DeBragga Meats

What is naturally raised meat? – DeBragga

We visit each and every ranch that supplies us with meat to ensure that the animals are well treated. That they are raised humanely, that they are never ever given antibiotics, or hormones, are fed all-vegetable feed, and that “free-range” means that they have enough room to graze. Why? Because stress-free lives for the animals produce tastier more tender meat of the very highest quality.

It is a fact, I have seen it time and again –

the better the animals live –

the better the meat they produce!

-George Faison, Partner,

Much of DeBragga’s naturally raised meat comes from the very best cattle, hogs, and lambs raised by the folks at Niman Ranch. We bring in special cuts of beef, pork, and lamb, and then we take many cuts of naturally raised beef on the bone and age the meat in our facility. Let’s take a look at what the term “Naturally Raised” really means, and why you should look for that to be on the package of every meat protein you buy.

Naturally Raised Meat Pastures


Naturally raised cattle


These cattle are never given hormones to stimulate growth. They are not administered antibiotics unless they get sick and then they are segregated from the herd and sold as commodity cattle. They are never fed any animal-based protein supplements of any kind. EVER. This is referred to in our industry as a Never Ever Program. Some programs permit weaning the animals from antibiotics after a few months. Not these animals. Never means never. The cattle start out for up to a year or more on pasture (grass fed). Early on, while on the pasture, they are weaned onto the grain. When fully, naturally mature (anywhere from 14 – 20 months), they are moved to low-density feedlots for 150 – 200 days of grain finishing. These lots are specially managed to limit the stress on the animal by providing regular feed, continual access to water, dry ground and shade, as well as other practices to ensure the cattle are calm and comfortable. (And by limiting the number of animals in any one location, the surrounding environment is minimally impacted).  Naturally raised meat comes from naturally raised beef cattle!

All this attention to the husbandry results in beef that is more complex in flavor and typically more highly marbled. Whether it’s prime, hand select, or New York grass fed and grass finished, the beef may cost more, but in our opinion, it is worth it. Treat the animal better and it will taste better. And for those who think their budget isn’t up to this standard, our mantra is “Eat Less But Eat Better.”

DeBragga’s wagyu selections are also naturally and humanely raised, but the protocols for this breed differ, regardless of whether it’s Japanese, Australian or American.


Naturally raised hogs


We offer DeBragga’s own Gloucester Old Spot hogs. In fact, DeBragga is one of the largest breeders of Gloucester Old Spots in the U.S. Our hogs are raised in New York State by Amish farmers who respect the animal's legendary heritage and create the best possible environment for them to flourish. We grow out the Gloucester Old Spots much longer than other breeds because they take longer to reach maturity. They live outside on pasture and enjoy pens with cover in colder or inclement weather. They are only given antibiotics if one becomes ill, and then it is separated from the other hogs until completely well.

Gloucester Old Spots are so rich and delicious, they beat out all competition in the Cochon555 NYC contest in New York City Spring 2019. We know they’re a winner, and now it’s been proven true.

We also offer Niman Ranch “free-range” hogs, raised on more than 700 small, family farms in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states of the U.S. and are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. They NEVER use gestation crates or farrowing crates – EVER. They never give them hormones or antibiotics – EVER, keeping both the hogs, and your family, happy.

These hogs are heritage breeds raised with traditional, sustainable farming methods, with the animals living outside, on pasture or in deeply bedded pens. They are fed only a 100% vegetarian diet, and never, ever given hormones or antibiotics. EVER.


Naturally raised lamb


DeBragga offers its own Apple Fed Dorset lambs, raised by Amish farmers in New York State that work closely with DeBragga to ensure that the animals are raised according to our protocols. That means raised outdoors with access to barns, excellent environmental management (effluence, feeding), and humane treatment from the first breath to harvest.  Born in the spring, and raised on mother’s milk and pasture until August, when we add barley to the diet. Toward the end of August, we introduce the fresh apples into their feed, along with the barley and alfalfa. They are harvested in early Fall. Of course, they are raised antibiotic- and hormone-free, just like all of DeBragga’s naturally raised meats.

We also offer Niman Ranch lamb, consistent and tender year-round as the result of raising the animals in regions with alternating growing seasons. They partner with fewer than a dozen ranching families in the Pacific Northwest, most of whom are multiple generation farmers. These lambs are 100% traceable back to their birth ranch.

They use a variety of pure breeds with cross-breeds that fit the ranching climate and provide consistent high-quality meat. Raised on pasture, vineyards and open range, the lamb are outdoors for most of their lives. They either graze on alfalfa or are fed a diet of high-quality grain and roughage for finishing, which allows for consistent tasting meat. The young age of the lamb, coupled with their low-stress environment and high-quality diet, ensures a mellow flavor that’s never gamey.

Key Points:

All Natural No antibiotics
No added hormones
All vegetarian feeds
Humanely raised on environmentally sustainable ranches
Cattle Breeds Only Angus, Hereford, and Short Horn breed, chosen for their well-marbled, tender beef and depth of flavor. Japanese beef breed is wagyu, and the Australian Wagyu is cross bred with Angus and Holstein.
Hog Breeds Free-range is a cross of Tamworth, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Duroc; we offer pure blood Gloucester Old Spot as well as Iberico.
Lamb American lamb and Dorset lamb.
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