A few weeks ago we sent out a blog post on our humane field harvest, which is where our production process begins.
From that point, there are many more steps to getting our products to you that involve our talented meat cutters and specialty processors. Because we want you to know where your meat comes from and how it is handled, here's a view into what happens within our production walls. These photos are not staged shots (no time for that), but real Wild Idea artisan butchers busy at their jobs.
Our butchers receive and inspect the carcasses upon arrival at our Wild Idea Processing Plant in Rapid City, South Dakota. The carcasses will hang for five to seven days before they are portion cut. This enables enzyme reactions in the carcass—allowing the muscles to relax and improving the tenderness and flavor profile of the meat.
Our plant undergoes a pre-op sanitation and inspection prior to production beginning. Everything must be spic and span!
Here a couple of our butchers are dressed in appropriate gear for the big job ahead (slight "poser" shot). In addition to metal mesh guards and protective wrist sleeves, you will also notice that stocking caps and hoodies are often worn as each room is temperature controlled between 30 and 40 degrees.
The carcass halves are broken down into three sections: the fronts (chucks), the middle (ribs), and the hinds (the round).
From here the work literally starts to pile up....
... and up.
Focus is critical, dealing with heavy slabs of meat, saws and sharp knives.
After careful cutting and trimming, the whole muscles are transformed into fine cuts.
Each cut is hand weighed for accuracy.
From here the items are sent to packaging, where they are inspected and receive any final trimming if needed.
Oddly shaped items are individually hand-packaged and vacuum-sealed, often one or two packages at a time.
For more uniform products, we are able to use a semi-automated vacuum seal machine, with each item being inspected pre and post packaging.
Each package is hand labeled and inventoried before being boxed.
Our gourmet line of Artisan Burgers are pre-seasoned and hand crafted.
And, we also make our own in-house artisan sausages, charcuterie and jerky.
Any products that require smoking are processed in-house too.
The end of the day requires a thorough cleaning, with every piece of equipment carefully taken apart, washed and oiled.
Our process is much slower than the large factory systems where speed is insisted upon. Safety, sanitation and quality are king at our small plant. And much like the old school butcheries, we have put the "art" back into "artisan butchery." This craft takes dedicated people who care greatly about the end product and are happy to show up the next day to start the process all over again.
A big thank you to our customers for caring about where your food comes from and how it is produced. And, for giving us the opportunity to provide quality jobs within our community. We couldn't do it and wouldn't be here without you!