FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is "Whole Animal Butchery"?
Pine Street Market has been practicing Whole Animal Butchery since we opened in 2008. It is a craft recognized by the Butcher’s Guild, which was established in 2011 after recognizing the growing trend of local butcher shops that are committed to practicing whole animal butchery, and to help to preserve the craft and ensure that the next generation can carry on the art.
'Whole animal' or 'whole beast' refers to using the entire animal -- all the bits that are left after cutting out the mainstream cuts that most people are familiar with (i.e. Ribeye, NY Strips, Tenderloins, etc.). The benefits of whole animal butchery are multi-fold: 1) you know where your meat came from, 2) you know the quality standards of the small local farmers we work with, 3) the freshness of the meat is superior to almost any meat you can buy in the grocery store, and 4) using every single piece of an animal, instead of throwing food out, is important for creating a sustainable food system. As Butcher Rusty is known for saying, “If you can’t lift our trash bags at the end of the day with two fingers or less, we haven’t done our job to minimize waste.”
It is generally more expensive and more labor-intensive for Butcher Shops to practice Whole Animal Butchery for multiple reasons. Pine Street Market does it because we believe in minimizing waste and promoting a sustainable local food system - it’s important for our community. Not only is whole animal butchery a craft that requires skill, it requires local infrastructure, such as farmers, distributors, and processing plants. All of these entities were mainstays in every town 60-70 years ago, but since World War II, our food system has become increasingly centralized, originating from the need to feed American troops stationed abroad and further expanding due to what we refer to as “institutional inertia” – it was easier to keep promoting the same mentality when the war ended than finding alternative uses for the new “war time” infrastructure. People have been the force to halt that “institutional inertia” by taking a greater role in understanding where their food comes from, caring about the impacts of commodity farming on the well-being of the animals and the impacts on our environment, and caring about minimizing waste and utilizing everything we can in innovative ways to enrich our food experience. Speaking of culinary innovation, Whole Animal Butchery begs the question, “What exactly can I do with all the parts of the animal?” Pine Street Market’s Butchers get creative and make wonderful charcuterie like Rillettes, Pâtés, Cured Meats, Salami, and Terrines, not to mention our assortment of Artisan Sausages and specialty provisions, such as Leaf Lard, Tallow, Beef Butter, Bone Broth, and our delicious signature Bacon Jam.
Does your meat contain hormones or antibiotics?
NO HORMONES. NO ANTIBIOTICS. EVER.
What exactly does pasture-raised mean and why does it matter?
“Pasture Raised” means that the animals were raised on pasture or with access to a pasture, not continually confined indoors. Raising animals on pasture is not the industry standard; the vast majority of dairy cows and beef cattle are confined indoors or in outdoor feedlots for a portion of their lives and fed a high-grain feed ration, rather than being allowed to graze on pasture. The vast majority of chickens and pigs are raised inside with no access to the outdoors.
Pasture-Raised animals are not only happier and less likely to harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but their meat and fat contains significantly more vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants than those raised in confinement. These nutrients aid in reducing inflammation and cardiovascular disease as well as promoting good overall health. In fact, the lard from pasture-raised hogs has been found to contain up to 1,000 IU of Vitamin D per tablespoon and contains less saturated fat and more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat than butter and coconut oil.
Why do you brine pork and poultry?
Why Brine? Brining makes lean meats, such as turkey, chicken, and pork juicier and more flavorful! How? Meat Science! Not only does the brining solution help prevent moisture loss during cooking but it also perfectly seasons the meat. Brining will give you piece of mind by helping your loins, chops, and hams stay juicy and delicious as they cook. Check out Pine Street Market’s Hog Wash and Brown Sugar Bird Brine.
Is your meat humanely raised?
Yes. This is a point we are extremely passionate about. We source from farmers that adhere to strict humane and sustainable farming practices. We are proud to support over nine local farmers and ranchers that we not only buy from every week but have built a community of friends and colleagues that share the same passion for raising humane meat, local sourcing, and a dedication to educating and enriching the collective we serve. We consider ourselves fortunate to have worked with some of the best farmers in the southeast that play such a vital role in our society and food community.
What's the best way to cook a steak?
This is one of the most common questions we get asked! Visit our Know Your Butcher "Recipes" page for Butcher Rusty's Steak Cooking Tips!
What's the best way to cook sausage?
Have you ever had a cookout and ended up serving leathery, dry sausages? It makes for a sad moment. Butcher Rusty recommends grilling your sausages and then braising them in a beer bath where they can stay warm and juicy until you're ready to serve! See our Know Your Butcher Recipe page for Rusty's Beer Braised Sausage recipe!
What is the best way to cook bacon?
This is a question we’re often asked! Is there a right way to cook bacon? We don’t know if it’s the “right way,” but it’s how we do it!
Stove Top: Start with a room temperature sauté pan. Lay the bacon in the pan side-by-side and avoid over-crowding. Cook the bacon on medium heat, flipping occasionally for even cooking.
Oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and lay out the bacon side-by-side and avoid overcrowding. Bake in the oven for approx. 10 min and flip. Monitor the bacon every couple of minutes until it reaches the desired doneness.
Does your meat contain sodium nitrate/nitrite?
USDA regulations require that all dry-cured meat products contain sodium nitrate/nitrite for consumer safety. Our bacon cure contains small amounts of nitrates/nitrites as well as our salami and whole muscle cure; the amount of residual nitrates/nitrites are very low in the final product. For example, a serving of green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, beets, or lettuces has somewhere between 1,000-1,600 ppm of nitrates, while a serving of salami has 120 ppm.
Meat products that claim “No Nitrates or Nitrites Added” are using vegetable powder or juice such as that derived from celery, instead of curing salt, though both contain the same nitrate compound; you may notice the asterisk underneath the claim “No Nitrates or Nitrites Added” that states “except those naturally occurring in sea salt or celery powder.” The use of vegetable sources of nitrates allows these producers to make products loaded with sodium nitrate while legally being able to claim "no added nitrates." This is because the nitrates are in the celery powder/juice.
What is sodium nitrate/nitrite and why is it used in dry-cured meat products?
Sodium nitrate/nitrite has been used since the 1800s to prevent meat spoilage. Sodium nitrate/nitrite is a naturally occurring compound that has antimicrobial properties when added to food. Sodium nitrate occurs naturally in all types of vegetables such as beets, celery, and greens as well as fruits and grains – basically, anything that grows from the ground draws sodium nitrate from the soil. Notably, when we eat vegetables, fruits, and grains that contain sodium nitrate, our body naturally converts sodium nitrate to sodium nitrite. Similarly, sodium nitrate is converted to sodium nitrite through the loss of an oxygen atom during the curing process. Importantly, sodium nitrite is the compound that is particularly effective at preventing the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that produce botulism toxin – one of the most lethal toxins known. Sodium nitrite is further reduced to nitric oxide, which reacts with myoglobin, a red protein containing heme (an iron-containing compound) that carries and stores oxygen in muscle cells.
To explain why nitrates/nitrites are used in dry cured meat, here is a bit of background on the meat curing process: The presence of curing salt (a mixture of sodium nitrate/nitrite and table salt) at the start of the curing process is necessary for the elimination of harmful bacteria, such as enterobacteriacea and Clostridium botulinum spores. Salt inhibits the growth of these harmful bacteria by drawing water out of the microbial cells through osmosis. As the unwanted bacterial population dies off, other beneficial bacteria such as those belonging to the Lactobacillus genus, begin to grow. These good bacteria utilize the sugar included in the cure as a food source, and their growth generates an acidic environment (around 4.5 pH) through the production of lactic acid. This process is a form of fermentation, and in addition to reducing the ability of the harmful bacteria to grow, it accounts for the tangy flavor of some cured meat products. Nitrate and Nitrite Compounds not only help kill bacteria, but also give cured meats that characteristic color you’ve come to know.
The usage of either compound is carefully regulated in the production of cured products; in the United States, their concentration in finished products is limited to 200 ppm and is usually lower. By comparison, a serving of spinach, beets, or lettuces has anywhere from 1,000-1,600 ppm of nitrates.
How long can I keep meat in the refrigerator?
Generally, your Pine Street Market meats will stay fresh in their vacuum sealed packaging for up to a week in the refrigerator. That being said, there are a few specific recommendations for certain types of products.
We recommend consuming or freezing fresh poultry products within 3-4 days of receipt. Fresh pork cuts and fresh sausages, such as Bacon Burger, Country, Mexican Chorizo, and Italian should be consumed or frozen within 5-7 days of receipt. Fresh Beef (whole muscle, not ground) should be consumed within 10 days of receipt. Sausage Links, such as Bratwurst, Whole Hog Sausage, and Smoked Chicken Sausage will last for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Our Heritage Bacon will last in its original vacuum sealed packaging for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Sliced cured meats, such as Coppa, Speck, Bresaola will last for 3 weeks (Because our artisan cured meats are sliced thin, once they are opened, they will be prone to drying out, so we recommend eating them once opened. We can’t resist eating the whole package in one sitting!)
If you anticipate holding on to any of your Pine Street Market meats, it’s perfectly fine to go ahead and freeze them until you’re ready to enjoy!
How can I tell if my meat arrived in good condition?
Please note that meat items will ship frozen and will be packaged with freezer gel packs in natural, environmentally friendly packaging material made from corn that dissolves with water to keep your meat cool. When your order arrives, the meat should be cool to the touch and vacuum sealed for freshness. If any seals are broken or something just doesn’t seem right, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (404) 296-9672 – we’re happy to address your concerns to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase.
What should I do if I suspect the meat is bad?
We maintain strict USDA standards and quality control, so if you receive meat that you suspect may be bad, please email us at email@example.com or call us at (404) 296-9672 so that we can go over the issue with you personally. We want you to be happy with your purchase.
How can I find out about special offers?
Stay up to date on all the meaty Pine Street Market news by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We promise not to go “hog wild” with too many e-mails!
What kind of farms do you work with?
We take a lot of pride in our partnerships with local and regional farmers and ranchers. We know our farmers by name and they know your butcher. We visit each farm before agreeing to partner and we routinely visit to make sure our collective commitment to sustainability and humane farming does not waiver.
Where do you ship?
We ship all over the USA except for Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
When will my order ship?
All orders will ship via FedEx 2-Day Delivery due to the perishable nature of the product.
Orders placed before 5p ET Tuesday will ship the same week the order was placed. Orders placed after 5p ET Tuesday will ship the following week to ensure orders do not end up in a FedEx facility over the weekend. Please note, holidays may alter this shipping schedule (e.g. Thanksgiving and Christmas).
If you require overnight shipping or have an order that requires expedited processing, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to accommodate. Please note, overnight delivery and/or expedited processing may incur an additional fee.
How will my order ship?
Due to the perishable nature of the products, we hand pack every order in insulated shipping boxes with re-useable freezer gel packs to keep your meats safe and chilled!