#MyPRB | Kate Moore, owner GetFit615

#MyPRB is everything that I stand for: local business, local product, real food.  – Kate Moore, owner and trainer | GetFit615

Kate Moore | Vegetarian-turned -meat-eater a la PRBGoing on five years as a vegetarian and almost nine months as a fitness instructor/business owner—who teaches upwards of 22 classes per week—it was in January of 2015 when Kate Moore decided to incorporate meat back into her diet as a way to fuel both her career and her lifestyle. She said, “When I started GetFit615 I could feel that I wasn’t getting enough nutrients from the food I was eating [as a vegetarian]. I was always hungry and tired.”

The first step in making the switch? Figuring out where to begin.

“I just wanted to make sure I knew what I was eating… [When I was growing up] my best friend’s family owned a cattle farm, and I used to work for them. It was a very humane situation and we would wake up in the morning and feed the cattle and talk to them and herd them around. And then when the animals were ready, they were shipped off [to be processed] and then the family ate that meat. That’s the proper progression of how that life is supposed to happen, right?”

But as Kate pointed out, that’s not how it happens with the majority of our nation’s beef production. Often times grocery store beef comes from animals that live on unsanitary, disease-ridden concrete lots instead of breezy, sunny pastures; they are fed hormones to unnaturally make them grow bigger, faster; and instead of eating grass as they were intended—cattle are one of the only animals that have stomachs that were actually designed to break down grass—they are given corn.

Fortunately, our entire nation doesn’t follow those kinds of “farming” practices, and small farmers do exist who still do raise their animals the way Kate remembers from her friend’s farm in Virginia.

“The main reason I stopped eating meat was because I realized that not every place has that [kind of humane, healthy, happy meat]. But so when I decided to eat meat again, I was like holy sh*t, what do I do? Where do I get it?”

At the start of the new year, Kate also moved into a new house with new roommates and quickly realized that her new housemates’ diets mainly consisted of “food from a bag.” So she enrolled her entire house in the Whole 30 program and took it upon herself to supply the team with food—this time (her second time on the program) meat included—to help change their attitudes about eating.

Kate is not a fan of restriction. She doesn’t believe in depriving herself of this or torturing herself by never ever eating that. She believes in eating real, whole food that makes her feel good. And for the record, she also believes in treating herself when the feeling strikes.

Which is why she likes Whole 30. Although many people treat the program as a diet—and yes, the rules can be pretty restrictive—the main focus of Whole 30 is to reprogram how you think about eating. The idea is to eat whole foods—real foods; foods that come from the earth; foods that fill you up and keep you full—for a 30-day period. And as a person who teaches 20-30 fitness classes each week, it became clearly evident that eating meat was necessary.

Upon taking a trip to Whole Foods, the commercialized Mecca of organic-ism and health, Kate felt lost. She said, “I had never been to the meat section before and it was just immediately [overwhelming] with all of the packages and options… They also have this scale of how to rate your meat, from 1 – 5…and I was like ‘I can’t buy any of this stuff.’ Because in my opinion, the only option is five: I want grass fed, no hormones, no antibiotics and all that stuff. And they didn’t have a lot of it.”

Fortunately, Kate’s fitness studio lives in the same building as Chris’s wife Kelly’s yoga studio, and there the connection to PRB was made. Her conversation with Chris went a little something like this:

Kate: Chris, what am I supposed to eat? I am freaking out because I’m never going to eat that kind of [commercialized] meat. What are my other options?”

Chris: Porter Road Butcher.

Kate: How is it different from Whole Foods?

Chris: No matter what product you choose get from us, you’re never going to get something like that [commercialized mystery meat]. It’s always considered a “five.”

“So I know that I can trust Porter Road,” said Kate, “They’ve done all of the work for me and I don’t have to worry. I trust this product, and I trust that you guys have done your due diligence, and I know that my due diligence has been finding this place that does their due diligence!”

KateX3

Isn’t it nice to to feel confident about what it is you are putting into your body? We sure think so. And our bodies do too. Our bodies notice; they react; they feel the difference.

“The first time I noticed a difference in my body was in upward facing dog pose [in yoga]. Not that it wasn’t an awesome pose before, but it was always just kind of like meh. And then a week or so into Whole 30 [the second time, when I was eating meat] my back popped like 100 times from the top to the bottom and it was like all of the sudden there was this movement in my joints…And it still feels that way. All of my stuff pops and it feels so good! It’s almost like something with my synovial fluid or who knows what it was, but that I wasn’t getting the right fats or lubrication before.”

Matter of fact, the omega-3’s that come from eating things like salmon (duh), and grass-fed beef (did you know that one?) actually do help in lubricating joints and improving movement.

You go, Kate; you hit the nail right on the head.

Aside from her body physically feeling better and more mobile however, there’s another good feeling that comes from shopping at Porter Road: “It’s like Cheers,” Kate said, “It’s the place where everybody knows your name.”

Kate says that, aside from physically feeling better, her favorite part about being a regular customer at PRB is how much she has learned. From roasting a whole chicken, to learning how to use leftover bones for stock, to simply learning what braising is and why it makes tougher meat so amazing, Kate now feels like she has a better grasp on how to cook meat overall.

“It’s cool because I’ll come into the shop and be like, ‘What do y’all have today?’ and they’ll show me something I’ve never seen before or even heard of. And I’m just like ‘Okay, so how do I cook it?’”

Not only do our butchers write down cooking instructions, but they will also go so far as to mixing up a bag of spices for Kate to employ, or offering a variety of suggestions as to how she can stretch her meals even further.

And it’s those kinds of things that make a difference. “Surprisingly, it’s a lot less intimidating to walk into Porter Road Butcher—this ‘whole animal butcher shop’—than it is to go into a big grocery store or something because it’s more personal. There’s a relationship. It’s easier. And it’s something I trust,” said Kate, “That’s why #MyPRB is everything that I stand for: local business, local product, real food.”

Wesley’s Nashville Burger Beat

It’s a well-known fact that it’s hard to beat our meat here at Porter Road Butcher, but we have to admit, you can find some pretty damn respectable—nay delicious—meat around town that’s well worth your precious dollars. Whether it’s a classic American cheeseburger, or a patty that boasts something crazy or irregular, PRB West’s Wesley Adams has an opinion on almost all of them.

Wesley Adams: The Real Burger King

Wesley Adams: The Real Burger King

First on Wesley’s list of priorities when he moved to Nashville in July of 2014 was finding a go-to burger joint—he focused on that endeavor before even finding a permanent place of residence. So as he stands here today, on the first anniversary of his move to Music City, he has sampled his fair share of what Nashville has to offer when it comes to this classic American favorite. And after twelve good months, he is ready to share his reviews.

In his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana Wesley’s allegiances are torn between Bistro To Go’s special smoked gouda pimiento cheeseburger—an explosion of southern flavor on a fat patty—and Strawn’s Eat Shop double bacon cheeseburger—a feast of two thin patties, plenty of mustard, crispy bacon, and an egg with a runny yolk, sandwiches between two halves of a toasted and fluffy bun.

So although Wesley has yet to find what he would snobbishly qualify as, “the perfect burger,” he has come across quite a few good ones that he claims, “are top contendors.”

Much to fellow PRB West manager, Alex Welsch’s delight, Wes claimed the burger that Alex prepared him for lunch one day, “the best burger he’s had in Nashville.”

Alex now holds himself in very high esteem.

Wesley’s Nashville Burger Beat (in no particular order)
  1. Bacon Cheeseburger / MLRose / $10.95 – choice of cheese, natural uncured bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion & pickle | Everyone at Porter Road Butcher is well acquainted with Wesley’s obsession for cheeseburgers, and everyone subsequently knows to expect an invitation to ML Rose on Monday nights for their two-for-one burger special—a deal that is only made possible with the accompaniment of two craft beers. 😀  “I usually get the bacon cheeseburger and a couple of Yazoo Dos Perros. That burger is probably the closest one I can find in Nashville to my hometown favorite, Strawn’s.”
  1. The Local Burger / Fido / $13 – ground beef and lamb, Tennessee white cheddar, caramelized fennel + fig aioli, caramelized onion, pickle, lettuce, on a bun  |  “Half of me is tempted to eliminate this burger just based on the fact that it has lamb and beef in the patty, but it was one of the first burgers I tried when I moved to town and it’s still one of my favorites,” said Wesley. “It’s kind of on the fancy side of the spectrum, but the mixture of lamb with that fig aioli? Woo! It is damn good.”
  1. West Coast Burger / Burger Republic / $10.50 – twin thin pressed patties, mustard steamed with American cheese, BR sauce, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion | “In my book, there are two kinds of burgers: the grilled backyard BBQ style burger, and flat top diner style burger,” said Wesley. More often than not, he pledges allegiance to the latter variety. “When it’s grilled, the patties are usually thicker so I like a nice medium in the center. If I’m not grilling it myself, that doesn’t always happen. Even though flat top burgers generally come out more well done, they’re still really juicy—I actually like that kind of burger better.” Burger Republic uses two thin flat-top patties and accoutrements reminiscent of a Big Mac, but considering the black angus patty, the brioche bun, and the sizable sandwich that those two, plus all the remaining ingredients amass, Mickey D’s doesn’t hold a candle.
  1. Burger + Fries / Dino’s / $6 – the greasy, delicious classic | “This is my kind of place,” Wesley said when he first walked into Dino’s on a rainy night in March, “I could see myself becoming a regular here.” After a recent revamp of this East Nashville favorite spot, the bar still has that drab-ulous and somewhat smoky vibe that feels so good in the local watering hold, but with the added bonus of actually delicious diner-style food. Cheeseburger included. Although he doesn’t usually include French fries in the judging equation, Wesley made special note of the exceptionally crispy and perfectly salted fries that accompanied Dino’s “greasy, delicious classic” cheeseburger. They hit the nail on the head: ain’t no better way to put it.
  1. Brisket Burger / Martin’s Bar-B-Que / $8 – our custom blend of ground beef comes with grilled onions, American cheese, bbq sauce, and topped with our smoked beef brisket | Another burger that doesn’t quite follow the “less-is-more” idiom, the brisket burger from Martin’s BBQ falls along the lines of, “meat-is-more.” And in this case, meat really is…more. Which might be why Wesley likes it so much…he is a butcher, after all. But wait! You say. A burger topped with…more meat?? How could he? Isn’t that too much meat? Won’t that give him the meat sweats? No, incredulous burger-hater. It doesn’t. This burger is NOT blowing smoke. When cashing out at just $8 for such a mountain of meat, neither your belly nor your wallet will mind.
  1. Fat Mo’s Burger / Fat Mo’s / $3.49 – all hamburgers served with onion, lettuce, mustard, ketchup, mayo, pickles, and tomatoes | After a night out on the town, this burger does the trick when you wake up the next morning feeling sluggish. It’s hearty, greasy, and just the ticket for soaking up last night’s sins. The spicy-seasoned fries certainly don’t hurt, either.
  1. Alex Welsch’s Best Burger / Porter Road Butcher West or Alex’s House / $0 [it was for staff lunch] – PRB ground beef, caramelized onion, PRB classic yellow mustard, Kenny’s Farmhouse white cheddar, and a toasted Bobby John Henry burger bun. | All quality ingredients. ‘Nuff said.

Want to make a burger that will turn on Wesley’s tastebuds? Here’s how he throws down with some PRB patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun…or something along those lines.

the wesley adams burger

¼ lb. PRB ground beef
2 slices American cheese (we’re talkin’ the single-wrapped squares)
mayonnaise
yellow mustard
lettuce
pickles
burger bun
salt & pepper

  1. Heat cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat.
  2. Form beef into 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thick burger patties and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Once cast-iron skillet is hot, add burgers to pan and cook until a nice crust has formed on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip burger and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until crust has formed. Remove burgers from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Place 2 slices of American cheese on top of each burger patty and then cover patties with a piece of aluminum foil to keep the burgers warm as they rest.
  4. Meanwhile, slice each burger bun in half, and toast in the cast iron skillet. Spread mayonnaise on the top half of the bun; spread mustard on the bottom half. Place burger patty on the bottom half, top with pickles and lettuce, and replace the top. Do not cut in half. Hold that burger in your hands and feel it while you eat it.
  5. Enjoy with a cold, dark lager or pale ale.

Burger_Blog

Treat Yoself – Go out to mEAT in Nashville

If there’s one thing that we love, it’s when you, our customers, friends, and family stop by the butcher shop. We really, really do.

And like, duhhh.

Because really, this is what it communicates to us when you walk into Porter Road Butcher time and time again: it means you want to buy our product (hooray!); it means you might already be a fan of what we have to offer (score!); and it also means that all of the hard work that our crew has been putting in each and every day is going to pay off (fist bump!) when that meat rolls out the door.

However, by buying meat from Porter Road Butcher it also inadvertently leaves you with the task of thinking, planning, and ultimately cooking.

And don’t get us wrong—we love cooking—the Porter Road Butcher team is a group of food-obsessed culinarians, after all. Cooking is something that we actually like to do for fun.

That being said, we also love going out to eat, thus leaving the thinking, planning, and ultimately cooking to someone else. We love sitting down at a table that isn’t our own, ordering a cocktail for someone else to craft, carefully selecting an item from the menu, and then widening our eyes in excitement once it makes its way onto the table and finally into our mouth. And all the while, smirking at ourselves for never lifting a finger.

But you want to know what we love even more than going out to eat? We love—and we’re talking luuuuhve—going to a restaurant and being met with the opportunity to eat Porter Road Butcher meat…that someone else has prepared. That’s what we like to call a win-win situation.

With Porter Road Butcher Meat Company taking over most of our pre-existing wholesale accounts in addition to starting up some new accounts of their own, Porter Road Butcher products are becoming more readily available at some of your favorite restaurants all across town. And if you ask us, that doesn’t suck.

So you want to know where you can go in order to have such an experience? Of course you do. Let us show you the way…

Porter Road Butcher mEAT Map

Here’s Where We At:
51st Kitchen  [Sylvan Heights]
Bagel Face  [East Nashville]
The Band Box, First Tennessee Park  [Germantown]
Beer Pale  [Sylvan Park]
The Crow’s Nest  [Green Hills]
Flip Burger  [Sylvan Park]
Gambling Stick  [East Nashville]
Germantown Café  [Germantown]
Grilled Cheeserie  [Food Truck]
Hoss’s Loaded Burgers  [Food Truck]
Hurry Back  [West End]
Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint*  [Germantown]
Kate’s Kitchen  [Franklin]
Moto  [The Gulch]
Otaku South  [The Gulch]
The Post  [East Nashville]
The Riverside Grillshack*  [East Nashville]
Stone Fox  [Sylvan Heights]
The Sutler*  [8th Ave]

*indicates restaurants that offer PRB meats on an occasional and/or irregular basis

Peaches Meat Porter Road Butcher

It was only a month and a half ago that Nashville endured what some folks dubbed the worst ice and snow storm we’ve seen in 20 years; it was only two weeks ago that every man and woman turned to their favorite social media forum to bemoan the 30-degree temperatures and bone-chilling wind; and it was just 10 minutes ago that we found ourselves complaining about the arrival of Nashville’s famous summer heat and humidity.

The Peach TruckAhh, Nashville. *Sigh* Thank you for ALL of that.

Yes, in Nashville’s standard spastic style, the weather has lurched from 0-80, but our stomachs are doing surprisingly well with catching up from the change in speed.

Although the official summer solstice hasn’t actually hit us, summer is showing its arrival in different ways: it’s apparent in the droves of people flocking to patios after work to soak up any remaining drizzles of sunlight and tufts of warm air; you can see it in the pops of cherry red and sea foam green as toenails peek out of open-toed shoes; and most importantly it’s showing up on our plates and in our glasses.

Because while the weather screams summer, our bellies are screaming for it too. We’re longing for outside grilling sessions filled with kielbasa, dogs, brats and burgers. We’re hungry for sweet and juicy ‘maters, fresh from the garden, in varying hues of red, yellow, green, orange, and purple. We’re dreaming of freshly brewed and ice-cold sweet tea, a can of cold beer in a cozy koozie, a potent margarita with salt on the rim. But most of all, we want peaches.

And we want them from The Peach Truck.

By jove, we’re gonna get them!

When peach season begins in Mid-May, The Peach Truck will be kickin it with PRB. *Yessss*

It’s a match made in local heaven. This year during peach season The Peach Truck will set up at both Porter Road Butcher shops, once per week, to sell their delicious peaches to the hungry, peach-loving and meat-loving masses.

PRB West: Tuesdays | 11:00am – 2:00pm

PRB East: Fridays | 3:00 – 7:00pm

We’re envisioning all sorts of peachy and meaty deliciousness, so feel free to stay tuned for that. Think like, James and the Giant Peach, plus Chris and the Giant Pork Chop, minus the scene where the peach gets impaled on the Empire State Building.

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Flipping Out: PRB Flip Burgers

Flip Burger LogoIf you know us Porter Road Butchers, you know we love supporting both our neighbors and our neighborhoods—on both sides of town. So you could imagine we were pretty excited when our West Nashville neighbor Richard Blais himself stopped by the shop earlier this year to talk about a partnership between Porter Road Butcher and Flip Burger Boutique.

Because Porter Road Butcher now has the power and aid of Porter Road Butcher Meat Company to supplement our labor in the realm of wholesaling product, we can provide more delicious meat to more amazing restaurants at a more frequent and more regular rate. We know that saying goes “less is more” but when it comes to our meat being consumed around Nashville, we believe that more is more: The more local, pasture-raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat that we can provide to our city, the better. Are we right?

…that was a rhetorical question. (We are right.)

Image from tableog.com

Image from tableog.com

When Flip Burger Boutique first opened their doors back in January we were psyched to have a specialty burger already on their menu, the butcher’s cut (PRB beef, crumbled Emmi Roth buttermilk blue cheese, caramelized onions, soy truffle vinaigrette, frisee, pickled shallots, and red wine jam $11.75), a special item to this Nashville Flip location.

Today, however, with PRB MC taking off in the wholesaling sphere and with Flip Burger running right along our side, we’re excited and proud to announce that there are now more PRB burger options on Flip’s menu. Cue the happy dance.

In addition to the already well-loved butcher’s cut burger, Flip has added a brand spankin’ new PRB burger (8 oz. porter road locally sourced patty with cheddar, pecan smoked bacon, bibb lettuce, and ketchup $14), made just the way Chris and James like to prepare their own: no mayo, no mustard, no onion, no fuss.

The lamburger also received an upgrade, swapping out their previous patty for our locally sourced Tavalin Tails lamb (feta cheese, marinated vegetables, arugula, pickled red onion, tzatziki, garam masala spice $12.75).

And maybe best of all, Flip added a “PRB Upgrade” option which can be applied to any of their burgers at $3 for a patty and $6 for an 8oz. upgrade. Other upgrades include a gluten-free bun ($1) and a lettuce wrap to eliminate any real bun altogether.

So while a hamburger certainly isn’t your go-to choice for “healthy eating,” at the very least you can digest easy after eating America’s sandwich sweethert, knowing that your juicy and delicious burger came from a local, responsible, salt-of-the-earth farmer, and that your “lettuce bun” contains pretty much zero calories. And is green. So that feels good. It’s about as “healthy” as a burger can get.

Of course, Flip Burger may still be somewhat infamous for that Foi Gras Milkshake—and no offense, Flip Burger, we really do love you but the thought of it still makes our stomachs turn over—we’re confident (hoping?) that the presence of Porter Road Butcher meat on the menu will bring in some more mouths to the restaurant, and that our partnership will moreover bring more customers into the shop as well. Because that’s what neighbors to: Help and support one another.

It always feels good to be a friend to your neighbor, and we’re glad ours is so delicious!

Photo from FlipBurgerBoutique.com

Photo from FlipBurgerBoutique.com

Flip Burger Boutique Hours:
Monday – Thursday 11am – 10pm
Friday & Saturday 11am – 11pm
Sundays from 11am – 9pm.

4111 Charlotte Avenue | Nashville, TN 37209 | (615) 454-2917

Check out Flip Burger’s New PRB-Studded Menu

Butcher’s Cut Friday

Butcher's Cut Friday - Presented by Porter Road Butcher, Hosted by the Crow's NestThere’s something to be said about going out for a good dinner.

Because a lot can be said about your meal based on the restaurant in which you ate it.

For example, when sinking your teeth into the $9 Meat Lovers Pork Chop dinner from the Waffle House, one’s expectations remain fairly modest; but if you were to instead order the 8 oz. Waygu Strip steak at a fancy, local, premium steakhouse—costing you a pretty $65—you’d likely go to dinner sockless, thus eradicating the hassle of having them knocked off. You know that at an upscale restaurant, you’ll get great food.

But really, location shouldn’t have to be the determining factor.

Cause here’s the thing: excellent food and casual dining can go hand-in-hand. They’re not mutually exclusive. I mean, I’m sorry but when exactly did flip-flops become inversely related to good food? How is it that a silk tie and matching pocket square somehow evoke deliciousness from the chef and line cooks who don’t even have the ability to see said decorative male accessories? Are they really related?

I’m willing to wager that at least 80% of Americans would stand behind the notion that great food would be even greater if their toes weren’t crammed into a pair of stilettos or if the circulation in their necks wasn’t cut off by the tie tethered around their necks.

Shouldn’t going out to eat be both scrumptious and relaxing? Shouldn’t we be able to find excellent quality food in an atmosphere that isn’t as stuffy as your right nostril during this time of year? Shouldn’t we celebrate the end of the workweek in a comfortable environment with a pint of good beer and a piece of good meat, and leave the preparation to someone else?

Yes we should. And now we can.

Porter Road Butcher, presenting Butcher's Cut FridayThe Crow’s Nest, whose motto is, “sometimes a bar; always a restaurant,” is now including, “sometimes a steakhouse” in their repertoire. On Friday nights to be exact.

We at Porter Road Butcher are teaming up with our friends at the Crow’s Nest to bring the best of the butcher to our favorite bar/restaurant in Green Hills: we’re calling it Butcher’s Cut Fridays.

Starting this Friday, November 14th, the Crow’s Nest will be selling different cuts of Porter Road Butcher meat for guests to enjoy from the comfort of their restaurant. Now you don’t have to worry about overcooking your meat or (even worse) biting your tongue instead of criticizing your loved one’s ill preparation. Nor are high-heels and silk ties a prerequisite to this fantastic Friday night feast.

Join us this Friday for our first edition of Butcher’s Cut Friday where we’ll be offering 10 oz. boneless strip steaks, accompanied with a side salad and your choice of side item. It’s the perfect opportunity to relax, wind down, and eat some amazing food!

Butcher's Cut Friday at The Crow's Nest, presented by Porter Road Butcher

Grilling With the Butcher Boys

On Thursday August 21st, the Wilson County Exhibition Center was filled with excited and anxious teenagers; the hot-humid summer air was filled with smoke; and Chris, James, and Maddie’s bellies were filled with a variety of grilled meats. It was one hell of a day that we spent at the 4-H Festival Meat Cookery Contest at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Porter Road Butcher at the Wilson County 4H Meat Cookery

The 4-H Youth Development Organization, commonly known as the 4-H Club, is an organization that works to build confidence and leadership skills in our youth, leading to success in their future careers. Through the support of adult volunteers and mentors, 4H-ers are inspired to work collaboratively with one another, spearhead and complete large projects, and moreover learn how to achieve their goals with confidence. Which was exactly what we saw at their Meat Cookery on Thursday.

As soon as we began to see kids pulling up and unloading their cars, we were both surprised and impressed: we saw miniature Webber grills, we saw Lysol wipes, we saw protective gloves, and we even saw a handful of toques, and one impressive Lodge cast-iron grill. We began to feel a little small about the setup we ourselves had thrown together. These kids were on top of it.

Once everyone donned their aprons and the smoke started rolling, we decided to make the rounds to get to know these budding chefs. Chris and James asked a number of questions regarding the kids’ preparation methods and recipes and were overall impressed by their confidence, maturity, and insistence on ending everything they said with “sir” or “ma’am.” Before we knew it we were seated at our respective judging tables: James was Junior-High Chicken, Chris got Senior-High Beef, and Maddie landed Senior-High Lamb.

Each team of four had the task of preparing four different meats on the grill (beef, chicken, lamb, and pig) each of which was judged on the creativity of the recipe, the appearance of Beef Explanations by James Peiskerthe meat, the tenderness, juiciness, and of course how the dish performed overall. Maddie sampled eleven lamb chops; James chowed down on 13 grilled chickens; and Chris took home the gold medal with 15 varieties of grilled beef, totaling nearly 32 oz. of steak. Shoo. The three of us were met with intense marinades, lots of creativity, and a lot of apparent care and consideration for what they were doing, but what we realized noticed was a vast misunderstanding of grilling and the delicious benefits that a hot grill can have. So once we had cast our votes and taken a short siesta to allow the meat to digest, Chris and James gave a grilling demonstration to shed a little light on how simple and delicious grilling should be.

Grilling Tips from Porter Road Butcher:

1) Charcoal or Die

You know that delicious, smoky flavor that envelops the outside of a well-prepared steak? That’s from charcoal—not briquettes or lighter fluid—charcoal. You’ve never heard anyone rave about that “delicious aroma of lighter fluid” that enhanced their steak so beautifully, have you? Use charcoal. Real charcoal. And taste the difference.

2) Turn down for what?

The whole point of using a grill is getting that direct heat contact with the meat—so turn up the heat and use your grill nice and hot. This adds a crust to the outside of your meat, which provides nice texture, but still leaves the inside tender and juicy. On the other hand, going “slow and low” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when it comes to grilling; there’s no need to put the lid on your grill and essentially bake the meat. Instead, use the open-air to help build the flames and get that nice char on the outside. It’s instant flavor.

Turn down for what? asks Chris Carter of PRB3) Salt-N-Pepa

Salt and Pepper. The two of them’s all you need for real, good flavor. When grilling a steak, don’t you want to taste it? Yes. So why use all sorts of elaborate and complicated marinades to mask that delicious flavor? Keep it simple: liberal amounts of kosher salt and coarse ground pepper will add texture and crust to your meat, and they’ll beautifully enhance the flavor that you’re supposed to be enjoying: the meat.

4) Ruling? Overturned.

Don’t. Overturn. Your meat. Just let it relish in the heat, do it’s own thang, and get all amazing and delicious. There’s no need to go and give it a work out so it gets all buff and tough before you eat it. Chris recommends turning your meat no more than 4 times—which gives you the allowance to check each side once before making a final commitment. Like your mom used to say about your boo-boos, “Just quit pickin at it!”

5) Give it a rest

Sure, the tendency is to want to dive right in once your steak is hot off the grill and lookin oh so fine…but you’ve gotta give it a rest. When the meat makes contact with the heat of the fire the juices run away from the heat, making their way to the center and increasing the moisture that sits in the middle of the meat. By allowing it to rest for a 5-10 minutes after taking it off the grill, the moisture has a chance to work its way back to the edges, redistributing evenly. This means that when you begin to slice your steak, the juices wont run all over your cutting board, but will rather stay distributed evenly throughout the meat and eventually make their way into your mouth instead of down your chin. Aw yeah.

Thanks to the 4-H Club for hosting such an impressive and well run event, and an even bigger thank you for asking us to be a part of it! IMG_1080

Kale-ing It

Team PRBIt was a warm spring evening filled with food, drinks, foodies, and a bunch of kale—okay, not just like, one bunch, like a whole lot of bunches of kale.

Four of Nashville’s most decorated chefs competed in the Scene’s seventh annual Iron Fork Competition last night, and PRB’s owners Chris Carter and James Peisker were the first ever chef team.

“I know what he’s good at, and he knows what I’m good at…” James said on the morning of the competition, “We’re very familiar with each other in the kitchen and we trust each other. I’m feeling pretty confident.”

Over two dozen local Nashville restaurants showed up to the event, offering hungry ticket-holders the opportunity to sample a variety of small bites, sip on an assortment of crafty cocktails, and all the while manage to keep one eye on the big screen as the culinary action heated up.

Although the trademark “allez cuisine!” from Iron Chef America’s Mark Dacascos was missing when the competition commenced, the excitement and energy in the room felt similarly as spirited, and our friend Jesse Goldstein helped keep the spirits high as he emceed the event and had a nerve-calming bourbon moment with team PRB.

Final touches on the Iron Fork challengeWith four chefs competing in Nashville’s version of this culinary faceoff—instead of the traditional one-on-one battle that takes place on the Food Network’s famed show—each chef (or chef team in our case) blindly chose a number, which would dictate the order in which they were to present their dish. Against Chris and James were Lockeland Table’s Hal Holden-Bache, The 404’s Matt Bolus, and Kristen Gregory of Firefly Grille.

Freshly clad in brand new denim-and-brown PRB embroidered aprons, the butcher boys wound up with lucky #1, meaning they would begin cooking first, they served their creation to the judges before they were totally kaled out, and then they just got to sit back, have a drink, and watch as the rest of their competitors continued to sweat. It was pretty toasty in there.

As soon as the secret ingredient was announced, Chris and James began formulating a plan and then quickly grabbed the pantry items they would need to really kale it in the competition—so many kaler punning opportunities immediately arose.

And they were off!

Before anyone could weave through the crowd to find their cooking station, Chris and James had already finished expertly slicing and dicing, while neighboring chef Hal Holden-Bache looked on with eyes that had doubled in size. Bet you didn’t think them butchers would have such quick and precise knife work on a little ole shallot, didja, Hal?

TChris Chamberlain gives it a tastehe pine nuts were toasting, shallots sautéing, Chris was pulsing kale in the Vitamix, James was whisking butter over the stovetop, and then it suddenly came together: Creamy Kale Risotto with Butter-Poached Shrimp, and a Fresh Kale Salad.

I mean, come on.

In keeping the most common criticisms from Iron Chef in mind, the butcher boys made an effort to truly “celebrate kale,” using it as the flavor foundation for their dish. The earthy flavor and green color were pronounced and vibrant in the risotto, while the raw kale salad on top provided a textural contrast and expressed the beauty of the ingredient’s pure form. Plus, three Gulf shrimp added a pop with both their contrasting pink color and their sweet, buttery flavor.

The odds were all in their favor: Chris and James went first; the dish was plated beautifully; the green and pink color scheme was eye-catching; Vivek (on the panel of judges) went back for seconds of dish #1 (our risotto) after tasting dish #2; and the creamy kale risotto wasn’t just a celebration of kale, it was like the Kale Jubilee.

We had it in the bag.

Or so we thought.

In the end, it was Hal Holden-Bache of Lockeland Table who took home the coveted Golden Fork. His New Zealand rack of lamb served atop a potato kale hash and topped with a fresh kale salad somehow managed to surpass team PRB’s magnificent kale risotto by just two measly points, as we later came to find.

While their hearts fell heavy in their chests, disappointed at yet another second place finish, Chris and James shook hands with the victor and then simply took to the bourbon bottle in to continue the festivities of the evening. On the bright side, Chris made away with half a case of wine and a pint of Four Roses when the night concluded, so not all was lost.

Who really wants a silly ol trophy anyway?

 

We want to give a huge “thank you” to the Nashville Scene for putting on such a fun and delicious event, and for including the chefs of Porter Road Butcher in the competition! Additionally, big thanks to our amazing sous-chefs from the Art Institute for keeping us cool in the heat of the kitchen. We had a great time and hope to be invited back in the future!PRB Iron Fork Crew

Where the Locals Meat

Shop local at Porter Road Butcher Surely you’ve heard the adage, You are what you eat, but did you ever think that the saying might go deeper than that—deeper than just what you eat? Because really, being healthful and mindful about what you put into your body begins before you start tossing things into your cart at the grocery store; it begins by knowing what you eat…eats, and where it’s coming from.

And in reality is that specific information the kind that you can readily find in a grocery store anyway? Not usually. Labels can be so confusing and misleading that it’s a challenge for customers to know exactly what they are consuming and exactly where it’s coming from.

That’s the benefit for those large, commercial grocery stores: they don’t worry about proving that kind of information.

Since large grocery chains focus more on selling a large volume of their products than focusing on catering to each individual consumer and enhancing their experience, they can take shortcuts when it comes to sourcing.

Here at Porter Road Butcher however, this is not the case. The meat that we cut and the market items that we sell are sourced either locally or regionally. This not only ensures that we have a relationship with each farmer or craftsman, but it also provides us with a keen knowledge that the quality of what we sell is the utmost. Supporting local businesses does aid the local economy and can reduce your carbon footprint, but more importantly shopping locally provides you with a connection to the product, and therefore a connection to the source of what you’re putting into your body.

When we make a personal connection to the source of our products and form a relationship with that person, he or she A) feels accountability for what it is that they’re selling and for their own reputation, and B) they feel pride for their work, knowing that it is being sold at a kickass place like PRB, which drives them to continue working harder. Put A and B together, and you’ve got a better and healthier outcome for you, the consumer.

Take David Byler for example: bearing in mind that David’s pigs are raised humanely, that they are given free range on his land, and that they eat hormone- and antibiotic-free feed, our Amish pig farmer is proud to sell us his pigs and stamp his name on our product—metaphorically, of course. Furthermore, because of our strong relationship with him and our respect for what he does with his piggies, we have found both the best product around and the peace of mind that our hog had a healthy life.

Porter Road Butcher's James Peisker is very knowledgeable about the benefits of shopping localYou see, in many other cases they don’t receive that same quality of life.

The pound of bacon that you buy in the shrink-wrapped, air-vacuumed, Styrofoam trey at the grocery store likely has adrenaline pulsing through each smoky strip due to the fear and anger that hog felt as it was confined to a 2×5” pen, allowing it enough space only to flop on it’s side or stand in a pile of its own shit.

Pigs are smart. They know those conditions aren’t right.

Or perhaps, along with those aforementioned “natural” yet grossly unwanted hormones, the breakfast sausage you’re planning to throw in the skillet carries traces of the antibiotics that your pig was fed in order to keep it big and strong and “healthy”—while in reality it dined on the likes of chicken shit, drugs, feathers, and Lord only knows what the f#ck else.

And hell, the eggs that you’re planning to give a good scramble and serve alongside said bacon and sausage probably come from that “free range” chicken coup where about a thousand chickens are stuffed into a big ole box chock-full of their feathery family members, and built with one sole doggy-door that leads to outside! These lucky birds are afforded the opportunity to venture outside to that gorgeous gravel lot and explore—if they so choose to venture away from their food and their family and the only living space they’ve ever known. How magnificent!? Their heart is pulsing with anxiety, adrenaline is rushing through their body, their stomachs are grumbling as they attempt to digest chemicals and drugs alike, and you, my friend, are so lucky as to be receiving all of those delicious flavors as you embark upon your Monday!

Aren’t you so glad you chose to pay the $2 extra at the grocery for those free-range eggs? And the all-natural bacon? And the sausage with the green label on it—because that color denotes health!?

The big grocery chains can pull a fast one on you. They can lie through their teeth and do so with a smile on their face. They don’t care about you or me because they don’t have a relationship with you or me; they don’t feel accountability to you or me; they don’t have to look you or me in the eye the next time you come into the store and kindly inquire as to what you thought of your previous purchase.

They already got what they wanted from you: your money.

But riddle me this: have you been into Porter Road Butcher more than once? You’ve absolutely hit the aisles of a large, chain grocery store a number of times, but if you shop at a small local business, you’ll notice one big difference: they know you; remember you. Not just one cashier; not just the lady behind the deli counter; everyone.

“Heeey! Terry!” they’ll crow as the door cheerily bing-bongs while you swing it open.

It feels good. And it makes you want to keep coming back.

After that initial trip when James or Chris or Tim or Alex get to know you; after one of us Porter Road butchers figure out what it is you want and get the best possible product to suit your needs, we’ll remember it next time. “How’d that tri-tip turn out last week?” or “Did you enjoy the breakfast sausage?” or even “What’d you think of our beef stock?

We care and want to know.

“There’s a sense of community here,” said James as he talked about shopping local. “When people come into our shop, we get to know them and we can make an effort to get the products they want. Then meanwhile, as they’re waiting for their order, they talk with the other customers, or they talk with us, and they get to know us; they begin a conversation; and they get to the core of what we’re really trying to do.

Community Dance Break at Porter Road ButcherAnd what’s that, you ask?

          Our goal at Porter Road Butcher is to make every one             of our guests healthier and happier with fresh local                 products.

Healthier? Check! With hormone-free, antibiotic-free, well fed, humanely raised, and all-natural meat, plus the freshest foods from Tennessee and other surrounding southern spots

Happier? Check! With friendly people, better-for-you food, meat that lacks additives that could turn you mad, support for other small businesses, a sense of community, and maybe even a good laugh—not to brag or anything, but we’re known to be kinda funny.

 

You may hear that shopping local tends to take up more of your time, and you might notice that the price tag runs a little higher. But is there a price you can put on your health? If you take that extra time now and pay a little bit more to buy better quality food, you’ll find yourself with a big payoff as you reap a lot more time in the future.

The Gambling Stick’s Barbeque Saturdays at PRB East

Ever heard of a “gambling stick?” Neither had we. It sounds like something we really want to get into, but should probably staunchly avoid—for the sanity and security of our wives and girlfriends and significant others.

But when our own Matt Russo told us that The Gambling Stick has absolutely nothing to do with casinos, and has everything to do with pork barbecue, we were like, “All in.”

Ribs n Greens from The Gambling StickRusso had more or less had it with the upscale restaurant scene when he left his job as Chef d’ Cuisine for Nashville’s historic Merchant’s Restaurant nearly two years ago: all the stuffiness, all the politics, and all the bologna that he’d come to accept as normal in a more high-brow environment had simply worn him out. But he wasn’t ready to give up the culinary world all together. He still loved the food; he loved to cook; and he had an idea.

Since then he’s been working on and developing his vision, and it’s finally about to come to fruition. We’re psyched.

As a chef with plenty of experience in the kitchen and ample experience on the butcher block (plus, a southern background and upbringing to boot) it only makes sense that Russo would be a bomb-diggity barbequer. And we’re confident that his soon-to-be BBQ joint called The Gambling Stick is going to be the best in town. Plus, they’re gonna be using PRB pig…hello?

So what is a Gambling Stick, you ask? Quite simply, it is a piece of wood that was used in butchering pigs way back in the day: for ease of both mechanics and cleaning, pigs were slaughtered while hanging upside down from a stick that was threaded through its feet. Mechanically it made sense as the pig was easy to rinse out and all of the Mmmm Fried Chickeninnards were visible and easily accessible, but physically this tool wasn’t always successful; it was a gamble as to whether said stick would be able to bare the weight of the pig or if it would break, leaving the animal to crash to the earth. Hence, The Gambling Stick.

We just think it’s a killer name that rolls off the tongue nicely: “Honey, I’m too tired to cook. Let’s grab dinner at The Gambling Stick” or “Man, I’m craving a beer and some brisket… Gambling Stick?”

It flows.

Regardless of the origin of the name, the origins of the establishment are a couple that we know quite well: Matt Russo and Porter Road Butcher. And those origins will actually be originating this coming Saturday, March 22nd at 11 in the morn’.

 

The Gambling Stick will offer a fixed menu plate, loaded with a heap of delicious food for just $14:

  • Pork Brisket (which they fondly refer to as Pigsket)
  • Spare Ribs
  • Greens with PRB Ham Hock
  • Baked Beans
  • Cornbread
  • Special house-made sauce, on the side

Smokin Pork Butts from The Gambling Stick with Porter Road Butcher meatSince Barbeque Saturdays will be going on each and every week, rain or shine, they are planning to offer different scratch-made sides and barbequed pig varieties as time goes on, generating even more excitement and buzz about The Gambling Stick. “We’re really excited to use Porter Road Butcher meat and also want to focus on using local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible,” Russo said. “We’re hoping we can work a deal out with PRB in the future so we can continue to use the best and freshest products.”

The Gambling Stick has future plans to feature a house-made porchetta (pork loin wrapped in bacon, seasoned with herbs, spit roasted, and then sliced in rounds), slow-roasted pulled pork, and smoked and sliced ham, among other piggy delicacies.

So although the weather may provide a bit of a gamble—particularly with this menopausal year we’ve been experiencing—we’re willing to wager that, no matter what the elements throw at us, people will be lining up to throw down their dollars and score big with The Gambling Stick BBQ; amazing food ain’t no gamble here.

The Gambling Stick

Check out The Gambling Stick on Facebook and Instagram @thegamblingstick