Co-owner Sarah Aubrey of Elwood insists there’s a world of flavor beyond the trendy marketing ploys firing Angus consumption.
Not that she really has anything against Angus. She uses it in her own crossbreeding program, but, “I think it’s a bit of a scam how fast-food restaurants insult consumers’ intelligence by suggesting there’s one breed that’s more edible,” Aubrey scoffs.
“Quality of beef comes from many different factors, not just breed.
“Don’t be fooled by advertising, let us educate you.”
Chefs don’t need much education. Every cold call Aubrey has made to introduce her product to local chefs has resulted in a meeting. Not all have become clients, but in the eight months her company has been incorporated, it already is supplying a roster of 10 to 15 restaurants in Indianapolis committed to serving quality, local products.
The word has spread and now the company makes weekly deliveries to chefs in Muncie, Evansville and the retreat town of New Harmony.
“Chefs are different than any other type of professional I’ve gotten to know,” Aubrey said. “They’re artists — completely dedicated.”
“It’s tender, the meat is easy to work with,” said Chef Michele Dirosa of Capri Restaurant.
“It’s good the way they grow it and I know where I’m buying from — not some company where I don’t know where it’s coming from. I know the people. That’s the best that can happen.”
Dirosa said he favors the product in Ossobuco, a shank dish.
While wholesale supply is the bread and butter of Aubrey’s Natural Meats, the company also delivers meat direct to consumers.
All purchases must be made by the whole or half animal, but at a flat rate of $3.75 per pound, it makes for a great deal on steaks.
“It’s the economical way to go on a per-pound basis, but the check up front is sizable because you’re paying for the whole animal — many families go in together,” Aubrey said.
Aubrey’s Natural Meats works to set its products apart from average beef in a number of ways.
All the animals hail from Indiana farms, including Aubrey’s home spread, and are raised on pasture forages and grain. Mad cow concerns are eliminated by prohibiting the feeding of animal proteins or byproducts. Participating farmers agree to regular on-farm visits to confirm production standards are being honored and they sign an affidavit certifying no antibiotics, steroids or hormones will be used beyond the calves’ initial immunizations. Random lab testing is lined up to confirm quality.
“We trust our producers, but consumers don’t know them, so we want them to know there are measures in place to back that up,” Aubrey explained.
“You have to have an environment that shows love and care of the animals; you can’t be in this business unless you have a strong love of the land and the animals.”
All meat is source-verified and processed in a small, local facility where the meat is dry-aged for at least two weeks, which enhances the flavor profile through enzymatic breakdown, Aubrey said.
Then each cut is tailored to the requests of each individual customer, right down to the thickness of the steaks.
“A lot of people these days don’t want roasts,” Aubrey noted. “Some say, ‘Give me steaks and grind the rest.’”
Chefs and food aficionados, on the other hand, enjoy detailing the precise dimensions of each cut, she noted.
With each customer, Aubrey reviews the cuts and how much can be expected out of each animal.
“I like doing those because it allows people to come together,” she said.
“It’s very educational for the urban consumer to learn where their food comes from, educate their kids about agriculture and know they can get a quality, wholesome product.”
Aubrey can be contacted at 765-552-0922 or online via www.aubreysnaturalmeats.com.