Meet at the market: meet your meat-maker

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The photo says it all. Photo: Rancho San Julian

Each week we meet up with Katie Hershfelt of Cultivate Events as she chats with farmers, chefs and shoppers at the Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market.

This week’s guest? Elizabeth Poett, an eighth-generation Santa Barbara cattle rancher who lives and works on one of Santa Barbara County’s oldest family-owned ranches, Rancho San Julian in Lompoc. She’s got some great ideas for how to use unusual cuts to wow friends and family this Memorial Day weekend.

Elizabeth Poett at the market. Photo: Rancho San Julian

Quick tips for the newbie griller: unnamed (2)

  • Let meat defrost. Depending on size, take the meat out the night before and put in fridge.
  • Grill quick for cuts like rib eye and strip steak. Each side only needs a couple minutes of heat on the grill.
  • Cook slow and low for cuts like brisket and short ribs.
  • Keep the fat. “That’s the best part! It’s all the flavor,” says Poett.
  • Think simple. “Seriously, a steak is the easiest thing you can possibly cook. A little salt, pepper and maybe some fresh garlic, but other than that it’s ready to enjoy.”
  • Get inspired by what chefs are trying. Beef cheek pasta? You can make that at home, too!
  • Use bones for homemade broth.
  • Cast iron skillets work fine if you don’t have time to start up the grill.
  • Do a rain dance. Rancho San Julian needs it!

Short Ribs for Two:


by Elizabeth Poett

  • 1 ½ – 2 lbs Short Ribs, thawed
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, skins on
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup hearty red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock

Heat the oven to 325˚. Season the short ribs with black pepper and set aside. Peel onion and cut into quarters lengthwise, then in half again, width-wise. Peel and dice the carrot.

In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat 3 tbsp olive oil until very hot, then sear the short ribs until brown on all sides, 2-3 mins per side. (If using a small pot, you may have to do this in batches so that you don’t crowd the meat.)

Remove the meat from the pot, turn the heat to medium, and add the onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to the remaining oil. Cook, stirring and scraping the pot, until the vegetables begin to brown, approximately 6 minutes. Add the vinegar and wine and turn up the heat; cook until the liquid reduces by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil.

Remove the pot from the heat, and nestle the meat back into to the pot in a single layer, bones upright. Cover the pot tightly with a lid and braise in the oven for 2 ½ – 3 hours, until the meat is tender and gives way easily to a knife.

Serving Suggestions: This dish is wonderful served with roasted winter squash and roasted or sautéed kale with a garlicky dressing.

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A George Bush political ad? No, Rancho San Julian in Lompoc. Photo: Rancho San Julian

Rancho San Julian will be at the Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market Saturday May 16th and 23rd. Here are some more recipes.

To check out all our past farmers’ market guests, click here.