I had the good fortune of chatting with butcher Anna Gibala recently about her new venture Moonbelly Meat Company, a Durham-based butcher shop specializing in handmade sausage and charcuterie made with humanely raised and locally sourced pork.
The charming name of Gibala’s store is an homage to her Korean heritage combined with a nod to butchery. Adopted from Seoul by a Durham couple, her Korean surname Moon became her middle name, retaining that cultural thread. Gibala says she’s always loved anything moon-related as a result, so it’s only natural that a moon would be incorporated into her business’s name. The other half of the name refers to the delectable pork belly, a prized cut of richly-flavored pork that can be made into bacon, pancetta, and other incredibly delicious products.
In a male-dominated field, Gibala had the opportunity to work with a number of female butchers, including Kate Kavanaugh of Western Daughters in Denver and the team at Clove and Hoof in Oakland. She’s also worked at other esteemed butcheries like Tails and Trotters in Portland, OR, and both Elevation Charcuterie and il porcellino salumi, of Denver. With years of hands-on experience with whole-hog butchery, wholesale, and hospitality, Gibala is bringing a wealth of knowledge (not to mention amazing food!) to Durham.
Currently, you can order a variety of meats on her website, www.moonbellymeatco.com/shop for local Raleigh and Durham pickup and delivery. She plans to keep hot italian, breakfast, and sweet italian sausages, along with a special rotating flavor, on the menu at all times. Keep an eye out for her bone broth, as well as Mexican chorizo – these aren’t always available, but when they are, you’re not going to want to miss out!
Another one of her special flavors is the Korean BBQ sausage. Watch for this one, too, and follow Gibala’s advice with this recipe she shared with me:
Anna Gibala’s Korean BBQ Sausage Tacos
KBBQ sausage (casing removed)
Green onion sliced thin
1. Remove the sausage from the casing and sauté in a skillet on medium until browned.
2. Turn a separate pan on low to warm tortillas lightly on each side.
3. Assemble tacos with tortillas and browned sausage.
4. Garnish with pickled veggies, cilantro, and green onion. Enjoy!
As her shop grows, Gibala hopes to set Moonbelly apart as an inclusive space that features compelling vegetarian options side by side with her pork sausages. In addition, she plans to educate her patrons on the benefits of sustainable agriculture by eating meat in a less commodified, more thoughtful way.
Follow Moonbelly on Instagram @moonbellymeatco for updates on ordering, weekly offerings, and more.