Butcher sandwiches are an emerging Roadfood genre that we’ve come to recognize and seek out. Conventional wisdom says a good sandwich is built around the bread; but meat-centric places test the rule.
Primal Cuts is first an artisan butcher, cutting down sides of meat and smoking sausages. It is from these processes that excellent sandwiches are born.
Wisely, this butcher stays in its lane, leaving its bread baking up to the superb Sparrow Bakery down the road. The alliance is a winning one.
The butcher shop shows self-awareness also with its subtle, meat-focused Asian-style Pork Meatball Sandwich. The bahn mi riff is kept simple. Juicy meatballs are lightly seasoned and retain a clear flavor of pork. Pickled carrots and daikon aren’t too sour and the sriracha mayo is just an accent. It adds up to a sandwich that is more Asian-inspired than fully Asian — less a fusion and more an homage.
Even better is a genius “Porkstrami” sandwich, in which tender pork loin, rubbed with pastrami slices replaces usual Rachel-sandwich pastrami. The thinly-sliced pork appears alongside the usual pastrami partners of Swiss, coleslaw, thousand island and pickles. As much as we love rye bread, a Sparrow bakery roll probably does as much to elevate this excellent sandwich as the great meat does.
Hot dogs here are unusual, much like we imagine beef sausages would have been in olden times. The dark brown meat of a Primal Dog fills a casing with dense, smoky beef. It’s far more like a dried beef sausage than something you’d eat at the ballpark. That said, it was very tasty, and greatly enhanced by the butcher shop’s well-executed house made ketchup and mustard. As much as we like ruffled chips, the dollar spent to upgrade to potato salad on the side was money well spent.
This being Oregon, beer is available in the form of forty draft lines opposite the meat case. The shop’s other business, “Growler Phil’s,” offers pints to stay and growlers to go. At any given time, half of the business might be beer people, but for many, it’s one-stop shop for great fresh meat as well as beer.