Behind the Craft: Butchery

Photo cred: The Heart & Trotter

Photo cred: The Heart & Trotter

The Primal Pastures family recently helped to put on an event hosted by Green Flash Beer and The Heart & Trotter called Behind the Craft: Butchery. It took place in Green Flash’s tasting room in San Diego and consisted of a live butchering demo, expertly prepared dishes (many of which included organ meats from Cook Pigs) that were paired with various beers, and loads of info on butchery, beer, and sustainable farming.

Organization isn’t one of our strong suits as a family (we’re working on it). And as Farmer Jeff and I, Farmer Rob and Liz, and Farmer Tom were driving to the event, we realized that none of us had a clue what we were getting ourselves into.

The only one who really knew anything about the event ahead of time was Farmer Paul, and he was out of town. From the little he had told us, we knew that the event would include a live lamb butchering demo (with a Primal Pastures lamb we had provided ahead of time), and we knew that Farmer Jeff and Farmer Rob would be expected to give a little shpeal about Primal Pastures.

That was it.

Unsure of what to expect, we continued on to Green Flash. A few minutes after arriving, it became pretty clear that we were about to embark on a pretty incredible evening.

The tasting room.

The tasting room.

Liz and me sipping on Green Flash beer :)

Liz and me sipping on Green Flash beer :)

Dave Adams, Green Flash Director of Beer Education, kicked off the event by giving the crowd a run-down on what beer is, how to taste it, and how it’s made. I was super impressed by the distinct and cutting-edge beers that Green Flash had to offer. They put a ton of effort and creativity into their craft, and it shows. All of the beers I tried that evening were quite tasty. The rest of the family thought so too!

The Heart & Trotter (a whole animal butchery) co-founders James Holtslag and Trey Nichols also spoke to the crowd about their mission to “provide San Diego with the highest quality, local, and sustainable meats and products.” They ONLY work with local farms (like us!) that are dedicated to providing their community with meat that has been raised and slaughtered in the most humane way possible.

They’re passionate about educating others on the benefits of sustainable butchery and supporting local, community-based agriculture. James and Trey are also big advocates of using the WHOLE animal and wasting nothing in the butchering process (something that was reflected in the dishes we were served throughout the night).

Needless to say, these guys are awesome. And after a successful kickstarter campaign, they’re super close to opening their own shop in North Park on the corner of Utah and El Cajon Blvd. Be sure to check them out and pay them a visit if you’re local or visiting the area!

James then began the lamb butchering demo, which went on for the remainder of the evening. A live video feed of the butchering was shown on a large projector screen so that the audience could see him cut, carve, and slice.


Photo cred: The Heart & Trotter

Photo cred: The Heart & Trotter

During part of the demonstration, Jeff & Rob talked about Primal Pastures (who we are, how we started, what we’re all about, etc.). It’s always fun to hear them share our story!

In the midst of all of this, dishes were being brought out — each one of which was carefully paired with a Green Flash brew. Dave walked us through flavor profiles and tasting notes of each dish/beer combo.

This was not an event for the timid, picky, or unadventurous eater. Thankfully, I am none of those things when it comes to food and enjoyed every dish immensely.

The first dish to come out was pork scrapple topped with a poached egg and paired with Citra Session, a deliciously citrusy beer. I had never heard of “scrapple” before and just assumed that it was some kind of sausage, since that’s what it looked like. It wasn’t until after I had finished it that I found out that scrapple is made from ground up leftover pork scraps and trimmings mixed with spices and sometimes cornmeal, wheat flour, and buckwheat flour. Whatever it was, it tasted darn good!


The second dish was blood sausage (made from blood & fat mixed with onion and garlic) paired with Le Freak, a 9.2% beer that I had to remind myself to drink VERY slowly.


Next up was Pork Head Cheese served with petite greens and a Belgian-Style Pale Ale with Brettanomyces (no idea what that means, but it was good). Head Cheese was another first for me. And the name kind of says it all — as it includes shredded up parts of pork head. I know — I’m making your mouth water profusely with these descriptions! Anyone? No? Okay — almost done.


Lastly, we were served Primal Pastures lamb sliders topped with caramelized onions and paired with the “Road Warrior” beer, another dangerous nine-point-two-percenter. The sliders were amazing — I love our lamb! It’s the best ever. Seriously. And in case you’re wondering, I didn’t eat the bread. Not that it would have been a big deal if I did, but it’s just not worth it for me to “cheat” on very much of anything these days (except for beer — that was worth it).


Would you have tried these dishes? Or did you decide to become a vegetarian halfway through reading this post? Let me know with a comment!


  1. monya says

    OhM’Gosh, that sounds like an AMAZING event! will definitely keep an eye out for another one like this (crossing my fingers this wasn’t a “one-and-done”!) :-)

    • Bethany McDaniel says

      I really was amazing! We’re thinking about putting on a similar event at the farm sometime…we’ll keep you posted! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Crystal says

    Totally! I was brought up with “using whole and waste nothing” mind-set so I’ve eaten most of these (except the scrapple). And you did make my mouth water with the food pics! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Bethany McDaniel says

      Hahah! That’s awesome, Crystal! You’re probably the minority in regards to the mouth watering…in a good way! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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