For 171 years Salt Lake City has been reinforcing the same message: it is not to be underestimated. Fortunately for the judges of this years Good Food Awards, it’s something they were able to learn firsthand.
The Good Food Awards is an annual competition celebrating the “tasty, authentic and responsibly produced,” craft foods of America. Organized by the Good Food Foundation, and held in San Francisco, the goal is to highlight American food producers committed to providing the highest quality products with the least environmental and physical health repercussions. Beltex Meats, a whole animal butcher shop located on the northwest corner of Liberty Park, not only encapsulates these principles — it’s the new winner of a Good Food Award.
For five years owner and trained chef, Phillip Grubisa, has been eyeing and preparing for the competition. He is serious about sustainability and organic practices and everything used in shop— down to the onions and the butter — is strictly scrutinized and it’s reflected in every offering. For his first entry to the competition, he submitted two staple items for the charcuterie category: coppa — a prosciutto-esque dish —and country pâté — a French-style terrine composed of pork shoulder, pork liver and cured pork jowl. But it’s the deceptively simple coppa that secured the win.
“It’s a very traditional Italian preparation,” Grubisa said. “We cure it for 10 days and then we case it in a natural casing, then let it hang in our cure chamber for three or four months. Then we keep it very simple: just salt, paprika, cayenne and that’s it. It’s really an homage to our pork producers … we keep it so simple that the pork just really speaks volumes for itself. When you taste it you’re not tasting a lot of adulteration to the product.”
Beltex Meats procures all of its pork from a local producer, Christiansen’s Family Farm, where the hogs have five acres to explore. This years Good Food Awards saw over 2000 entrants and the award ceremony took place on Jan. 19 in San Francisco.
“It was our first year trying and we won. That’s a pretty cool accomplishment,” Grubisa said. “We were next to some people who have large USDA inspected facilities in this category — we do all this in a 900-square-foot, 100-year-old home in Salt Lake City. We do something so cool, I think, for our space and with very little staff … it’s something to be proud of and hang our hats on.”