Behind the scenes at New York Prime Beef

This Bronx Company Wants to Become the Cognac of Meat

By Bridget Shirvell / Photography By Bridget Shirvell | February 11, 2017
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After being cut, cuts of meat are wrapped in butcher paper and signed by the butcher

It’s the smell that hits you a first. A pleasant earthy, musk—like mushrooms roasting on an open flame. And then you notice the meat. Row after row of hunks of beef and some pork in various stages of aging in the Hunt Point’s Co-op Market facility New York Prime Beef calls home. 

All of it waiting to age for at least 28 days before it will be selected by a butcher, cut to order, wrapped in butcher paper at which point the butcher will sign it before packing it for delivery, when it will be delivered the next day, to a doorstep somewhere in the country and occasionally even overseas. 

“It’s an art form,” said co-founder of New York Prime Beef Vinny Pacifico. “There’s so much control in how we select it, how we dry age it.”

Launched in June of 2016, New York Prime Beef is trying to find a market among people who love to cook at home and appreciate not simply a good steak but a superior one.

“It’s expensive we understand that,” Pacifico said “But if people want the best steak dinner in the world and that’s what we do.”

That’s a pretty bold statement but as Pacifico likes to say the proof is in the pudding. Customers go onto the New York Prime Beef website and can select cuts in various packages although according to co-founder Josh Tanner more often than not customers call asking for specific cuts of aging not listed on the site. Something they’re happy to accommodate. 

The rows of meat for New York Prime are USDA Prime Grade, meaning the beef has a high ratio of marbling with the youngest maturity of the beef. While only two percent of beef in the US is classified as prime all of the New York Prime meat sourced from plants they work with in the cornbelt meet that criteria, except for the wagyu which comes from a co-op of farmers in the Pacific Northwest and the kobe beef which comes from Japan.

Pacifico is a veteran of the meat industry. He opened his first business in 1976 and it’s those other meat businesses that New York Prime Beef came out of and allow it access to high-quality meat. His other businesses sell meat to everyone from bodegas to supermarket chains to fine restaurants. Some of those restaurants wanted dry-aged beef and after using a friend’s facility for a while Pacifico decided to do it himself.

“I wanted to do it myself, I wanted to do it like millennials in Brooklyn make fine cognac and they do it in a very boutique way so we looked at the the process and came up with a formula,” Pacifico said.

 

For more information visit their website http://www.newyorkprimebeef.com/ 

Photo 1: NYPB partner Josh Tanner opens up the roof of the meat facility to international graffiti artists
Photo 2: NYPB partner Josh Tanner opens up the roof of the meat facility to international graffiti artists
Photo 3: Inside the NYPM dry aging facility in Hunts Point
Photo 4: NYPB meat is aged for at least 28 days
Photo 6: The beef has a high ratio of marbling with the youngest maturity of the beef
Photo 7: All NYPB is cut to order
Photo 8: NYPB wants to produce steak for those that want the best steak dinner at home. Photo courtesy of NYPB.
Article from Edible Bronx at http://ediblebronx.ediblecommunities.com/shop/bronx-company-wants-become-cognac-meat
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