Only an elite set of Portland restaurants can claim to do whole-animal butchery in-house, and Grain & Gristle and Old Salt Marketplace, both owned by Ben Meyer, have done it for five years now. To reveal the beauty of butchery, photographer Dina Avila captured the process start to finish. Featured are Hawley Ranch's Bill Hoyt and butcher Chris Carter, who offers classes on whole animal butchery at Old Salt Marketplace (get tickets to the May 15 class here).
Meyer only uses Hawley Ranch beef butchered in-house from the whole cow, and that's why Grain & Gristle serves one of the city's only single-cow burgers and why the fine dry-aged steaks in the Old Salt Marketplace butcher's counter are some of the best values around—never mind the steaks in the dining room. Meyer says butchering whole animals in-house "lets us know everything about our beef, from where it's from, to everyone who has handled it."
Above, Carter receives a whole cow in quarters (whole sides split into front and hind quarters). First, he breaks it down into primal cuts, and above, he's working on a hind quarter, so the primal cuts include the short loin, where you get the New York strip and filet, and the top round. He then finds the tri-tip and the culotte, before breaking down individual muscle groups, like the sirloin tip and the shank.