Salt and Time Butchershop and Salumeria is doing business the right way.
Ancient curing methods are being honored; old school meat-aging techniques are being employed, and a reverence for tradition permeates their spanking-new East 7th street meat house.
Sunday afternoon, owner Ben Runkle peeled himself away from the crowds herded into the shop, for a few minutes to discuss his new business. Our talk ranged broadly as a steady line of people moved through the salumeria, eager to mow down on thick steaks, big bottles of Jester King beer and cases packed with both fresh, and salt-cured meats. Runkle takes the business of sourcing very seriously. We talk shop for a few minutes before I inquire as to precisely where he’s getting his carcasses from. All meats are being carefully sourced from farms as close to Austin as possible.
Chicken: Peeler Farms (Floresville)
Pork: Legend Meats (Gorman)
Beef: Branch Ranch (Plains)
Lamb: Black Hill Ranch (Cypress)
In the future, as the business grows and matures, Runkle will be adopting some new purveyors from around Texas. The boutique meat industry in the Lone Star state is exploding so expect to see plenty heritage breeds making their way through the curing chambers at Salt and Time over the next few months.
Who’s the muscle behind all this meat-cutting and curing? Bryan Butler, formerly of Wheatsville, and Ren Hogue, from el Salchichero out in Santa Cruz are wielding the cleavers, saws and calendars. We go over some fine points of pig butchery for a few minutes then segue into a roundtable on sausage making before the lads have to retire back to actual work.
It’s good to see some young bucks carrying on centuries-old traditions in this new Austin we find ourselves in.
Of course any group of wiry butchers is going to need several serious jolts of caffeine to get them through the day. Enter the picture Cuvee; the nationally famous roaster out of Spicewood is going to be setting up shop inside Salt and Time! Soon you’ll be able to roll in at 7 in the morning and wipe away that Lone Star induced fog with a few shots of espresso or even a latte if warm milk is your preferred starter fluid.
Morning gnosh? Simon Perez of Baked In Austin will be producing kolaches in-house as well as a host of other baked goods. Once the meat shop gets their deli business rolling strong you’ll be able to get fat sandwiches on fresh bread produced on premise.
I immediately inquire after my all-time favorite luncheon meat, and yes, baloney, made right there at the butchery will be on the menu. Now if you can just coax them into frying it up good and hard and serving it with plenty mayonnaise and some Grippos Potato chips…
While non-meat is the least of my concerns, Salt and Time is also going to be selling eggs, cheeses, butters, pickles and what have you…all locally sourced of course. Vegetarians won’t go hungry at the butcher shop.
Rice gourmands take note as Great Lakes wild rice will also be on the shelves in the future.
Walking out of Salt and Time Butchershop and Salumeria I’m struck by how intense and dedicated the crew is. After a multi-year ramp-up to getting a retail space in the heart of the hottest neighborhood in all of Austin, Runkle and his team are on top of the world right now.