I managed a shot anyway, and posted it to BugGuide.net.
Answers started coming in within hours. Apparently this is a carrion or burying beetle (Family, Silphidae; species, Nicrophorus orbicollis), a nocturnal beast, perhaps also a factor in its run for cover once it got outside. It lives by joining forces with its mate in burying small mammals to serve as food for their larvae. This is an unusual kind of family life for a beetle.
Given how it makes its living though, I got to wonder what else is in the kitchen that I haven't noticed yet.