Tony Brault has cut things all his life, everything except his own hair, and he’s so busy lately, he hasn’t gotten around to letting someone else at it. One of his earliest memories as a kid in the Northeast Kingdom is “standing on an overturned soda crate, cutting meat beside my grandfather with a butter knife so I couldn’t injure myself.” Back then his grandfather owned a slaughterhouse in Troy, and there were others in nearby towns Orleans, North Hyde Park, and Richford.
Now Brault is the owner of that Troy slaughterhouse, and a third generation meat cutter. He is also the father of the fourth generation, as his son is also working at Brault’s Market, a custom slaughtering, cutting, packing, smokehouse, and curing facility and store.
To get there, a customer will turn off Route 100, by the Brault’s sign, and cruise down a long straight lane that leads directly to a wide building. If you’d stopped there last year, you would have parked your car in front of an unwelcoming, but kempt building, and let yourself in by a door that seemed as much a private entrance as it did “the door to the store.” Now, thanks to grant money from the Vermont Farm Viability Program, a customer will find a handsome edifice with a few windows and a door that leads to the spacious renovated meat shop.
The new retail facility at Brault’s has a slicer, a meat case, a food-grade band saw, and bags of their famous leathery spicy beef jerky on the counter. Brault said they’re still putting the finishing touches on the retail area meat case. Nevertheless, a customer will currently find a carnivore’s larder of ham, Canadian bacon, boneless pork loin, West New York strip, western rib eye, local T-bone, water buffalo rib eye, franks, and sirloin top butt, all purveyed by Brault’s sister. And they can help themselves to even more in the new self-service freezer.
*Excerpted from Julia Shipley, "A Boost to Butchers," Vermont's Local Banquet, Winter 2010.