Chicken Confit, AKA Chicken ConFAT

Confitnoun – /kon-FEE/ – a method of food preservation in which meat is slowly cooked at a low temperature in it’s own fat.

Once exclusively a mysterious noun that has in recent years morphed into a popular verb, confit’ing is an effective preservation technique—derived by our refrigerator-less French ancestors—that relies on fat to protect the delicious prize inside. A liquid viscous enough to solidify at room temperature and provide a protective seal to block oxygen, fat prevents bacteria from proliferating in the meat and also renders what could otherwise be a regular ol’ chicken thigh ultra-tender and delicious.

To some, the term confit can illicit confusion. From its definition, this cooking method seems quite similar to the all-time-favorite cooking technique of deep-frying, in which meats are similarly cooked in liquid fat, but confit’ing employs one very important difference: temperature. Deep-fried chicken is cooked at scorching temperatures (like, in the mid-300’s to mid-400’s) for a short period of time, whereas confit employs low heat (we’re talkin’ 170° F) and lengthy time periods (we confit our chicken for 12 hours).

Think of it this way: confit is to deep-frying, as smoking is to grilling. The latter is fast and hot, while the former is slow and lowww.

Chicken from Porter Road Butcher

Before the days of refrigeration, meats that had been confit’ed we preserved by being packed into containers and covered in—what else?—more fat. Said fat would eventually solidify as its temperature lowered, thus shielding the meat from oxygen and subsequently, preventing contamination. Stored in a cool and dark room (or basement), this fat-sealed meat would keep for a number of weeks and best of all, continue to tenderize.

Today, confit meat can be stored in the refrigerator (whether submerged in its fat or not) and can last up to a number of months.

As a means of further aiding in bacterial prevention, generally meats that are confit’ed are cured prior to their long, luxurious bath in a warm vat of fat. Traditionally, “cure” is made of roughly equal parts salt and sugar, a mixture that is rubbed on the outside of the meat before it sits for a period of time (2-3 days). So not only does this salt-n-sugar scrub additionally protect the meat from a bacterial infection, but it also aids your taste buds by bringing a flavor dance party to your tongue. Can we go ahead and give a big high-five for confit?

Clearly, aside from the shelf-life benefits, there are taste-bud bonuses that come along with confit’ing foods, as well. While the meat sits in said bath of fat, the connective tissues and muscle fibers have the opportunity to slowly break down (kind of like braising), which leads to incredibly tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat, that is juicy, moist, and has a lovely coating of fatty flavor. Plus, because of the low, low temperature at which the meat is cooked, there isn’t enough heat available to produce steam, which means the meat retains much of its moisture and flavors, making it the utmost delicious. Huzzah!

So what gives? What are you supposed to do with the chicken [or goose or duck] once it’s done marinating in this warm fat-bath?

You eat it. Duh…

Confit Chicken Salad Sandwich from Porter Road ButcherThere are lots of options for utilizing and enjoying confit chicken (we’re going to stick with chicken in this scenario since we sell chicken at PRB regularly and do not regularly sell duck or goose), and as a basic rule of thumb, you can treat it the same way you would roast chicken: it can do almost anything.

Confit chicken is tender, juicy, flavorful, and in some cases (like here at PRB) tastes kind of like bacon, since our preferred submerging-fat-of-choice tends to be of the bacon variety. Because, bacon-flavored chicken. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Give your confit chicken a quick zip in a hot pan or simply bring it to room temp and there’s no limit to what you can do: mix it with olive oil, tomatoes, and plenty of fresh herbs to bring your summer pasta salad to life; layer it into your white lasagna to ensure everything stays moist and full of flavor; use it alongside kielbasa and pork shoulder in an almost-classic cassoulet; whip up you’re your best-yet chicken salad by mixing it with walnuts, celery, dried cranberries, and plenty of mayo; or toss it with some peas, carrots, and gravy and turn it into a comforting chicken pot pie.

Both Porter Road Butcher locations have plenty of chicken confit ready for the taking and ready for the making. All you have to do is figure out down which culinary road you’d like to travel! (And pssst – we’re happy to give suggestions!)

Let us Eggsplain…

Porter Road Butcher’s local egg farm, Willow Farm, is slowing down production and will not be able to fulfill their weekly orders as they normally do. With the excessive heat, their birds are having trouble meeting production needs. Here’s why:

Willow Farm is a locally owned farm located in Summertown, Tennessee that provides Porter Road Butcher and many other Nashville businesses with local, delicious, farm-fresh eggs.

Owners Marsha and Jerry Hobgood have a passion for raising happy hens and delivering the most flavorful, fresh, high-quality eggs to the greater Nashville area. Their eggs are known for their richly colored, thick, syrupy yolks; firm yet fluffy whites; and beautifully thick brown shells.

Willow Farm’s hens are 100% free range, meaning they are given access to as much fresh air, sunshine, grass, bugs, and seeds as their little hearts desire. But sometimes all of that time in the sun can have a negative effect—particularly in the oppressive heat of the late summer. During these blistering August temps, the birds get overheated and begin molting, which is a period of approximately 21-28 days during which they naturally lose their feathers, and subsequently stop producing eggs for that time. On top of that, older birds simply can’t handle the same levels of production, and younger pullets (baby hens) are not quite ready.

Thus, the lack in availability.

Marsha assured PRB that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the health of the birds, but rather that Mother Nature simply has other plans for them. Willow Farms should be resuming their regular production within the next four weeks.

Willow Farm Eggs | Porter Road Butcher

Fresh, flavorful, fast: Watermelon & Surryano Salad

Whether you’re a fan of the European travel, a lover of cross-culture cookbooks, or just an avid consumer of all television programs a la Anthony Bourdain, you’re probably hip to the love affair that the Mediterranean Europe has with one particular culinary crew: dry-cured meats.

From prosciutto, to soppressata, to jamón serano and beyond, Spain, Italy and France are particularly in love with dry-cured meats. And for good reason! Commonly served as an accompaniment to or star-player in a variety of arenas, dry-cured meats can quickly jazz up a pasta dish, add more oomph to a salad, or easily pull together a cheese board into a complete meal.

“When I went to study abroad in Barcelona, I was shocked and also psyched to discover that an entire bone-in, dry-cured ham called jamón iberico was a fixture on the counter of my host mother’s kitchen,” Maddie said. “Wanting to start off my semester of eating and drinking abroad with something skinny—you know, to set a very hopeful tone for the following five months—one of the very first meals I had when I arrived in Barcelona was a cantaloupe and jamón salad. I was in love with the contrast between super-salty ham and cool-sweet melon.”

Similar dishes are likely to be found on the menu of a small Italian restaurant, or might be scribbled on the specials board at any of Nashville’s recent farm-to-table luncheries that seem to be popping up all over…but is it snotty to say that this classic cantaloupe and prosciutto combo is just a little bit tired and outdated? That it feels kind of been-there-done-that? Is it mean to say that we adore the idea, but we just want to make it better?

Serve yourself a taste of sweet and savory summer | Porter Road ButcherWe don’t think so. That’s why we’re giving it a makeover, complete with lots of local, some southern spice, and plenty of pizzazz:

Watermelon & Surryano Salad

Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 as main; 6-8 as side

½ seedless, baby watermelon (we like Delvin Farms watermelons)
16 thin slices Surryano ham*
4 cups fresh arugula
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
fresh garden herbs, to taste (we like tarragon)
salt
pepper
1-2 Tbs. KYBB Woodford sorghum vinaigrette 
1 pinch PRB hot chicken seasoning**

Method:

  1. Cut watermelon in half. Save half for making delicious cocktails or other eating, or gift it to your next-door neighbor. They’ll love you for it. Cut off the entire rind removing everything green and white, so that only pink flesh is exposed. With the cut-side down, cut watermelon in half again, and then slicing width-wise, thinly slice each piece into triangles. Transfer to serving platter, shingling then on top of one another down the plate.
  2. Drape half of the Surryano (about eight pieces) across the watermelon shingles, from left to right.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together arugula, red onion, garden herbs, salt, pepper, and Woodford sorghum vinaigrette. Pile salad on top of watermelon and Surryano so the salad adds plenty of height to the dish. Drape the remaining Surryano across the salad. You could also mix it into the salad, if you prefer. Note: if you won’t be serving the salad immediately, wait until you are ready to serve before you dress the salad to prevent it from wilting.
  4. Sprinkle a generous pinch of PRB’s hot chicken seasoning across the top of the salad.
  5. Serve immediately.

* Virginia-bred Surryano ham, an incredibly marbled piece of meat that is created from heritage-breed Berkshire hogs, has a deep and rich flavor that nicely matches up to the hams of yesteryear from old Europe. If you’ve yet to try it, now’s the time.

**If you don’t have Hot Chicken Seasoning and don’t want to buy a whole jar, try substituting for your favorite spicy blend, or even use a pinch of plain cayenne. Any kind of spicy zing will be a nice addition.

Watermelon & Surryano Salad | Porter Road Butcher

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.

Way South of Manhattan

Way South of Manhattan | Porter Road ButcherWhether by birth or by geographic location, as southerners there are two things that one must learn to, if not inherently love: bourbon and bacon fat. And if you know anything about Porter Road Butcher, you know that we inherently love both.

So why not mix them together?

Our “Way South of Manhattan” veers off the straight and narrow by employing white whiskey instead of the traditional brown variety, but we add a touch of that brown color back in by infusing bacon fat into this sinfully southern spirit. Strawberries make our cocktail both refreshing and seasonal, and the addition of vermouth and Campari turn it into what one would classify as a “real cocktail.”

Way South of Manhattan

5 fresh strawberries
1 oz. bacon-infused white whiskey (recipe below)
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Ice
Splash Campari

  1. Slice tops off 4 strawberries; reserve 1 strawberry with top in-tact.
  2. Muddle strawberry in a cocktail shaker or pint glass until macerated.
  3. Add a handful of ice to shaker, followed by bacon-infused whiskey, and vermouth.
  4. Shake vigorously; 20 seconds.
  5. Strain liquid and pour over fresh ice.
  6. Add a splash of Campari (about 1 tsp)
  7. Garnish with side strawberry
  8. Serve in a stemless wine glass

Bacon-Infused White Whiskey

1 bottle Nelson’s Greenbrier White Whiskey
1 half-pint (1 cup) Porter Road Butcher bacon fat
1 empty quart container; glass or plastic will work

  1. Place half-pint of bacon fat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt.
  2. Pour white whiskey into empty quart container.
  3. Add bacon fat to whiskey. Secure the lid, then turn over 3-4 times to mix.
  4. Let mixture sit on the counter for 24 hours, turning or shaking whenever you remember to. Note: if the mixture is shaken too much, the bacon fat may begin to emulsify and become suspended throughout the whiskey.
  5. After 24 hours, put mixture into the freezer to allow the bacon fat and whiskey to separate. If the bacon fat rises to the top, you can then just use a spoon and skim it off the top. If the bacon fat became too emulsified, follow step 6.
  6. Cover a medium-sized bowl with 4 layers of cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Pour bacon fat-whiskey mixture onto the cheesecloth, allowing the liquid to strain through. Once emptied, carefully remove the rubber band and squeeze mixture to strain as much liquid out as possible.
  7. Set aside and reserve bacon-infused white whiskey for cocktail use!
Ingredients: Porter Road Butcher bacon fat, Nelson's Greenbrier White Whiskey, Campari, sweet vermouth, and strawberries

Gather the ingredients: Porter Road Butcher bacon fat, Nelson’s Greenbrier White Whiskey, Campari, sweet vermouth, and local strawberries

Step 2: melt the bacon fat so it's liquified, but not hot.

Next, melt the bacon in the microwave fat so it’s liquified, but not hot. 30 seconds should do the trick.

Pour both the white whiskey and the bacon fat into a large container to infuse.

Pour both the white whiskey and the bacon fat into a large container to infuse.

If the mixture is agitated too much (whoops!) the bacon fat might start to emulsify. This will make it more challenging to separate, but by no means impossible.

If the mixture is agitated too much (whoops!) the bacon fat might start to emulsify. This will make it more challenging to separate, but by no means impossible.

If the bacon fat becomes too emulsified and you are unable to skim it off the top, use cheesecloth to strain and separate.

If the bacon fat becomes too emulsified and you are unable to skim it off the top, use cheesecloth to strain and separate.

Porter Road Butcher Bacon-infused Greenbrier White Whiskey vs. Nelson's Greenbrier White Whiskey

Porter Road Butcher Bacon-infused Greenbrier White Whiskey vs. Nelson’s Greenbrier White Whiskey

Now craft yourself a cocktail and enjoy.

Now craft yourself a cocktail, sit down, and enjoy. Cheers!

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

Soaps and Steaks to Save the World.

A cute message from Colette at Raimwater Farm | Porter Road Butcher Tallow SoapAn item that we use each and every day, probably four or more times per day, soap is something that [as Americans] we couldn’t imagine living our lives without, but most likely have no idea where it originated.

Because I mean, you just can’t say with all honesty that you envision cave men using a bar of soap to cleanse their loincloths (I know, I know- sorry Geico). Nor can you confidently claim that your great, great, grandmother went to the corner Walgreens to pick up a bottle of Dove Body Wash—pomegranate & lemon verbena scent, of course—when she needed a little scrub in the tub.

No, soap wasn’t one of God’s great creations, but it instead came about (like most great inventions) by accident.

A Brief History of Soap

*As told to PRB by Kathleen Souder, co-owner of Rainwater Farm, who would like it to be noted that she is not an official Soap Historian.

  • Most simply, soap is a mixture of lye and fat, which once mixed together, create a chemical reaction that turns the two into a solidified mixture.
  • Thousands of years ago when man treated the slaughter of an animal as a ceremonial sacrifice, they would perform the ceremony on top of a hill. That way the rain and gravity would wash away any of their leftover mess, including the ash from the fire and the unnecessary fat.
  • Lye, one of the two main components to making soap, can be derived from leaching the ashes of a fire (very simply, mixing them with water).
  • So when the rain did come, and the ash and fats were washed down, and the alkaline properties of the lye (from the ash) mixed with the discarded animal fat, that mixture ultimately ran off into the stream.
  • Soon people realized that, in the wake of the animal sacrifices, their clothes would get cleaner in the river. Eventually the connection was made: ash + water + fat = clean.

So while large-scale companies like Johnson & Johnson, for example, have simplified the matter for consumers, mass-producing soaps of all different kinds and smells—oh glory!!—what they’ve in turn taken away is the age-old cycle of utilization and sustainability.

And although the pomegranate & lemon verbena scented Dove Body Wash does smell amazing and makes shower time a true delight, what we often don’t think about while in the midst of that fruity and flowery mist are the chemical-riddled ingredients that we’re slathering all over our skin.

“I know it’s incredibly cliché to say,” said Kathleen when we met to talk soaps, “but your skin is your body’s largest organ…so shouldn’t we be directing just as much attention to what we’re putting on our bodies as we are about what we put in to it?

Touché, Kathleen. We hear you loud and clear.

Here at PRB we are all about providing our customers with foods that will nourish them from the inside out. We sell locally and responsibly raised meats that lack hormones and antibiotics; we refuse to sell anything that contains preservatives; and we only work with products and ingredients that we can both read easily and clearly pronounce.

Rainwater Farm feels the same.

“I’ve noticed that people have a pretty strong vocabulary around eating well, but that vocabulary and knowledge base isn’t quite as pronounced in the realm of body products and cosmetics,” Kathleen said, “but I think people know its something they should start thinking about.”

As a way to both hearken back to that traditional “pioneer method” of soap-making and to additionally fuel the cycle of sustainability and utilization, we’re excited to announce that Rainwater Farm is now using Porter Road Butcher tallow as a base for their soap.

PS – Tallow is the rendered kidney fat (which also known as suet) of a cow. Most commonly it is used in cooking (often for frying) and in soap-making.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 2.59.50 PMY’all, this is like, sustainability truly coming full circle. Mind. Blown.

Tallow-based soap is not only amazing for your skin, but to be able to use something that could otherwise be tossed in the trash and then to have that sustainable approach to what you use as a body product is something that we think is pretty f*cking cool.

Kathleen Souder began making soap when she was just eight years old in the kitchen of her mother’s home. A sibling among six others and a daughter of one aspiring soap-maker Colette Souder, Kathleen has memories of helping her mother stir and mix soaps in their Maryville home way back when. Today, decades later, she’s decided to return to her roots and is producing and selling her mother’s soaps in Nashville, while Colette keeps things going in Knoxville.

So while the business is growing, the need for supplies has (obviously) grown along with it.

“It solved a huge supply-chain problem for us, working with Porter Road Butcher Meat Co. We are going through thousands of pounds of tallow a year, and we were having trouble finding it. Now we have a source that is local and trustworthy, so we’re thrilled to have formed this partnership.”

Rainwater Farm makes their soap with a formulation that is considered “super-fatted” due to the higher ratio of fat to lye, which makes it even more nourishing for your skin. They use PRB tallow, olive oil, and coconut oil in the fat department, and the rest of the soap consists of other easily legible and familiar items: rainwater, sodium hydroxide (that’s the lye), and essential herbal oils.

So since these soaps fit with what we’re all about, and since one of the things that we’re all about is being clean (and since one of the things that James is all about is essential oils…yes, that’s for real), and of course since they’re using our tallow to make the stuff, we’re now proud to be selling Rainwater Farm Soaps at both Nashville shops!

Currently we have four varieties of soap—Orange Ginger, Summer Mint (with oatmeal!), Rosemary Mint, and Geranium—all of which smell delightful and come with adorable messages on the back from mama Colette. We’ll likely be expanding our soap collection as time goes by, so if there’s a certain variety you’re vying for, let us know!

Rainwater Farm additionally sells a variety of other products, from body washes to laundry soaps, which you can find at the 12 South Farmer’s Market in Sevier Park on Tuesdays (4:30 – 6:30 pm) and the East Nashville Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays at Shelby Park (3:30 – 7:00). Check out their full line of products at Rainwaterfarm.com or stay up to date with their whereabouts by following their Instagram @rainwater_farm

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 2.56.37 PM

At Nicoletto’s, these Bro’s Make Good Pasta

With a delightful Italian surname like Nicolleto, my brain immediately conjured up images of Nonna Nicoletto, clad in a flour-caked apron holding the hands of little Danny and Ryan as they first embarked on an afternoon of pasta-making—an afternoon that lit the spark for what is today their small business in handcrafting pasta.

Nicoletto's Rigatoni - for sale at Porter Road ButcherBut conjuring up an image like that one would be in vain. “We actually have no family recipe or family story or anything charming like that,” said Danny when I visited he and his brother’s small-batch pasta-rie on the East side of town. “Ryan and I have both worked in Italian restaurants and we’ve always wanted to do something Italian. Initially we wanted to start a restaurant, but when we began to realize how expensive that could be we turned on pasta.”

Nicoletto’s Pasta Co officially launched their business about a year ago, but prior to doing so Danny and Ryan had to put plenty of blood, sweat and tears into their business—and then cleaned all of that up before starting pasta production. After finding a space off Kirkland in their East Nashville neighborhood, the next and arguably most important step was finding real, Italian pasta machines to make their real, Italian pasta.

Although the Nicoletto bros had always planned on making small-batch pastas, a mere Kitchen Aid attachment most certainly wouldn’t do for a business. So they found second-hand Italian machinery that they rehabbed into the beautiful and fully functioning pasta-crankers that they work with today. Italian-in-origin as the machines were, they required specific knowledge in addition to metric tools—both of which Ryan had, thanks to his affinity for repairing Vespas—so once the space was prepared and their special pasta-drying room was constructed, all that was left to do was make pasta.

Danny and Ryan make their pastas from just two ingredients: water and flour or grain. Their pasta lacks any egg, salt, or other additives, but the flavor is incredibly rich due to the high quality, nutritious, and flavorful grains that they use to create their noodles.

The Nicoletto bros have three main lines of pasta—organic, heritage grain, and traditional—and they have a variety of sources for their different flours and grains. Just as Porter Road Butcher knows each exact farm that raise our cows, hogs, chickens and lambs, Danny and Ryan have created relationships with both the farms and mills where they receive each various line of starch for their flour. “With the heritage grain that we receive from Arizona for example, we’ve formed a great relationship; they like to tell us the story behind each grain before they ship it over. We get really excited to make pasta when we get something like that in.”

Unlike the pasta that you would find at a supermarket, which is made with white durum flour, the flours that the Nicoletto bro’s use are minimally-processed and rich in flavor and nutrients. Best of all, their pastas are made within 3 days of those grains being milled. Meaning it’s fresh. Real fresh. “We treat our product like a coffee aficionado would treat coffee. We’ve come to notice the nuances in the different grains and we can appreciate the rich aromas and smells that are so distinct in different batches,” said Danny.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 11.30.59 AMAnd that’s why their pasta is so incredible. Like our meat, which our farmers take great care to raise naturally and humanely, and which our butchers take great care to break down into beautiful pieces of meat, the Nicoletto’s take the same care with their pasta. They researched trusted, reputable, and responsible mills to source their products out of the central U.S. (sorry- Tennessee doesn’t exactly boast the proper arid climate it requires to grow wheat!) and then use it almost the instant it arrives at their shop to keep their product equally as flavorful.

The brass die on their Italian pasta machines gives the pasta a delightful texture that allows any sauce to cling to the noodle with ease, and the hands that actually cut the pasta ensure a product that is anything but generic. Their manpower ensures both that each noodle is different—maybe slightly longer or shorter than the one before—and that extreme care is taken with every small batch.

And that’s why we like them so much. And it’s also why we’re planning to sell their pastas in our shops…starting NOW!

Nicoletto’s Pasta Co. does sell both fresh and dried pasta but due to space constraints, we will only be able to sell their dried kind. We’re planning to start out with a few bags of a variety of shapes and sizes and see how things go…but if all goes well, we might just ask them to keep bringing more!

In addition to retail sales at both Porter Road Butcher locations, Nicoletto’s is at the Nashville Farmer’s Market every Saturday from about 10 am to 2 pm, plus starting this summer they’ll be at 6 different farmers markets every WEEK! Leaving you with absolutely no excuse to give them a try.

We personally think they’re a perfect pair for our PRB heat-n-eat meals, and our no-funny-business-in-our-food ideals.

Danny & Ryan Nicoletto | Porter Road Butcher

The Lambwich – so good, it’s b-a-a-a-d

Lambwich Sliders | Porter Road ButcherSandwiches are like the entire world’s culinary sweetheart. Everywhere you go, no matter the time or place, from New York City at 3 in the morning, to Ho Chi Min, Vietnam at 3 in the afternoon, sandwiches are around. They are available. And unless you choose to procure your sandwich from some scumbag peddling the likes of American squares with canned anchovies and wilty lettuce, they are delicious. (Also, American cheese squares are still delicious, especially on a burger. They’re just…skeptical.)

Here in America our country’s sandwich sweetheart is obviously the Cheeseburger, but it’s tough to turn a blind eye to a well-made Reuben, a classic Grilled Cheese, Philly’s own Cheese Steak, or our PRB signature, a French Dip.

Even with so many delicious, classic options, isn’t it nice sometimes to eat a sandwich that’s a little off the beaten path? Isn’t it fun to give your taste buds a break from cold, clammy deli meat, futile and transparent white bread, and a schmear of Hellmann’s for something…different?

We try to add a little pizzazz to the sandwiches that cycle on and off of our lunch menu board over at PRB West, but we’ve noticed that a certain black sheep has gained quite a bit of fame and a steady following of hungry people: The Lambwich. 

And while this special lunchtime delight has just recently found its way back onto our menu after the Easter lamb-slamb, sometimes it’s nice to know the secret behind the sandwich so you can prepare one of your own…maybe while at home, say…on a Sunday?

Time-consuming though it may seem to prepare a substantial amount of lambwich meat, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs: once the prep work is done (very minimal), all you have to do is sit and wait. Well, that and anticipate basking in the glory of enjoying a hot, delicious, and far-from-standard sammich.

Maybe you’ll spend your time reading a book; perhaps you’ll spend the time soaking yourself in the bath; hell, you’ll even have time to watch The Wolf of Wall Street from start to finish!

Do whatever you want to do during those 3 long and good-smelling hours, and when the time’s up you’ll have a week’s worth of lambwich meat—or enough to feed yourself, plus five hungry friends when you invite them over for Sunday brunch. Or even Sunday Funday where everything is so good, you’ll find yourself acting b-a-a-a-d. Step aside, Cheeseburger, there’s a new sandwich sweetheart in town.

Lamb Shoulder, Roast and Ready | Porter Road ButcherRoasted Lamb Shoulder
3.5 – 4.5 lb. lamb shoulder
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 Tbs. fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic
Salt
Pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 onion, large dice
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped

Lemon Yogurt Dressing
8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs. shallots, finely diced
2-3 Tbs. capers (optional)

For the Lambwich:
6 buns, burger or hoagie (or 12 slider rolls)
6 cups fresh arugula
1 jar Chris’s Favorite Sweet & Spicy Pickles (available only at PRB)
Tomato (when in season)
Clarified butter

  1. Tender Lamb, Ready to Pull | Porter Road ButcherSeason lamb shoulder with thyme, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil by rubbing the seasonings onto the meat.
  2. Let meat rest at room temp for 30-45 minutes while oven preheats to 425o F.
  3. Set lamb shoulder on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove shoulder from oven and deglaze pan with white wine. Reduce heat in oven to 300o F. Add onions, carrots and celery to the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover with foil or a lid.
  5. Return pan to oven and cook for 3 hours, or until fork tender.
  6. Remove shoulder from oven, check for tenderness, and rest 10-15 minutes before pulling.
  7. While lamb is resting, prepare yogurt dressing, simply by whisking yogurt, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, and shallots together in a small bowl. Using a serrated knife, slice buns in half, lightly brush with butter, and toast in the oven.
  8. Finally, assemble by stacking: bun bottom, shredded lamb, yogurt dressing, Chris’s pickles, arugula, possible tomato, bun top. Slightly smoosh.

The Lunchtime Lambwich |Porter Road Butcher

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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