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Frequently Asked Questions
From sourcing details to prep tips, we’ve got answers to all kinds of questions.
Where do you deliver?
We ship everywhere in the USA except Alaska and Hawaii.
What kind of farms do you work with?
We source all of our meat directly from small family farms close to our facility in Kentucky. All our our animals are raised with the highest animal husbandry and environmental standards. Our animals are raised outside on pasture never in a concentrated animal feed operation or feedlot.
Do you use any hormones or antibiotics ?
Nope, nope, nope.
Is your meat sustainable?
Yes! We source exclusively from family farms and ranches with the highest sustainability standards. We know all of our farmers by name and frequently visit them to ensure our high standards never waiver.
Is your meat humanely raised?
Yes, and we take a ton of pride in this. We do our absolute best to avoid stress throughout all stages of our animals’ lives, from beginning to end. Obviously, stress is bad for the animal, but it also creates toxins that negatively affect the quality of the meat.
All of our animals spend their entire lives on pasture, eating well and growing at their own natural pace (rather than being jacked up on hormones). After caring for our animals every day of their lives, the last thing we want to do is undo our farmers’ work by creating a stressful end of life experience. This is why we’ve established our own processing facility in Kentucky, located within a short drive of all of our partner farms. We never prod, use a hot stick, or force our animals onto long truck rides. Not only is this better for the animal, but it also produces a better quality product.
Do you have 100% grass fed beef?
All of our beef is 100% pasture raised, so they feed on all that nature provides, and are never fed hormones or antibiotics. Out on pasture we introduce a custom grain blend to ‘finish’ the beef, giving our cuts the delicious marbling you know and love.
Why does the color of your meat look different?
You may notice our pork, lamb, and beef are darker in color, and our chicken has a golden yellow hue. Most of the meat you’ll find in a supermarket will look different, which is because it’s often pumped with antibiotics, which cause artificial, rapid growth. Our animals are given time and space to work and develop their muscles, which leads to this deeper color (and flavor!).
The meat had a strange smell when it came out of the vacuum sealed bag, why?
Ah yes, we call this “bag funk.” The meat in the package has been deprived of oxygen since it was sealed, so as you open the bag the gas will be released. Give it a few minutes to air out on the counter and take another whiff. It should smell different from your average meat (that’s a good thing!). It should never smell sour or feel slimy - if it does, let us know. It’s a sign that something’s wrong.
How long can meat last in the refrigerator?
On average you should consume or freeze your (vacuum sealed) product within 7 days of its arrival.
- Poultry needs to be consumed or frozen as soon as possible or within four days.
- Pork should be consumed or frozen within 5 days of delivery.
- Lamb should be eaten or frozen within 7 days of delivery.
- Beef is unique. Beef that is the whole muscle (not ground) should be eaten or frozen within 10 days of delivery. That being said, beef can last longer. As long as the meat doesn’t smell sour or feel slimy you are good to go. James thinks with beef the funkier the better.
Why don’t you freeze your meat?
While some of our products (like ground beef, sausages, or larger roasts) are shipped frozen, most are not. Meat is made up of fibers that are like little ropes. As meat freezes, the water in the muscles turns to ice. Ice is a crystal. As the crystals form they cut into the muscle fibers. When you thaw the meat, the ice melts into your bowl and not in the meat.
That said, never waste good meat! If you need to preserve the steak or can't use it right away, definitely freeze it instead of tossing it.
The cut I want is sold out, what now?
At Porter Road, we practice whole animal butchery so nothing goes to waste. As a result, some of our most popular cuts are sold out on a regular basis. You should check back frequently as we restock M-F, join the wait-list to be notified as soon as your preferred cut is available, or try one of our butchers alternatives for a lesser known, but equally as delicious cut.
Why do you dry-age the beef?
Dry-aged beef just tastes better. Supermarket beef is very rarely dry-aged, and the very best steakhouse beef usually is. Beef has a natural tenderizing enzyme in its muscle fibers. That enzyme works for up to 8 days. Meanwhile, as the meat continues to age, it evaporates water from the muscle, which keeps the flavor concentrated. We dry age all of our beef for a minimum of 14 days so it has a chance to tenderize and develop its flavor.
How can I tell if my meat arrived in good condition?
The meat should be cool to the touch when it arrives. Unless otherwise noted, the product was never frozen, so therefore it could not have defrosted. It is okay if the gel packs are not frozen, as long as they are still cold. If you’re still not sure, rely on your nose. Meat that is spoiled will smell sour and be very sticky to the touch. If the box is damaged or opened in anyway please contact us immediately.
I am not happy with all or part of my order. What should I do?
Please contact us by email or phone as soon as possible. We always do right by our customers. Our goal is to make sure you enjoy our meat as much as we do.
How do you handle returns?
Given the perishable nature of the product, we do not accept returns. If there is a problem with your order, contact customer service and we will work to make it right.
What’s the difference between pasture-raised, cage-free, and free range?
There’s so much confusion over what we should and shouldn’t eat, and buzzwords like these only add to the problem. So let’s break them down.
Natural means nothing was done to the meat after the animal was processed. It doesn’t mean anything about how or where the animal was raised, or what it ate. This simply means no color or flavors were added to the meat after harvest.
Cage-free generally refers to eggs, but all it really means is that the animal was not kept in a small cage its entire life. It could still be inside with no fresh air or natural light.
Free-range can mean many things. In the best case scenario, the animal may have lived outside its entire life. But it can also mean that the animal was raised inside with a small door on the broad side of a barn, with the option to go outside.
Pasture-raised, which all of Porter Road’s products are, means that the animal lived outside its entire life, with fresh air, sunlight, and wide open spaces. All our beef, lamb, and poultry are raised on pasture all year long. Our pork lives in the woods with tons of room to root and act like pigs.
Grass-fed means that the animal has only eaten grass and never any grain. Our expert butchers feel that eating grass is extremely important, but we prefer our animals to eat a more well-rounded diet. By letting our animals graze on pasture, eating whatever they want, and by giving them a grain supplement, we’re able to strike a healthy (and flavorful) balance. It’s also important to make sure all feed is GMO-free, animal byproduct free, and free of any drugs or hazardous chemicals, which is always the case at our farms.
Is your meat certified organic?
Because we work with such small farms, they don’t have the official certification. Instead, we have developed incredibly strict farming guidelines with all of our partners, which almost always beat out the minimum organic standards.
- We never use any growth hormones or antibiotics.
- Our animals are raised outside on pasture their entire lives.
- They are fed non-gmo grain that is free from any animal bi-products or hazardous chemicals.
We like to call it “beyond organic”
How is your harvesting process different?
To get the best meat, the animal must live a physically and mentally healthy life from beginning to end. This is why we do our best to control every single stage of life, from selecting the farms we partner with to owning and managing our own slaughterhouse.
All of our farms are located within a short driving distance of our slaughterhouse, which means the animals are never forced to endure long, stressful truck rides. Once the farmers drop off the animals, we make sure that they are under minimal amount of stress - no prodding, no aggression. We harvest the animals with the most humane practices available. For more information about our humane harvesting process, please reach out directly.
Aren’t cows bad for the environment?
In short, it depends on how you raise them.
The way food conglomerates raise commodity animals (grocery store meats), is bad because majority of them are raised in CAFOs. CAFO stands for Concentrated Animal Feed Operations. Concentrating animals in one small location is a recipe for disaster. We could go on for days about this (call us anytime and we will), but the simple answer is yes - farm animals can be bad for the environment when they are raised as part of a factory, where they’re pumped with antibiotics and other things that make them grow faster, but also upset their stomachs and cause gas (Co2 emissions). And that’s just one of the issues.
On the other side of the spectrum, pasture-raised animals can can actually help the environment by regenerating and fertilizing the soil. We only work with farms that are serious about sustainability...and great steak. In fact, the farms we work with know the two go hand-in-hand.
Do you use nitrates or other preservatives?
We never use dyes, fillers, or artificial flavorings in any of our products. However, our bacon cure does contain small amounts of nitrates. Nitrates inhibit harmful bacterial growth, and contribute to the classic bacon flavor and color you know and love.
Is your beef graded?
We care more about how to the animal is raised versus how it is graded. With that being said, we do have a USDA inspector on-site every single day to ensure proper meat handling. Beef grading is a separate process completed by a different USDA office. Due to the small size of our farms and processing operation, we do not get all of our beef graded. When our farmers have opted to grade their meat, it has come back as either Prime or Choice Plus.
One of the many benefits of butchering the meat by hand ourselves is that we can inspect each and every cut before sending it out. Any piece of beef without beautiful marbling will not be sold.