James Peisker
Porter Road Butcher
Nashville, Tenn.

Tennessee has an undeniable stake (or should we say steak?) in the Southern barbecue rodeo. In the waste-not spirit of rural Tennessee’s whole-hog barbecue tradition, Porter Road sources entire pigs, cows, lambs, and chickens from local farmers and butchers them in-house. One of the shop’s butchers, Matt Russo, even hosts a weekly barbecue pop-up called The Gambling Stick using Porter Road meat.

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Peisker and his business partner, Chris Carter, handpick their farmers according to strict standards: All animals must be pasture-raised and free of growth hormones and non-therapeutic antibiotics. Ninety percent of their meat comes from within a 75 minutes’ drive of Nashville.

The upside of responsibly raised meat? It just tastes better.

“I think that across the board, people can taste the difference,” says Peisker. “That’s why we’re here — I mean, taste is going to be first and foremost what everybody judges us on. And ultimately, it’s going to be what people judge local, sustainable food on.”

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