In honor of all the Father’s Day cookouts going on today, let’s talk meat. Not the kind you find at the grocery store; double saran wrapped to prevent you from smelling the true age of the cow under that shiny surface. Let’s talk local and pastured raised. We North Raleighites have gotten lucky with the recent addition of Southern Craft Butchers in Layfayette Village. Did I stumble on this gem while getting coffee at Jubala for the second time that day? Why yes, yes I did. Mama needs caffeine.

The owners, Mark and Meghan Hansen, were nice enough to let us pop in recently and take a peek around. Although  100% disappointed by my son’s fear of raw meat; I was not disappointed in this shop-it was educational and delicious. I felt it was my responsibility as an omnivore (bordering on carnivore) to spread the news. 
“Don’t you eat steak?” “No I eat cow.” 

They are a “whole animal butcher” which means they literally get the whole cow, pig, lamb etc and as Mark said, “We get all parts of the animal and believe it or not we sell them all.” And this appeared to be true from all the beautiful, grass fed carnage contained in their walk in freezer. Fun fact time. The fat in pasture raised meat has a yellow tint to it. You just learned something, you’re welcome. Because they get the whole animal that means you can get a roast beef sandwich and a steak that came from the SAME COW! They are understandably proud of that. 

There’s a pig head in there. 

They get their pasture raised animals from local farms including Carolina Heritage Farms, Backcreek Farms, and Joyce Farms. And they are looking to team up with Homeland Creamery for all your dairy needs.  You can pick up hard to find stuff like bones ,lard, and stocks (the nutrient dense kind that’s gelatinous and weird looking when it’s cooled. It’s not just “beef flavored” water, but I digress.); as well as hot and cold subs. They are even toying with the idea of raw dog food.

Predictably my favorite thing- slabs of bacon fresh from the smoker and Mags and I got a taste. Be jealous.

I have to say, as a parent, it was kind of eye opening to see my son’s reaction to raw meat. To him it was scary and not at all food related. That has to be because we have become so completely separated from what food actually is and where it comes from. C chills in the grocery store cart while I pick up the aforementioned saran wrapped meat blocks from people behind the counter who dress like butchers but sometimes I wonder if they can tell a pig’s ass from its elbow. C knows it is cow or pig or chicken on his plate because I tell him it is, but does he really associate it with the adorable animals from Old MacDonald? I doubt it. My grandmother would probably find his lack of knowledge shocking seeing as, not that long ago, she was chopping off chicken’s heads and milking the cows herself. I know it seems ridiculous to complain about the ease and convenience of our first world, suburban life. But sometimes I wonder if we lose things that matter in that convenience. Things like the responsibility that comes with knowing that your food was a living thing which deserves respect and gratitude. Or even how separation from our food preparation means we buy mass produced food from a factory farm instead of from our own local business owners. Or possibly the most unfortunate thing lost in this equation, good tasting food!

This shop is elevating butchery to an art. Check it out. I have a feeling they would love to hook you up with some killer cuts.