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April 23, 2016

Show 1 – Mac’s Local Buys


I am very happy to announce that Tony Loves Food will be coming to the airwaves on The Fan 590 AM, Saturdays from 1 – 2pm. Each week I’ll be joined by someone from the local food and beverage scene to share with you what they do. We’ll also talk about what’s happening around town, where you should eat, cover food events, share recipe ideas and cooking tips, have fun with the food game, and even give stuff away from time to time. My first guest this Saturday is my friend Chris “Mac” McKenzie of Mac’s Local Buys. Tune in on your radio, listen on line, or download the app.

If you missed the show you can check it out on the archive player.

I’ve know Mac since high school days when he was just Chris.  We would run into each other over the years here and there and chat including once that I remember at Schnucks. But it wasn’t until years later when I kept hearing about “Mac” and meat buys from people I was getting to know in the local food scene that we really reconnected.  I guess it was meant to be that food brought us back together.  Since then I have watched him turn a passion for sourcing quality local meats into a business, enjoyed many of his events, and even participated on his BBQ team to win $10,000 on The Travel Channel’s Underground BBQ Challenge a few years ago.  Now that was an experience.  You can check out the St. Louis episode on iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon.

Mac’s Local Buys helps you source local meats and other products by doing the work to connect with the farmers who are doing it right.  He partners with a number of high quality local farms who raise heritage breed animals in a natural and sustainable way.  He provides harvests dates throughout the year and organizes group buys with pickups at local breweries.  The great thing is you can get a group to go in on a buy with you or just order your own share.  He’ll work with you on how you want it processed too.  Cows, hogs, eggs, chickens, turkeys are all being sourced with more variety and special offerings coming all the time.

Mac also organizes various events and special programs to promote his business and give more ways for people to connect.  The annual Pigs and Pints celebration is a huge pig roast feast and beer release party with live music and partnerships with local chefs held each year at The Civil Life Brewing Company.  He also has CSA programs like The Grocery Bag where you can take home a bi-weekly share of produce from a local farm and other products including non-GMO pasture-raised meats and farm fresh eggs. Also included at each pick up, artisan baked breads and local treats such as honey, jams, fresh pasta and more.

Mac’s Local Buys is a great local business doing some fun things in the community to bring people together through food and experience.  I highly recommend you check them out.

Cut Of Meat Of The Week

Many of us get locked into using the same cuts of meat over and over for our meals. At times because it’s what is readily available or on sale but many times I find it’s because we don’t investigate other cuts and how to use them.  Each week we’ll feature a different cut and give you info on it’s use and recipe suggestions.


This week’s cut is pork belly.  We seem to have an obsession with bacon. Partially because the belly is the biggest cut from the hog and very plentiful but also because it’s so darn good and has many uses.  It’s very easy to make your own bacon at home and by sourcing a quality cut from Mac’s Local Buys you will never want to go back to store bought once you try it.  Here’s one of my favorite basic recipes from Michael Ruhlman.

Spice Of The Week

Every culture uses spices to bring wonderful flavors to their dishes.  The history of the spice trade goes back centuries.  It has been the motivating factor in travel and exploration around the world and even wars.  With so many spices available it can be an overload of choices. What to use and how can be an overwhelming pursuit.  Many of us again just go for what we know and are comfortable with.  Each week we’ll feature a different selection from the rack and go over uses and recipe ideas in a effort to help you break free from the garlic powder and Italian seasoning that you’ve been using in every dish.


This week we talk about juniper berries.  Many cocktail consumers will quickly think of gin but it has many uses in the kitchen like crushing with other herbs and spices to make a paste for rubbing on game meats and roasting or in your cure for bacon.

Upcoming Food and Beverage Events

Saturday, April 23rd – 4 Hands Food Truck Fest 

Friday, May 6th – Feast Magazine Taste & Toast 

Sunday, May 15th – Pigs & Pints

Saturday, June 11th – St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival

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