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Zier's Prime Meats - Wilmette, IL


ronnie_suburban
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eGS member budrichard mentioned Zier's in this thread and after driving past it a few times and stopping by once on a Monday when it was closed, I finally made it to Zier's. It was definitely worth the wait. I've now been in a couple of times and Zier's meats are as good as any I've ever had.

The first time in, I bought some rib eyes, some skirt steaks and a few smoked meat snacks. The skirt steaks were tremendous. In fact, they were every bit as good as the skirts which inspired me to start the Reagan's thread linked above.

The smoked meats, cured in house and smoked in a true smokehouse, were fantastic. I tried jerkey, beef sticks and dried polish sausage. All 3 were excellent but the polish sausage trumped the others by a mile.

The rib eyes, I overcooked. They were still okay, but I did not give them a fair chance. Happily, part of the reason for my miscue is that at Zier's the steaks are cut to order. I wasn't really prepared to answer when propietor Dave Zier asked me how thick I wanted them. I'm used to simply pointing at the steaks I want. So, I held my fingers apart about 3/4" and ended up with steaks exactly that size but, a bit thinner than I usually end up with. Later that night, grilling in the early dark of standard time, I overcooked them to medium well. They were dry. It was totally my fault.

My next trip in, I again asked for ribeye. I watched Dave remove the large cut of Prime, aged beef from the case between us, place it on his cutting board, and remove the very end of it effortlessly, with a supremely sharp knife. When he looked up and asked the question, this time I was ready. "Oh about and inch and quarter" I said casually. :wink:

Cooked ideally to medium-rare, those steaks were just out of this world. I've had plenty of great steaks before and I grill steaks from great butchers all the time (usually with great success :wink:) These were at the top of the pyramid. The meat was -- dare I say it -- like butter. And while it they were plenty well-marbled, these were not a fatty steaks. Even the solid line of fat which runs through the rib-eye was atypically small. I just could not believe how great they were.

I also picked up a piece of cured, smoked brisket. Again, this product is cured in-house and then smoked in a smoke-house. Dave told me that it was basically "like bacon." In many ways, it is because what looks like corned beef to the naked eys, has more in common with bacon, on the flavor side. Yet it is clearly beefy too. Really delicious stuff.

The only way I can compare Zier's to other butchers is to say that it is, after a couple of initial visits, on a par with the best of them. There are other butchers about whose product I could say (and have said) very similar things. Ultimately, for whatever variety of reasons, the flavor profile of the meat (cooked and fresh) at Zier's is unique. Between that and the clearly outstanding quality of their products, I'm really pleased to have been "tipped off" about this place.

=R=

Zier's Prime Meats

813 Ridge Avenue

Wilmette, IL

847 251-4000

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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We have done a Prime Rib every Christmas Day for years. Over the years I have tried a few other sources including an organic Standing Rib Roast from the Outpost in Milwaukee, and other sources. The regular guests have made it clear that they expect Prime Rib from Zier's and no other!

Zier's dry ages the beef for about 17 days. Don't try for longer because they won't. We purchase the whole rib section and on Christmas morning we ascertain the number of guests and cut the roast to fit if needed. The remaining cut goes into the freezer for the grill!

I have a small Waygu rib roast from Mitsuwa in the freezer which we will have soon. This is low Prime @ $20/# according to the butcher at Mitsuwa. He can get top Waygu Prime but that is $40/#. I will post on the results.-Dick

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eGS member budrichard mentioned Zier's in The only way I can compare Zier's to other butchers is to say that it is, after a couple of initial visits, on a par with the best of them.  There are other butchers about whose product I could say (and have said) very similar things.  Ulimately, for whatever variety of reasons, the flavor profile of the meat (cooked and fresh) at Zier's is unique.  Between that and the clearly outstanding quality of their products, I'm really pleased to have been "tipped off" about this place.

=R=

i don't believe it. you'll have to show me. bornhofen's rulz!

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eGS member budrichard mentioned Zier's in The only way I can compare Zier's to other butchers is to say that it is, after a couple of initial visits, on a par with the best of them.  There are other butchers about whose product I could say (and have said) very similar things.  Ulimately, for whatever variety of reasons, the flavor profile of the meat (cooked and fresh) at Zier's is unique.  Between that and the clearly outstanding quality of their products, I'm really pleased to have been "tipped off" about this place.

=R=

i don't believe it. you'll have to show me. bornhofen's rulz!

It'll be a pleasure to compare and contrast the 2, meatily speaking :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Does Zier's carry Kurobuta pork? I'm dying to try a crown roast, but can only find one outfit in NYC, Lobel's, which will ship. It'd be nice to have a local supplier for this. Lobel's is charging $198 for the 8-10# roast, by the way, which sounds kind of high. I know this stuff isn't cheap, but didn't know if this was out of line.

Edited by gmi3804 (log)
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It'll be a pleasure to compare and contrast the 2, meatily speaking :smile:

And said comparison will be happening in Atlanta, right?

:biggrin::laugh::biggrin:

Does Zier's carry Kurobuta pork?  I'm dying to try a crown roast, but can only find one outfit in NYC, Lobel's, which will ship.  It'd be nice to have a local supplier for this.  Lobel's is charging $198 for the 8-10# roast, by the way, which sounds kind of high.  I know this stuff isn't cheap, but didn't know if this was out of line.

My guess is maybe :wink:

Seriously, having only been there a few times, I just don't know. Lobel's would have been my first suggestion but it would probably be worth a call to Zier's. I doubt they carry it at Moo & Oink. :wink::smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Mitsuwa sells Bershire Pork and it is very good but not having tasted Lobel's Kurabota, I can't compare. You can order from Berkshire's site direct or call the butcher at Mitsuwa. He is not Japanese and has a good command of the English language and I have found him to be very responsive. -Dick

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George,

You may also want to try Niman Ranch for a commensurate product. I haven't had time to fully peruse their site this morning.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Okay, you got me going to Reagans (no easy jaunt from Naperville) and I'm hooked.  Now I need to try Ziers.  I have to make this worth the effort so I can compare the two.  Besides Convito Italiano, what others shops do I need to visit? 

jb

Jean, here's a thread in which we recently discussed food destinations in and around Evanston:

Where to eat pastries in Evanston, IL, and surrounding area.

That thread, I believe, is a very good start but I'm sure there are other places in the area that we have, so far, neglected to include.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Jean, don't miss the corned beef (cold and extra lean) and rye bread(with seeds) at Kaufmans on Dempster.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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Mitsuwa sells Bershire Pork and it is very good but not having tasted Lobel's Kurabota, I can't compare. You can order from Berkshire's site direct or call the butcher at Mitsuwa. He is not Japanese and has a good command of the English language and I have found him to be very responsive. -Dick

The Berkshire pork at Mitsuwa is excellent; nothing better for Tonkatsu! And the price seems very reasonable. Thanks for letting us know about their butcher. I wanted to order some larger Wagyu steaks (the ones in the meat case are always sized for healthy Japanese meals), but I never asked. But now I will!

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Mitsuwa sells Bershire Pork and it is very good but not having tasted Lobel's Kurabota, I can't compare. You can order from Berkshire's site direct or call the butcher at Mitsuwa. He is not Japanese and has a good command of the English language and I have found him to be very responsive. -Dick

The Berkshire pork at Mitsuwa is excellent; nothing better for Tonkatsu! And the price seems very reasonable. Thanks for letting us know about their butcher. I wanted to order some larger Wagyu steaks (the ones in the meat case are always sized for healthy Japanese meals), but I never asked. But now I will!

Call ahead for your order. They get 1 whole rib/week, I wanted to purchase the whole rib but he couldn't sell it to me becuase he needed some for others. -Dick

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Does Zier's carry Kurobuta pork?  I'm dying to try a crown roast, but can only find one outfit in NYC, Lobel's, which will ship.

Seoul Market in Buffalo Grove has what they're labeling "black pork." I have not tried it and I don't know whether they'd carry anything like a crown roast. You could ask. It's a pretty nice Korean market.

Seoul Market

847/870-8830

1204 W. Dundee Road (at Arlington Heiqhts Road)

Buffalo Grove

LAZ

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  • 2 weeks later...

I stopped by Zier's again today to pick-up a whole brisket, which I ordered over the phone last week. When I ordered it, I was immediately asked if I'd be smoking it. I explained that I wouldn't be smoking it and that I didn't need the "packer's" cut. This time around, I needed it trimmed -- but whole.

When I arrived at Zier's today, Dave immediately acknowledged that he knew I was there for thewhole brisket. But he explained to me that he'd waited until I got there because he had a few sizes and didn't want to trim one until he knew which size I needed. Service like that is virtually impossible to find these days and it's one of the best things about Zier's.

What ensued was like performance art. Watching him trim that brisket was amazing. He made it look effortless as he transformed that big slab of fat-encased meat into a beautiful, trimmed cut. I told him how great it was just to watch him to do it and he told me that it was one of the harder cuts to trim. Whatever, he made it look as easy as pie.

Before I left, I made sure to order my Whole Rib Roast (prime, of course) for Christmas Eve. I asked Dave if he could "roll" it for us (separate the meat from the rack and then tie it back together for cooking). Needless to say, the answer was yes.

Ok, I had to choose it for myself, but at least I know I'll be very happy with my Christmas gift this year :wink::smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Your XMAS dinner will be better than mine. We are going to my daughters house for XMAS and with the small number of people we will have a choice Black Angus Tenderloin. Of course, I will be with my two grand-daughters!-Dick

Sounds like you'll be having a great time even if the food isn't up to the usual standards :wink:

I wanted to mention that I tried Zier's Summer Sausage this week and while both the hot and the mild were delicious I liked the mild a bit better. They were both excellent -- very flavorful and with a distinctively home-made texture and mouthfeel.

Right now, they have them both available in festive holiday casings too. I wish I exchanged gifts with more sausage lovers -- these would make absolutely perfect gifts!

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 2 months later...

I wanted to come back here and 'do a little dance' about how truly great Zier's is. First of all, the aforementioned rib roast we bought at Zier's for Christmas Eve dinner was generally regarded as the best ever by my family. The aging method Dave uses produces subtley tangy and richly flavorful beef. Dave was also kind enough to "roll" it for us. He separated most of roast from the rack and then tied it back on. After cooking, I merely had to remove the butcher's twine, separate a small line of the eye from the bones which took almost no time. When dealing with a nearly 20-pound roast, this type of help is invaluable.

Here are a few pics of the Xmas roast . . .

gallery_3085_2556_90898.jpg

gallery_3085_2556_32880.jpg

The chuck roast I purchased at Zier's produced one hell of a batch of Beef Burgundy for Christmas dinner. The rib-eye and strip steaks, cut to order, are consistently wonderful. Dave recently cut and trimmed a top sirloin roast for me -- right off the primal cut -- which was also fantastic.

But beyond the fantastic beef, nearly all of the house-made products available at Zier's are phenomenal. I've tried a bunch of them and frankly, there have been no duds. Here's a brief roster:

Bacon -- slab or sliced

Cured and smoked in-house, this bacon stacks up with the best of them. Sweet and salty -- but not overly so. We had some for breakfast and I made a BLT with the rest of it. Excellent stuff.

Breakfast Sausage -- fresh links, brown & serve patties

--We made the fresh links for Christmas morning breakfast and they were as good as any I've ever had. The brown & serve patties are also excellent and take just a few minutes to prepare. They come 5-7 per pack (~ 1-pound) and the packages are nicely cryovacked -- like almost all the house-made products at Zier's.

Breakfast Sausage -- smoked links

--Outstanding, smokey and very porky tasting. These remind me of smoky links when they used to be good. These possess a depth of flavor which can only be produced by someone who cares and takes the time to do things properly. Just excellent and a real treat.

Italian Sausage -- hot, mild, links, bulk

Exploding with flavor, very delicious and made with a seasoning combination which makes perfect sense to my palate.

Smoked Salmon -- hot-smoked filet

Tender, smokey, flakey and absolutely delicious. As good as any hot-smoked salmon

Andouille Sausage -- links

Again, a very well-rendered sausage. These have a great spiciness and are in the same league as several of the brands I've purchased from Cajun Grocer.com

Smoked Chicken Breast -- whole breast, skinless

Dave rubs these briefly, rinses them, lets them dry and then smokes them. They're terrific eaten plain, sliced and stuffed into a sandwich or used as a pizza topping (we made BBQ chicken pizza with caramelized red onion). This stuff is the poultry version of crack and I don't even like white meat!

Home-made Hotdogs -- cryovacked 6 packs

Even in this town, these dogs rate. Certainly not Vienna (or, thankfully, anything like them) but absolutely delicious and very unique. Don't get me wrong, I love Vienna but Zier's dogs are simply wonderful in their own way.

Ok, now on top of everything I've already described, Zier's has become the power plant behind my experimentation in Charcuterie. Dave has, without even a bit of hesitation, hooked me up with an endless supply of pork bellies, pre-cut pork butt, extra pork fat, and all sorts of other special requests. Last week, while I waited, he boned out a whole mess of chicken thighs for me in what seemed like an instant. They -- combined with some pork fat -- (which he also provided) became Chicken-Roasted Poblano Sausage. He's also given me tons of advice about curing, smoking and sausage making.

Anyway, I'm just feeling a whole lot of butcher love today. For me, the past few months have been filled with exceptionally great food and the acquisition of all sorts of new cooking knowledge. In many ways, I have to give credit to Zier's. I could not have done or learned nearly as much without Dave's help. It is the kind of shop which every beef-loving foodie dreams about.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Here are a few pics of the Xmas roast . . .

Are there any more leftovers. Looking pretty damn tasty. Must stop by Zier's. Then swing by your place and have you cook it. :biggrin: So have you gone through every recipe in Charcuterie?

Ambitious plans, my friend, but leave yourself a nice chunk of time. That roast pictured above took about 7 hours and even then, we kinda' cranked it at the end because we were all getting too hungry to wait much longer.

I've only made about 7 recipes (and variations thereof) from Charcuterie but I do anticipate working my way through most of the book. That said, I'm still not sure what's up next . . .

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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