It’s Been a Big Year at Porter Road Butcher

img_1518This has been a busy year for us at Porter Road Butcher and Porter Road Butcher Meat Company. We got to participate in some amazing events, made some big changes to our business, welcomed lots of new staff, and made plenty of plans to get us excited about the new year. Throughout all of it, our amazing customers provided the support we needed to stay inspired and remind us of why we work so hard to bring Nashville great meat.

The year started with the second anniversary of our processing facility in Kentucky. If you’ve wondered about our whereabouts, we’ve been in Kentucky! Though it’s been a LOT of work, having our own facility has made it far easier for us to source meat that we can trust 100%, and that’s something to be excited about.img_3151

Summer kicked off with the Taste of Music City and the Nashville Wine and Food Festivals. Both were great opportunities for us to see some of our favorite chefs and customers out and about. We then travelled down to Georgia for the Atlanta Food + Wine Festival. It was worth the heat to rub shoulders with some of the south’s finest chefs and do a whole beef demo. On the 4th of July, we set up in East Nashville for the Hot Chicken Festival, narrowly avoiding torrential downpours. Fall began with Music City Food & Wine, and our Butcher in the Rye event at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. Teaming up with Chef Matt Bolus, Nelson’s Green Brier, and The Big Green Egg was surely a highlight of our year.

We’ve been proud of the charities we have supported, especially taking part in Soup Sunday for Our Kids and a dinner we hosted at House: A Social Eatery for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, a charity that is near and dear to us at Porter Road Butcher.

Both the shop and processing facility have welcoimg_4857med many great new faces this year. Our staff is full of fun, kind, and motivated people who make use feel truly proud to be business owners. We couldn’t do it without them.

As you are probably aware, we shut down one of our locations this year. This change has given us more time and energy to focus on different aspect of our business. Which leads us to some exciting changes…

In the new year, we are excited to introduce a re-vamped cheese program. We are going to increase the room for  grab-and-go cheese and charcuterie items, while also making more space for cut-to-order items.  This change comes in conjunction with some changes to the interior of the store and a store front facelift.

We hope that you have had as great of a year as we have. We appreciate everything our customers do for us, and want to thank you for your support!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Warm Regards,

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James  Peisker and Chris Carter

Our Favorite Football Fare, Reinvented

Frito Pie | Porter Road Butcher

Out of everything that Nashville has to offer—excellent food, great shopping, four seasons, friendly people, a Parthenon that rivals Greece’s, and of course endless sources of music—outstanding athletics are one department in which our city unfortunately falls short.

Listen, we don’t need to go naming names here; we all know who is bad and who is not quite as bad. Even new-to-towners know not to expect much when they buy their first Titans jersey and head down to—wait, what’s the stadium called this year??—to root on the navy and baby blue.

But if there’s one thing sports fans and sports fakes alike can agree upon, it’s the joy that comes from gorging oneself on stadium food. The Nashville Sounds proved this point with the grand opening of their plush new stadium filled with *cough* delicious hot dogs, fully-loaded nachos, Nashville hot chicken, and tiny spheres of ice cream served in a miniature baseball helmet. But have any of us actually watched a game or kept track of the Sounds’ record this season? We’ll let you do your own research on that topic…

The reality of the matter however, is that not all of us can afford to go to a Titan’s game. Not all of us want to deal with bringing the kids and then listening to them whine the entire time about having to pee or when can they get their Papa John’s personal pan pizza. So when you’re watching the game from home, does that mean you’re left with something as commonplace as a frozen Digiorno pie and a bowl of Chex Mix? Most certainly not.

We have compiled a list of our favorite stadium eats and given them a twist to make eating more fun and, most importantly, more delicious. Because sometimes you need something to settle (fill?) your stomach after swallowing a hard loss.

Our Favorite Football Stadium Fare, Reinvented

Frito Pie | Porter Road Butcher

Peanuts reinvented: [PUPPY CHOW]
Peanuts are an old time classic when it comes to stadium fare. They’re salty, they’re savory, they’re nostalgic, and the best part about them? They’re fun. Oh, and did we say messy? Eating peanuts at a sporting event gives you the opportunity to blatantly disregard any social norms of cleanliness and instead sprinkle spit-soaked shells wherever your lips can propel them. But in the comfort of your own home? Oh, honey please. Ain’t nobody got time to clean up that mess. Puppy chow provides the same sensation of this-is-so-good-I-just-can’t-stop-eating, but eliminates any unnecessary calls to Stanley Steamer.

1 box Rice Chex cereal
½ cup butter, unsalted
1 cup Good Spread peanut butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-2 cups powdered sugar

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
  2.  Add chocolate chips and, stirring consistently, mix into melted butter until melted and fully incorporate.
  3. Stir in peanut butter. Remove from heat.
  4. In an extra large bowl, mix cereal with chocolate-peanut butter mixture until cereal is fully coated.
  5. Using two paper grocery bags, “double bag” the bags, by putting one inside of the other; this helps prevent a huge mess. Pour 1/3 of the powdered sugar into the bottom of the bag. Add half of the chocolate-coated cereal. Pour another third powdered sugar on top of the cereal. Pour in the rest of the coated cereal, and then top it off with the remaining powdered sugar. Roll down the top of the bag to create a seal and then vigorously shake the bag to adhere sugar to the coated cereal. If the cereal isn’t dusted enough, add more sugar and shake again. Note: its best to shake the bag outside to avoid powdered sugar leaks dirtying up your kitchen!
  6. Carefully open the bag and check to see if cereal is fully coated. If not, add a little more sugar and shake again until desired look and texture is reached.

 

Cheese Nachos reinvented: [FRITO PIE]

Nachos are good. Or well, they can be. Nachos at a football stadium have the tendency to include: 1) stale, round, dyed-yellow tortilla chips, 2) limp, seedless, army-green jalapeños, and 3) the ever-frightening corner puddle of semi-hot plastic cheese whiz. And while nachos in restaurants (for example, Drifter’s, Tavern, and Broadway Brewhouse) can ignite cravings that last a lifetime, the mess that they incite is not a welcome one while employing your denim-clad thighs as your tabletop. Frito pies, on the other hand, are moveable and portable. They require a utensil. And they still require the salty, meaty, cheesy goodness that your cravings are calling for.

1 lb. chorizo
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (we like red or orange)
1 8oz. can tomatoes, crushed
6 “Fun Size” bags of Fritos
1 8oz. bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 bunch fresh cilantro

  1. Remove chorizo from casings. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, brown chorizo, breaking it up with a wooden spatula and stirring occasionally. Remove from pan, reserving 2 tablespoons of chorizo grease. Transfer browned meat onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
  2. Add onion to pan and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes, then add bell pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in tomatoes and stir.
  3. Return chorizo to pan and mix with tomato mixture. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until thickened and warmed through.
  4. Cut one of the sides off of the small bag (the non-perforated edge) of Fritos allowing for the widest opening, which will make “plating” and eating much easier. Top chips with a layer of chorizo mix, sprinkle with cheese, add a dollop of sour cream, and garnish with cilantro. And please, use a fork or spoon.

 

Soft Pretzels and Hot Dogs reinvented: [PRETZEL DOGS]

We like pretzels and all, but when it all boils down (pun intended) they’re bread with salt—and okay, if you have a brain on your shoulders, some mustard too. Sometimes its nice to have a little bit extra in there like, oh I don’t know, some protein to make things more filling and subsequently fulfilling? That’s why we thought we would just go ahead and make the ultimate, two-in-one, all-time-favorite football stadium food mega-eat: PRB hot dogs in a pretzel bun. Because you know what goes great with pretzels? Mustard. And you know what goes great with a hot dog? Mustard. And you know what the two most commonly sought-after foods are at a stadium? 1) Hot Dogs and 2) Pretzels. You’re welcome.

Porter Road Butcher Hot Dogs
Pretzel Rolls
Yella Mustard

  1. This recipe is so simple, we don’t even need to write directions. Pretzel bread can be a fun project, but it can also be a big hassle…so let’s just cut to the chase and buy some rolls, for goodness sake!
  2. Sister Schubert makes a good pretzel roll, available at Kroger, but we suggest looking through that freezer section and seeing if you can’t find something amazing. We dare you.

#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.”

Cat’s Externship: Real, Meaty Experience.

Externship: Real, Life Experience.

As graduates of two of the nation’s most renowned culinary institutes, Chris and James both know about the importance of getting an externship during school, and they also know just how pivotal said experience can be in making a future career move.

When Cat Gleason, a current student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY (James’ alma matter) reached out to inquire about doing her externship at Porter Road Butcher, the two immediately jumped at the opportunity to become a certified and qualified location in the eyes of the CIA.

Cat Gleason | Porter Road ButcherWE have our own extern now!” James said. “How freaking cool is that?! Maybe now we’ll get one every year…”

Don’t get ahead of yourself, pal.

According to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts’ (Chris’ alma matter) website, “The goal of an externship is to provide students with industry experience. [This] is your opportunity to see how a company achieves [both] profitability and high quality.”

In other words, an externship is a learning opportunity. It’s research. It’s a time to explore all of the possibilities and potentially rule some things out. And it’s also a cool way for the “host” of the extern to give back to their roots.

For Cat, she wanted to learn and research and explore the world of butchering. She’s here for the meat. And we’re psyched to have her.

Unlike an internship, a term that has achieved four-letter-word sentiments in today’s job-hungry crowd, externships in the culinary world often occur in lieu of regular classes during the school year (versus during the summertime or post-graduation) and also provide students with the opportunity to apply the skills that they’ve learned so far to a real world situation. No coffee runs or copy-making here.

Cat began culinary school in December of 2014 and at just 18 years old, decided to drive down to Nashville to expand upon her fundamental knowledge of butchering. “We took a class where we learned about the basics and I really enjoyed that,” she said. “Lots of it was watching the professor break down the primals but we didn’t get too hands on; I want to feel confident about butchering and doing it all myself.”

Throughout her 15-weeks in Nashville, Cat will be working at all of PRB’s locations, switching back and forth between the East Shop and West, as well as taking trips up to PRB Meat Co. in Kentucky where all of our animals are processed. “I’m really excited to go to the slaughterhouse,” she said. “I’m a little nervous to see the animals actually get killed, but I still want to.”

Although Cat claims that she’s not a person who generally likes to have much fun (???), she said she is interested in trying her hands (and feet) at power yoga during her time here, in addition to exploring Nashville’s restaurant scene—don’t try to invite her to a movie though; she doesn’t like them.

We’re excited to have her here on our team, we’re eager to teach her, and we’re thrilled to pass the butchering torch down to an aspiring culinarian.

Welcome, Cat!

A #SouthernSummer Memory: Falling in Love with Blueberry Pie

ForkInPieThey say scent is the strongest sense tied to memory; for me, it’s the combination of all five senses that really locks the good ones in. I have a strong memory of the first time I ever fell in love with blueberry pie, and it doesn’t all solely lie in that intoxicating smell.

As a child I didn’t care for fruit-based desserts like blueberry pie, and subsequently I turned my nose up at any sweet treat containing fruit, from apple turnovers to jelly donuts. Chocolate was my thing.

Since fruit was often a side item served to me during lunch or dinner, I felt I wasn’t getting my money’s worth if I ate fruit—something that had been deemed healthy—as my dessert—an important “fourth meal” for which I saved the baddest and richest of processed foods, like mint chocolate chip ice cream and brownies from a box. But regardless of my reasoning, even an orange-zested chocolate cake couldn’t hold my attention; I simply wasn’t interested.

I was about 15 years old when my taste buds underwent a holistic metamorphosis. I began to enjoy the majority of the foods that I put into my mouth—even those that I had previously despised. As a result I became more adventurous in the culinary realm, I became more pleasant to have at the dinner table, and I became a much easier dinner guest for whomever had previously been burdened with my presence.

Fruity desserts suddenly hit the scene; they went from “not” all the way to “hot.”

Aside from its sheer deliciousness however, the reason I fell in love with blueberry pie was due to how and where I ate it: smack dab in the middle of the afternoon—not as a post-dinner reward, as I was normally accustomed—and in the most #SouthernSummer-y setting I could dream: sitting on the front porch of my best friend’s Monteagle Tennessee mountain house, and surrounded by soaring trees, sweetly chirping birds, thick wet heat, and streaming streaks of sunlight.

The heat of the day didn’t hinder my desire for warm, fresh-from-the-oven pie since the scoop of vanilla ice cream offered that desired punch of cool, and the quickly growing puddle of violet cream that took over my plate only made me eat it faster.

It was at that moment that I fell in love with blueberry pie: in the middle of the South, where the blueberries were at their peak; in the middle of the day when I was worn out from playing and hungry for a snack; and in the middle of the summer, when a blueberry pie reigns supreme in the realm of desserts—fruity, or not.

It’s the epitome of summer. And fortunately, with the guidance of PRB’s own Chris and James it isn’t too difficult to make. Even for someone who’s never before done so. (That’s me!)Blueberry Pie made with Porter Road Butcher Lard

Southern Blueberry Pie with Whipped Cream

for the crust & lattice:
2 ¼ cups AP flour
½ cup Banner Butter unsalted
½ cup PRB lard*
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup whiskey** (can substitute for water)

for the filling:
3 pints blueberries (this may vary depending on the depth of your pie plate)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt

for the wash:
1 egg
yolk, 1 Tbs. cream (or water)

1 tsp. sugar in the raw

for the whipped (Chantilly) cream:
1 cup Hatcher Dairy heavy cream
1 Tbs. powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

*We like to use lard in the crust because with the heat of the oven, moisture (aka water) from the lard evaporates and then leaves these air pockets in the dough, which makes your crust nice and flaky. Butter doesn’t have the same water content and therefore doesn’t provide the same result, but too much lard will leave you with a wet, soggy crust due to too much water. That’s why we like a mixture of both.

**We use whiskey instead of water because the alcohol will never allow the flour to develop gluten, so you’ll never be left with a tough dough. Plus, if you don’t use it all, you get to drink it, which makes pie-baking even more fun.

Instruction:

  1. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop lard into 1/2 cup (baseball-sized) ball. Put lard in freezer until frozen or as cold as possible.
  2. Measure out whiskey, and put in freezer until very cold, about 15 minutes. Transfer to fridge to keep cold until ready for use.
  3. Remove lard from freezer and using a cheese grater on the larger setting, grate lard into a large, chilled bowl. Return to freezer. Note: the fat must be kept cold. If it begins to soften, return grated lard to fridge until thoroughly chilled before moving to the next step.
  4. Remove butter from refrigerator and cut into small cubes. Remove lard from freezer and add to bowl with lard.
  5. Using a pastry cutter, combine lard, butter, salt, and flour until mixed. It is normal, and desirable, for larger pieces of lard to remain amidst the mixture. Mixture should resemble cornmeal.
  6. About two tablespoons at a time, slowly add chilled whiskey mixture into flour and fat mixture, using a rubber spoon or spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and fold the liquid in. Once dough can be combined into a ball, quickly kneed it together with your hands, separate into two pieces, and then flatten into two patties. Be sure not to overwork the dough.
  7. Wrap dough patty in plastic wrap, and return to fridge for at least 30 minutes to re-chill before using. Note: it’s best to make the pate brisee the day before, allowing it to refrigerate overnight. This also makes the actual pie assembly a snap.
  8. Preheat oven to 400o
  9. Remove one dough patty from fridge. Flour a cleaned surface and, using a rolling pin, begin to roll out your dough until about 1/8or thinner. Sweep away excess flour, and then fit crust into a 9” glass pie plate, pressing it down to fit the plate. Trim dough to about ½” overhang around the entire circumference.
  10. Return piecrust to fridge until cold, 30 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, mix together blueberries, lemon juice, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Separately, in a small bowl, mix together egg yolk and cream. Set aside.
  12. Fill pie shell with pie filling, allowing berries to slightly mound at the center.
  13. Roll out remaining dough in the same manner as before, until about 1/8thick, or thinner. Using a pastry wheel, pizza wheel, or a regular knife, cut dough into strips ½ inch to ¾ inches wide.
  14. Now make your lattice. We find this method very easy. Remember – it’s best to work with very cold dough, so if your lattice dough is too soft, return it to the fridge before continuing.
  15. Once the lattice is complete, trim the lattice edges so they are even with the pie shell edges. Lastly, crimp the edges of your pie to seal the lattice and make your pie look very profesh and beautiful.
  16. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush egg wash over lattice and crust until glistening. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
  17. Place pie in the center of a parchment-paper lined baking sheet (this will make cleanup less of a headache if your pie bubbles over). Bake pie in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes, or until crust begins to turn golden. Lower heat to 350 o F and, rotating halfway through, bake for another 40 – 50 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is thick and bubbling. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely.
  18. Using an electric mixer or hand mixer, combine cream, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Serve on top of pie. Can also substitute for vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Pie | Recipe from Porter Road Butcher

 

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

Banner Butter is simply Better Butter

It always happens this way with really good things, doesn’t it?

There’s that little nugget of amazing. And it’s out there, quietly being awesome. And there are a few folks in the know who appreciate it and love it. But then one day something happens and it somehow gets even better. And then other people start to notice it—because again, it is amazing, but it is also quiet. And then before you know it, it gains some small success. And then eventually it becomes something that’s actually successful and well known by lots of people. And then it isn’t really little anymore. It’s just really good.

That’s the beauty with really good things: people find out about them and then people want to support them. That’s particularly the case when that good thing is great butter.

Banner Butter | Porter Road ButcherHusband and wife Elizabeth and Andrew McBath discovered their love for creating compound butters (if you don’t know, compound butters contain other ingredients mixed in to make them a little jazzy and a lot delicious) in their kitchen at home, and eventually made the move to monetize their hobby in 2014, creating Banner Butter.

The McBaths had begun their “little side project” (they both still have full-time jobs) a year earlier as a way to enhance butter with spices, herbs, and seasoning, thus making cooking a little bit easier and making simple foods more delicious. Eventually however, they noticed a trend among their customers who desired good, locally churned butter. And that’s when an idea struck: they decided to take their little nugget and turn up the volume on the goodness.

Andrew and Elizabeth took a trip to France to study the art of butter making (and let’s be real, they probably studied the arts of wine-drinking and cheese-eating as well, because why not?) in the South region of the country, where cultured butter is king. They returned home with their newfound knowledge of and appreciation for cultured butter and that’s where the nugget of goodness gained speed.

Instead of buying already-made butter from the store and then adding ingredients to make it compound like they’d been doing previously, the McBaths sought out responsible, humane, and local dairy farms from which they could source pasteurized cream and churn the butter themselves. Just like us at PRB, they’re passionate about the foundational aspects of their product, which means knowing that their animals live good, happy, healthy lives. Their website states:

“Banner Butter strives to create butters that taste great by doing it the right way. Doing it right means starting with cream from humanely treated, hormone-free cows that graze in green pastures. It also means patiently culturing and churning cream into butter without adding flavoring or speeding the process at the expense of taste.”

See, here’s the thing: most butter that is sold in our grocery stores and supermarkets is “sweet cream butter,” which means that once pasteurized, the cream is almost immediately churned into butter—it’s churned when the cream is still sweet. Sadly, this also means that the butter has very little flavor in this infant stage. Even sadder, this often leads Big Man Butter to add “natural flavoring” to make it taste more like…well, butter. Gross.

The cultured or European method on the other hand, is one in which the pasteurized cream has time to ripen for many hours before it is churned. This ripening process brings boatloads of that delicious, nutty and buttery flavor that we so love…without any additives or flavorings.

And that is how Banner Butter does butter.

Photo from Banner Butter's Instagram: @bannerbutteratl

Photo from Banner Butter’s Instagram: @bannerbutteratl

So between their happy dairy cows, the super-fresh cream they provide, the short distance that said cream travels, the small batches in which the butter is churned, and the care and attention that are put into each and every package, Banner Butter’s product second to none.

Banner Butter has gained success in the greater Atlanta area, where they’ve found their way onto the shelves of a variety of small local groceries as well as seven Whole Foods Markets, and now we are proud to announce that Porter Road Butcher is their very second out-of-state outpost for resale—South Carolina got the jump on us. Groan.

In addition to traditional varieties like unsalted and lightly salted butters, the McBaths have continued to play with flavors and offer compound butters as well.

They offer a Roasted Garlic, Parsley and Basil, which sold out of our West Nashville store within the first day it was available; they have a Cardamom, Cinnamon and Ginger, which we can’t wait to employ this weekend on French toast or waffles; the Balsamic, Caramelized Onion, and Fig would be a great way to finish a nicely grilled steak; and their Sea Salt seems like a no-brainer for melting on corn on the cob or tossing with steamed or grilled veggies.

Banner Butter also makes a rotating seasonal compound, sourcing locally grown seasonal produce, creating a butter that celebrates the season.

Check out their website for more information and check out the freezer sections at both Porter Road Butcher stores to get your hands on butter that just tastes better: Banner Butter.

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

Smoking with the Master – Tips and Tricks of the Trade

“Matthew was born with BBQ sauce running through his veins,” said Matt Russo’s father in a comment on The Gambling Stick’s Facebook page, “He’s been in love with barbecue for as long as I can remember.”

The smoky love child of Matt Russo and Marshall Hamilton, The Gambling Stick is Nashville’s newest mobile BBQ joint that sits just outside of the east Porter Road Butcher shop. Russo, an employee of PRB for just shy of 3 years now, actually got his first real job working in a barbecue joint in his hometown of Louisville, KY when he was just 16 years old. He’s had smoke in his eyes ever since.

Not only did Russo get handed the position of “smokemaster” almost immediately due to his substantial smoking prowess—which came mainly a result of his love for sunny afternoons and sharing great food with great friends—but working at PRB he was afforded the opportunity to learn how to fully break down animals and quickly discovered the vast difference that high-quality meats make when it comes to cooking.

With his knowledge of whole animal butchery coupled with his classical training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and even further aided by his southern roots and love of smoke, what Russo has done with The Gambling Stick is unparalleled by any other BBQ joint in town. Or in the region.

Loaded Smoker at The Gambling Stick | Porter Road Butcher

Both originality and tradition clearly play into the menu, and likely their most popular item is one that exudes both: the “pigsket.” The pigsket (or, pig brisket) from the Gambling Stick is sweet and smoky, full of flavor, not the least bit dry, and has clearly been on the smoker for just the right amount of time: a typically tougher cut of meat, Russo turns it into something incredibly juicy and tender. Of course, beef brisket is a fantastic staple on their menu as well.

Another Barbecue classic-turned-original, Russo and Hamilton have been playing around in the world of ribs, giving hungry meat-lovers entire 12- to 14-inch “whole slab ribs” (for which they are still trying to come up with a suitable name) instead of the traditional rib cuts like St. Louis style, spare ribs, or rib tips. James said, “After eating a whole rib, I was almost full. Those things are serious.”

Following years and years of experimenting, playing, and learning on the smoker and in the kitchen, Russo can pretty much do it with his eyes closed and his hands tied behind his back. It just ain’t no thang. Which is why he’s giving us (and you) tips and tricks of the trade:

Matt Russo of The Gambling Stick | Porter Road Butcher

Smoking Tips from the “Smokemaster,” Matt Russo

Pigsket Sandwich from The Gambling Stick | Porter Road Butcher1. Use Good Meat
And like, duh. Of course that’s going to taste better. But there’s actually a good reason as to why you should use high-quality meat when you’re planning to smoke it. As a muscle works, aka as an animal roams around, it develops connective tissue and flavor. So, if an animal uses their muscles a lot, meaning they are roaming out on the field with their piggy and beefy friends, they will develop more connective tissue and more flavor than those who lived their entire lives in a small crate where they couldn’t move. In the smoking technique, you generally go for a long time and at a low temperature, aka “slow and low,” so that it will break down those well-worked muscled filled with connective tissues and then turn those tissues into gelatin. That gelatin is the meaty tacky goodness that makes your lips stick together and makes you feel happy when you eat BBQ. So, by using a pasture raised animal, the meat will initially be tougher, but with the slow and low smoking process, it will become more tender and gelatinous and amazing.

2. NOT too HOT
As do most cooking processes, smoking meat elicits moisture. So when the temperature is high, more moisture will be drawn out from the meat, causing somewhat of a steaming effect and thus leaching moisture from the meat. Leaving you with dry meat. Nooo, gracias.

3. Pick Fruity Wood
“Fruity woods, like cherry, impart a sweeter smoke, whereas woody woods, like hickory or oak, impart less flavor and can sometimes leave you with an acrid or bitter flavor,” explains Russo. “When using good, sweet cherry wood you can smoke something for 16-18 hours and it will come off tasting sweet and smoky and delicious, but if you did the same with hickory the meat could become inedible.” Talk abut a waste of time.

4. You don’t need a smoker to be a smoker
Most people don’t have badass smokers like The Gambling Stick’s, but even without such a piece of equipment, you can still get great smoking results.
Gas grill – put wood into a small, shallow cast-iron pan on top of the grill’s heat source (on medium-low heat). Set your meat on the grill and then simply close the top and let ‘er go.
Charcoal grill – build a fire made of wood—not charcoal—on one side of the grill base and place your meat on the grill as far away from the heat as possible, so as to avoid direct heat, aka grilling. Close the top and smoke on.
Note: don’t wet the wood; instead keep it dry. That way you’ll get a better smoke on your meat instead of smouldering it.

Pigsket

5. Be on top of it but also be flexible
“It’s important to keep an eye on the temperature and try to keep it consistent,” advises Russo. A good range is 225o to 275o but that range can vary depending on what you’re smoking and how you want it to turn out. “With chicken I like to smoke it a little higher at first to get the skin nice and crispy, and then turn it down to finish it,” he says. But remember – recipes and rules are always subject to change when it comes to cooking. “You’ve got to keep an eye on things so that you can change strategies if you need to: turn up the heat, turn it down, or even taking the meat off the smoker way before or way after you’d initially planned. Just like grilling, after a while you’ll begin to get the hang of it.”

6. Don’t limit yourself
Smoking is not just for meats. Fish, like trout and salmon, are both excellent on the smoker. Smoking things like vegetables, particularly in a vegetarian setting, can add a sort of meaty characteristic to a dish that would be otherwise without. And even using smoked goods in baking—smoked lard, smoked salt, smoked fruits—can add in a little umami to what would otherwise be a traditional sweet!

The Gambling Stick is open Thursdays – Sundays from 11am until they run out. They are located at Porter Road Butcher East, 501 Gallatin Ave, and are available for catering events as well. Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Bringing in More of the Good Stuff: Double N Urban Homestead

Tucked away in the East Nashville neighborhood of Inglewood, nestled behind what is likely either yours or your best friend’s backyard, and just a hop, skip, and jump away from hustle and bustle of Gallatin Avenue sits a small oasis known as Double N Urban Homestead.

Never did you think that the produce from your local CSA was quite so local as to have been grown in the backyard garden of your East Nashville neighbors, now did you? Because those CSA-farming type folks live in the country!

Never did you think that neither you nor the dingy soil in your 1-acre suburban backyard was good enough to support the likes of lettuce, cabbage, kale, radishes, carrots, beats, peas, beans, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, melons, herbs, and pretty flowers…all at the same time. That’s just too much!

Sure, your green thumb aspirations might have gone as far as creating an herb garden or planting a tomato vine to crawl up your fence—we all become giddy over the prospect of eating something that we produced with our own two hands and patch of Earth—but a garden quite so large and extensive likely never crossed your mind as even a possibility.

Thank goodness for Double N.

We Love Taters. And Double N. - Porter Road ButcherTheir Urban Homestead sits on just an acre of land and roughly half is covered with produce galore. Nick and Nicole spent much of the winter getting things in order for the spring season and most importantly devoted much time to building what is now their lovely and petite greenhouse, which sits on the western side of the property. “We used the greenhouse to start about 1,500 plants, so we’re really excited to have that available,” said Nicole. “Previously we were starting our plants in the guest bedroom of our house and that got a little tricky…”

Nick and Nicole purchase all of their seeds from a local organic farmer and then do all the rest of the grunt work themselves. Although a few Peter Rabbits recently came by and devoured a handful of their cabbage plants, most of their plants are protected both by fences and by the homestead’s suburban surroundings, including watchful neighbors, plenty of car traffic, and a few tiny [but fierce] guard dogs.

Double N is also home base to Nicole’s apothecary project, including teas and tinctures, which help naturally cure whatever it is that ails you. Ranging from splitting headaches to obnoxious and over-active children, Nicole’s got a wide line of products that are said to naturally heal and help—but they’re not medicine. We’re not allowed to say that they’re medicine 🙂

On Thursdays from 4-7 Nick and Nicole crack open a beer (we love their style), gather their loot from the week, and then distribute it into pails for their weekly CSA pickup. But the good news is, now they’ve realized they have such a bountiful harvest…that they want to share it with us! Well really, they want to share it with YOU. Even better.

Beginning next week, Double N Urban Homestead will be selling their produce and apothecary goodies at PRB East! Which means you can get everything you need for a local and healthy meal in one fell swoop. You’re welcome.

Next Tuesday, May 26th (the day after Memorial Day) will be their first day of selling, and subsequently they’ll follow the schedule of the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month. They’ll be out there just in time for you after-work folks, from 4 pm – 7 pm.

We’re thrilled to welcome them to our East Nashville store and are even more excited to have the opportunity to sell super-local and organic produce!

Nick & Nicole from Double N Urban Homestead | Porter Road Butcher

Double N Urban Farm - Porter Road Butcher