Under what Kosher supervision is your meat produced?

Bisra Meats is under the strict and constant supervision of Rabbi Avidan Elkin. Rabbi Elkin received his Semikhah in Shehhitah and Lung Checking from Rav Eliyahu Ben Chaim, of Queens, NY.

Rav Ben Haim is a Talmid of Rav ‘Ovadiah Yosef’s, Z”L, an Av Beit Din for Giyur, Gerushin, and Mamonot, and the Sepharadi Rosh Yeshivah at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Elkin has served as a Safra deDayanei and written Gittin for Rav Ben Haim. Among his many Torah passions and accolades, Rav Ben Haim is also an outspoken proponent of the practice of nose-to-tail Niqur that makes Bisra Meats so unique and so revolutionary.

Rabbi Elkin received his Semikhah in Niqur (treiboring, or nose-to-tail Kosher butchery) from Rav Yehudah Giat, of Jersualem, Israel. Rav Giat is a storied and expert Shohhet, Menaqer, and Mohel who is featured as the main commentator on the Sefer "Sihhat Hulin" - one of the first books of its kind that serves as a practical and visual guide to those studying Masekhet Hullin and attempting to understand the intricacies of Shehhitah, Niqur, lung checking, knife checking, and a host of other practical and invaluable Halakhot pertaining to Kashrut.

Rav Elkin received Semikhah from Rav Giat in Millah as well and performs circumcision in various states in the US.

Is it permissible for Ashkenazim to eat from the hindquarters?

According to the Israeli Rabbinate, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Ben Haim, and the traditions of most every Ashkenazi community in Europe, it most certainly is! Read his Teshuvah (responsa) here (Igrot Moshe, Volume 5, Yoreh De’ah 2, Item 42).
Another fascinating read on this misconception can be found on the OU website in this article by Rabbi Ari Zivitofsky here.

Where do you get your meat?

Our USDA Choice and Prime beef are from Lancaster County, PA, where the Amish raise cattle without subtherapeutic antibiotics or hormones of any kind. Or the internet, for that matter.

Goats and lambs come from a number of different farms depending on the time of year. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Upstate New York, and in the case of goats we often get them from Texas, where the weather is especially conducive to raising goats with healthy and Kosher lungs. We wish they didn’t have to travel that far, but for now they do. Start raising goats more locally and call us come harvest time. We’d love to help out.

Our grass-fed lambs and beef are from Pennsylvania and Upstate New York. In both cases they are farmers we have known for years and who are dependable and reliable. We wish they raised more animals than they do, but we’re happy to process everything we can get from them as they grow.

Do you age meat, and if so for how long?

Our standard baseline practice is to age all beef cuts that benefit from it for at least 10-14 days before it leaves our facility. (Not all cuts age well or benefit from it equally, but it’s a topic for another discussion.) We have a 15-to-30-day aging window and a 30-and-up window, during which customers can specify a particular product that they want aged to those specifications. We may eventually age things for even longer for a small handful of products, but only if the demand for them is there.
We do not age veal, goat, or lamb. They don’t have enough fat cover to survive the process, and they only go from good to bad to worse. Ask us how we know.

How is your meat packaged?

All of our products leave the facility vacuum packed and individually labeled. Product that’s being shipped via common courrier goes out in foam containers inside corrugated shipping boxes. The product is shipped with a combination of gel packs, ice, and/or dry ice, depending on the time of year, the destination, the weather, and the time the parcel will spend in transit.

What are the shipping options available to your customers?

We will only ship UPS Ground if it’s within UPS’ Zone 1, which spans from Boston to Washington, DC, and falls just shy of Chicago going west. Otherwise it’s Next Day Air, Next Day Air AM, or Next Day Air Saver.

We refuse to ship product through a service or shipping speed that would spend more than 1 whole day in transit. It’s just not worth the risk. Our apologies.

Can I come see the facility and shop for product while I’m there?

Our facility is a bustling, busy place full of hooks, rails, knives, switches, bandsaws, meat grinders, and meat cleavers. It’s not a supermarket. We pride ourselves in cutting meat to customer specifications and on making available items that have almost disappeared from the Kosher butcher’s shelf. We do not, however, have shelves or cases full of prepackaged product for sale. It may not be as quick and convenient as a large supermarket chain or price club, but the time and care we put into every order ensure that you get what you want, cut how you want it, and aged for as long as is proper.

Orders come in through the website and are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis, such that we cannot accommodate walk-ins. We’re happy to get you want you want, just put in for it through the website and we’ll have it out as soon as we can.

Do you offer demonstrations, presentations, or classes?

Yes, we most certainly do! Information on local demonstrations and classes can be found on our website. We often demonstrate Shehhitah, Niqur, and all of the myriad related Halakhot to high school and Yeshivah students, groups of Rabbis and laymen, Synagogue men’s clubs, study groups (e.g. Day Yomi, Haburah-type Gemara or Halakhah groups, etc.).

Rabbi Elkin teaches Shehhitah I (knives, birds, and salting), Shehhitah II (mammals, lungs, and Tereifot), and Niqur (nose-to-tail Treiboring and butchery) once or twice a year. Class sizes are small, classes fill up quickly, and Rabbi Elkin can usually only teach one or two courses per week. So if you are interested, sign up as soon as you’ve decided, or you may need to wait until next year to do it. Rabbi Elkin also gives anatomy and cooking classes from time to time. The information is always posted and Facebook and published through the website.

For more meat- and cooking-related questions, check out our blog!

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