{ COMMUNITY }

MEAT MATTERS

New traditions at our neighborhood meat shops

PHOTOGRAHPY BY ANGELA STERLING

In neighborhoods all about town, we’re finding inspiring shops that specialize in selling quality meats. Shops with dedicated owners who fuel our passions for quality, cooking, and eating wonderful food. Stop in and you’ll discover plenty of reasons to patronize your neighborhood meat shop.

Shannon Nault, OB Meat Company
Shannon Nault, OB Meat Company

TRUSTING THE SOURCE
Unlike most merchants who buy meat in bulk, neighborhood meat shops know precisely where their meats come from. In fact, they invest time and effort in identifying their best sources and building close personal relationships with ranches and vendors to gain access to the highest quality products. Point to anything in the meat case, ask where it’s from, and you’ll get a passionate, detailed answer. Meat shopkeepers take pride in their sources. As a customer, that’s something you can count on.

In Solana Beach, Ranch 45 sources all its beef from Brandt Beef, a single family-owned all-natural beef program here in Southern California. The Brandt family, now in the business for three generations, is committed to source-verified, sustainable practices. They raise, feed, and focus on one breed (Holstein) and never outsource or contract farmers beyond their property lines. It’s this kind of unparalleled commitment and consistency in care, diet, and location that allows Ranch 45 to regularly provide its customers the highest quality beef products.

Bobby Kokinda, OB Meat Company,
Bobby Kokinda, OB Meat Company,

SUPPORTING A LOCAL BUSINESS
It’s a long day for the neighborhood meat shopkeeper, who starts trimming, boning, and smoking meats right around sunrise. Self-professed Mom and Pop shop owners, Shannon Nault and Bobby Kokinda, live just up the hill from their shop, OB Meat Company on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach. “We’re here from seven to seven, six days a week,” Bobby says. In the short time since they opened their doors in February 2021, they have become an integral part of the downtown Ocean Beach community. “First and foremost, we’re OB people. We’re not going to carry anything that we wouldn’t eat ourselves,” Bobby says.

“And we price our meat to make it affordable for our neighbors.” Beyond the shop, Bobby and Shannon have a stand at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market on Wednesdays and offer deliveries throughout Ocean Beach and Point Loma. Jeff Lefstein, who owns and operates La Jolla Gourmet Meats, gets a lot of his orders over the phone. And people are constantly stopping in to say how much they loved his Brandt Beef or 100 percent grass-fed Wagu steaks from Australia, or waving as they pass his door. “I have lots of customers who live in the neighborhood and come in once or twice a week, as well as tourists and summer vacationers who return every year,” Jeff says.

OB Meat Company
OB Meat Company

SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND RECIPES
A former chef, Jeff Lefstein’s expertise is evident in the refrigerated cases of La Jolla Gourmet Meats where vats of meats soaked in his various homemade marinades are on display. He also makes homemade sausages, bratwurst, and chorizo. In addition to top quality meats, he carries a variety of exotic meats, caviar, and cheeses. “My customers often ask me for tips on preparing and cooking meats and I am happy to give them detailed instructions,” Jeff says.

At OB Meat Company, Bobby and Shannon work one-on-one with everyone—from private chefs who need to plan a series of meals to individual customers with specific regular requests. “One example is a wonderful couple who routinely order five boned, skin-on chicken thighs. We double wrap them because we know they are walking home,” Shannon says. Customers bring in photos of dishes they’ve prepared, and one customer even provided them with a dry rub to use and help him market. “We love to help our customers in any way we can,” Shannon says.

Ranch 45 in Solana Beach
Ranch 45 in Solana Beach

TAKING DINNER HOME
OB Meat Company provides all kinds of take home: hot food, sandwiches—everything is homemade. Even the cream corn in their Shepard’s Pie is made from scratch. They offer hot prepared food items including a daily special. “We have three different options,” Shannon says. “We’ll cook for you, we’ll prepare a dish for you to cook at home, or we’ll sell you the highest quality meats for you to prepare and cook yourself.” In addition, they’re offering holiday meat platters, smoked turkeys, half birds, and individual packaged holiday meals.

Ranch 45 has an extensive pre-order menu featuring enticing “we prepped, you cook” meat options and hot and cold sides prepared by Chef DuVal Warner who works in-house. This neighborhood business, which began as a small restaurant and meat shop, is undergoing an expansion largely due to its responsiveness to its neighbors’ needs at the outbreak of COVID-19. In the New Year, beyond all-natural Brandt Beef, watch for veal, lamb, chicken, seafood, cheeses, charcuteries, and more.

TIPS FOR HOLIDAY MEATS

If preparing larger cuts of meat such as prime rib roast, turkey, and ham sounds daunting, follow these tips from Ranch 45.
• Invest in a reliable meat thermometer
• Learn how to take the meat’s internal temperature
• Generously season your meat with specialty rubs, salts, and peppers
• Be patient! Low and slow cooking is a good thing
• Let it rest after roasting for at least 15 minutes
• Even easier: Pick up your roasts, sides, and holiday meals from your local meat shop