Snapshot: 150 pounds of butchery at Pine Street Market

A look behind the scenes at the abattoir of Avondale Estates
Rusty Bowers (left) and his assistant
Rusty Bowers (left) and his assistant

Photograph by Lauren Taylor Watt

Friday, 1:30 p.m.

“Is this your first time? It’s easy. We’re going to walk the cow in, slit its throat, and watch it bleed out. Then we’ll break it down,” Rusty Bowers says to me, as he watches my expression slowly turn into a look of horror. “Just kidding.”

The owner of Pine Street Market spends every Friday breaking down a 150-pound forequarter of beef from Brasstown Beef. “It’s, like, really fun. It’s like surgery. Like an animal autopsy almost,” he says. This particular cut will turn into 32 pounds of bones and trim loss, 25 pounds of steaks, 20 pounds of roasts, and 22 pounds of fat. Leftovers will be turned into ground beef, sausages, and frankfurters. Some of the bounty will be sold in the store, and some will go to customers across states lines or at farmers markets. A majority, though, will be sent to more than 30 area restaurants.