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Behind The Smoke: BBQ War Stories

Dec 15, 2017

James Holtslag - The Heart and Trotter Butchery - North Park, San Diego @heartandtrotter

James Holtslag grew up in the Virginia countryside, hunting and fishing learning how to prepare meats from a young age. After graduating college he worked in the corporate world longing for something more. He decided to gather family and friends and pursue his passion by opening his own butcher shop here in San Diego.

The Heart and Trotter is owned and operated by James Holtslag and Trey Nichols. James and Trey created the Heart and Trotter after recognizing the need for a healthy, local alternative to the meats that are being offered in San Diego. Though many business gloat “local meat” the two found that was not always the case. The large companies were hiding behind a local warehouse or plot of land to create the sense of a “local” company. Most of the production was done hundreds of miles away or in other states.

With much determination and 3 years of searching, James and Trey found ranchers that were up to their expectations and creating a product that was not only sustainable and humane but also on a different level of flavor. James and Trey personally inspect all of the ranches used at The Heart and Trotter.

The Heart & Trotter butcher shop in North Park opened in 2014 and has grown to success by being transparent and honest with their customers. James and Trey’s love for what they do show in the amazing products that they sell.

James tells his story of opening his Butcher shop and what is takes to grow a business the honest way.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

The Heart and Trotter

North Park

Top Sirloin

Cook Pig's Ranch

Head Cheese


Blood Sausage


Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Melissa's Produce

@sandiegobutcher Instagram

Heart & Trotter Instagram

Heart & Trotter Twitter

Heart & Trotter Facebook


Butcher Boy Machines

Forschner Rosewood Cutlery

Old Hickory Pits


Greater Omaha

Quotes / Snackable Takeaways From This Podcast:

“Stand by your brand”

“Write everything down”

“Bring people into the journey and the process”

"Tell a story, be transparent, and that won't always be easy"

Get in Touch

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Honorable Mentions:


Ole Hickory Pits:

Grill Grates:

Weber Grills:

Spring Valley Tailgate & BBQ Festival Photos:

Upcoming BBQ Events and Competitions:

Thank you to Jet West Band for our epic Intro Jingle!

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