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Chili

New York Strip Steaks Only $19.99/lb for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is right around the corner and with the weather gods saying that sunshine is on the horizon it will be a great weekend to spark up the grill.  Take advantage with our special pricing on New York Strip Steaks.

Starting this Friday, June 19, and running through Sunday, June 21st (Father’s Day!) both our 100% grass fed BN Ranch and our grain-finished Five Dot Ranch New York Strip Steaks will be on sale for $19.99, $5 off their regular price at both Markets and on Instacart.

I think of New Yorks as being the rib eye’s leaner, meaner little brother.  Just as flavorful and tender, but with more balanced marbling than the rib eye, the New York has serious versatility.  Serve it as a thick-cut steak for a big poppa Father’s Day dinner, slice it into thin strips for a pimped out stir fry or fajita meal, or order your steaks thin-cut to create the dopest sandwich known to man, a.k.a. “Chili’s New York Cheesesteak” (no disrespect to my people in Philly), with savory Omnivore SauceMimi’s Confitures smoky-sweet onion jam, and tangy Cabot Vintage Cheddar on Acme‘s herbaceous Herb Slab.  Pair it with the peppery Green & Red “Chiles Canyon” Zinfandel ($22.99) and you’ve got the perfect gift for dad!  Shop the full recipe at 18th Street and Divis, or online at Instacart.com.

NY Steak-Sandwich-web

 


Chili

Fresh-Caught, Wild King Salmon Is Now Just $19.99! Through 6/9/15

You’ve waited for it all spring, now wait no more! At its peak of flavor, our fillets of fresh-caught, wild King Salmon are now just $19.99/lb until June 9, 2015. Bake it, broil it, grill it, or poach it, this is the best deal of the season!  Whether you’re cooking for two, four or just yourself, our chefs have you covered with some of our favorite salmon recipes.  Try the sumptuous Slow Baked, Herb-Crusted Salmon, or our Seared Salmon with Late Spring Succotash – the time is now to enjoy Wild King Salmon fillets, just $19.99 at both Divis and 18th Street.

Seared Salmon with Late Spring Succotash Slow Baked, Herb Crusted Salmon


Chili

Local, Locale & the Evolution Of BN Beef

As climate issues have made it more difficult to produce great grass-fed beef locally, even seasonally, Bill Niman and BN Ranch have modified their approach to grass-fed beef.  Bill has chosen to reach out to his network of like-minded ranchers to seek out the best pastures in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.  Bill has long preached about locale being as important as local – raising the plants and animals best suited to a given locality – and with cattle production being severely challenged by our global climate issues (particularly in drought-stricken California), the need to find quality pasture has become key to offering great grass fed-beef year round.

BN Ranch Bolinas

The herd at BN Ranch in Bolinas

We’ve gotten off to a great start with this year’s BN Ranch grass-fed beef program, and the beef coming from New Zealand has been spectacular.  Raised on grasses similar to those here in Northern California and in a comparable climate, the beef has had terrific flavor and exceptional marbling.  Beginning in July, we will start seeing the transition into BN’s North American beef.  Some strategic changes have been made to this year’s program in order to maintain more consistent marbling throughout the season.  Last year Bill’s team learned that although the lush pastures of the Sacramento Delta provided bountiful grasses to graze on, the intense summer heat greatly reduced the amount of grass consumed by the steer, resulting in less marbled beef during August and September.  In the same way Bill extended his network into New Zealand to provide us with great grass-fed beef during our winter months, he has also reached out to his peers in Alberta, Canada to secure cattle that will be grazing on equally lush pastures but in a much more temperate climate.

Bill Niman explaining his grass-fed beef program

Bill Niman explaining his grass-fed beef program

In preparation for the launch of this year’s North American beef, we spent a few hours last week with Bill Niman on his ranch in Bolinas.  We toured his pasture, met the cows, and got the low down on what makes his grass-fed beef so special. We also checked in on his heritage turkey flock, which will be laying the eggs for all our heritage turkeys.

While we walked out to the pasture where the herd of Black Angus was grazing, Bill gave us a quick primer on the grasses that make up the diet of the herd (including rye and clover).  He spoke at length about how he rotates pastures to optimize the nutrition from the grass, allowing the cattle to efficiently put on mass.  When we were about 150 yards away from the herd, Bill gave them a yell and a whistle and about 45 calves and their mothers ambled over to gather around us.  It was striking how calm and curious his animals were; in all my other experiences cattle rarely let a stranger invade their space, let alone a dozen strangers eager to befriend them.

Bill takes a Zen approach to raising his beef – he believes that keeping animals calm and living harmoniously with their environment greatly improves the quality of their meat.  If the flavor, marbling, and that ocean view are any indication, we have a lot to look forward to this summer.

BN Ranch Bolinas

Chef Guy making new friends


Chili

California King Salmon Season Is Here!

SalmonWholeBanner

Long live the king!  Wild California King Salmon season is back, beginning in spring before the action really gets going during the summer months.   King Salmon season has always been a special time for me – as summers meant no school and ample free time, my grandfather had the task of keeping my sister and me occupied.  Luckily, he was never at a loss for things to do – some of my favorite memories were our adventures down the coast to find fishermen selling their salmon catch right off the boats.

During king salmon season, we work closely with our fishmongers (All Seas, TwoXSea and Monterey Fish Company) to secure incredible quality California King Salmon at a very competitive price.  As we enter the height of salmon season in the summer, we usually see the price dropping several dollars.  This year the season will run through September 31, with monitored quotas for California’s fishery to ensure sustainability.

The Smithsonian has called King Salmon the “soul food of the North Pacific,” and we’re thrilled to celebrate it in all its delicious forms.  Kick off king salmon season for yourself with our Slow Baked, Herb-Crusted King Salmon with Full Belly Farm’s New Potatoes recipe.  Baking the salmon slowly allows the butter, herbs and mustard to gently flavor the fish, while the breadcrumbs brown to give it a nice crunch.  Pair it with Idlewild’s 2014 The Flower, Flora, & Fauna Rosé ($22.99), whose blend of Piedmontese varietals (Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto) are bursting with citrus and minerals, with aromas of pine needles and wildflowers – a perfect complement for your salmon dinner for two!

Herb-Crusted Salmon Recipe


Chili

BN Ranch Rib Eye Bonanza

BN Ranch Rib Eye

Butcher David showing off beautiful BN Ranch Rib Eye

The Cadillac of beef at the price of a Chevy: for one week only we’re hosting a BN Ranch Rib Eye Bonanza, showcasing Bill “The Beef Guru” Niman’s 100% grass fed beef

  • BN Ranch Bone-in Rib Eye: $15.99/lb (Regularly $22.99/lb)
  • BN Ranch Boneless Rib Eye: $19.99/lb (Regularly $26.99/lb)

This is grass-fed beef at its best, raised on lush, open pastures and harvested at maturity. Packed with distinct flavor, these rib eyes have the perfect amount of intermuscular fat you typically get with a grain-finished steak, without the guilt. A fantastic steak to pan roast or to throw on the grill before San Francisco summer descends, these BN Ranch rib eyes are available now at both Bi-Rite Market locations while supplies last.


Chili

Spring Has Sprung, Time For Lamb!

Flowers blooming, bees hard at work, new life everywhere….it’s springtime! Easter and Passover are just around the corner, too, which means lamb season is in full swing. This year we have an amazing lamb program, featuring two exceptional California producers, designed to offer the finest selections for your table.

Sheep and Lambs at BN Ranch

Sheep and Lambs at BN Ranch

Don Watson‘s Milk-Fed, Pasture-Raised Lamb is very special–the animals are born in in the Napa Valley during the winter, fed for four months on mother’s milk, then harvested before weaning. The meat extremely tender, with a distinctly mild flavor. This lamb is very limited, so please visit the markets, or call us to pre-order for your Passover and Easter celebrations.

BN Ranch Grass-Fed Lamb is a traditional, rich, full-flavored lamb, born on farmland outside of Tracy, California. These lambs are raised by John Cubiburu, who comes from a family of Basque shepherds, and is committed to the BN Ranch philosophy of raising and harvesting animals. The lambs are grown and finished solely on grass, moving seasonally through open pastures. BN Ranch lamb is available now at both Markets, as well as from the Bi-Rite store on Instacart.com, our partner for grocery delivery in San Francisco.

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Shepherd John Cubiburu with his flock at BN Ranch

We are always committed to offering you the best, most humanely-produced food possible. With Don Watson and BN Ranch lambs you will get exactly that. Come in to either Market to speak with our butchers about which option is best for your needs. Whether you need boneless lamb or an entire rack, we can help.


Chili

4 Days Only! Friday-Monday Fresh-Caught Wild Local King Salmon Just $19.99/lb

Fishies

Wild Local King Salmon season is booming! To celebrate the kickoff of a bountiful season, we’re pleased to offer fillets of fresh-caught Wild Local King Salmon at just $19.99/lb, a special price we’ll be offering for just 4 days–from Friday, May 9 through Monday, May 12.

Fresh from Half Moon Bay and brought to us by our good friends at All Seas, this hook-and-line caught fish is beautiful; ideal for a special Mother’s Day weekend brunch, grilling, broiling, or as a centerpiece for dinner on a warm evening, such as Sam’s Eat Good Food recipe for Seared Wild Salmon with Late Spring Succotash.

SalmonRecipe


Chili

Incredible Spring Lamb from Anderson Ranches and Don Watson

Easter and Passover are both coming up in a few short weeks. is  If you’re planning to serve traditional lamb as part of your celebrations (or if you just want to try a truly special meat option), stop by our Markets to talk to the folks behind the Deli or Butcher counters. We have some of the best lamb available, and are here to provide you with just the right cut and help out with cooking and serving tips.

andersonlambs

Anderson Ranches’ heard of lambs

I buy lamb year-round from Anderson Ranches out of Oregon. These guys were recommended to me by our great local friend and lamb expert Don Watson. The Anderson folks have been raising grass-fed lamb for five generations and they know what they’re doing. The lambs are fed on a strict diet of 100% grass, which means their meat is lower in fat and healthier for humans. Unusual for this lamb ranchers, Anderson owns their own processing facility, which means that they can oversee every aspect of their production without outsourcing to a third party. The result of all of this is that they consistently turn out a delicious lamb with total transparency in raising and processing that is an excellent option for a traditional Easter or Passover dish.

For something different and excitingly off-beat, we have another option available this spring. The above-mentioned Don Watson is an excellent lamb farmer in his own right, albeit it on a smaller scale. One of my favorite products that we get from Don is milk-fed spring lamb, which is only available at this time of year, typically just for the month of April. Milk-fed lamb tends to be hard to find in the United States because it is not economical to cultivate on a large scale. Fortunately for us, Don is doing it on just about the smallest scale possible, personally overseeing his small herd of lambs (with the help of his expert Peruvian lamb-herders) and exemplifying the sort of local producer that we love working with. Don’s Napa Valley-based herd lives on the grounds of the Infineon Raceway, saving on the cost and environmental impact of lawnmowers by munching on the grass and keeping the Raceway grounds in good condition.

watson2

Don with his herd of lambs

Don’s milk-fed lambs, which have been described by the New York Times as, “some of the best milk-fed lambs on the planet,” are only available in the spring. They are harvested right at the stage when they’re about to be weaned off of mother’s milk, so they have never had any other form of sustenance pass through their systems. This produces a sublime tenderness and distinctly mild flavor.

We love working with Don because of his sustainable, hands-on approaching to raising livestock and doing business. When the season is right, Don hand-delivers lamb to us every week, and since these are peak-of-the-season animals, their availability is limited. We won’t have milk-fed spring lamb for very long after April, so it’s worth coming by now to pick some up. Or better yet, if you want to play it safe, give us a call! We’d be happy to set some lamb aside for you to help make sure that your celebrations or any meal you want to cook with lamb is a stunning success.


Chili

Heritage Foods USA: Providers of Our Rare and Heritage Breed Pork

I’m proud of all of the beautiful, truly special and delicious, sustainably-raised meat in our Butcher cases at Bi-Rite 18th Street and Bi-Rite Divisadero. The cases themselves, and our amazing Deli and Butcher staff who stand behind them, are the hearts of our stores.

redwattle_piglet

a Heritage Red Wattle piglet and a friend

Our cases feature meat from suppliers we know and trust, and one of my favorites is the great folks at Heritage Foods USA. Heritage is a meat distributor that provides us with center-cut pork chops, Porterhouse pork chops, boneless pork chops (great pan-seared with roasted fingerling potatoes for the perfect cold-weather dinner), St. Louis-style pork ribs, smoked hamhocks (an essential component for making the perfect split-pea soup) and slab bacon. These products are exceptional because of the thought and care that Heritage puts into their operation from top to bottom.

duroc_pig

a Heritage Duroc pig

Heritage understands the value of preserving rare and heritage breeds. Factory farming places a dangerous emphasis on cheaper breed uniformity, and the hands-on care that family farms take in raising rare and heritage breeds results in animals that live healthier, happier lives and produce really flavorful cuts of meat. I love that these are not commodity animals; they’re no longer part of our regular food system because they’re neither easy nor efficient to raise. They’re nothing like what you would buy from a chain grocery store. This ultimately produces a safer food supply, since breed diversity helps buttress the supply chain against novel pathogens that can sometimes wipe out whole breeds and lead to food shortages.

I also like that I have a truly personal relationship with Heritage. None of the animals we sell are butchered until I place an order. And I can be sure that the animals are being cared for and slaughtered humanely, because I’ve personally visited four family farms with whom Heritage works, as well as the processing facility that handles the animals. Since I’m the last step in the chain before the meat gets onto your table, I like to know exactly what takes place at every step behind me, and Heritage have always been supportive in showing me how their operation runs. The farms they work with are small, run by families across generations: hard-working individuals committed to producing pork that’s miles above the supermarket options that get marketed as “the other white meat.”

goat_grazing

Heritage animals feed and mate naturally at their own pace

Heritage believes firmly in the value of allowing their animals to feed and mate naturally. They support family farms that don’t use artificial growth hormones or antibiotics. Heritage does the kind of business we love at Bi-Rite–the kind that supports communities, nurtures a stable and bountiful food supply chain and produces great-tasting food.

You can use Heritage pork to make this great recipe from the book by Bi-Rite Founder Sam Mogannam, Eat Good Food. Come by either of our Market locations to get everything you need for this recipe!

Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Bing Cherries (serves 2)

¾ cup Bing Cherries (about 18 cherries)

6 center-cut, ½-inch-thick boneless pork chops (aka cutlets, about 14 ounces total)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon cider or red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 cup salt-free chicken stock or salt-free broth (see Note)

Pit the cherries and cut half of them in half. Set aside.

Season the pork with ¾ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper and let come to room temperature.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add as many pork chops as will fit in a roomy single layer and let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. When the first side is golden brown, flip and cook until just firm and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer the pork to a plate, cover loosely with foil, and repeat with any remaining chops.

Lower the heat to medium and add the shallot and half the butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots start to soften, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, Dijon, sage and a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft and the pan is almost dry. Add the stock along with any juices that have accumulated under the cutlets. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the cherries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to one-fourth of its original volume, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat, season with more salt if desired, and swirl in the remaining half of the butter. Pour the sauce over the chops and serve immediately.


Chili

Five Dot Ranch Prime Rib: My Favorite Holiday Meat

PrimeRibPhotoI love prime rib. Decadent, luscious, succulent, and juicy–it’s what I personally choose to eat on special occasions. And nothing is more special than a holiday meal you share with your family.

As Head Butcher and Meat Buyer, I always search out the best possible products that I can bring to our guests at Bi-Rite for their seasonal celebrations. This year, I selected prime rib from Five Dot Ranch, producers of some of the finest pasture-raised beef in California.

What makes prime rib from Five Dot so special is that they strike the perfect balance between grass feeding and grain finishing. Starting cattle on grass and pasture-raising allows the animals to develop a rich beef flavor and to grow at a natural pace. Grain finishing creates the ideal amount of marbling, for a buttery mouth feel and texture. It’s the best of both worlds, like Jay-Z and R. Kelly.

Five Dot is also committed to natural raising practices. Their beef is always 100% free of antibiotics and added hormones. They have been practicing low-stress handling and holistic management of their herd for almost fifteen years.

I recommended a serving size of roughly 1-1.5 lbs raw weight per person. And I am pleased to share this exceptional beef at a value price–normally $18.99 per pound, we’re offering it for the holiday season for just $15.99 per pound.

Prime rib is fairly straightforward to prepare. All that is required is some patience and a meat thermometer to cook it to perfection! Don’t forget to always check the temperature while cooking. I’ve provided some instructions below for cooking, carving, and making flavorful pan sauces.

I and the other Butchers at Bi-Rite are always here to answer your questions, prepare your meat to your specifications, and discuss preparation techniques. We look forward to sharing this wonderful prime rib with you and your guests! Happy Holidays!

How to Cook Prime Rib

1. The night before you plan to serve the roast, remove it from the wrapping and season liberally with salt. Allow the roast to air dry uncovered on a rack in the refrigerator overnight.

2. The next day, remove roast from refrigerator at least one hour, and up to three hours, before you plan to begin cooking. It is important for the roast to be near room temperature when it hits the oven in order to achieve even cooking.

3. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Place roast, bone side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into center portion of roast, being careful not to touch the bone.

4. Cook slowly until internal temp on meat thermometer reaches 120 degrees for medium rare, 125 degrees for medium.

5. Remove roast from oven and tent loosely with foil. Reserve all pan juices from roasting pan and set aside to make a pan sauce. Wipe out roasting pan.

6. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees/broil. When oven is very hot, uncover roast and return to oven. Cook until a crispy, brown crust has formed, 6-10 minutes.

7. Remove roast from oven and transfer to a large plate. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 30-45 minutes.

How to Carve Prime Rib

Stand the roast upright, holding the bones with your free hand. Using a long thin-bladed carving knife, cut down between the bones and the meat, following the natural curvature as closely as possible. Once you reach the bottom, fold the bones out and cut through the last bit to remove them completely. Place the (now) boneless piece of meat on a cutting board, with the bone side down. Using your free hand, hold the roast steady and carve thin, even pieces. Carve only as many slices as you plan to eat right away; slice more as needed.

Don’t forget about the bones! There is lots of delicious meat in-between the bones that is great for eating or can be used in your pan sauce.

Making a Pan Sauce

Pan sauces are versatile, with endless flavor combinations.

1. After removing meat from pan, add more oil/fat (if necessary), onions, & garlic.

2. Deglaze the pan – add liquid and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.

3. Bring liquid to a simmer and reduce by half of its volume.

4. Season any way you like:

Asian – broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions, lime

Wine – onions, garlic, thyme, red wine, mushrooms

Caper – capers, shallots, white wine, lemon juice

…or just with salt & pepper!

5. Finish with a pad of butter (optional) and serve alongside meat.