335. Barrington EATS: Heinen’s Beef for the Holidays

Home Newsroom 335. Barrington EATS: Heinen’s Beef for the Holidays

When we say Heinen’s makes holiday beef easy, we don’t just mean via another one of their fabulous prepared food options. The focus of this family business has always been offering the highest quality meats, dating back to when founder, Joe Heinen, opened his first butcher shop in the Cleveland area in 1929.  And today, Heinen’s beef has come to be one of the company’s best sellers for the holidays.

Heinen's Fine Foods Founder, Joseph Heinen
Heinen’s Fine Foods Founder, Joseph Heinen, Seen Here on Left

Twin brothers, Tom and Jeff Heinen, co-own the company which opened its Barrington store four months ago this week.  We’re just getting to know the Heinen brothers, who made quick chops on two butcher blocks to cut the ribbon outside the Barrington store this past August, a nod to their grandfather, Joe, and a reference to their focus on fine meats.  “We started as butcher shop so it’s  kind of a legacy of ours.”

Heinen's Ribbon Cutting - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Tom & Jeff Heinen at Heinen’s Ribbon Cutting with Village of Barrington President, Karen Darch – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

Co-Owner, Tom Heinen, has worked with the company’s meat products for 35 years.  “I grew up in the meat department since I was about 16 years-old.”  Tom got his start cutting meat, mentored by his grandfather’s protégé, and has been very involved over the years with making sure Heinen’s stores offer the best meat products available.

Tom Heinen in Barrington, Illinois - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Tom Heinen in Barrington, Illinois – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

Tom Heinen personally promises that their beef is the highest quality you’ll find.  “Our whole story is about beef here at Heinen’s and our product is entirely source verified.”

Post 300 - Heinen's Beef“That means we trace our beef from the time that it’s born to the time it gets to Heinen’s.  If you’re not on a customized program like this, you get variability in the product. By following every step of the process, we know we can guarantee that the experience for the customer is the same every time.”

Heinen’s meat merchandisers are in regular contact with the ranchers raising their beef because Tom says the treatment of the animals has such a big impact on taste.

“In animal raising for consumption, the best thing you can do is treat that animal like it’s a king or queen because that’s going to give you the best product.  We’ve also made the decision in beef that we’re going to carry a completely antibiotic free, hormone free product.  It’s about as clean a product as you’re going to find and we think it’s steak house quality.”

So if you want to taste the difference in Heinen’s beef at your holiday table, Tom Heinen says these are the four cuts, boneless or bone-in, that are among their best sellers.

Beef Tenderloin

This classic holiday selection has a reputation as the best of the best, and Heinen’s is proud to help you bring just that to your holiday table.

Heinen's Beef Tenderloin
Heinen’s Beef Tenderloin

Strip Roast

This less expensive cut is still a beautiful, delicious choice of meat and, as such, is Heinen’s favorite option for this holiday entertaining season.

Bone-in Rib Roast

This cut of meat, also referred to as Prime Rib, is a traditional holiday favorite, bringing great flavor and promising an elegant main course.

Boneless Rib Roast, or Delmonico Roast

This beautiful cut of meat is the same cut as the Rib Roast, but without the bone.

Heinen's Delmonico Roast
Heinen’s Delmonico Roast

Since Tom Heinen says he cooks most of the meat in his own house, we asked him to share his top tips for preparing beef and here’s what he told us…

1.)  Start with a great cut of meat.

2.)  There are only two ways to wreck a good piece of meat: mis-cook it or mis-carve it.

3.)  Put it in the oven, preheated to 325 degrees, and watch it with a good meat thermometer. 

4.)  Take it out of the oven 10 degrees before it’s done cooking and let it rest and rise to the desired internal temperature.  That means take it out at 130 degrees for a rare, 140 degree meat, or 150 degrees for a well-done, 160 degree meat.

5.)  For a 5-pound piece of meat this should take about an hour, about 2 hours for a 10-pound piece of meat, and less than an hour for smaller cuts.

6.)  If you’re starting with a good cut of meat, your preparation goal should be to let the natural flavors of the beef shine through.  I think the natural taste of our beef is great so I’m fine, frankly, seasoning with kosher salt and ground pepper.

7.)  For more flavor, try Heinen’s Two Brothers seasoning or horseradish, my favorite sauce for beef.

8.)  When it comes to carving, cut intuitively for what makes the most sense for that piece of meat.

Heinen's Beef - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Heinen’s Beef – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

Lastly, Tom says let the store’s associates be your guide.  The heads of Heinen’s meat departments have met the ranchers and even toured the meat processing facilities themselves.  They’re also experts when it comes to the other meats available at Heinen’s like their cuts of lamb & pork, stuffed meats and homemade meatballs.  They also offer Heinen’s Own Spiral Sliced Ham, made from an award-winning family recipe that dates back to Joe Heinen.  This bone-in ham is gently smoked over real hickory chips and finished with a brown sugar glaze.

Heinen's Whole Baked Ham
Heinen’s Own Spiral Sliced Ham

If you really want some wow-factor or just to try something new at your holiday table this year, Tom suggests you consider their pork crown roast.

Heinen's Pork Crown Roast
Heinen’s Pork Crown Roast

For the ultimate in easy entertaining, Heinen’s also offers handcrafted party trays with pre-cut slices of beef, chicken, turkey and pork.

Heinen's Gourmet Meat Tray
Heinen’s Gourmet Meat Tray

Just call ahead and someone at the butcher or deli counter can help you plan and structure your pre-ordered party menu.  Any way you cut it, Heinen’s has us convinced that you can expect delicious and memorable results when you invest in any of their cuts of meat during the holidays or any day of the year.

Heinen's Fine Foods in Barrington, Illinois
Heinen’s Fine Foods in Barrington, Illinois

The new Heinen’s Fine Foods is located at the Shops at Flint Creek, 500 N. Hough Street, in Barrington, Illinois. They’re now open from 8:00 a.m. To 8:30 p.m., 7 days a week. Click HERE to follow them on Facebook or find them online at HeinensBarrington.com.

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About the Author

Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com. Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.

Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our regular Friday food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!

If you’d like to us to feature you favorite chef, restaurant or food store or if you have a food related question that you’d like Kelly to answer, make a quick stop at the 365 Barrington Suggestion Box and leave us a note in the form which you’ll find by clicking HERE or simply leave your comment in the box below.

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