Loyal readers know how much I love San Francisco-based 4505 Meats.
4505 Meats is owned and run by Chef Ryan Farr and his wife, Cesalee. Along with their crew, they’re truly Jedi masters of all things meat. 4505 Meats doesn’t have a storefront or restaurant. Instead, they set up shop at the Ferry Building Farmers’ market every Thursday and Saturday, and hungry carnivores happily queue up for meaty treats.
Rain or shine, they grill their fantastic sausages, award-winning burgers, and daily sandwich specials to order. Plus, they sell packages of sausages and their fluffy and delicate chicharrones –- I swear: these addictive snacks are like crunchy pork cotton candy sprinkled with heroin.
A few times a year, Ryan Farr imparts his incredible knowledge to a few lucky padawans at his sold-out, hands-on, whole beast butchery and sausage making classes. My work-husband attended the whole cow butchery class last year and continues to rave about how much he learned.
(Photo: Ed Anderson)
Since I’m one nosy bitch, I subjected Ryan Farr and Kent Schoberle (4505 Meats’s Paleo-eating tech ops manager) to a quick Q&A about this gem of a business.
Follow the jump for the interview and details of the giveaway!
First up: Ryan Farr!
NNP: Where do you source your meat from and what are your requirements for the meat you sell and serve?
Ryan: We source from multiple places, but what it comes down to is knowing about the operation and the people behind it. We look for pasture-raised animals that are given quality feed (if any). Some of our favorite farmers are Magruder Ranch, Hudson Ranch, River Dog Farm, Napa Valley Lamb Company, etc.
NNP: What’s your favorite species, cut, and cooking method?
Ryan: Love them all, but right now I am partial to really good beef. Favorite cut is everything below the head, and favorite cooking method is either grilling over hard wood or slow and low in the oven.
(Photo: Ed Anderson)
NNP: What is the worst thing someone can do to a piece of meat (in the kitchen, please)?
Ryan: Different cuts require different methods. Knowing that will definitely help prevent overcooking. When something is “railed” it’s been cooked for too long and handled too much.
NNP: Kent joked that you were Bi-Paleo — are you seriously considering adopting the Paleo lifestyle?
Ryan: I’ve always loved and eaten meat and vegetables. Grains and dairy have never really been the main staples of my diet, but it’s difficult to pass up a fresh loaf of bread from Tartine Bakery or a special cheese once in a while (I do love sandwiches).
NNP: Have you seen an increase in Paleo-style burger orders?
Ryan: There has definitely been an increase, especially now that we’ve got the code word for it. Everyone on our team knows what it means to get something paleo-style now. Pretty much every market has at least one or two paleo customers.
NNP: Besides the raw meat cuts and Paleo-style burgers, which items at 4505 Meats are Paleo-friendly?
Ryan: You can pretty much always get something without bread or cheese if you ask. Unless it’s a fried item. Our weekly specials vary, sometimes we have braised meats or paleo-friendly specials.
NNP: What restaurant in the Bay Area does meat the best? (This is just a selfish question for me.)
Ryan: That’s a difficult one to answer. It’s been hard lately to get out because of all the summer activities. I’ve got a 2 year old which also makes it more difficult to eat at restaurants. Some of the places on my to-go list include Camino, Cotogna, and Locanda.
Now, we turn to my buddy Kent!
NNP: I love that the Tech & Ops manager at 4505 Meats is Paleo but what exactly is your role? Are you the man behind the curtain pushing the Paleo agenda?
Kent: It basically means I handle most of the technology and operations related tasks. Webpage, blog, graphics, social feeds, database, etc. But since it’s a small company, everyone does multiple jobs. For example, I also cook at the farmers market and assist in all the butchering classes, so my role is pretty varied. I almost settled for Bacon Buccaneer.
NNP: How long have you been Paleo and what made you join the caveman cult?
Kent: I started earlier this year around March after a period of some unhealthy behavior. I think I got introduced by hearing about Robb Wolf’s book. I read through it and it all made good sense. It just grew from there and now I’m pretty hooked on the concept of evolutionary diets. I’ve pretty much tried to convert everyone around me as well.
NNP: How do you resist all the yummy, non-Paleo treats offered at 4505 Meats (e.g. chicharrones, chicharrones, chicharrones…)?
Kent: It can be difficult resisting freshly fried and seasoned chicharrones, but they aren’t so bad once in a while. They are 100% gluten free, and while they are fried in rice bran oil, it’s locally sourced and has a very high smoking point. It also fries pretty clean, which is why our chicharrones aren’t greasy, so there’s not a lot of oil left on the puffy pork.
NNP: What’s your favorite Paleo-friendly item at 4505 Meats? Are there more Paleo-friendly items in the pipeline?
Kent: The lamb merguez sausage is just awesome. Other Paleo-friendly sausages include Portuguese linguica, chorizo, apple breakfast, and maple bacon breakfast. We pretty much have a paleo breakfast every morning at the same time — usually scrambled eggs with some type of meat, fresh greens, and a few veggies thrown in from farmer’s market leftovers. Have you seen our steaks? We like them big, more like a roast than a traditional steak. That is where it’s at. 100% grass fed, dry aged, THICK slab of juicy marbled meat, slow and low in the oven with a blast of heat at the end to get that crunchy crust. I will never think of steak the same way again. We do beef cuts about every two or three weeks now, and they sell for below traditional retail price. It’s a really good deal.
NNP: What’s your favorite F-off cheat?
Kent: The cheeseburger. We bake our burger buns, which is a major key to its success. The meat is really high quality and grass fed as well, but the bun ties everything together. It’s baked with pecorino and chopped scallions in the dough. Lots of butter too. I really can’t explain the smell that fills the kitchen when they are baking. I don’t care how paleo you are, that smell is AMAZING! I will scarf one every now and then, but other than that, I don’t think I’ve had a sandwich in months.
Thanks, Ryan and Kent, for patiently answering my questions!
I bet you’re dying to know what this week’s giveaway is…
This week’s lucky winner will win: (1) a signed copy of Ryan Farr’s new cookbook, Whole Beast Butchery, (2) an awesome 4505 Meats “Frisco Pig” poster (pictured above), and (3) a Nom Nom Paleo T-shirt of his/her choice! (Total price package is worth $92!)
The Whole Beast Butchery cookbook from Chronicle Books is beautiful – it contains 500(!) detailed, step-by-step photos demonstrating how to properly break down an animal. If you can’t get into one of Ryan’s butchery classes, this is the next best thing! Even if you’ll never actually apply saw to carcass, carnivores and omnivores alike will love the book’s master recipes on how to cook key cuts of meat.
How can you not want this cookbook after watching this video?
How do you enter the contest?
- You must like the 4505 Meats fan page on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter
- You must like the Nom Nom Paleo fan page on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter
- Leave only ONE comment on this post, pinky swearing that you did steps 1 & 2 by Friday, 11/11/11, at noon PST.
Again: Please leave just ONE comment, or you’ll mess up my process for randomizing the entries AND I WILL DISQUALIFY YOU AND BE ANGRY AT YOU FOREVER!