Gunthorp, Bayless on seasonal meat: just freeze it | Bleader

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gunthorp, Bayless on seasonal meat: just freeze it

Posted By on 06.03.08 at 11:34 AM

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It's not online yet--ah, there it is--but in June's Chicago mag former Reader boss man Mike Lenehan has a nice piece on Indiana natural-pork producer Greg Gunthorp and his ten-year rise to meat supplier to the (local) culinary stars.

In it, Gunthorp confronts the dilemma of the demand for pasture-fed animals, which are really best eaten seasonally, when the grass they're living on is green. He's decided that it's OK, preferable even, to freeze them at their peak deliciousness rather than sell fresh meat year round. On its face that's a stand that seems like sacrilege for any self-respecting chef, but in fact it's endorsed by Gunthorp's best chicken customer, Rick Bayless:

"I think the freezer is a really good tool," he says. "We went through this period back in the seventies, eighties, when people would say if you had anything frozen in your place, you were an awful restaurant. And if you're talking about frozen prepared foods, or choosing frozen ingredients when you could get the best stuff fresh, then, yeah, that is awful. But we have huge freezers. . . .If you know how to use a freezer and you understand that you can only freeze certain things, and you know how to defrost slowly at the right temperature, you can serve great local food all year-round."

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