Salazar Meats is committed to providing high-quality, humanely raised beef and pork to Colorado and northern New Mexico. We realize that part of what makes an economy sustainable is reasonable pricing. By raising beef on only grass (no grain inputs ever) and selecting slower-growing heritage breed hogs (that are free roaming) our model is put at a significant economic disadvantage relative to feedlot systems. By selling large quantities of meat at a time, we save costs associated with marketing and sales. We then pass these saving on to you. We have consistently been able to beat prices of the big chain natural and health food stores by selling in large quantities. If you can’t see us at the farmers market, consider purchasing a large order of beef or pork. We sell beef in bundles as small as quarters and pork as small as halves.
Several measures are in place at Salazar Meats to ensure your purchase meets criteria for “high- quality meat.” First, the breeds raised are good for pasturing and free roaming management systems. For the cattle, Angus genetics are appropriate as they are considered a “marbling” breed. This is extremely important for finishing on grass. Corn finishing can help bring some juiciness and added tenderness to cattle that would otherwise be tough as leather. However, when your system relies on grass as the feed input, the genetics are a major factor. Even if the genetics are good and there’s plenty of high quality grass available, carcasses vary in quality from one to the next. To help determine the animal’s quality before sending it to processing, it is ultrasounded. This ultrasound provides data on the levels of backfat, tenderness, and marbling. Certain minimum scores must be met for the meat to be sold as a variety pack with steaks, roasts, and other cuts. A low scoring animal will be destined for ground beef and beef jerky. The final measure in place is visual inspection by skilled butchers before packing. We are one of very few operations that have this ability to inspect our animals before AND after the slaughter step.
For the hogs, we are using Berkshires from an old line of genetics, a heritage that today is winning meat quality competitions every year. Berkshire meat is considered by many chefs to be the best pork to work with and in Japan it is considered a delicacy, commanding significant price premiums. As heritage hogs, they do well on pasture, making it a point to root around every nook and cranny in their lot. This use of their body, we believe, is a major contribution to the high quality meat coming from these hogs. The extra time they take to reach butcher weight is helpful in developing marbling, as well. Similar to beef, even if the genetics and management are good, there is variance in quality from carcass to carcass. To ensure we don’t assume final product quality, each carcass is visually inspected by skilled butchers who will make the final call on whether the pig is to be a sausage pig (low-quality), or a pork chop pig (high quality).