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California Beef, “The Time is Now!”

Ask any cattle rancher about producing great beef and they will tell you that it starts with the grass.  As summer comes to a close we should take the time to celebrate California beef at its best, whether 100% grass-fed or grain finished the most pleasurable eating experience is going to come from cattle that got fat from grazing on lush pasture.

We are lucky enough to work with a number of top notch beef producers, but today we’re shining a spotlight on Richards Grass-fed Beef and Five Dot Ranch whose programs both exclusively feature California born and raised cattle.


Richards Grass-Fed Beef:

A fourth generation cattle ranch located along the Yuba River about 70 miles North East of Sacramento.  By only harvesting 10 head of cattle every two weeks, the Richards are committed to focusing on quality over quantity resulting in extremely limited availability of their amazing 100% grass-fed beef, all born and raised entirely on the ranch! The genetics of the cattle are mix of the well-known Black Angus and the Australian Murray Grey.  The Richards have found that the addition of the Murray Grey genetics resulted in animals that excel at converting lush pasture to tender, great tasting beef.


Five Dot Ranch:

The Swickard Family has been raising livestock for over seven generations.  In 2006 the family started Five Dot Ranch in Susanville, CA and today, the ranch is the largest public lands grazing permittee in California.  They raise Angus herds that are on pasture from the Napa Valley to the High Sierras grazing in wide-open spaces. Their cattle are 95% grass-fed and then finished on a short grain ration to achieve a consistently delicious product. They practice holistic land management, believe in low stress handling and exceptional quality care, which all result in excellent tasting premium quality beef. Bi-Rite was one of Five Dot Ranch’s very first customers and it has been since into a relationship we’re incredibly proud to have had ever since.


So come visit us in the markets, meet our butchers and take advantage of the opportunity to taste beef at its peak, or have it delivered to you via Instacart.

How to enjoy all this best of season California beef? Sicilian Meatballs with Fresh Basil Marinara from Eat Good Food.

These baseball-size meatballs are the mainstay of the market’s deli case. They’re flavorful and tender and stay good for several days after they’re made. If you have leftovers, they make an incredible meatball sandwich; just slice them up, reheat in the sauce, and put them in the middle of a good crusty roll. Then top with mozzarella or provolone if you have it!

Makes 6 large meatballs


  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Sugar, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil



Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375F. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment or a nonstick liner and set aside.

Put the breadcrumbs and milk in a large mixing bowl, stir to blend, and set aside for 5 minutes. With your hands, squeeze and mash the breadcrumbs so that they make a smooth paste. Add the egg and whisk, then add the Parmigiano, ketchup and parsley, oregano, thyme, half the onion, half the garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to blend.

With your hands, break the beef into small chunks and add to the bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly; overmixing with make the meatballs tough and dry. When all the ingredients are evenly combined, shape the mixture into 6 balls and arrange on the baking sheet.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 165F at the center of a meatball, 40-45 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining half onion and 1 teaspoon salt and increase the heat to medium-high. Stirring frequently, cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining half garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook until reduced to a thick sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and add a pinch or two of sugar if it seems too tangy, and season with more salt if necessary. Stir in the basil and keep warm until the meatballs come out of the oven.

Spoon the sauce generously over the meatballs and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Garnish with a sprinkling of Parmigiano. #EatGoodFood!


Hogust: Heritage Breeds for all Your Needs

Hogust is here and it is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. The celebration perfectly encapsulates our Product Mission and truly highlights why our meat is special and tastes so delicious – because we focus on celebrating craft and heritage, environmental responsibility, genuine relationships and, above all, great taste!

Since 2005, Bi-Rite and Heritage Foods USA have partnered together to support small family farms that are committed to raising unique breeds of hogs with varied flavors and tastes.  All August long we will be highlighting center-cut pork chops from breeds like the Tamworth (lean with incredible tenderness and flavor), Old Spot (creamy and fruity with a high fat ratio), Duroc (well-marbled with nut and olive notes), Large Black (firm yet delicate with sweet and savory flavors), Berkshires (exceptional marbling and umami flavor), and my favorite, the Red Wattle (sweet and buttery with an expressive, porky flavor).

So come visit us in the markets meet our butchers and take advantage of this opportunity to experience pork from the breed perspective.  Be sure to stop by throughout the month to taste the different varieties and find your new favorite. To quote our friends at Heritage Foods, in order to preserve this amazing breed diversity “you have to eat ‘em to save ‘em!”






SF Summer Grilling: “Chills-n-Grills”

Also known as “Cookin’ Hog in the Fog” or “Wearin’ Beanies while Cookin’ Weenies.” San Francisco summer is here and it means school is out, the days are longer, sometimes the sun actually breaks through the fog so let’s say that it’s a great time to spark up the grill!  This summer our butcher team added several new grill-friendly items to our grab-and-go prepack cases, featuring the sustainably-raised meat you know and love, seasoned and marinated with some of our favorite recipes and flavors.  All you have to do is grill:

  • SummerGrillingSemi-Boneless Mary’s Organic Chicken, seasoned with Omnivore Limone + Garlic & Herb Compound Butter: All the work for a classic brick chicken has been done for you, just throw it on the grill and add a brick (or heavy cast iron skillet)!
  • BN Ranch Korean Marinated Beef Short Ribs: A butcher case classic and staff favorite, now conveniently ready for you to grab-and-go. Serve it over rice, noodles, or just stand over the grill and eat ’em, they’re that good!
  • Five Dot Ranch Top Sirloin Beef Steak seasoned with Omnivore Salt + Garlic & Herb Compound Butter: An easy go-to value of a steak, perfect for weeknight meals, or a quick-and-easy impress your date dinner.
  • Niman Ranch Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin: Pork on pork action for the pork lovers out there.

We’ve also added a couple of new sausages from our talented butcher team, to spice up our already hot lineup:

  • Jalepeno & Cheddar Pork Sausage: Tamara put together this spicy, cheesey winner of a sausage, sure to warm you up on a cold, foggy summer night!
  • Beulah’s Old Fashioned Chicken Sausage: Another sure shot!  Juicy, lemony and herby inspired by Chris Timm’s Grandmama’s recipe and still going strong three generations later.

Our new lineup of pre-marinated meats make weeknight dinners and weekend grilling that much simpler: just grab-and-go, whether you’re grilling at home or hitting the road in search of sun! For your foggy summer nights, try pairing your grilled delights with Zinfandels, hand-selected by our Alcohol Buyer, Trac, to complement the meat while still summery and sippable.

Not sure what to grill? We’ve teamed up with Angelo Garro’s Omnivore Salt to stock our butchers with his amazing salts, so our butcher team can season your meat to your exact specifications – let us do the work for you, so all you have to do is impress your dining companions.


All the Meats for Memorial Day

6B7A0808_lores (1)I like to think of Memorial Day Weekend as summer’s soft opening, and this weekend we will giving a nice little sneak peek at some of the amazing product and special deals that we will be sharing with our guests over the summer.

We’re excited about a new partnership with local, grass-fed beef from Richards Ranch.  The ranch is located along the Yuba River at the base of the Sierra Foothills, and provides lush pasture for its cattle that are all born and raised on the ranch.  We will be offering an extremely limited supply of hanger, skirt, flank and bavette steaks, all of which just happen to be perfect cuts to throw on your summer grill!

Starting Friday, May 27, we will be offering some great deals on a couple of select pork cuts from Niman Ranch.  First, we will have the elusive Baby Back Ribs on sale for $7.49 per pound (normally $8.99). Additionaly, we will be offering pork tenderloins at $12.99 per pound, a $2 discount off their normal price!  These great deals on sustainably-raised meats end Monday, so make sure you come by and grab some goodies for your grill before the weekend’s through, or shop our online Market for convenient delivery!


Wild Pacific Salmon, Your Go-To Fish

SalmonPostThe California wild Pacific salmon run signifies that the magic of spring is in full swing.  Salmon has always been an important historic, social, cultural, and economic resource to the Native Coastal Tribes of the Pacific. Our salmon began to gain worldwide recognition when commercial salmon fishing began in earnest in the late 1800s.

The commercial season generally runs from May through August, and the seasons have been fairly consistent since the first ever cancellation of the season took place in 2008, a cancellation that was caused by a drastic drop in the number of salmon returning to spawn. There are a number of factors that have been attributed to the decline, including weather conditions impacting the availability of feed, dams and water diversion, pollution, and overfishing. Even stricter fishing regulations have been implemented to help improve the salmon stocks; currently the fishery is in a state of recovery and will require us to be much more responsible stewards if we hope to see the salmon population flourish again.

Salmon-Recipe-Wine-ClubSo why don’t we eat farmed salmon instead, since it’s cheaper and we don’t have to worry about putting so much work into managing the wild salmon population?  First off, farmed salmon just doesn’t taste as good. Wild Pacific salmon has clean, rich, buttery flavors while farmed salmon tends to be oily and bland.  Additionally, the farmed salmon industry has been associated with a tremendous amount environmental pollution,  raising fish in overcrowded pens requiring heavy antibiotic use, and requiring a disproportionate amount of feed in relation to the meat produced.

There are five main species of Pacific salmon: Kings, Cohos, Chum, Pink, and Sockeye.  Chums, Pinks, and Sockeye are most abundant of the species and are the salmon of choice for canning and smoking. Kings and Cohos are more limited in availability, and are highly-prized for their eating qualities. During the wild season the majority of the salmon we sell in the market will be Kings, and we will transition to Cohos when the Kings begin to spawn (Cohos tend to head upstream later in the year).

Behind shrimp, salmon is the second most consumed seafood in America. We crave it year round for its flavor and health benefits (high in omega-3s), and the salmon fisheries have adapted, creating methods to freeze salmon so that it is available even after the season has closed.  Some may balk at eating frozen fish, but when done properly the end result can be amazing.  Alaskan fisherman Bruce Gore was a pioneer in freezing salmon without negatively impacting its flavor or texture. At Bi-Rite Bruce Gore’s beautiful, frozen-at-sea salmon is what we use to supplement our fresh, wild Pacific salmon program.

article_seafood_traceability_inline2We are excited to welcome a new producer to the Bi-Rite Family: Norah Eddy and her line of Salty Girl Seafood.  Salty Girl Seafood offers an assortment of frozen, marinated, wild-caught seafood, including a lemon pepper and garlic marinated Coho salmon.  All of their offerings are sustainably-caught – by entering the product code from the box into their website you can trace your entrée back to its fishermen and vessel. The different offerings are perfect for keeping your freezer pantry stocked with well-sourced seafood options for those times when you just can’t make it to the market.

SalmonRillettesWhen you buy salmon from us you know exactly where it is coming from
. It’s amazing to think about all the different places where you’ll find salmon at Bi-Rite: as part of our sustainable sushi program, grilled daily in our chef’s case, as seasonal entrees in our packaged meals, smoked and ready for a bagel from our delis and Catering, and fresh in our seafood case.  We are proud to say that we have done all the work to let you feel good about making wild Pacific salmon your go to fish all year round.


Think Spring Lamb

Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal, and refreshment. The flavors of spring are a vibrant reminder of the harvests to come and the reward for a long winter’s wait.  In California, spring is very special to our Butcher Department as the harbinger of one of our favorite products, spring lamb.  This year in particularly, El Nino rains have given way to lush grasses, meaning the lambs will be at their tastiest – this is the season to think spring lamb!

If you celebrate spring holidays like Easter or Passover with lamb as your centerpiece, or you enjoy eating with the seasons, now is the peak season for the highest quality, best tasting lamb available:

SacDeltaBNRanchLambFor the traditionalists, our BN Ranch Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Lamb have the bolder, fuller flavor and larger legs typically associated with lamb.  Raised by a fourth generation sheep herder, John Cubiburu, in the Sacramento Delta, the BN Ranch lambs are weaned then graze on pasture in order to reach their larger weight.  These special lambs will be available in the Markets and on Instacart where you can order from our online Market for convenient delivery.

watson2For those seeking something excitingly off-beat and extremely limited, we are thrilled to announce that Don Watson Milk-Fed Spring Lamb is now available at our butcher counters. Born in the winter and harvested right before they’re weaned, Don Watson’s lambs are much smaller than your typical lambs, with an incredibly mild flavor and tender texture.  Don Watson’s Milk-Fed Spring Lambs grace the tables of restaurants like Chez Panisse and The French Laundry, and due their limited availability (typically only for the four weeks of April), are available for pre-order at the Markets.  These lambs arrive whole, and our butchers will be cutting to order for you. Fun fact:  Don Watson’s Napa Valley-based herd lives on the grounds of the Infineon Raceway, and from there are hired by many neighboring wineries to help keep their vineyards free of weeds without doing the damage to the terroir that mechanical weeders would do!

SpringLambSideIf you’re considering a lamb roast for beautiful spring meals, our butchers are turning tradition on its head with their Spring Lamb Roast recipe. Using the butcher’s cut front leg of Don Watson’s Milk-Fed Spring Lamb achieves an incredibly tender, mildly-flavored roast that pairs perfectly with an array of spring side dishes, from asparagus salads to artichokes to strawberry desserts and spring Rosés.

So whether you prefer the longstanding tradition of exceptional quality BN Ranch Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Lamb, or are looking to elevate your spring celebrations with a rare twist on the classic with Don Watson Milk-Fed Spring Lamb, now is the time to think spring lamb and enjoy it at its seasonal best.


Amazing Braising Meats

BraisingHopefully, many of you were able to take advantage of our great lamb shank sale over the last couple of weeks.  So now that you’ve dusted off the dutch oven, found a home on the counter for your crock pot, and honed your mirepoix game why not keep the braises rolling.  El Nino is doing his best to keep us indoors, so make the most of it by keeping the kitchen cozy and the belly full.  Over the next two weeks check out our butcher case for some terrific braising options like:

  • Beef Short Ribs
  • Pork Shanks
  • Ox Tails
  • Duck legs
  • Pork Belly
  • Lamb Shanks
  • Pasture-raised, heritage chickens

In a day and age where many grocery stores’ butcher departments consist of an unmanned refrigerator full of pre-wrapped meats, we are excited to have a counter hosted by a skilled butcher, who can cut to order, provide recommendations, and is also quite knowledgeable about the meats and cuts they are selling.  Our butchers are here to provide you with the services of a trained meat cutter. Our knowledgeable butchers can set you up with everything you need to get your braise going, and while you’re at it, go for the full monty and grab a box of Baia Pasta and a bottle of  Cab Franc to pair it with! The same way you have someone that cuts your hair, your favorite bartender, and your tailor, we want to be your butcher.



ONE DAY ONLY: 12/11 Save $3/lb on Prime Rib for Christmas via Instacart

A7oRWNa-WG8ySjqC-4hGwPYuxjCmu_52psFbYbRZbjoNothing tells your guests you love them more than an elegant Prime Rib, the perfect showpiece for your holiday table!  For ONE DAY ONLY on Friday, December 11, save $3/lb on Five Dot Ranch Beef Prime Rib when you pre-order from our online Holiday Market (only $15.99/lb, regularly $18.99/lb), for in-store pick-up.  Order your Prime Rib here!

Five Dot Ranch, located in Susanville, CA,  produces grass-fed beef raised without hormones or antibiotics.  Finished on rice bran and barley, their beef is tender, juicy, and deliciously marbled.  First time cooking Prime Rib?  We’ve got you covered with our simple and delicious recipe.



American Wagyu: A Bi-Rite Exclusive

It’s amazing when you get the opportunity to taste something that so completely exceeds your expectations. Last June, Clydene Bultman, owner of Thompson River Ranch, reached out to see if she could arrange to taste me through her American Wagyu program. What I tried was some of the most amazing beef I have ever tasted, I almost felt like it was a disservice calling it beef.  Each cut of Clydene’s Wagyu has an unparalleled level of tenderness that creates a truly sensational flavor experience. After that first meeting, I knew that I had to find a way to bring her American Wagyu beef into Bi-Rite.

shortribsSo what is Wagyu beef? It is the same breed of cattle that creates Japan’s famed Kobe beef, prized all over the world for its amazing marbling, tenderness, and flavor. Clydene has been raising her herd of “High Percentage, Long Fed American Wagyu” for the last ten years; by slowly allowing her animals to gain weight and aiming for a 75%-100% Wagyu genetics, her beef is far superior to most Wagyu available for retail. Thompson River Ranch is a heritage, working cattle ranch set on a 120-year-old homestead in Montana’s picturesque Thompson Valley, where the cattle graze on forest land, forage in the mountains, and are finished on barley. Bi-Rite has chosen to partner up with Thompson River Ranch for this exclusive offer to our guests of the most luxurious and sought-after beef around, from a rancher who is fully committed to raising cattle the responsible way you’ve come to know and expect when you purchase your meat from Bi-Rite.

WagyuPlateThis holiday season we will be accepting weekly pre-orders for a Thompson River Ranch American Wagyu Beef Box (orders must be received by 5pm Sunday for in-store pick-up the following Friday). This is an exciting opportunity to purchase over five pounds of fresh, Wagyu beef, cut-to-order and butchered locally, for an extremely reasonable price of $175. Each box contains a generous, 16-ounce portion of ribeye, a 16-ounce New York strip steak, two, 8-ounce sirloin steaks, 1.5 pounds ground beef and a zabuton (Japanese-style boneless short rib). This box is a fantastic gift for any beef lover, and is also the perfect way to introduce yourself to the wonderful world of American Wagyu. Stop by the meat counter at either Market and place your order today, or email chili@biritemarket.com for more information!


Paellapalooza at the Markets

As the summer grilling season starts to wind down, now is a great opportunity to revisit some of our forgotten seafood favorites.  Paella has always been one of my favorite dishes, as it can really highlight a diverse array of the ocean’s goodies.  I like to think of shrimp, mussels, clams and squid as my flight attendants on my culinary flight to Spain’s Mediterranean coast.Paella

The key to really tasty seafood paella is choosing the best quality seafood that you can find.  At Bi-Rite, not only are our offerings incredibly fresh, they are also impeccably sourced.  For ten years we have partnered with FishWise, a sustainable seafood consultancy that promotes the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems through environmentally responsible practices, which has led us to being much more informed about the sourcing of our offerings.  As much as we like to consider ourselves experts in all aspects of meat and seafood, we realize that we are constantly learning and developing a greater understanding of the ever-evolving world of responsible sourcing and sustainability. Over the last ten years FishWise, in addition to frequent communication with our seafood partners, has been an integral part in advancing our understanding of the seafood industry.  They have also helped us better develop ways to convey the challenges of thoughtfully purchasing seafood to our guests.

This week (September 13 through 20) also happens to be Sustainable Seafood Week- San Francisco, a national program that advances the sustainability conversation in American cities with a rich seafood history.  So visit us at the Markets (or shop our Paella recipe from our online store at Instacart.com) and celebrate some delicious seafood that you can feel good about.  Now is the perfect time for a Paellapalooza!

Paellapalooza recipe card SINGLE-FINAL