Sausage-making classes are only one link in this butcher shop’s master plan.
Williamsburg’s The Meat Hook — which recently introduced the lessons at Threes Brewing in Gowanus and which sells more than 80 kinds of links, from sweet Italian to Mexican chorizo — is raising money to launch what it calls the “first fully transparent meat company in the United States.” The Meat Hook Sausage Co., according to the project’s Kickstarter page, will create and distribute across the country a line of sausages made with meat from humanely-raised animals on sustainable, local farms, by butchers with New York City food scene cred.
“Our dream is to create a nation-wide supply chain that treats farmers right, treats the land right, treats animals right, and gives the consumer the best dang sausages they’ve ever tasted,” write Meat Hook owners Ben Turley and Brent Young, who founded their store in 2009 and kicked off the fundraising drive Friday.
The Meat Hook Sausage Co., which will expand the butchers’ physical footprint beyond their 1,000-square-foot store at 397 Graham Ave. to an off-site facility, will begin producing and shipping three varieties of sausage in May, Young said when reached by telephone Saturday.
Butchers, he said, will make the Tuscan-style, toasted fennel and garlic links, traditional German bratwursts and hot dogs with pork from pigs raised without antibiotics, growth hormones or confinement on Gibson Family Farms in Valley Falls, New York. A video on the Kickstarter page features an interview with the farm’s owner and footage of the pigs roaming freely outdoors.
Sausages, a signature item and a relatively easy one to scale up, are only the start of the Meat Hook expansion, Young added: “Hopefully, in a couple of years we’ll be able to sell bacon and other charcuterie and a whole bunch of other delicious meats from local farms, which right now is not the easiest thing to find.”
Young and his business partner and longtime friend, Turley, hope to collect a total of $50,000 for their new venture through their monthlong fundraising effort. As of Saturday afternoon, 28 backers had already pledged more than $7,000.
Money raised will go toward building the Meat Hook Sausage Co.’s infrastructure, paying its processor and helping farmers raise more animals, the Kickstarter page says. “We’re going to start with buying a truck,” it explains, and “by personally making deliveries in the Tri-State area to retailers and restaurants.”
Turley and Young founded the Meat Hook with a third partner, Tom Mylan, in 2009 as a butcher shop emphasizing transparency; customers would know where their meat was coming from and where their money was going. The current partners, who worked together at the Williamsburg butcher Marlow & Daughters, source their meat from three upstate farms they visit on a regular basis, they say.
On a busy week, Young estimates that Meat Hook now makes as much as 800 pounds of sausage, the equivalent of roughly 2,500 links. Most range in price from $12.99 to 16.99 per pound.