In the mood to start Grilling NC Beef? You can get started at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on Saturday, watch this video later on in this post before you shop and then you’ll be set to try your hand…
But first, a bit of an explanation.
Sometimes things don’t always go as we planned.
Last week I posted an article about shopping local and cooking local with beef from the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. As the world of blogging is ever evolving, I used a new widget to format that blog post, and then my photos of local ranchers went all wacky – what’s a blogger to do?
In blogging as in life, sometimes you just need a do-over, so I did and now I’m giving it another shot.
Shake the Hands that Feed You
As it turns out, timing is perfect! This week I made an appearance to do a cooking segment on WCNC’s Charlotte Today and took the opportunity to share one of my favorite ways for grilling NC beef.
Before you shop and cook local, take a moment to meat ( pun intended) all the beef ranchers you’ll find each and every weekend at the Regional Farmers’ Market in Charlotte. Stop to really chat with them as you shop. It’s important to know your farmers, know where your food comes from and most importantly to be able to shake the hands that feed you.
A Virtual Tour…
Let’s walk through the market on a virtual tour of sorts, and I’ll make the introductions, starting with the first building on your right as you drive into the market – this is Building A. Building A is comprised of local farmers and producers selling the product or the proteins they grow, raise or make.
Here you’ll find a nearly a dozen local ranchers – almost all selling grass fed beef. From the end of the building nearest to the market entrance, they are: Christy Underwood from Underwood Farms in Lawndale, NC; Cindy Digh from Clearview Farms in Lincolnton, NC and Sarah Jane and Jamie Davis of A Way of Life Farm, who don’t raise beef ( they raise pork and veggies on their Bostic NC farm), but often have beef at the market to sell from a neighboring Belflower Farms.
Just beside A Way of Life Farm on the same side of the aisle is Bluebird Farm from Morganton, NC selling beef, pork and chicken and like their neighbors from A Way of Life farm – all sorts of delicious produce ( By the way, Bluebird is doing a farm tour on May 18 – check out their website for more info)
But that’s not all….
Across from Windy Hill you see the Martin’s Charolais Farm in Shelby NC a Charolais are a breed of cattle that are all white and like many of the farms listed here – the farm is open for farm tours if you’d like to go visit and see for yourself. A step or two down the row across the aisle will be Poplin Farms from Albemarle, NC, selling grass fed Angus beef.
Almost at the end of the building on the right, next to my friend Jim Bowman who sells delicious fresh caught and smoked lake trout, (you read about Jim and the local rabbit he sells in this post) – should you be interested in a surf and turf sort of dinner, you will find Shelley and Brian Eagan from Proffitt Family Cattle Company also from Shelby, NC with certified organic grass-fed and finished beef. Many of you have read about Proffitt Farms in posts on this blog before as it is one of the farms where I hold my On the Farm Cooking Classes..
In Building B, at the market, you’ll find lots of vendors who sell a variety of product – these vendors are not necessarily farmers, although many of them do farm and sell their own produce and proteins as well as that from other regional farms.
You’ve also read about All Natural Farms in this blog in my post on buying pork at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. Lee from All Natural Farms has a farm store in Building B and is open on the weekends and on Thursdays and Fridays as well, selling beef from their own Scottish Highlander cattle in addition to lots of other local product. And then move to building C, where you will find RockRaven Farms with North Carolina beef from Wadesboro, NC and the fine folks from Ankrom Farm here on Saturday mornings with beef all the way from Bessemer City, NC!
All of these North Carolina ranchers provide a variety of cuts making for lots of delicious ways to eat local North Carolina beef.
Now, let’s get grilling NC Beef
London Broil has always been a popular cut and on television this week I shared an fool -proof way to cook this cut of NC beef on the grill. Its delicious served with grilled Spring onions and my recipe for strawberry salsa. The beautiful purple onions I showcased on TV came from Burton Farms in Building A at the Charlotte Regional Market and the strawberries I used for the salsa were grown at the Burton’s farm as well.
You’ll find the complete recipe for Grilling NC beef with my London Broil with Strawberry Salsa in last week’s NC Beef post, but first watch this video for a taste of just how easy grilling NC beef really is…
If you are taking notes, you’ll see that on TV I improvised a bit with the Strawberry Salsa recipe. I added some blueberries to the mix and I still dressed it with the delicious combination of Blood Orange EVOO and Cascadian Raspberry white vinegar, both available in Charlotte from Pour Olive on East Blvd.
Spice it up
But, instead of using roasted jalapenos in this version of the recipe, I used one of my favorite local hot sauces instead. The Puckerbutt Pepper Company , owned by another friend – local farmer, pepper grower and self described mad scientist, Ed Currie, is located just across the state line in the wonderful historic district of Rock Hill, SC., and has the distinction of being listed in the Guinness Book of World records for growing the hottest pepper ever, year after year – Ed’s famed Carolina reaper!
Fair warning… the Carolina reaper sauces are only for the brave of heart and for those, like Ed, who can REALLY take the heat – after all it is the world’s hottest hot sauce made with the world’s hottest hot pepper; but happily Ed makes milder sauces as well and one of my favorites is the Ben’s Smokin Hot Razz Booty sauce I used in the salsa in this segment. You can purchase the sauce at the store in Rock Hill or easier still, visit the virtual store on the Puckerbutt website and Ed will be delighted to ship some sauce your way.
Put yourself on the cutting edge
Finally, where there is beef, there is chopping, cutting and slicing to be done and so you want your knives to be in tip top shape. Hard to sharpen your own, you say? Well, let me help take those worries away…
Before you plan on grilling NC beef – using Chef Chris Coleman’s nifty cast iron pan on the grill method I shared in the post last week or the london broil recipe I re-shared today – you will want to know Thomas Richards from The Mobile Stone. Knife sharpening services, that give you the edge you need, done while you wait ( or, even better still, while you are shopping for your local NC beef and more) in Building C at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market.
Go Shop Local this weekend, you’ll be glad you did! Make plans for Grilling NC Beef for friends and family alike. The Charlotte Regional Market is open on Saturday and Sunday through the summer months with some stores and vendors in Building B open on Thursday and Fridays as well.
If you love shopping local you may be interested in my next On the Farm Cooking class. The theme is a summer picnic and it all takes place at New Town Farms in Waxhaw on Saturday May 26 from 1-5 pm. Details here. ( scroll to near the bottom of the page for the descriptive and the link to make your advance reservation) Cost is $85 per person, Reservations are a must.