UK Goes Hog—and Cow—Wild with Campus Butcher Shop

Published in FSD Update

A selection of goodies from the butcher shop.

Talk about local beef! At the University of Kentucky (UK), in Lexington, dining services recently partnered with the university’s department of agriculture to open a full-scale, USDA-inspected butcher shop. Scott Kohn, executive chef/assistant director, says the idea for the shop grew out of the department’s increasing interest in local purchasing.

“Since UK is an ag school we thought it made sense that we should be supporting our local farms,” Kohn says. “We’ve grown to $1 million in local purchases. When I got into purchasing local proteins, I was finding that I was going through the high-end meats much faster than things like hamburgers or top rounds. So we wanted to come up with a way to use the entire animal and move that product through the dining hall.”

Nuts and bolts: The shop offers a wide variety of products such as dry-aged ground beef, dry-cured bacon, charcuterie, chorizo and several different sausages including beef and pork varieties. Kohn’s team also created some signature items such as a cheese bratwurst called Wildcat Tail and a bourbon apple brat made with local apples, Kentucky bourbon and dry-cured bacon. The shop plans to start ramping up its production to feed more of the campus’s protein needs next school year. The shop is also open to the public two days a week.

“We’re also talking about putting some specialty burgers together to sell at the butcher shop,” Kohn says. “We recently experimented with the aged beef and made Jucy Lucy Burgers out of it and a few other specialty burgers. We’re thinking we’d roll these out not only to retail but also to our residential dining halls.”

With the shop, Kohn says they’ve been able to add the culinary education piece to the animal science program. “We’ll have classes on the different steps of charcuterie, breaking down an animal into the cuts of meat and how to age it,” Kohn says. “Everyone talks about how far did your hamburger travel? Well, we know where ours come from, where it was processed and who handled it.”

Challenges: Kohn says the biggest challenge was navigating the red tape of opening the shop, especially since they didn’t want to compete with the local community too much. “We have to make sure our pricing is equal to or higher than anybody else’s prices in town,” Kohn says. “We reprice things every week to make sure we’re not undercutting the community businesses because that’s not what this is about. It’s about teaching students and getting high-quality products for our dining operations.”

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

Sponsored Content
Pierce boneless wings

From Pierce Chicken.

Spicy chicken wings have taken off as an iconic American food since their debut at the Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1964. They reached a new milestone during Super Bowl 50 weekend in February, when more than 1.3 billion wings were consumed, according to the National Chicken Council.

The emergence of boneless wings—breaded, boneless chunks of chicken breast with zesty flavors—has made a good thing even better. In fact, research shows that boneless wings complement traditional bone-in wings on restaurant menus, boosting the entire wing...

FSD Resources