Food -> Community

The Evolution of Underbelly’s Signature Meats: Meet a Member of Our Community


Underbelly, your neighborhood Butcher Shop.

Join us in the heart of Underbelly and see Chef Dustin’s passion for turning every part of the animal into something extraordinary. Learn about his commitment to reducing waste and creating flavorful, sustainable meats that tell a story of what food could be, with just a little effort and care.


0:00 Chef Interviews Dustin, Founder of Underbelly

2:15 Koi Pond Tour

5:30 Front Garden Tour

9:12 Production on the Farm

14:24 At Underbelly

17:05 The Oven Opens

22:01 Roast Beef

25:14 The Cave of Wonders

29:25 Butcher Gear

32:01 Store Front


Chef Jayson (00:03):

I want to welcome Dustin to the farm. Dustin owns Underbelly which is a butcher shop here in Phoenix. He opened up last October?

Dustin (00:14):


Chef Jayson (00:15):


Dustin (00:16):

The week before Thanksgiving, actually.

Chef Jayson (00:17):

There you go. And I think we, I heard about them opening and I think I was in there in January, checking the place out. And we’ve been loyal patrons ever since. The quality I have not come across in Phoenix it’s unmatched. This is a guy that cares about what he does, caress about his food and caress about the end result and puts the work in to make that happen. And so we’re gonna go over to the shop after we do a tour here, and we’re gonna get you know, a grand tour, checking out different equipment, and then kind of sit down and talk about our ethos, you know, how did he get from A to Underbelly ’cause Yes. Yeah. And we really want to know that’s up because it, there’s a series of decisions I think you have to go through and you have to have a type of mindset to jump into something like that.

Chef Jayson (01:08):

So first off, our tilapia pond. There’s about 40 or 50 tilapia in here, is small as it is. So we do harvest, you know, every few weeks we’ll pull four or five out. So this is a first step in us, you know, having protein on hand all the time. Squash. And that’s our compost section over there. We’ve got our chickens and ducks right over here. We can head that way. Sure.

Chef Jayson (01:36):

Well, we’ve got a lot. We’ve got our meat chicks over there in the corner. Those scraggly looking. Yeah. Tyrannosaurus looking things. <Laugh> the ducks seem to produce more eggs than the chickens. I don’t know why that is.

Dustin (01:48):


New Speaker (01:48):

In the heat, summertime, heat, they like pretty much stop producing. It has been kind of ridiculous how hot it is, but they just go into survival mode. Huh? Babies. Huh? Babies? Yes. They’re pretty docile. I think this, is this one Karen? They all have names. There’s a couple of Karens. There’s a nugget. I know.

Dustin (02:14):

Look Like happy healthy animals.

Chef Jayson (02:15):

Oh yeah, they are. Mulberry tree. This is our big koi pond.

Dustin (02:21):

Wow. This is great.

Chef Jayson (02:22):

Yeah, they’ll take water from here to water all the different plants and trees. ’cause Just what the fish do to the water part

Dustin (02:31):

Of a closed cycle system. Right?

Chef Jayson (02:34):

Yeah, absolutely. Using

Dustin (02:35):

All kinds of waste for enrichment of it’s water and soil.

Chef Jayson (02:39):

Yeah. I mean we’re, why dump this out? You know why? We have a lot of different uses in so many different plants that they’ll take five gallon buckets and like take it to the other place. So we’ve got a, actually a couple edible things here. This right here is a water spinach. It’s like a morning, I think they call it morning glory or something. But with a little bit of garlic and soy sauce. It was one of the best things I ate in Thailand.

Dustin (03:07):


Chef Jayson (03:07):

Like the back garden. So we got a lot of melons and stuff growing in here. Water, cabbage. This is pennywort. All edible. There are, let’s see if we can see any, but there are crawdads in here. Yep. There’s a guy right there, like straight down.

Dustin (03:27):

Oh, wow. Yep.

Chef Jayson (03:29):

So the crawdads that we pull out of here are anywhere from five to seven inches. They’re like big, like mini lobsters. Wow. You could actually get meat out of the claws. That’s crazy. That’s crazy. What were,

Dustin (03:40):

What were these tanks? How did these come to be a thing? Were these all just like custom constructed? Like

Chef Jayson (03:46):

Yeah, this is a honestly, I think that this one was a planter.

Dustin (03:50):

Oh, right.

Chef Jayson (03:51):

Like that They just retrofitted just like one of these Okay. That they retrofitted into this. This tank. Tank, yeah. Tank.

Dustin (03:57):

That’s crazy.

Chef Jayson (03:57):

Yeah, it’s pretty cool. And same thing like the the pennywort and all of these things actually filters the water going back through. because crawdads are bottom feeders. They can get pretty gross. So I mean, it’s kind of amazing that you can see all the way to the bottom.

Dustin (04:12):

Wow. Yeah, that’s true.

Chef Jayson (04:13):

All the way to the bottom here. We’ve got tons of tomatillos peppers back here. Squash more tomatillos over here.

Chef Jayson (04:22):

Grapevines all the way down. Like, these are all different kinds of grapes. But again, they kind of got fried. We had a ton of grapes hanging from the trellis, which was really cool. Like little bunches, peppers, cucumbers. We basically harvested pretty much everything last week. All the peppers coming in. You

Dustin (04:47):

You do a lot of canning and preserving then?

Chef Jayson (04:50):

Yeah, I mean you didn’t see a lot in there because usually when I’m done with it, I’ll have a case of it and I’ll send it up to the other property.

Dustin (04:57):

So you’ve got plenty of food storage up there?

Chef Jayson (04:59):

As far as I know right now, there is at least two years worth of food. So we’re really building it up. And, you know, most of that stuff can last a couple years. Anywhere from two to five years, depending on what it is. If it’s low acid or high acid. These are potatoes. I think most of these are potatoes. And some peppers. And there’s like Kei apples, which I haven’t figured out a use for yet. They are very sour. So that is the backyard. And now the front yard,

Chef Jayson (05:30):

I mean, mint for days. If you ever need mint for anything.

Dustin (05:35):

Ravenous, isn’t it?

Chef Jayson (05:36):

Come to us. This is, it’s taken over this whole area. Sugarcane use it to make jaggery cool. Yeah. That’s the only sweetener that I use here. Long beans, snap peas. Egyptian spinach, arugula in here. Lemongrass. Tons of lemongrass. We have two bushes about that size. Holy basil, Thai basil. That hedge right there. Love that stuff. Oh, pomegranates starting to, starting to come in. These should be ready by September. They take a long time to mature. Planting fennel there. Another fig tree.

Chef Jayson (06:19):

Moringa hedge. Are you hip on moringa?

Dustin (06:24):


Chef Jayson (06:24):

So moringa these trees, they’re like, they grow almost as fast as bamboo. So you gotta cut ’em back. But the greens are one of the most nutrient dense greens on the planet.

Dustin (06:37):

Is that right?

Chef Jayson (06:38):

So you could take this, dry it out, add it, like powderize it, add it to shakes. You can put it in salads. You can like toss it in with spinach and saute or whatever. And it, that’s kind of what it tastes like. It’s just like kind of a green, like any green spinach type of deal,

Chef Jayson (07:00):

Right? Saute with a little garlic and butter takes a, that little bit of bitter away.

Dustin (07:05):

I was gonna say slightly bitter edge.

Chef Jayson (07:06):


Dustin (07:06):

And dandelion greens.

Chef Jayson (07:08):

Yeah, exactly. Kaffir lime. Which is like Asian finger limes, like when this actually gets fruit. So they’re like these little tiny limes. Rosemary, another mulberry plum, peach, lavender. I think these are like apricots or something. Plum <laugh> almond tree. I thought these were just like nasty apricots. Like they just dried out on the vine.

Dustin (07:40):

Wow. Look at that.

Chef Jayson (07:41):

Yeah. There you go.

Dustin (07:43):

That’s wild. Thanks.

Chef Jayson (07:44):

Yeah. That’s fresh. Almond <laugh>.

Dustin (07:49):

That’s an almond.

Chef Jayson (07:49):

That’s an almond. I think that these are pistachios? Or No, these are pistachios. She’s had this one for 10 years. Is there a little bird nest right there? There is. That is so cute. Check that out.

Chef Jayson (08:13):

Little baby bird. That’s cool. Bitter orange. And then we’ve got a couple cherry trees. That’s a Barbados. This is a Surinam. Banana plant. Think there’s another banana over there. But yeah, like when this thing is cranking, especially in spring, you come out here and it’s just, all you can see is fruit.

Dustin (08:36):

That’s amazing.

Chef Jayson (08:37):

It’s really cool. A bunch of berries over there. Blackberries and blueberries. You know, the property has been going for 10 years and there’s been a lot of things learned both good and bad. But you know, I think what we’re really hoping to do is we actually just hired a, a new farm manager. And we’re hoping to get the production up here. Because I think that we kind of blame it on the summer. Really. Because it’s just so hot. We, we didn’t get nearly as much stuff as I think we should have.

Dustin (09:09):

Well, there’s, you have some shade here and everything.

Chef Jayson (09:12):

We do. Yeah, we do. You know, and from what I understand, it’s not just about the heat, it’s about your soil. You know, like the way that I learned how to grow food was the guy was like, dude, it’s nature. Like nature doesn’t build boxes and, and add nutrients and blah, blah, blah. He goes, you should be able to just throw seeds at the ground and have them grow just for the most part. You know? So when you look at your soil, it’s gotta be black like this.

Dustin (09:39):


Chef Jayson (09:39):

Gotta have that compost material. And you see that this is the perfect amount of water. It’s not wet, but when you squeeze it, it should kind of stay together like that.

Dustin (09:53):

Any, any of the resources that I’ve been exposed to as far as like soil health goes. It’s a long process to restore earth that has been completely wiped out of, you know, it’s micro, it’s microbiology, I guess, and it should look like that. It should look like moist cake batter. Or I guess moist like cake after it’s been baked.

Chef Jayson (10:14):

Yeah, absolutely.

Dustin (10:14):

Like that rich, dark, like carbon. You know, teaming with life essentially.

Chef Jayson (10:20):

Yeah. I mean, there’s, there’s a way that that happens and it’s hard to speed up that process. It really is. I mean, you can add, you know, you can add some some stuff to make it help it go a little faster. But you also have to kind of add the right balance of materials too. You can’t just dump a bunch of food scraps at a bucket and hope it turns to compost. It has to have something kind of to adhere to. So organic material like wood chips. There’s a mix of we were talking with with Chris the arborist that was out here the other day. And he said, you know, some people just add too much. We call it yellow and green. You know, like if this tomato plant was just to fall over and die, that’s considered a green. Palm tree leaves are considered a yellow. It’s a different type of material makeup. And so if you have too much of one or too much of the other, I think he was talking about nitrogen count and the yellow. A lot of the mulch that we go by to cover our beds is all yellow. So as it breaks down, there’s too much nitrogen in the soil, which ends up yellowing the leaves

Dustin (11:34):

Having a diverse amount of plant life and animal life in any sort of soil environment, I think is going to just only increase the health and the resilience of it. So, like you were saying before, it takes a long time to get soil healthy through natural processes, but once you’re there, then it’s a self-sustaining thing.

Chef Jayson (11:56):


Dustin (11:56):

Assuming that you’re, you know, just looking out for it.

Chef Jayson (11:59):

Yeah. And, and you’re, you’re treating it

Dustin (12:02):

It’s holding water a lot better for one thing.

Chef Jayson (12:04):

Well, you’re also not planting tomatoes in the same box season after season after season. It’s drawing out a certain type of nutrient. And that’s why they say to kind of rotate your crops through your boxes. But if you’re planting stuff right after, right after, right after, you have to make sure you are amending that soil. Or letting it recover, letting it sit empty for that season or that you know, fall season or winter season or whatever. And so it can do the natural thing it needs to do. And then spring you plant again.

Dustin (12:33):

Very similar thing with you know, regenerative farming practices. The little bit that I’ve been exposed to is you rotate your animals. Because Your animals cut your grasses down to a certain point. Where your grass needs time to recuperate and regenerate. And you know, typically in a, in a real natural grazing sense, animals would just continually move themselves. They don’t have, you know, paddocks and fences and, you know, cubicles, so to speak.

Chef Jayson (12:58):

I’ve seen them do that with chickens. Where they’ll build like a 15 by 15 by 2 foot high kind of enclosure. And they’ll set it there. The chickens do their thing on that little patch of grass. And then the next day they pick it up and they move it over to the next grid spot and the next grid spot. And they’re doing several things. They’re cleaning up all the bugs, they’re eating all the bugs. They are crapping in there. Which is, chicken s**t is the best fertilizer. Yeah. It is. Really. It’s gold. So it was very interesting to see that regenerative practice and me loving right angles. I love the whole grid section and being able to grid out your property. And all you’re doing is feeding these things and they’re doing the rest.

Dustin (13:41):

Yeah. Nature’s smart.

Chef Jayson (13:43):

Yeah It is.

Dustin (13:43):

Amazing how it just mimic, it’s amazing how it works when we allow it to do its thing. You know, it takes, takes us to destroy it. Well, it’s also our responsibility to figure out how can I bring it back to, you know, symbiotic productivity.

Chef Jayson (13:55):

And, and the more people, you know, the more people that are watching this, you get just a couple little pieces of information that make your gardening better or you’re or a little easier or more understandable. I mean, that’s really what we’re here for. So don’t hesitate to hit us up. Ask us questions, put ’em in the comments. Send us an email, however you want to get ahold of us. ’cause We’re always open to answering questions. So I think we’re gonna run across the street and and go check out your spot.

Dustin (14:22):


Chef Jayson (14:23):

Sound good?

Dustin (14:23):


Chef Jayson (14:24):

Yeah. Let’s do it.

Chef Jayson (14:24):

This is I guess part two of our interview with Dustin of Underbelly. We are actually here in Underbelly. You guys are right now checking out all these different books that he has accumulated over the years. We’ve been talking a little bit about his history and why he decided to open up a place like Underbelly. And so we’re we’re gonna walk around. We’re gonna give you the the nickel tour. He’s gonna explain to us, us what some of these different pieces of equipment are, what he uses them for. And then we’re just going to talk a little bit about how he got here. You know, like the journey from A to Underbelly, like we were talking about earlier. I love the journey ’cause there’s always a series of decisions that you make in order to get you to where you are. And I’m always interested in how.

Dustin (15:13):

And oftentimes a series of decisions that you yourself have nothing to do with. So, you Know.

Chef Jayson (15:18):

Sometimes you just land in a place. I know that all too well.

Dustin (15:20):

Yeah. You land hopefully. Yeah. <laugh>

Chef Jayson (15:24):

On your feet. Yeah.

Chef Jayson (15:26):

So cool. I mean, so behind us you can see he’s got some wines and some olive oils and vinegars. And these are the deli cases. So the deli cases are what?

Dustin (15:38):

So refrigerated and frozen. Yeah. we opted to, because of the space that we had at our disposal, not have a walk-in freezer, which is at once a blessing and a curse for so many reasons. I I say that the freezer is where dreams go to die because you forget about things. You’re not in there often. And it’s not a great way to move product. Being an inventory heavy business like a butcher shop. You want to keep your inventory as low as humanly possible.

Chef Jayson (16:02):

Spoilage is a big deal in this business.

Dustin (16:05):

Spoilage can be a big deal. Yeah. Yep. So if you’re not on top of it, it’s a, it becomes a problem. Both financially and, you know, big picture stuff. The reason we’re butchers is because we don’t wanna waste food. We’re paying good money for good quality food and you know, any of that that goes in the garbage not only represents a dollar amount that could otherwise be going toward bettering the business and creating more of these types of butcher shops, but it also represents just a huge loss. From, you know an ethical standpoint. You know, you’re taking an animal’s life, you wanna use as much of it as possible and turn it into good nutritious food.

Chef Jayson (16:37):

This is, this is one of the main reasons why I wanted to come over here and talk to you because our our audience especially, they are a kind of a no waste group. They wanna learn how to make what they’ve, whether they grew it or they raised it and butchered it to get the most out of it.

Dustin (16:55):

Let’s, since my oven’s beeping at me, let’s head on back here and we can talk a little bit about what happens in the production area.

Dustin (17:05):

I’ve had experience at exactly two other butcher shops in a paid sense and stodged a couple other places. But what I learned very early on is that to maximize both your return and your ability to not throw things away, having a little bit of a a cooking suite is an absolute must. I don’t really know a lot of butcher shops that are profitable on retail meat sales alone because the return is very poor. And to be able to make the food as affordable as possible, that’s another really great thing for the customer, is if my return on fresh raw meat, for instance, I can diminish that substantially by being really creative with how I value add to products. So, you know, all of this stuff when it comes in, it’s, it’s, you know, beef is seven days old from slaughter by the time it comes in when we order whole carcass by the time we break it down, it can be 14 to 21 days.

Dustin (17:58):

You get some trim loss from that. That’s dog food. There’s a myriad of ways to use things that would otherwise go into the trash. Like fat and skin, for instance, pork fat and pork skin because we get skin on pigs and our pigs are very healthy, very well fed. There’s always copious amounts of skin which become oven baked chicharon. And this thing, I can’t for the time being say enough good things about it. So we have a six burner range. I figured out very early on that this thing actually makes stock very, very well and very hands off. So I don’t really use this thing as much for any of the traditional purposes. We have a griddle, which we’re going to use for sandwiches and burgers and things like that. Ground beef and lean beef trim in a butcher shop is always sort of one of the things that handcuffs you.

Dustin (18:43):

It makes your breaks. You it’s also something that people really recognize and feel comfortable with. So the more lean trim we can sell, because approximately 40% of the hanging weight of a cow is ground beef. Pure and simple. In the United States, there’s not a lot of joint roasting of large lean tough muscle cuts. You know, Sunday dinner isn’t a thing. So, you know, things that would otherwise go toward feeding 10 or 20 people on a Sunday end up becoming, you know, thin sliced marinated beef jerky. They become ground beef with enough fat fat added into them.

Chef Jayson (19:21):

So do you think that those are in response to people like not really eating Sunday dinners? Or do you think that that is people just wanted, we had so much beef or we had so many cows, that we just turned it all into hamburger and forced it on people?

Dustin (19:37):

I, I think that’s, that’s probably what it was. I don’t, you know, as far as far as follow following the actual timeline of how that whole thing took place. That, that would be my guess. You know, there’s, in the commodity food system, there’s such a surplus of animal tissue that we have things like bologna and hot dogs and things like that. And those things originated from a place of wanting to use everything that was available to the butcher, to the rancher or farmer. You know, that’s the reason we have charcuterie, dry cured things. All the interest to preservation, preserving the harvest and, you know, creating something that otherwise might spoil into something that has a shelf life that you can move through. You know, when animals are slaughtered in the winter and you want something to eat during the summer. Well

Chef Jayson (20:18):


Dustin (20:19):

You have to figure out a way to preserve it through salting through drying. Through time,

Chef Jayson (20:23):

You know, so we’ve got in here, these look like roast beef?

Dustin (20:26):

Yeah. In fact, let me grab a couple of towels and I’ll I’ll bring out a tray and we will get a little bit better closeup on it.

Dustin (20:32):

In a case like this, what we’re doing is we’re taking a very large lean and tough muscle cut and we’re doing very basic things to it to turn it into something that people are more familiar with. And I guess more accommodating to current lifestyle, which is this is a fully cooked after it’s cooled ready to slice, you know, deli style roast beef. And that is to say that it is done about as dead simple as anything could be done. Which is salt, pepper, garlic. And this case we did a little bit of an Italian seasoning that we concocted here with just a little bit of chili flakes, dried oregano and dried thme.

Chef Jayson (21:11):

It smells great.

Dustin (21:12):

And added that on. Yep. And then we dry brine that for three to five days in back seal to make sure that it’s fully seasoned rather than having a really, really highly seasoned crust and a very mild interior.

Chef Jayson (21:23):

That’s, that’s something I want to touch on. Brining, you guys, whether it’s dry brine or wet brine is the key to perfect seasoning. Because what ends up happening is the salt draws out the moisture from the meat and then it liquefies the salt and then the meat sucks that salty moisture right back into itself. And so when I do, when I do dry brine or wet brine, like with doing confit, duck confit, or chicken confit, or I just want to brine a whole chicken, it comes out roasted by itself. You could eat it right off the bone, way better than any store chicken you’ve ever had

Dustin (22:01):

In the case of a roast beef, preservation is not at all there. There’s still a very fair amount of moisture inside. Sure. And we do that intentionally because roast beef, when it’s moist and very, very slowly cooked, becomes tender and delicious. There’s mechanical tenderization from slicing it really thin, which on a larger lean tough cut like this is key to making it very highly edible. And so after we get done with the dry brining process, then we slowly cook it over four to five hours until it’s about 132 degrees in the center. Cool it completely. And then we’ll blast it on high heat to develop that crust. And so what that process is, a lot of fancy terminology these days for something that’s highly intuitive is reverse searing. Right. And so that’s all that process is, is very slowly cooked meat. So you get, you maximize the internal temperature and you don’t get that bullseye effect where you have overcooked dry tissue on the outside. And then medium well, and then medium and then on down into the center, which is perfectly cooked. You get all of that.

Chef Jayson (23:02):

We’re, we actually have soup, some steak going right now in the kitchen, sous vide. That’s like a perfect example of a reverse sear. Where you’re cooking it to 125 or 120, however you like your steak. And then boom, you’re hitting it on both sides, very minimal. So you’re not even cooking it, you’re just searing the outside. It’s already cooked ready to go. So this is kind of the same thing. And I can attest to this roast beef. In fact last week I went and cut some some bok choy leaves and a little bit of truffle mayo and some Dijon and did like little roll-ups.

Dustin (23:36):

Oh, that sounds really good.

Chef Jayson (23:38):

I mean, they were fantastic. So simple. But that little bit of green, the bitterness really set off the salt and the, the kind of umami of this thing and keto and super easy.

Dustin (23:50):

That sounds awesome. Little fancy lettuce wraps.

Chef Jayson (23:53):

Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Dustin (23:55):

So you know, this is just a really great example of how to take, you know, something that would normally be fodder for ground beef with enough fat added to it and make it into something familiar to people. Something very simple, completely unadulterated, no garbage, no additives, no anything other than naturally. It’s just beef. Yeah. It’s beef and salt.

Chef Jayson (24:15):

Just gonna use the grocery store, because I don’t have your prices memorized here, but let’s say this is 10 bucks a pound at the store you can now add value to it just by a little bit of energy and time. Correct. Mostly right? It’s mostly time. You’re adding value to this and now you can charge $20 a pound for it. And I mean, most Borar’s Head stuff that I’ve seen is $13, $14 a pound and there’s still a bunch of garbage in that bread.

Dustin (24:40):

And this is $18 a pound, for instance.

Chef Jayson (24:42):

$18 a pound. I mean that is, that’s normal cost for something that is unadulterated and the process, we know, what it is. There was no giant machine in the middle of that process.

Dustin (24:56):

These puppies right here.

Chef Jayson (24:57):

Just these puppies

Dustin (24:58):

And, you know, quality beef this beef comes from Arizona grass raised, which is in Chino Valley. These animals are 48 months of age at slaughter. They’re completely grass fed their entire life. So 100% grass fed and grass finished. They’re generally Angus crosses. They’re all third party certified through the American Grass Fed Association.

Dustin (25:14):

Cave of wonders.

Chef Jayson (25:18):

So you guys want a little peek at what a butcher’s walk-in looks like. This a little sneak preview. So he’s actually cutting the plastic off a whole hog right now. Where do your hogs come from?

Dustin (25:32):

So we work sourcing from a place called Rancho Llano Seco. We’re now sourcing from a place called Klingeman. Klingeman Family Farms. So this is a no soy, no corn, non GMO, pastured pig. And they look really similar to the Rancho Llano Seco pigs we were carrying before. Really good fat cover, of course their skin on, because skin has excellent utility in the kitchen. And also helps age the carcass if we choose to do that.

Chef Jayson (26:05):

And you don’t often hear of people aging pork as much as you do beef.

Dustin (26:09):

You don’t often. They age a little bit differently. And certainly as far as long age stuff goes, it’s much more unusual to see that with work.

Chef Jayson (26:17):

It’s something like, like a ham or something. Right?

Dustin (26:19):

Yeah. And that’s, that’s a little bit different ’cause you know, in the case of like something like this, which is a ham. With the sirloin on, typically this bone would come out and then this thing would be salted for a good long month and, you know, try to drain out as much of the femoral blood as possible to keep it from spoiling and then it would be hung. And that’s in, you know, the Spanish or Italian tradition. So but with actual dry aging pork, as in for steaks we’ve definitely had some really good results with dry aging to approximately 21 days.

Chef Jayson (26:52):


Dustin (26:54):

And specifically the loin rack, which would be this area here. You know, this is where pork chops come from. So you know, if a hog is split properly, we have really good bone cover here, which on this one we don’t . So that wouldn’t be a good candidate for a a 21 dry age pork chop. They’ll still make really tasty chops, but we’re gonna have some trim loss here if we age it anymore than it’s already been hung.

Chef Jayson (27:21):


Dustin (27:22):

So on something like this, we get our, our half our, our pig split. So this is a half pig. So what we have here is the ham area, the sirloin, and we’ve got belly, we’ve got loin, and then we’ve got shoulder area, both butt and picnic. And then we’ve got shanks and trotters on either end as well. Leaf lard here. And then that’s looks like a portion of liver that’s still left in the carcass. These guys weigh in approximately 115 pounds a half. So 230 is a really good hanging weight for a pig. And these are right around 65, 62-65 pounds. This is lamb from Anderson Valley Ranch in Oregon. And this is a completely pastured animal of course. So this is a new product to us as well as this is, and it’s all coming by way of Cream CO Meats, which is a distribution center in Oakland, California.

Chef Jayson (28:16):

I know you were having a tough time finding lamb locally in Arizona. What, what were you finding? Like, what was the issue with that?

Dustin (28:25):

Mm, not a whole lot actually. Yeah. Not a whole lot.

Chef Jayson (28:27):

There’s just not nobody raising ’em really?

Dustin (28:29):

Not in a quantity that would make sense for the shop. But, you know, I’m ear to the ground always. I, I’d love to know of anybody who’s looking to to offload some really good quality pasture lamb in Arizona. We wanna keep things as local as we possibly can.

Chef Jayson (28:42):

You know, when you do step outside, let’s say the Arizona or like the four Corners kind of area, ’cause I know there’s a lot of ranches up there. You fight it with lamb, it’s just more difficult. There’s just not as many people raising it. Because I know that most of the lamb that you see, I’d say 99% of what you see in the store is probably from New Zealand or Australia.

Dustin (29:04):

Yeah. And, and in rare cases Colorado. But yeah, it is, our, our lamb is incredibly mild in flavor, with respect to a New Zealand or an Australian lamb. So we, you know, lamb is not a very popular meat in the United States. It’s not, it’s a very popular.

Chef Jayson (29:21):

Everywhere. Everywhere else. Yeah.

Chef Jayson (29:23):

Just not here.

Chef Jayson (29:25):

So let’s check out a couple more pieces of gear. We got this bad boy right behind you.

Dustin (29:30):

So this is the largest electric smoker I could find that wasn’t $60,000 <laugh>. So this is a Cook Shack SSM 360. And this thing can do a hundred whole chickens and a clip if we wanted to. But it’s got the capacity to really grow the business. And this is where we do things like cooked and cured sausages, salummi, salami coto, whole muscle cuts like capocollo cotto, belly bacon, sirloin bacon, jowl bacon, beef, bacon, all kinds of really good stuff comes out of here.

Chef Jayson (30:04):

When you do smoke, you don’t really wanna smoke at a high temperature because then you’re cooking it. You’re not, the goal in here is not really to cook it, cook it, it’s slowly cooking it, but you’re using the smoke to preserve it and draw out the moisture.

Dustin (30:16):

Yeah. It’s a, it’s a smoking and cooking cabinet. Yeah. So we could actually use it as a holding cabinet and you know, from the seasoning of the cabinet itself would impart a little bit of smokiness to it, so.

Chef Jayson (30:27):

Yeah. Love it.

Dustin (30:27):

So yeah, this is this is a big workhorse for us. Smoke is almost a free value add. It’s a no-brainer. Smoke meat is Delicious.

Dustin (30:37):

It gives it a lot of character. We use apple cherry and peach. All fruit woods. So all very soft.

Chef Jayson (30:45):

And I prefer more fruit woods peach. Yeah. I usually do Apple. Apple and cherry. Those are my two favorite. So we got a couple more pieces of gear. Let’s go check these out.

Dustin (30:54):

Yeah. So we’ve got an older Berkel meat slicer, which is an automatic, but we’d never use the automatic function. And this is for all of our deli style products, whether that’s a salami coto, or roast beef, or ham. We make some really good hams here. Both Parisian and smoke styles. And then we have our vac machine, which is a workhorse in this place. It’s, it’s preservation abilities. I mean, both for wet aging beef and for keeping fresh things fresh and, you know, cured and cooked things nice and bright. I can’t say enough good things about the role of this thing to our business success as well as to the quality of our products. So, you know, both very important pieces of equipment here. I like old stuff. We’ve got a butcher boy bandsaw, which we don’t use. We’re a strictly hand tools business. So this thing is a pain to clean. But this is, I don’t know, I would say probably a good 30 or 40 years old maybe. Yeah. I don’t really know the providence, but it’s a cool looking piece of equipment. It’s a nice computer desk <laugh>.

Dustin (32:01):

But as far as the storefront goes, we carry all kinds of other items. We do a lunch business here. So we’ll have a sandwich of the week, Tuesday through Sunday. We carry wine and beer and rendered fats, tortillas that are made locally, microgreen salad mixes, all kinds of different cheeses. French butter, eggs, salummi that we order from a cool place in Colorado called Il Porcellino. And then, you know, our main display is our 12 and our 10 foot cases here. Beef and lamb. And we kind of arrange these differently depending on what our supply is. So beef and lamb and then charcuterie and chicken. Of course, we have all kinds of different value added products that we offer on a rotating basis depending on what our supply is like. Basically anything that goes from raw retail meat that needs to start its next life as a cured or cooked or smoked piece of meat, you know, starts its next life, goes into some sort of a cure preservation and then becomes a cook product that hits the case. So we’re a, it’s a constant jigsaw puzzle and a moving around and a strategizing of what needs to be done to you know, maintain a profitability but also interest it.

Chef Jayson (33:14):

And a lot of the times it’s not what we talk, you’re talking about profitability, turning A into B, it’s not always about making money on that product, it’s just about making some of that money back. You know, and there’s other ways that, I know there’s a common expression in the restaurants that’s like, you don’t make money off the lobster. You make money off the lobster shells. Because you could make a stock with the lobster shells, guess what? It’s free. Water is like borderline free and now you have this lobster stock and you add a couple little pieces and some cream, and now you’ve got an $18 bowl of soup <laugh>. You know, it’s that, that pretty much cost you nothing.

Dustin (33:51):

You’re only as good of a cook or a chef is your ability to, you know, turn chicken soup into…

Chef Jayson (33:56):

Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Dustin (33:58):

Or turn chicken… Yeah….

Chef Jayson (33:59):

There, there is a place that, that I worked at

Dustin (34:01):

You know. Yeah.

Chef Jayson (34:01):

Yeah <laugh> piece that together you guys

Dustin (34:04):

Piece that together. You guys got it.

Chef Jayson (34:05):

Randy is an amazing editor. <Laugh>,

Dustin (34:10):

You know, turn chicken into chicken soup.

Both (34:13):


Chef Jayson (34:14):

You know, so it’s figuring out how to extend the life of what you have. Tip to tail. I mean, a lot of this is buzzwords, you know, but Dustin is the embodiment of it. He does tip to tail. Everything uses everything.

Dustin (34:31):

Trying every day.

Chef Jayson (34:32):

It’s really encouraging to see that. And when you meet guys like Dustin, it encourages me, myself to do a better job at what I’m doing too.

Chef Jayson (34:41):

So, Dustin, thank you again for having us over here.

Dustin (34:44):

Of course.

Chef Jayson (34:45):

It was highly educational. I love checking out all this different equipment. I love waxing poetic with you about food and supply chains and I can’t wait to do it again. So really thank you for your time. I mean, it, it’s really cool that you opened up your place to us and I can’t wait to come back and get some steaks.

Dustin (35:04):

Well, we’ll, plenty of waxing to do for parts 2 through 7.

Chef Jayson (35:07):

Yeah. Anytime. Yeah, we, you’ll probably see this guy. All right. Take it easy everyone.

Dustin (35:12):

Thank you.


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