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Cutting to the meat of a butcher
The debate required little time to reach consensus.
Students in the culinary arts program at Bates Technical College had two options: a day trip to Wild Waves Theme Park or a visit from Bay Street Meat Company butcher and co-owner Brian Brozovic.
As student Shannon Wilder explains it, the decision was simple. As much fun as it would have been to spend $1,000 for preparing 6,600 lunches for Special Olympics on entertainment, he said Brozovic could disperse practical knowledge to benefit their culinary careers.
“I said, ‘It’s your money. Do what you want with it?’ ” said J.J. Meland, culinary arts instructor at Bates. “They said they wanted to see a side of beef broken down. I though, ‘Who better than Brian?’ ”
Brozovic, who met Meland, a South Kitsap resident, days before the Bay Street Meat Company opened in May, visited the downtown Tacoma campus and gave a demonstration Aug. 1 using a “100 percent grass fed and grass finished animal out of Oregon.” He used about half of the unknown animal — 380 pounds — to showcase a variety of cuts.
“I kind of learned what parts the beef comes from,” Wilder said.
And how many meals can be produced from them. Brozovic demonstrated several cuts, including the teres major shoulder, flatiron, sierra, ranch steak, brisket and chuck eye.
“It’s nice that he’s taking the time to show each cut and why he’s doing it,” Meland said. “I don’t know how much of this he has done in the past, but he seems to have a knack for it.”
Brozovic does have a little experience with it. While between jobs in his native Texas, he worked as a substitute teacher. But most of his career has been as a meat or food manufacturer. Brozovic, who obtained his bachelor’s degree in meat science from Texas A&M University, said he “kind of grew up in 4H” and joined Future Farmers of America in high school. When Brozovic’s agriculture teacher started a meat judging team, it was a catalyst toward his future career.
But many of his core beliefs stem from his college training — and interacting with consumers. At Texas A&M, he took several food bacteriology courses that taught him “everything from raising the meat to fabricating the meat in a safe manner.”
“I was working with the customers,” Brozovic said. “I knew it wasn’t just about production, production, production. I knew they were going to be eating the food, but I wanted to make sure they were doing it in a safe, enjoyable manner.”
Brozovic, 31, later gravitated toward locally sourced meats that were free of antibiotics, hormones and steroids. The Port Orchard resident, who previously operated but did not own similar markets in Bellevue and Renton, believed the West Sound was ready for his company and he was excited to become a charter store at the Port Orchard Public Market.
“It’s like raising a new child,” said Brozovic, laughing. “You bring it up to health and fruition.
“It’s going really good. I’m really happy with what we have so far.”
Now, Brozovic wants to share his passion with others. He hopes the demonstration at Bates was just a start.
“This is my second home behind the butcher’s base,” Brozovic said. “I need to take this to the people who need it.”