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Jun 18, 2012 10:30 AM

Butcher for bacon/ham/sausage

I just bought a pastured pig but the butcher used by the ranch uses msg, soy oil, and other ingredients that I don't want in bacon, ham, and sausage. So now I have a raw belly slab, ham, and a bunch of ground pork. I would like to take it to another butcher to make into bacon, ham, and sausage. I am looking for a butcher that uses natural, preferably organic ingredients. I am in the peninsula but willing to drive anywhere in the bay area.


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  1. You might try calling The Local Butcher in Berkeley.

    1. Maybe Fatted Calf, Jablow's Meats, City Smoke House, or Adams Smoked Meats in SF, Prime Smoked Meats in Oakland, or Willow Glen Meats in San Jose.

      1. I've used Golden Gate Meats in SF and Bud's in Penngrove for whole animal butchery. I know Bud's will make bacon/ham on request (sausage not sth I've ever requested). The challenge for you may be to find natural/organic. I think many ops use nitrates for food safety and taste reasons. Maybe try Marin Sun Farms or Prather which subscribe to the organic principles more? BTW, bacon and sausage are quite easy to make and you can control what goes in.

        1. Thanks, I will check these out. By the way, Bud's Custom Meats was the original butcher. I was really disappointed that they use msg and other ingredients they couldn't even pronounce. I can deal with the nitrates, but not the other stuff. My fallback is to make my own.

          4 Replies
          1. re: waluso

            Another possible contact is Stephen at Damn Fine Bacon.

            1. re: waluso

              It may depend on which recipe you choose. The sausage I purchased from Bud's did not have MSG or soy oil on the ingredient list. And my recollection is that the sausage has nitrates and dextrose. Some of their other types of sausages do have msg. Maybe you can just specify what recipe/style you want.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                I had detailed discussions with them and they said they could not make the bacon, ham, and sausage without soy oil and MSG. I would have taken any kind of sausage but they all had soy (I don't remember if they all had MSG). The bacon and ham I believe both had MSG. They said they are working on a more natural version of their bacon but it won't be ready for a while. I asked if they could make it without the soy and MSG and they said no. The only options they gave me were to take the meat raw, or take it to another butcher. There were other ingredients too that the person I talked to couldn't pronounce but I didn't write them down.

                1. re: waluso

                  Clearly you've done your homework on this, and made me think a little harder. Some suggestions in Sonoma County, since you'll be picking it up at Bud's, maybe you want somewhere close to drop it off.

                  Angelo's Smokehouse in Petaluma (and Sonoma), don't know specifics on ingredients here, but worth a call.

                  Willowside Meats on Guerneville Rd in Santa Rosa does game processing, butchery, and smoking. I recall being in there about 5 years ago when a customer was asking about the difference between the regular bacon and "uncured". The counter guy said the traditional cure had more flavor, but that some people didn't want nitrites/nitrates. So, it is an option here.

                  Green Grocer owner, Joe Rueter, no longer has a storefront, but he is a hyperlocavore and his store had mostly organic and a smattering of biodynamically raised produced and meats from local farms. I'm sharing that background because I think he'll understand what you want. He has a natural charcuterie class coming up next Sunday. So you could learn to make your own or he might take the job.