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The Art of Artisan Meat Production

A few weeks ago we sent out a blog post on our humane field harvest, which is where our production process begins.

Field Harvest

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. 

Wild idea Buffalo Co. Meat Cutters

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 carcassallowing 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!

Meat Plant

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. 

Butchers

The carcass halves are broken down into three sections: the fronts (chucks), the middle (ribs), and the hinds (the round). 

Meat Cutters

From here the work literally starts to pile up....

... and up.

Meat Cutters

Focus is critical, dealing with heavy slabs of meat, saws and sharp knives. 

Meat Cutter

Bison Meat Plant

After careful cutting and trimming, the whole muscles are transformed into fine cuts. 

Meat Processing

Each cut is hand weighed for accuracy.

Steak Cuts

From here the items are sent to packaging, where they are inspected and receive any final trimming if needed.

PackagingOddly 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. 

VAcume packaging

Bison STeaks

Each package is hand labeled and inventoried before being boxed. 

Our gourmet line of Artisan Burgers are pre-seasoned and hand crafted.

Gourmet Buffalo Burgers

And, we also make our own in-house artisan sausages, charcuterie and jerky.

Sausage making

Any products that require smoking are processed in-house too. 

Smoke Meats

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!

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26 comments

  • Your processing facility and staff are the same as your meat—quality. Thank you for showing us, your customers, how our food is handled. Very impressive, Thank you.

    Gregory Aaron
  • Hi Jo. Here is the link to our field harvest post. It should clarify many of your questions. You would also learn a lot by going to our home page. Thank you for your interest.
    https://wildideabuffalo.com/blogs/blog/why-humane-field-harvest

    jill / Wild Idea Buffalo Co.
  • Artisan is the true word for your product. I had a heel round steak last night and expected it to be somewhat tough like a typical beef cut. Not so – the cut was surprisingly tender and flavorful. I did marinade it in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper then grilled it. Delicious!! I have never been disappointed in any of your cuts. So glad I found Wild Idea!!! Not only can’t I say enough good things about your processing methods but the beneficial impact on our environment gives me pride to support Wild Idea.

    Gary Kaiser
  • Very interesting. Nothing for a muckraker here. And you make the best chorizo ever!

    Susan
  • Can you provide some details on your slaughter plant? Which plant do you use? I’d like to know that these animals are handled – and slaughtered – as humanely as possible, with minimal stress.

    Jo Schaller
  • Wonderful story and pix, and great product. Have a great day and God bless.

    Bob Watland
  • Having cut meat for 20+ years I really enjoyed this look into how the buffalo I’m buying is produced and appreciate the folks doing the preparing. Thanks so much!

    Scott
  • I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU SHARING YOUR PLANT, YOUR STAFF, YOUR PROCESS WITH ME THE CUSTOMER. NOW I KNOW WHY THE PRODUCT THAT I PURCHASE FROM YOU IS SO GOOD. I AM GLAD TO KNOW THAT GREAT CARE IS TAKEN IN PRODUCING THE PRODUCT FROM BEGINNING TO THE END. KEEP UP THE GREAT JOB, AND I WILL KEEP BUYING….

    DWIGHT WASHINGTON
  • The “thank you” is for you and your team for providing the best meat possible! My family and friends have been relishing and enjoying your prime meats for several years and to give myself a pat on the back I have become pretty adept at the Bar-B-Q! Now that the weather is changing and getting colder I have to “move indoors” to the cast iron – hope I will be as successful! Thanks again and keep up the excellent service!

    Steve Glenn
  • looks great! wouldn’t buy from anyone else.

    mike demasco
  • Fascinating. Thank you so much for showing us the behind the scenes work. I loved it.
    Rachel

    Rachel Mueller

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