Winston-Salem has a new butcher shop. Smoke City Meats opened Memorial Day weekend at 833 Reynolda Road, across from Hanes Park, offering one-stop shopping for fresh, local meats.
Husband and wife Rob and McCall Richardson have been working on their butcher shop for about two years, researching farms and the types of meat available in North Carolina.
“We used to buy our meat at this one place, and it was fine, but we thought it was a shame we didn’t have a local butcher shop,” McCall Richardson said. "We wanted fresh, sustainably farmed meats."
“We just wanted this for ourselves,” Rob Richardson said. “We want to know where our food comes from. And we want to have quality food to feed our kids.”
The store offers a variety of chicken, beef and pork cuts. It also can do special cuts to order.
“We buy the animals whole. They go straight from the farmer’s hands into ours,” Rob Richardson said. “We’re an old-fashioned butcher. We do everything by hand.”
Recently the shop has had beef from Apple Brandy Beef in North Wilkesboro, pork from Harmony Ridge Farms in Tobaccoville, and chicken from Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem.
Suppliers may change from time to time, the Richardsons said, but the meat always will be from North Carolina.
The selection occasionally will include other types of meat. Recently, the shop had guinea hens, duck and lamb. Some items may be offered seasonally, such as turkeys in the fall.
Cuts in the case the other day included flat-iron steaks for $12.99 a pound, bone-in rib-eye for $25.99 a pound, whole Poulet Rouge chickens for $6.99 a pound, St. Louis pork ribs for $7.99 a pound and bone-in pork chops for $7.99 a pound.
The Richardsons both have full-time jobs – he in marketing, she in sales – with Boston Scientific, which makes medical devices. So they hired local chef Matt Pleasants as the head butcher and manager. His wife, Megan, also has been helping out in the shop.
Matt Pleasants most recently was the chef at Earl’s, and before that he was the chef owner of Bahtmobile food truck and a chef at The Honey Pot.
“Butchering always was a fun part of being a chef, so this was a natural progression,” Pleasants said. “And I’ve always been passionate about local foods.”
McCall Richardson said that passion for good food has been their driving force in opening the shop. “We both come from families that are very big on family meals and grilling and cooking,” she said. “Rob is naturally a very gifted chef and grillmaster. And with Matt here, we can offer a lot of education about cuts and what to do with them.”
At some point, they hope to offer classes on such topics as sausage making.
Pleasants has been making sausage regularly in the shop. He also has started curing bacon in-house.
Also, Rob Richardson has packaged his own spice rub for sale. The Richardsons plan to gradually expand the shop’s products to include more foods that naturally complement meat. This week, they had some local eggs and some N.C. cheeses.
A small selection of N.C. beer and wine will come later. “We also want to gradually add things like honey and mushrooms,” Rob Richardson said.
They even have found a local source for charcoal.
But the focus of the shop will remain all of the local meat. “We’re buying and selling all of this meat fresh. We try to get and put out only what we need,” Rob Richardson said, so they don’t have to freeze any. “There’s nothing wrong with frozen, but there’s nothing getting a fresh steak and taking it home and cooking it the same night.”