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Your local Butcher Shop


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I grew up in Indiana where we would always get our meats from a large supermarket in a shrink wrapped package or from the butcher case where they would pull the meat out of cryovac and put it into the case.

I new there were real Butchers out there but I didn't know where. Until, that is, I moved to Philadelphia. My first day in Philly I decided to put aside the unpacking and went directly to the Italian Market on 9th st. South Philly. This is were I found my first true Butcher. Walking along the street, past the fruit and vegetable stands, past DiBruno Brother's, I came to a most unusual site. Well, it was very unusual to me, coming from small town Indiana. There was three baby lamb hanging in the window of a shop. To a kid who just entered culinary school this was the coolest thing in the world. When I entered the shop I entered a whole new world. There were four older guys behind the counter handing over cuts of meat that I didn't even recognize. There were roasts that were so perfectly tied they looked like a machine did it, and the guys were actually cutting the meat! The store was Espositos.

I then moved to the Berkshires and later the Islands in Mass. and again i was stuck buying my meat from a supermarket, again in cryovaced containers. I really missed the quality that I could so easily finid in Philly.

About six months ago, I moved to Germany. Now, I don't want to down play what Espositos means to me. It was the Butcher Shop that opened my eyes to the world of Butchery. That being said, there are Butchers here in Berlin that work on a completley different level.

Right down the street from my apartment there is a Butcher called, Fleischerei Gottschlich, were they make everything themselves. Everything! Not only do they bring in whole sides of beef, whole lamb, whole pigs, whole hind quarters of veal, and butcher them on site(and they can tell you where the animals come from), they make everything else on site as well. Everything from curing and cooking their own hams(with exception of the parma and black forest, which come from parma and the black forest), to making their own salamis(like 10 diferent kinds), to making their own sausage(around 12 types), to a great Lyonerwurst (like bologna only 100 times better). The list goes on and on. The front of the store is spotless, and about the size of my living room. There are four women behind the counter who always have a smile on their faces, like they really enjoy their jobs. The only down side is that there is always a crowd. I also see this as a positive because this assures that the product is always going to be fresh. Another thing is there is one of these shops in everyone's neighborhood. They are even in the small towns. My girlfriend comes from a small town with about 15,000 people and they have a Butcher like this.

Why don't they exist in America? If you know of a great neighborhood Butcher shop in your area let us know about it.

Edited by kpzachary (log)
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No, kpzachary, I'm not as lucky as you. Nope.

I have a butcher around the corner, with very loyal customers. He breaks down pig carcasses, and was able to give me the kidney fat for lard and my husband the jowl for one of his projects. But his beef may as well come from the supermarket, and anything "special" we'd have to order in mass quantity.

There's a guy in the area who raises beef cattle on grass and finishes them on corn. It's a great product, but regulations require that he retail his beef cut, cryovac'ed, and frozen. I pick it up at a farmstand in town.

I had a great butcher when I lived in Lewisburg, PA: Byerly's, a family outfit, they raised and slaughtered their own cattle. I'll never forget the look of pride one of the kids had as he wrapped up the rib roast we'd ordered for New Year's. "That's some roast," knowing exactly how it got that way. He was right.

Enjoy your good fortune!

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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Our local butcher is just great. The only meat they don't pick and slaughter themselves is chicken, and this comes in fresh twice a week. The quality is terrific. They will get whatever cut you ask for, make their own salami type products, sausages, hamburger patties, fritz/polony etc etc. All this in a little town of less than 200 people (though only decent butcher for 200km).

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  • 13 years later...

Old thread, but since it's here:

 

I am beyond excited. Jonesboro now has a butcher shop that stocks only regional, farm-raised meat! Farm to Fork is a small processor in Batesville, AR, about 90 minutes from me, and has stores in half a dozen small cities around Arkansas. They have good prices for bulk beef (half-steer, whole steer) and pork (cured bundles, fresh bundles, half-hog and whole hog), as well as for packaged steaks, roasts, chops, etc. While I love my farmers from whom I get my beef, pork and chicken, and will keep using them for my quarter-steer every year, it's good to have a back-up source, as much as they've had to deal with their own processor being overloaded and slow.

 

They opened Wednesday. I stopped by yesterday. I picked up a package of pork chops, gorgeous center-cut, BIG chops, and one of pork tenderloin, which is not always easily found in the grocery except in pre-marinated packages. The pork chops will go in the sous vide tomorrow morning and then on the grill tomorrow evening. The tenderloin's in the freezer. 

 

Among the other things that have been difficult to find here that I saw in the cooler: beef cheeks and marrow bones.

 

I have a notion I'll be a regular customer.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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We are fortunate enough in my area to have several butcher shops and specialty shops that include a good meat section.  Our favorite is Belmont Butchery which is owned by real deal lady butcher Tanya Cauthen.  She appeared on, and won, Food Network's Chopped Grill Game.  She's also a chef, and has a fantastic staff.  You can get great products and good advice at her place.  They do in-store charcuterie and confit.  It's an amazing place that I wish we lived closer to.  

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I'm spoiled.   I grew up mid-Century in a small town where every sizable "grocery store" had a good butcher counter.     Now in SF, most good grocers have a butcher counter where they break down carcasses, and there are at least a dozen excellent stand alone butcher shops.     Beautiful product, heritage pork and poultry, both mid-West corn-fed and local grass-fed beef.   A handful carry superb veal.   Top/chef quality with corresponding prices. .   Plus we have numerous Asian and Latino butchers who also offer mainstream quality at affordable prices.  

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eGullet member #80.

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My experience is the same as @Margaret Pilgrim. I find the relationship more intimate than with the produce guys (why are they mostly male?)  The was one female at a sadly now closed big Pacific-Asian market in the fish department. When she was retiring and let us know she got little gifts like plants and sweets. And at Albertsons a female butcher.

Edited by heidih (log)
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Dropped back in there yesterday afternoon to pick up a Boston butt (could have SWORN I had one in the freezer, but it apparently has grown feet and ambled off somewhere). They were out of butts, so I got a couple of small picnic roasts (close to the same thing, anyway), which have been marinating since last night in New Mexican red chile sauce (a la Kenji). Going to put them in the SV shortly, let them SV all day, and then chill overnight and put on the smoker tomorrow morning. Also going to throw a beef kielbasa and some chicken Italian sausages on for good measure. Have friends coming for dinner tomorrow night; smoked pork with some of the chile sauce; Napa cabbage slaw; street corn; refried beans; corn tortillas; banana pudding.

 

And one of the guests contends he's going to teach me to make macarons. Say a prayer....

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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24 minutes ago, heidih said:

My experience is the same as @Margaret Pilgrim. I find the relationship more intimate than with the produce guys (why are they mostly male?)  The was one female at a sadly now closed big Pacific-Asian market in the fish department. When she was retiring and let us know she got little gifts like plants and sweets. And at Albertsons a female butcher.

Yes, re building relationships with butchers    When I want to make a "big fish soup", my fish guy gives me a whole halibut frame.     There's enough large chunks of meat on them for at least one meal for two.    Same with suet from the butcher.    You can also call ahead and know that they will pick good pieces for a sight unseen order.

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eGullet member #80.

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