Reading Terminal Market (RTM) is a landmark in Philadelphia. We’re a city that loves good food and RTM has a wide variety of fresh and prepared food, including cheesesteaks, plus a wide variety of cuisines including Middle Eastern, Thai, Mexican, French, and Mediterranean, it’s a melting pot. With 80 independent, local merchants the essence of RTM is family business. One Saturday afternoon we stopped by L. Halteman Country foods to pick up some premium meats and hear their story.
Brothers Jake and Samuel Riehl work alongside their mother Anna, and extended Mennonite family behind the counter at L. Halteman Country Foods in RTM. Since 1997, the family has had a shop in RTM where three generations of butchers have brought meats from their Lancaster County farm to Philadelphia. The shop is open everyday except Sunday. While there is a large variety of meats including chicken, turkey, sausages, lamb chops, pork chops, burgers, and steaks; one of the most popular items is their bacon. Bacon lovers rejoice as eight varieties of bacon are offered including applewood, thick-cut hickory, maple glazed, pepper crusted and more smoked themselves at the farm back in Lancaster County. Breakfast never looked so good! The most popular is the hickory variety that they smoke themselves. Guests can also pick up ham hocks or turkey wings to flavor a pot of greens.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Halteman offers turkeys that are raised locally at a farm in Lancaster County and without antibiotics or chemicals. During Thanksgiving, truckloads of turkeys are delivered to customers who sign up on a list and no payment is required beforehand to reserve your turkey! Another fall favorite for customers is Smoked Pork Chops served with sauteed apples. Another popular item are Halteman’s hand-pressed burgers. These large patties are loaded with quality meat and sometimes include fresh ingredients mixed in such as blue cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, mushrooms, or peppers. Twice as thick as a normal burger, these specialty burger patties are a great option for dinner parties or backyard barbecue.
Additionally, Halteman supplies USDA Prime & Choice quality beef ranging from steaks to roasts. The best feature is the high-quality USDA Prime filet, USDA Prime dry-aged beef which is dry-aged for 21 days, and traditional USDA Prime cuts like New York Strip, T-Bone, and Porterhouse. When going out to eat steaks can be one of the most expensive items on the menu.
We’ll be the first to tell you that a quality steak doesn’t need fancy sauce. Honestly, you don’t want anything to cover up the natural flavors of the meat, especially when its dry-aged. All a good steak needs is a seasoning of salt and pepper, maybe some butter, and to be cooked properly. A good sear will lock in all the flavor and natural juices.
Start by allowing the steak to rest at room temperature for approximately 30-60 minutes. A few minutes before cooking the steak, heat up a skillet over medium high heat. And please don’t use nonstick coated cookware. Ideally you should use a skillet with a copper core, cast iron, or stainless steel works just fine. While your pan heats up, pat your steak dry with a paper towel. This absorbs any extra moisture and excess moisture prevents a good seared, caramelized and browned steak. Then season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to season it with confidence. We also like to rub the salt and cracked pepper into the meat.
After a few minutes, your pan should be pretty hot. We like to test the temperature by sprinkling a couple drops of water onto the pan. The water droplets should evaporate instantly. When you place down the steak you should hear it sizzle. Cook the steak on each side for 2-4 minutes for a 1 inch thick steak. It should be searing to a beautiful brown color. While the steak is cooking, don’t touch it. Resist. Do not flip your steak more than once. Cook to your desired temperature, you can tell how done a steak is by pushing on it with your fingers. You don’t need to cut into the middle! The firmer it is, the more cooked it is. After you take your steak out of the pan, let it rest for 5 minutes. If you cut into it right away, all the tasty juices will run out and onto your plate. Resting the steak gives it time for the juices to redistribute throughout, so your steak is nice and juicy.