Can’t make it to the East Bottoms to pick up Local Pig brats for Labor Day weekend?
If you’re close to a Hen House, then you’re still in luck. This summer the artisanal butcher shop which specializes in local, natural and humanely raised meats expanded its reach into the suburbs, offering a variety of its gourmet-flavored artisanal sausages at the metro supermarket’s meat counters.
Choose from six signature flavors, including a straight-up bratwurst, a Tallgrass beer brat, bourbon apple, porcini parmesan, chorizo verde almond, as well as Spanish paprika and rosemary. Two seasonal flavors — chardonnay tarragon and jerk pork — will soon rotate out of the lineup to make way for more robust fall flavors, most likely sausages with butternut squash and cranberry.
The supermarket partnership comes as Local Pig was planning a move into a USDA wholesale facility located on the first floor of a warehouse in the West Bottoms. The initial goal for the expansion was to begin making dry-cured salami but then Alex Pope, Local Pig’s co-owner and CEO, and his partners were approached by Hen House.
“We took our eye off the salami goal, momentarily,” jokes Pope.
Local Pig is an artisanal butcher shop that has quickly cultivated a hip and cutting-edge image so Pope admits he hesitated for “a half second” when considering a move into the more mainstream supermarket arena. But he ultimately embraced the partnership because “we’re not sacrificing quality. We are using the same ingredients and recipes. If this gets humanely raised meat in front of more people, that’s a good thing.”
Ken Jones, Hen House’s director of meat and seafood, is a fan of the trendy East Bottoms location, which has been featured in the New York Times, but he says customers also want convenience. Adding Local Pig was a no-brainer: “We’re always looking for new partners to add.”
Jones says Hen House currently works with 150 local vendors offering products ranging from meat to produce to grocery items.
I recently picked up one of every Local Pig flavor offered for $2 each, the same price as if I drove to the East Bottoms. My favorite flavor is chorizo verde with almond, a blend that my teenage daughter says reminds her of eating Indian food.
“It’s kind of a mental jump to eat green meat,” Pope says, “but they’re keeping it because it tastes great.”
Bestsellers include the Tallgrass brat and the bourbon apple sausage but the Spanish paprika and rosemary sausage makes a terrific breakfast sandwich if you happen to have any leftover links.