MADE IN NEVADA: Sierra Meat & Seafood

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Sierra Meat & Seafood is the biggest meat and seafood processor in Nevada and is listed as number 98 on the 2018 top meat and poultry processors in the United States.

Bimini Steakhouse Chef de Cuisine Neil Campbell turns steaks inside the Peppermill Resort Hotel.

About 120 workers process 20 million pounds of meat in the Reno facility every year.

Chef Neil Campbell has worked at the swanky Bimini Steak House inside the Peppermill Casino for more than a year. Many nights you can find him or a member of his crew working over a grill in the kitchen to prepare meat purchased from Sierra Meat & Seafood.

"We want them to have a great burst of beef flavor when they bite into it. With the tenderness so it eats like butter and just tastes like honey," he said.

Jeremy Goss and his wife Nora are enjoying the luxurious ambiance as their filet mignon steaks are served. With only a gentle press of the knife the meat is cut apart with ease.

"It's fabulous. It's wonderful. Great steak," said Nora.

"Very tender. Very juicy," Jeremy continued.

Jeremy and Nora can credit their meal to a young boy who immigrated to the United States in the early 1900's. His name is Armando Flocchini, Sr. Chris Flocchini is his grandson and the current President and CEO of Armond Agra, the parent company of Sierra Meat & Seafood.

"He was a young man about 6 years old in northern Italy. Came over with his mother and father to northern California," said Chris.

A picture of Armando shows him posing at Durham Meat Company in San Francisco.

He eventually purchased the company in 1934 and now the fourth generation of his family continues to operate the business.

It's located inside a custom built 50,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility at 1330 Capital Boulevard in Reno.

"We say that our purpose is to make a gathering of friends and family memorable and we really believe that. We supply customers from fast casual to white table cloth up at the Lake," said Sierra Meat & Seafood President Scott Dineen.

The cleanliness standards are extremely high. Workers must pass through a boot washing station. It's a cleaning gauntlet of sorts and a requirement to enter the meat processing area. The solution running through automatic scrub brushes is made from warm water and soap.

Just inside the first door is a small army of workers preparing steaks for some of the finest area restaurants.

Each steak is individually hand cut and then weighed.

The most popular steaks are the fillets and the boneless ribeye, Scott said.

Another worker is cutting pork shanks with a band saw. The meat is frozen to allow for precision cuts.

One room over is where the seafood is prepared. A worker fillets a never frozen Halibut caught only four days prior off the coast of Alaska.
The workers are skilled and waste no time with each fish.

One table over other workers are preparing farm raised New Zealand Salmon. Workers remove all the bones to ensure each bite is tender and delicious.

The single most popular item is ground beef. It's produced at the rate of between 20,000 and 30,000 thousand pounds a week.

Workers write down the temperature of the beef so that each batch can be traced back to Sierra Meat & Seafood's processing facility in Reno for full tractability.

The meat is placed in a patty machine. One-by-one they quickly come out on a conveyor belt. A red laser measures the beef patties for thickness.

They're hand packed in boxes for you to enjoy at a restaurant or at home.

Meats are also dry aged between 35 and 40 days in the Reno facility.

"It's going to give it that richer that nuttier honestly earthy flavor," Scott said.

The process breaks the beef fibers down making it more tender.

"This room has lots of fans and dehumidifiers because a lot of moisture comes out of the meat itself," said Scott.

This Himalayan salt also sits on a rack not far from the aging meat.

"It does pull a lot of the moisture out of the air and it does give a little slight flavor transfer, which is nice. We think it's one of our differentiating features," Scott said.

The room is preparing short loin, porterhouse, T-bone and KC steaks for the finest dining establishments in our area.

Sierra Meat & Seafood in Reno supplies meat to 580 customers in Reno and the Lake Tahoe areas, plus another roughly 400 customers across the United States along with nine Asian countries. It also sells exotic and specialty meats including: alligator, antelope, bison, camel, elk, goat, kangaroo, llama, ostrich, rabbit, venison, wild boar, Wagyu (Kobe style beef), and dry aged Wagyu.

The Flocchini family also has a 55,000-acre bison ranch in northeast Wyoming and a 15,000 square food facility in Carson City called Flocchini where the family makes handcrafted sausage and deli meats.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019