Campus butcher shop adding products, growing business

February 20, 2012


Erin Peiguss works the counter at the Boilermaker Butcher Block meat market inside Smith Hall at the corner of University and State streets on Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus. Peiguss is assistant to the director of Purdue's meat science program. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's retail meat shop is expanding its product line and on-campus distribution.

The Boilermaker Butcher Block has introduced apple bratwursts, beef summer sausage and salami, and various marinated pork products, and expects to offer more products in the months ahead, said Jolena Waddell, program director for meat sciences in Purdue's Department of Animal Sciences. In addition, meat shop products are served in the Sagamore Room and soon will be available at the John Purdue Room and Boiler Bistro, all campus restaurants.

Although the Boilermaker Butcher Block enjoys a regular clientele, many on Purdue's West Lafayette campus and surrounding communities don't know about the meat shop, Waddell said.

"Our meat is Purdue bred and fed," she said. "We provide locally grown products from our animal sciences farm near Montmorenci. And we're one of the only places in Tippecanoe County that sells lamb and goat meat."

The shop is in room 170 of Smith Hall, at the southwest corner of University and State streets, and consists of a retail store and meat lab, where products are packaged. The shop is open Wednesdays and Fridays 2-5:30 p.m.

About 75 products are available for purchase, including various cuts of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and goat, as well as Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss cheese, proceeds from which go toward scholarships. All meat sold through the store is inspected by the Indiana Board of Animal Health.

"We sell nearly 10,000 pounds of meat a month," Waddell said. "Our prices are about the same as you would find in grocery stores, and the quality is excellent. All the money we make goes back into programs to educate students."

Established in the mid-1970s, the Boilermaker Butcher Block is the only university-owned meat shop in Indiana. It employs two full-time butchers who have been on staff for a combined 47 years. Much of the work, however, is done by students, most working part-time. The Butcher Block serves as a training ground for students interested in a meat science career.

Waddell became the meat program director in August. In her brief tenure, she has worked to broaden specialty product offerings, increase awareness of the business and grow the customer base.

"Our new products have been well received," Waddell said. "People often ask about the apple bratwurst. It is a very sweet sausage, with lots of apple, sugar and cinnamon, but is also very lean. It's often eaten as a breakfast sausage or at tailgating parties. It is also being served in the residence dining halls."

Other new products will be developed this spring with the help of a student intern from the Central American university Instituto Technológico de Costa Rica. The student will spend 10 weeks at Purdue working with processed meats.

Waddell also has revamped the meat shop's website and developed a Boilermaker Butcher Block Facebook page. The website - - features a campus map with parking instructions, a complete product list, weekly and holiday specials, recipes and ordering information.

Products can be ordered by telephone, online or by fax, or purchased at the retail store. Phone, online and fax orders must be picked up at the store.

For more information, visit the website or call 765-494-8285.

Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415,

Source: Jolena Waddell, 765-494-3276,

 A link to a video clip of Purdue students and the program director working in the Boilermaker Butcher Block is available at:

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