Confessing that you're a vegetarian among a herd of carnivores at an Angus convention won't win you any friends. Trust me. But that was a long time ago, when fewer people cared about the animal prior to its place on our plates and in our bellies. The controversy surrounding meat consumption has since taken root with ethical issues breeding like E. coli in America's factory farms. The little guys - the independent meat processors struggling to keep tradition alive - get caught in the crosshairs and end up taking misguided buckshot in the buttock. Yet they are the ones keeping the mystery out of meat. Ben Moore, owner of Redmond Smokehouse for the past several years, knows the origin of his products right down to the field, farmer and sometimes the specific animal. Point is, since he knows where his products come from, so do we.
Redmond Smokehouse provides its customers - including a few local restaurants like Spork, McKay's Cottage, Longboard Louie's and Jackson's Corner - with locally raised, antibiotic and hormone-free meat. All-natural, free-range claims accompany a majority of its chicken and turkey products, too. Sorry, no eggs. In addition, Moore only accepts commodities that are federally-graded and of high quality. The facility's on-site processing enables added quality control - something about the ability to control fat content in individual cuts. The vibrant red, slightly marbled steaks on display speak for themselves. Specialty cuts include prime rib, tri-tip, New York steak, short ribs and ham. Though prices here are higher than most places, you pay for what you get. And in Moore's opinion, that means "the best handcrafted products in Central Oregon." His customers agree.
Despite the company's high standards, it has a zero-waste policy - benefiting, most notably, pepperoni lovers. Because the Smokehouse refuses to use preservatives, fresh cuts are destined for pepperoni by the end of the second day. And speaking of tubular, the Smokehouse makes several handcrafted, smoked sausages like kielbasa, German and Swedish potato. Or maybe you prefer your meat in strips. Choose among pork, beef and turkey bacon with flavors like pepper and maple. Handcrafted jerky sells faster than the Smokehouse can cure it. Each slice is hand cut from a single muscle (as opposed to pressed or formed meat) creating, they tell me, the most desirable piece of jerky. Giant wood-chip smokers cure 40 pounds of finished product daily, barely enough to satisfy customer cravings for jerky carrying undertones of brown sugar, pepper, teriyaki and sweet jalapeno.
Moore is keeping tradition alive by continuing to provide custom cutting - a service the previous owners (Moore's parents) emphasized. For that service, Redmond Smokehouse comes to you - rather, your animal - and takes care of all the details just shy of setting the table. If you don't have an animal, a new farmer referral program affords customers an intimate approach to the process without having to personally raise an animal. Redmond Smokehouse will match farmers with consumers according to preferences in ranch acreage, feeding program, the animal's water source and whether antibiotics or fertilizers are used. Once the animal has matured for ... harvest, Redmond Smokehouse will handle the slaughter and transport, then cut and wrap it to your specifications. Can't eat a whole animal? How 'bout a half, or quarter? Redmond Smokehouse has freezer lockers available, too.
For all you hunters, the Smokehouse will gladly process your kill - provided it's clean. (If you don't know what that means, it probably doesn't apply to you.) Unlike many other processors, however, the meat that's returned is guaranteed to be the one you dropped off. Want it portioned between choice cuts, ground, linked, smoked and jerky? No problem. If you don't hunt, didn't draw a tag, or missed your shot, Smokehouse sells local, farm-raised deer and elk year round. Additional wild delicacies like rabbit and wild fowl are also available. Frogs? I forgot to ask. Fish lovers will enjoy troll-caught halibut and king salmon from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. And you can't call yourself a smokehouse in these parts without smoked salmon.
Whatever your beef about eating meat - even if it's the fact that you can't get enough - Redmond Smokehouse provides a great service, not only to its customers but the environment, the animals and the community. Moore wants to "encourage people to think about the quality of meat they bring to the table." In addition to the Redmond store, look for them at the Bend's westside farmers market and on Facebook.
353 SE Railroad Blvd, Redmond
Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm, Sat 9am - 1pm