There are a few extremely key differences between what we offer versus what you can find at the grocery, your local butcher shop, or online from a meat shipping service:
We Dry Age the entire beef carcass for 21 Days! This is extremely rare and hard to find nowadays. You lose about 6-7% moisture weight each week that you age. Everything you get in the store comes from the big slaughterhouses where they just chill the carcass for 24 hours and then cut and wrap and send to grocery stores. They do this to sell that moisture weight. The result is a lack of flavor. When we lose the 20% moisture weight the flavor concentrates and you get the true flavor of beef. Even most butcher shops in Western Washington don’t Dry Age. If they do age its 7-10 days. The other benefit to Dry Aging is that it gives time for enzymes to break down which tenderizes the meat. Dry Aging the entire carcass results in getting roasts, ground, ribs, & steaks that all have amazing true beef flavor! With this aging process we lose 20% moisture weight and about 5% additional trim loss as the outside layer of the carcass hardens. This sets us back about 25% on a finished weight basis, which is why we have to charge a little more than the store or some butchers.
Our cattle are not given steroid implant making them hormone free. All the cattle that go into the big feedlots are given a steroid implant so they will pack on weight faster and finish out about 3 weeks sooner. Everything you get in the grocery stores (unless marked as hormone free) is getting the implant. Also a key thing to know is that almost all butcher shops do not have their own USDA inspected slaughter facility. There are only about 6 butchers across the state of Washington that have USDA inspected slaughter. In order for a store, butcher shop, or farmer to sell small quantity(less than 1/4 of the animal) they have to use cattle that have walked live through a usda inspected slaughter facility. This means the meat in the stores and most butcher shops is coming from massive feedlots, then to massive slaughterhouses.
If your butcher doesn’t have a USDA slaughter facility attached to their building(about 99% of butchers) they are very likely getting their cattle from the big slaughterhouses! So the only difference between your local butcher and the grocery store is that they probably have more experienced meat cutters and they might be aging a few days. But they are getting those same steroid implanted cattle coming in from the massive feedlots.
We feed both our Cattle and Pigs Non-GMO feed. There is no soy(very high in hormones and almost exclusively GMO) in any of our feeds. Most pig feed contains soy as the main protein source. We source non-GMO feed sources for both cattle and pigs. We are willing to pay a little more to have quality feed in order to have meat that is as natural as we can possibly make it for our client base.
Both our Cattle and Pigs are pasture raised. All pork, unless you’re getting from a farmer that you know has them pastured, is raised on concrete. Even PCC and Whole Foods have pork raised on concrete. Pigs get a lot of minerals and nutrients out of the soil when they are able to root around, which enhances flavor greatly and allows them to be healthy stress free pigs. Our pigs are happier, healthier and grow faster than pigs raised on concrete.
We finish our cattle with non-GMO grain and grass. Its become a fad, especially in Western Washington for grass finished beef. Western Washington is one of the worst places to raise grass finished beef. Because of the high level of rain fall, the grasses are not very hearty and have low protein levels. Most people I’ve talked to don’t understand why you should or shouldn’t feed grain. Many, maybe like yourself, have either just watched a Netflix documentary or have been told by someone that it is better, with no facts or understanding between the options. When cattle are fed only grass and especially low protein grass the meat will not marble and will not even grade choice and especially not prime. It also can result in a very gamey or swampy flavor. They take longer to feed out as well, which increases the cost. So you end up with a lower quality meat that costs more. Sign me up! Feeding a good quality grain provides the right nutrition to help the cattle have marbling in the meat. It enhances flavor, makes for more tender and juicy meat, and allows us to Dry Age for 21 days. Grass fed beef can only be aged for about 7 days max as there isn’t a fat layer on the carcass. I have ran into countless people in western Washington that bought a 1/4 or 1/2 beef that was completely grass fed and almost every single one of them didn’t like the flavor and either have a lot still sitting in their freezer or they had to give it away or ended up throwing some away. If you want leaner red meat, I suggest getting elk, deer, or bison. You can also request the leaner steak cuts.
Why does our pork taste so good? I constantly get feedback on our pork. Dozens of customers telling me “These are the best pork chops we’ve ever had!” “This is the best bacon I have ever had!” “This is the best sausage we have ever had”. I obviously agree with all these statements. There are few reasons for this: 1) We only feed the high protein non-GMO feed mix. We are using a pea, barley, and wheat mix. You’ll see a lot of people throwing scraps to their pigs. Of course they will eat it as pigs will eat anything. But its filling them up on low protein feed. Feeding only the grain mix allows them to grow faster, which makes for more tender meat. 2) We also raise our pigs on dirt where they can root as much as they want. Pigs are born to root. They get many trace minerals out of the ground that can’t be replaced with a mineral supplement. This also helps them grow faster and helps keep them healthy. The pork that is in the grocery store and your butcher that doesn’t have a usda inspected slaughter facility is raised on concrete. Yes, even the pork in PCC and Whole Foods is raised on concrete. They are outdoors with a covering but still on concrete. Having them on dirt makes for happier animals and tastier meat! 3) Our butcher has been in business for 50 years. McCary Meats in Eastern Washington does our butchering for us. Rick & Deanna McCary run and operate the business and Rick’s dad started the business 50 years ago. From the years of experience, they have master the bacon curing process and also the sausage seasoning. They also do a great job of custom cutting to our specifications. We appreciate that they have nailed the seasoning mix for the sausage as each butcher is different and as the farmer you can do everything right, but having a bad butcher can ruin everything.
Again with the pork, it is the same as the beef. No USDA inspected slaughter facility on site at your butcher and they are getting their hog carcasses from the massive slaughterhouses, who are getting their hogs from the massive hog warehouses (cramped quarters, indoors on concrete) which are much worse than the big cattle feedlots.
Why would you choose us over an online service? Most are getting their beef from the massive slaughter houses just like the grocery stores. There are countless of these services, Omaha steak, and more and more popping up. Its not hormone free, its not Dry Aged, its not any different than the store. There are a few that are either a farm or partner with Farmers ie Crowd Cow. All of these services don’t have their own delivery service built like we do. They have to ship with dry ice which is very very expensive. All of these services are more expensive than what we offer. Crowd Cow is doing a good thing by getting meat straight from the farm to more people. But you can either pay more and support a millionaire software developer being the middle man(Crowd Cow) or you can pay less and support the actual Farmers, and you can have a relationship with the Family that is providing you the meat. You will see us at events and farmers markets across the Puget Sound, you will get to see us dropping off your product and you will have opportunity to see us every year at our customer appreciation bbq’s(Coming soon)