Back in October, Ciao Pittsburgh profiled local blogger, Michael Pizzuto, 31, from Pitcairn, PA. Michael’s blog tracks the cured meats he and seven of his friends, his dad and grandfather, make each year. But he now has a new business venture that we wanted to share with our readers.
Michael, along with Blair Hohn III, and Brandon Gajdos, recently started Salted Pig to bring handcrafted and artisan meats to the Pittsburgh market. The trio is committed to using all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free proteins, as well as only fresh herbs and spices.
“We never use dry or pre-made mixes,” Michael said. “Our products blend old world cooking technique with our own unique twists.”
Salted Pig is currently offer a limited line of fresh sausage products and plan to expand to dry aged and cured meats once they move into a permanent space. According to Michael, their goal is to start small and expand alongside their clientele.
Read more below.
Ciao Pittsburgh: What made you decide to start your very own sausage company?
Michael: My business partners and I found ourselves making cured meats and sausages weekly as a hobby. We always talked about owning our own store making cured meats and other artisan products. After doing some research, we found it was feasible to start a farmer’s market business selling fresh sausages with the hopes of expanding into cured meats and a customer butchery program.
Ciao Pittsburgh: How is your business different from other similar companies that sell sausage?
Michael: We purchase only the highest quality and freshest meats. We purchase beef, pork, and chicken from farmers who raise their animals on sustainable family farms without sub therapeutic antibiotics or growth hormones. We only use fresh spices, whole fruits and vegetables raised or grown in Pennsylvania. Some of our spices and herbs are imported from the region where the sausage originates. We do not add any fillers, preservatives or MSG to our products. Those products are intended to add weight, moisture and increase shelf life and color in the product. Most companies add water and paprika to their Italian sausage. We add red wine and we import a pepper powder from Calabria, Italy. We hope with our level of care choosing our ingredient and making our product by hand it will set our product apart.
Michael: Yes, since we all have full time jobs and to minimize the risk of jumping into a retail space, we are starting with farmer’s markets. Fresh sausage has fewer rules and regulation than cured meats do. Once we establish a client base, our ultimate goal is to have a store front were we make cured meats and also offer a customer butchery program with pasture-raised animals.
Ciao Pittsburgh: Besides the farmer’s markets, where else can people purchase your products? Can they purchase through a website?
Michael: We are currently working out another process to get our product to more customers. The Lawrenceville farmer’s market is the best option for now; however, we can be reached by email at email@example.com for question or larger orders request. We make our sausage one day prior to the market to keep it as fresh as possible, so advance notice is the best.
Ciao Pittsburgh: What types of sausage do you sell? Do you sell anything else?
Michael: Currently we have 7 sausages: hot and sweet Italian, for the daring we have an Italian Diablo. We also have Italian Blue, Italian Habanero, 7am (Breakfast), and 7am maple (breakfast). We plan to offer seasonal varieties using produce that’s in season. Also, we are working with a bread company out of Bloomfield to sell bread alongside our sausages. We hope to add smoked and cured meats as well as fresh cuts of meat as we grow. In addition, Blair Hohn, co-owner of Salted Pig is always whipping up ideas in the kitchen. With a professional culinary background we will be adding fudge and homemade items to our lineup soon.
Michael: Yes for now; but readers can follow us on our website or Facebook for updates on new locations. The market is located at 52nd and Berlin Way, off Butler Street, Goodwill Training Center Parking Lot, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15201. It’s open from 12:30pm to 4pm every Saturday through October.
Ciao Pittsburgh: Anything else you’d like our readers to know about your new business?
Michael: We like to be active in the community and provide a great product to the public. We appreciate any feedback that the consumers may have. We hope you enjoy our product!