Get to Know Our Meat Department

  in Blog
Phil (L) and John (R) from the Oryana West Meat Department

Our meat department staff work hard to bring you the best meat and seafood they can find. Which is why we are happy to be serving our house-made bratwurst at our cookout, happening on Friday, September 23, 4 – 7pm.

The pork used in all the brats and sausage comes from Beeler’s, a premium, antibiotic-free heritage duroc pork. The seasoning blends used to flavor the sausage are also high quality and contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, just wholesome ingredients. The meat team creates their own unique sausage flavors in addition to using tried and true recipes supplied by the seasoning companies.

John, our West Meat Manager, says that he typically makes 10 lbs of any given sausage at a time, except for the spinach feta (chicken sausage), of which he makes 30-40 lbs per batch as it is the most popular sausage and sells fast. He says that fresh sausage should keep well in the refrigerator for 4 days, and up to 6 months in the freezer (for best flavor.)

John’s favorite sausage is the beer brat. This sausage is bratwurst with the addition of beer, which may change depending on the season. In October, they use Oktoberfest beer, and for St. Patrick’s Day they use Guinness Stout. 

Some other fun flavors the meat staff make include asparagus sausage, blueberry sausage, cherry bratwurst, and turkey cranberry stuffing sausage for the holidays.

John acquired his meat chops (pun intended!) from working at the meat departments at Sam’s Club and at Lucky’s Market, and has been working in butchery for about 10 years. “You learn something new every day,” said John. “Especially when you work with different people. I always ask people how they cut things, and they often do it different than I do.” John learned a lot about meat from his own family. “I learned how to grill when I was a teenager,” he said.

Oryana has always prioritized locally-sourced food, and meat is no exception. John highly recommends the beef from Sugarview Farm in Cedar and from Anavery in Traverse City. “We also sell a lot of chicken from Nature’s Acres in Manton,” he explained.

Say “Hi!” to John the next time you see his smiling face behind the meat counter, and feel free to ask any member of the meat team for advice or suggestions.