makes a great marinade, dipping sauce, glaze… The uses are endless. And we sell a few wonderful BBQ sauces, but the truth is, homemade BBQ sauce HANDS DOWN takes the cake… Homemade BBQ sauce seems like it’s something that would be hard to make… Or take a lot of time. Truth is many homemade bbq sauces are easy and quick. We’ve put together five of our favorites for your chicken, pork, or beef!

BBQ Sauce Collage1. Pulled Pork BBQ Sauce – The New York Times Food

2. Asian Twist Homemade BBQ Sauce – Smitten Kitchen

3. Chipotle Mango BBQ Sauce – Iowa Girl Eats

4. Sweet Baby Rays Copycat BBQ Sauce – Half Baked Harvest

5. Tangy Carolina BBQ Sauce – Buns in My Oven

We hope that these recipes spice up your usual grill routine! Do you make your own BBQ sauce? What’s your favorite recipe? Please share with us!

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Our Favorite Burger Recipes

The weather here in California is warming up, the flowers are blooming, and it’s beginning to feel like summer so you know what that means…? Grilling season is here! And what better to grill than an All American Burger!? Tired of the same ole boring burger? Add some variety to your burger arsenal with this collection of some of our favorite burger recipes.

beef, pork, burgers, grill

Photos Courtesy Martha Stewart, Food Network & Bon Appetit

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Cooking the Perfect Easter Ham

Ham has been an Easter tradition for as long as we can remember. And out of all Holiday dishes, ham is probably the easiest to prepare. It takes almost zero labor, but for those of you who are still unsure or want to spice it up a little bit, here’s our take on how to cook the perfect Easter ham.

First of all, what is a ham? A traditional ham is a hind leg of a hog that’s been cured and smoked meaning that it’s been fully cooked. Ham, Bone-in Ham, Bone in Ham, Cooking Ham, Easter Ham

So all you are really trying to do is heat it up. If you aren’t sure if your ham has been fully cooked, read the label or simply just ask! All of our hams at Chico Locker are indeed fully cooked and could be eaten cold if you preferred. We only offer one type of cure at Chico Locker. It’s our House Maple Sugar Cure which has been perfected to be not too salty but at the same time not too sweet. Our hams have been recognized at the national level (American Association of Meat Processors) bringing home Grand Champion awards in both bone-in ham and boneless ham categories. Many other places may offer varieties in their curing anywhere from hickory smoked ham to a glazed ham. Just make sure you aren’t purchasing a country ham. A country ham is a ham that has been cured for a number of months and is usually very high in salt meant to be used sparingly. Read more

Pork Chops with a Tomato Cream Sauce

This recipe is absolutely delightful! In fact, it’s one of our owner’s (Dave Dewey) favorite recipes of mine. It is man approved and in fact, legends of this recipe actually sent a woman into labor the next day after eating it! Super easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser.. Afterall, who doesn’t love pork chops!?This recipe is perfect for a hearty eater of a man and a woman, but it can easily be doubled, tripled, whatever to food a larger crowd.

Now, if you are one of those people who tends to always overcook pork, do yourself a favor and get an instant read meat thermometer. We sell them at our shop or you can find them at the grocery store, Target, Wal Mart, where ever! A meat thermometer takes the guess work out of “if it’s done” or not. And you will be guaranteed moist, juicy pork every time!

For the pork chops, you can use bone-in chops or boneless. I use boneless, makes it easier not having to fight around a bone. Whatever you do though, make sure they are thick cut. 1″ thick at least. If you try and use pork chops that are 3/4″ or 5/8″ for this recipe, they will end up dry and overcooked, unless you adjust the cooking time.

If you can’t get your hands on pork chops that are already thick cut, cut them yourself! Buy a boneless pork loin and cut the chops however thick you want them! You can do it!

So now that we’ve got our chops, we are ready to begin. And of course, here is the ingredients needed for this lovely meal!

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then start off by pouring the flour into a plate or shallow bowl. I use paper plates because it means less dishes and easy clean up. If you’re feeling fancy, use a plate or bowl. Season the flour with a bit of paprika (about 1/2 tsp.), garlic powder (1 tsp.), salt, and pepper.Take a fork and mix  this together.

Next crack two eggs into a bowl and beat together with the milk. Then grab another plate or shallow bowl and pour in the breadcrumbs. If you are using plain breadcrumbs like me, season with salt and pepper. Once you are done, these three things should be much like an assembly line, sitting one next to the other. From left to right: Flour, egg/milk, and breadcrumbs.

** Please not in the photo, your flour probably won’t look as full as mine. I usually don’t measure when cooking so I always end up with too much! 😉 And like I said last time with the stew, a little bit too much here or there won’t hurt. This is another recipe where being precise isn’t crucial.

Next take your pork chops, one at a time, and first dredge them in the flour. Make sure to coat all sides with flour. Then move it to the egg/milk mixture making sure to coat all sides again. Finally roll it around  and cover it with breadcrumbs. What we are doing here is breading these pork chops so they will have a nice crispy crust on them.

Set them aside on a clean surface while you finish up the rest. I use tin foil for easy clean up and so that I don’t get raw pork juices all over. Once the pork chops are breaded, they should look like this…

Heat up a fry pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil. And butter for good measure. Although the butter can be omitted.

Once the pan is good and hot, throw in the pork chops and brown them on both sides until they are a nice golden brown. And much like with the stew last week, the pork chops will not be cooked all the way through.The point is not to cook them, but simply to brown them. Once they are browned, remove them from the pan to a baking sheet. Look at how pretty golden brown they are and pop them into the preheated oven!

Bake the pork chops for about 15-20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Safe internal temperature for pork has been lowered to 145 degrees so you can pull them at 145 degrees if you like them extra juicy. Although juices flowing out of pork often times freaks people out, so I pull mine at 155 to appeal to everyone.

While the pork chops are baking, heat up 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream in a saucepan on the stove. Simmer the cream for about 8-10 minutes or until it starts to thicken. You can even let it get to a boil, but be careful not to burn it.

Once the cream has thickened up a bit, add in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of spicy brown mustard. I forgot to photograph the mustard, whoops! But don’t forget to add it in!

Once you whisk it all together, the sauce should be a nice orange-y color, like this…

Now to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes, I usually add a dash of sugar to my sauce. This is optional. Taste the sauce and if you like it the way it is then leave it. Or if you wish, add the sugar. I usually always add cracked black pepper to mine as well. If you think it needs more tomato sauce, add it. If you think it needs a bit more mustard, add it. Or if it’s too harsh for your taste, add a bit more cream! Remember when I said precise wasn’t crucial…?

Now about the time you finish the sauce, your pork chops should be just about done in the oven. Pull them out and plate them. Pour some of the creamy, delicious sauce over the top, garnish with a bit of fresh chopped parsley or cracked black pepper! ENJOY!

As  you can see, I usually accompany this meal with potatoes, but you can use rice, pasta, or no starch what-so-ever. Whatever you fancy, these pork chops go great with anything!

And of course, I included a printable recipe! Please let us know how this recipe turned out for you!

Quick and Easy Beef Stew

So I know I promised I was going to write about BSE today, but I made stew last night and got this fantastic idea to photograph it and blog about it… And everyone loves stew right!?

Now with the weather in North Dakota currently stormy and from the looks of it, the weather in Chico isn’t much better, what a perfect weekend for stew! And it’s such an easy, perfect weekend meal!

So first of all…. what kind of meat makes good stew..? Well basically anything that requires braising or cooking in a liquid. Typically the most tender meat does not make for good stew meat. It’s got to withstand a long time cooking so something really tender would literally fall apart halfway through.

Some good cuts for stew meat are any part of the chuck, arm (h-muscle, shoulder clod), top or bottom round, brisket, plate, or even top sirloin if you are feeling fancy! If you are unfamiliar with these cuts, please check out my  guest post on cutting up a beef: http://thebeefjar.com/2011/07/25/guest-blog/

Now what essentially makes these cuts stew meat is the fact they are cut into about 3/4 to 1-1/2 inch cubes. You can have your butcher do this, but be advised that some places may charge more to do this. Here at Chico Locker, we charge the same amount for stew meat as we do a chuck roast, so we save you the mess and hassle. But really, it’s not hard to do. You can pick up any kind of roast from anywhere and cut the stew meat yourself in a pinch.

OR if you have roasts left in the freezer from your beef, thaw them out and use those for stew meat! Really anything that isn’t a steak makes for GREAT stew meat!

Either way… Your stew meat should look something like this:

Alright once your stew meat is all cut. The next step is to put it in a large bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of flour and add some salt, and pepper. And mix it all together. *I didn’t photograph this step because at this point I hadn’t decided to blog about stew yet*

Let this flour, meat mixture sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Beware: lots of chopping is involved in stew.

So here is the ingredients I put in my stew (minus a few not pictured). You can really add anything to stew. I’ve added parsnips, turnips, peas, green beans, whatever you fancy. Throw it in the pot when the time comes! And don’t worry about being too precise on any step of this, the beauty of stew is that it isn’t one of those recipes where being precise matters. Which is also one of the reasons it’s so easy! There really is no right or wrong way to make stew.

Cooking Tip: I find it easiest no matter what I am cooking to prep everything BEFORE you begin cooking. Chop everything you’re going to need, open all cans, etc. By doing this you really eliminate burning meals because all you need to do is throw ingredients in.

Find a rather large pot and heat ‘er up on the stove. Put some olive oil and butter in the pan. I use about 2-3 tablespoons of each. Or use one or the other, either way works. Once the pot gets hot, dump your stew meat in and brown it. And if you have a bunch of stew meat, brown it in batches. You want to make sure that each cube has room to brown. The object of browning the meat isn’t to cook it all the way through. It will still be bloody and red/pink inside. Your browned stew meat should look something like this.

Once your stew meat is all browned, remove it to a clean plate. And add about a cup and a half of red wine. And let the wine simmer in the pan while you scrape all the browned delicious little bits off the bottom with a spoon.

Then add some beef broth (about 4 cups) and a can of beef consomme soup.You don’t have to use consomme soup but I like to use it because it gives a little richer flavor than just using beef broth.

Then the secret ingredient: BEER! There’s just something about putting beer in stew that helps lend to super tender meat. I had Guinness on hand, but you can use any sort of beer really. I wouldn’t suggest anything flavored though. Sierra Nevada Porter works wonderfully too or Budweiser, whatever you drink!

Now that we’ve got our base. Time to start adding the veggies. Usually during this time I add some more salt and pepper. And of course, taste it to make sure I’m not missing anything. If you’d like your stew to have a little pep, some Tabasco can be added here. I added a bit of Worcestershire sauce to mine.

Add the chopped onions and carrots.

And the potatoes and celery. Just throw it all in. Add the browned meat back to the pot as well! And of course, got to add some herbs. I used thyme and rosemary. Now here’s the hard part… Put the lid on this and walk away. Let the stew simmer for about an hour a half to two. Or until the meat begins to become tender. With about a half hour left, open the lid and check ‘er out. At this time I usually like to taste test the meat, potatoes, and carrots to ensure they are all cooked. Also if your stew is still rather liquid-y and hasn’t thickened up. Take about 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix it with a little bit (1/4 cup or so) of water. Dump this into the stew and stir up.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, time to add some final ingredients. If you like corn, peas, or green beans in your stew. Now would be the time to add them. Adding them now will ensure they don’t get all mushy. I added corn to mine. Also if you need to add more cornstarch/water mixture to thicken ‘er up. Do it! Let it cook for a few more minutes. Your kitchen should be smelling delicious and your stew should look something like this:

Look at how amazing this looks!? Now is the best part. Get out a bowl and serve it up! Along with some fresh bread! Delicious! And perfect for a rainy day weekend!

So there you have it! Stew made easy!! This recipe can also be adapted to a slow cooker/crock pot! Simply brown the meat and put all ingredients in the crock pot!

For a printable of this recipe, here you go:

Want to be Featured!?

This is a call for meat lovers to be featured right here! All my readers and customers love learning about meat and where it comes from. But they have one thing to add: teach me how to cook it!

If any of you have been following me, you know that my family loves to cook. And we like to think we are pretty good at it. But on top of working full time and blogging, there just isn’t time to consistently feature my cooking. That’s where my bright idea comes into play! I can feature my readers, my customers, and my social media friends! And they can show us how they like to cook some of their favorite meat dishes!

So here’s what I’m looking for:
– a recipe cooking some form of meat that is: affordable, fairly simple, and delicious. I am trying to appeal to the masses here so although you may love something exotic like duck, some may not have access to that.
– include photos of the process and final product. These don’t have to be professional, IPhone photos work just fine for me!
– use this as an opportunity to promote yourself. Include a little personal narrative. People like reading about how you learned to cook, who you cook for, etc.
– don’t forget to include links to your personal blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter

Please email entries to dancincow16@hotmail.com and title them: Chico Locker Guest Post so that it doesn’t get lost in my junk mail.

I look forward to the entries and thank you in advance! If you have any questions, please email me or comment below!

Easy Crock Pot Ribs Recipe

Fun Meat Fact Friday is on hiatus seeing as how I’m on vacation enjoying some time on the East Coast. However, I came up with the grand idea for a guest blog. I know many of you have been asking me about recipes and how to cook some of the meat items I’ve featured on here. Well here we go. I’d love to continue this trend. Thank you so much to my good friend Natalie who is our trial run! And if you have a meat recipe you’d like to feature, please contact me! I’d love to feature you!! Happy Friday everyone! Go cook some ribs!! Natalie shows us how!

I’m Natalie from www.aggirl.com. I’m 25 unemployed and today we’re gonna cook ribs in a CrockPot.

I got these spareribs at Safeway for 50% off (DEAL). First, I cut them up because obviously the whole rack as is was not going to fit into the crockpot.

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Aren’t they pretty?

Then I whipped up some sauce. This is the tricky part because I never follow recipes, I look a bunch over then pick and choose. When I cook it’s usually throwing things together. This happened to be a mixture of BBQ sauce, honey, brown sugar, and little bit of water.

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After the sauce was concocted I tossed the ribs into a ziplock, poured in the sauce and shook it around a bit. Then I let it rest for about 2 hours until I went to bed

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Right before bed I put the ribs and sauce into the crock pot

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Set it on LOW for 10 hours

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When I woke I had ribs so tender they fall off the bone.

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Ideally, you’d want to cook these during the day when you could spread sauce on them continually, however, I added more sauce and the ribs are just sitting in it until tonight when I’ll heat the ribs and have some deliciousness!