Chilebrown at home

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Sometimes we find new butchers by accident or leads from a local residents. We have discovered Thistle Meats in Petaluma California by a combination of being in the neighborhood and a lead from a local pie shop purveyor. More about the pie shop another day so we can concentrate on Thistle Meats. Let's start out with the mission statement of Thistle; "Welcome to Thistle Meats, a whole animal butcher shop serving our community ethically-raised and locally-sourced meats in downtown Petaluma. We believe that good food, especially quality meat, should be celebrated and easily available as a genuine, custom-cut experience. "

Thistle is located on the main drag of Petaluma town U.S.A. This is your all American town that even boasts being in the move American Graffiti. We knew we had arrived by the pig and signboard situated out front. Once inside this small shop we could see a butcher hard at work cutting some meat. Several refrigerated cases displayed their numerous cuts and offerings of various meats. One thing Thistle is proud to showcase is meat from local farms. These farms also specialize in pasture raised animals. The beef is grass fed from nearby Potter Valley or Tomales. The cases also had house made charcuterie, sausage and freshly made stocks. They embrace the concept of 'Nose to tail" in their meat offerings

Lot's of locally sourced and handcrafted products are for sale at Thistle Meats. Cheeses, eggs, juices, produce and bread. This is your one stop shop for local Petaluma products. We tasted some of the most fantastic house made pickles. We loaded up our cart with pickles, olives, hamburger and a couple of marinated kabobs of flank steak. They were out of bacon to guarantee our return. We actually settled on hamburger because we had a form of 'meat hangover' from our recent prime rib roast from our Christmas feast. The Racing Honda sped home to sample our bounty.

The grill was fired up to cook our burgers and skewers from Thistle Meats. I enjoyed the burger as a whole. This may be cause I seasoned it well and loaded it up with bacon and condiments. Ms. Goofy said it lacked of true beef flavor. The skewers of flank steak were tough and chewy. I tried to keep it on the rare side. I am not sure if the shoe leather texture was because of the cooking or because the fact that this was grass fed beef. Thistle Meats is a great source to find meats and products from locally sourced farms.  We will return to try the bacon. It would be worth the trip just to buy more house made pickles. I have not closed the door on grass fed beef but that door is sure darn heavy.

Thistle Meats
160 Petaluma Blvd,
North, Petaluma, CA 94952


Zoomie said...

I like that you keep trying pastured meats, even though they sometimes disappoint you. Good, scientific trial-and-error.

Chilebrown said...

Zoomie, I keep asking myself; Why do people worship grass fed beef? I have not found that answer. I think it must be a spiritual thing or trying to be politically correct. I am not sold on flavor or texture which is very important to me.

cookiecrumb said...

Try Belcampo in Larkspur Landing. The cows are range-fed, and a little grain and legumes are growing on that range, too. Ultimate beef in your mouth.
And shame on you for saying grass-fed beef is tough!
Happy new year!

Chilebrown said...

cookiecrumb, Happy New Year to you and Rob.
Belcampo is so yesterday.

Zoomie said...

I think it is also a health concern which some people see as a plus, both the health of the animal while it is alive, and the healthier fats it contains when eaten. You might enjoy reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. That book goes into the issue in detail and it is very well written. Still, it was more your sense of adventure and curiosity that I was applauding. I like that you keep exploring.

Chilebrown said...

Zoomie, I have read the book and heard your beliefs but do not buy it. Sorry.

Greg said...

My experience with grass fed has been very disappointing. I know the food police will knock on my door but I'm tired of these rich ass cognoscenti "professors" trying to steer my food choices. Too much money and free time. Let's get these people a real working job! Beef prices have gone really stupid this year so I eat less beef and when I do eat it I will use grain fed beef. Peace out!

Chilebrown said...

Greg, I applaud your honesty. Be prepared for attack from both flanks. Cookiecrumb from the North and Zoomie from the South. Yes meat prices have gone sky high. I will not pay premium prices for something I do not enjoy.

Three Dogs BBQ said...

I too have not had good experiences with grass fed beef. Even with a all beef hot dog made with grass fed beef. While there are those who say grass fed beef is better for you, I think if I ate 2 grass fed ribeyes a week, my doctor would still complain. For the four or so times a month I eat beef, I am sticking with all American corn fed.

Chilebrown said...

Three Dogs BBQ, This may be hard to believe but Ms. Goofy and I have actually have cut down on our beef consumption. We still love our beef but do not eat as much as when we were younger. Maybe that is why we want to have the best tasting beef that we can find.

Melanie said...

You need to try summer slaughter grass fed beef. Don't bother with winter harvested beef.

Chilebrown said...

Melanie, I am familiar with this article and read it when it was first published. When Bill NIman was running his ranch the cattle was grass fed, allowed to grow longer than the industry standard, and (drum roll please) finished on grains. When Bill Niman says that his 100 percent grass beef in seasonal in Northern California I believe him. The problem is grass fed meat purveyors such as Thistle are not going to promote an inferior tasting beef four months a year. Bill Niman has left his namesake company. I personally have not seen beef labeled as summer slaughtered beef. I will keep an open mind and try some grass fed beef again next summer.