Maplewood, Missouri was the last stop on St. Louis’ streetcar line during the early 1900’s. This suburban St. Louis community has seen many changes through the years. Yet, Bolyard’s Meat and Provisions continues the timeless traditions of a full-service butcher shop right in the heart of Maplewood.
When Chris Bolyard graduated in 2000 from Culinary Institutes of America in Hyde Park, New York, how his biscuits were buttered wasn’t exactly an obsession for this Midwestern chef. Actually, whole animal butchering, charcuterie, sausage-making and all the “fun stuff that goes along with it” led him and his wife, Abbie, to realize their entrepreneurial dreams in 2014. They opened Bolyard’s Meat and Provisions that November.
Encased in vintage windows, the shop is bathed in natural light. Its shelves are filled with provisions such as local honey, house-made soaps made from tallow, smoked salts, and other notions not found on your average grocery run. The aromas of smoke-cured meats and other tasty morsels tantalize the strongest of wills. But, it’s the biscuits that won our hearts.
As it turns out, Chris doesn’t butter his biscuits at all. He prefers lard.
The day we stopped by, Chris was removing spare ribs from the belly of a locally-sourced hog. He explained that the hard fat along the belly will be sold fresh, or as bacon. The fat running beneath the ribs is soft fat. He pointed to a particular soft fat which protects the animal’s kidneys, “this renders down well and is called leaf lard.” Lard is always from pork, tallow is from beef, and schmaltz is from chicken. Still, the rendering process is the same. Freshly ground soft fat is boiled with water over medium heat, until the water evaporates. The remaining bits of meat are filtered out, leaving clear lard.
As a couple picked up their pre-ordered “Butcher’s Box” at the register, Chris took us behind the counter to share his biscuit secrets. “I wished I could say I made them with my mother or grandma, but that’s not the case. I’m self-taught, and learned from people who had more experience than me,” he smiled as he worked the room-temp lard into a bowl of all-purpose flour. “You’re looking for nickel-sized pieces of larded flour,” he continued that the addition of cold buttermilk to this mixture will create its famous flaky layers. The final ingredients were folded, rolled, and cut into squares, before heading to the freezer.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are special days in Maplewood. Whether it’s oven-roasted whole chickens on Tuesdays, or a total “Smoke Out” on Thursdays, customers can pre-order their weeknight meal including local sides such as baked-to-order biscuits. Chris says that not only does the freezing lend to extra flaky biscuits, but it helps them keep ahead of the afternoon rush. Place orders early, as these special meals inevitably sell out. You can even call ahead for carry-out biscuits ($3 per freshly baked biscuits or $2.50 frozen). Not a Show Me State resident? Bolyard’s offers their frozen biscuits overnight with standard shipping charges applied. Just give them a shout at (314)647-2567, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it comes down to it, this butcher enjoys his biscuits with a simple drizzle of local honey. But, he’ll never turn down a biscuit…
Alas, man cannot live on biscuits alone. Here’s a couple recipes, Bolyard’s style!
Smoked Garlic and Pickled Jalapeno Deviled Eggs:
¼ c mayo
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp smoked garlic purée (see recipe below)
1 tbsp pickled jalapeño, minced
1/8 tsp salt
Smoked garlic purée:
Smoke two whole heads of garlic at 200 to 225° for three hours.
Remove from smoker and cut off the end of the garlic head to squeeze out the smoked garlic. Mash into a paste.
Start the eggs in a pot of water, covering them by 1 1/2 inches. Bring water to boil, then turn off and let the eggs sit in the water for 12 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water. Shock eggs in ice water for three minutes. Carefully peel the eggs, and cut in half. Remove yolks and reserve whites. Mix yolks and the remaining ingredients, until evenly distributed. Add heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the eggs. Sprinkle with cracked pepper on each egg. Chill for one hour, before serving.
Grilled Pork Chop with Salsa Verde
6 1-inch bone-in pork chops
½ c melted lard
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
4 oz curly parsley, stems removed
1 shallot sliced
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp anchovies
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
6 to 8 slices bread and butter pickles
Salt to taste
1 c olive oil
Salsa Verde Method:
Add all ingredients, except oil to a food processor and blend. Slowly add oil. Blend salsa verde for 1-2 minutes. The mixture should be chunky, not smooth.
Pork Chop Method:
Rub pork chops with lard. Season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. Grill pork chops over 500° grill for four minutes per side. Rest for five minutes. Spoon on Salsa Verde and serve.
Written by Melissa D. Corbin- ANashville- based freelance food and travel journalist. Corbin is also the founder of Corbin In The Dell, a consulting company connecting those who care about where their food comes from. Continue the conversation with her on instagram @melcorbin, twitter @mdcorbin or visit her website at corbininthedell.com.