Meat and butchers.

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Orfy

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Where do you buy your meat?

A few brewers have mentioned that they don't have local butchers.
Most cities don't have butchers in the high streets. Pushed out by coffee and fashion shops. The majority of people buy pink packaged lean meats from the supermarkets. (I refuse too)

The good news is that most towns, villages and markets have ample butchers. Like most trades they vary in quality but there are plenty of good ones.

The best ones have meat hanging and maturing. They are the ones to seek out because they follow the craft and are interested in quality.
The poorer ones are just distributors (sort of).

Any way.... I like my butchers.




These came from here......


 

Bernie Brewer

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orfy said:
The best ones have meat hanging and maturing. They are the ones to seek out because they follow the craft and are interested in quality.
The poorer ones are just distributors (sort of).
I was a meat cutter for almost 20 years in a grocery store. During that time I saw the stores go from swinging meat to boxed primal cuts to pre-trimmed primals. Some stores (Wal-Mart. for example) are selling fully processed pre-packaged retail cuts. There are good and bad things about this.

The bad is you no longer have an experienced meatcutter(don't call them butchers, they don't like that) on hand to ask questions, just some flunky that stocks the shelves. An he won't be able to custom-cut anything for you. He couldn't if he wanted to- the store doesn't even have a meatsaw or a grinder.

The good is there is a lot less chance of getting food poisoning from cross-contamination. You don't have to worry about your steak being processed on the same meatsaw and cutting table as the 50 chickens that were just cut up, or your hamburger run through the same grinder as the 100 lbs of pork that was just ground for sausage. Local places don't worry about that nearly as much because they only see an inspector maybe once or twice a year, while the processing plants have them on-site all the time. They also don't pay nearly as much attention to temperature control and sanitation in general. And don't get me started on the things I've seen in regards to reprocessing out-of date product.

About the only places that you are going to find swinging beef anymore are the places that still do customized slaughtering. At least that is the way in the US, Orfy, I don't know about the UK. There are a very few specialized shops that still hang on to the old ways, but VERY few.
 

PseudoChef

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When I cook a fancy meal I get meat from a butcher. In the US that usually equates to a place like Whole foods, although I just saw an advertisement a week or two ago for a real butcher shop. I'm going to have to go check him out.
 

eriktlupus

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i've got a couple locals that do custom cuts and grind for house sausage. we also have quite a few butchers that do work for farmers, custom cuts from hangers(beef, pork and seasonaly deer)
 

Melana

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I know that in cities such as Boston, Worcester, and Providence there are still shops with butchers (meat markets). We usually buy all of our meat at the supermarket unless it is a special meal. Why? We're lazy.
 
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In the southern US if the city's I have been in do have "meat cutters" it just takes a bit of searching (or driving). They are a staple in the small towns.
 

Dr Vorlauf

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We have a nice farmers market nearby. 6+ butchers speacilizing in either pork, beef our poultry.

really good stuff.
 

SuperiorBrew

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We have several up here, seems like you have to get out of the city to find the ones that either raise and butcher their own beef or at least buy and slaughter them. We buy all our meat from the local "meat markets"no more water added or pink crap. It costs a little more but is well worth it.
 

janzik

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Years ago (20+?), There was a place in East Brunswick, NJ called S&S Meats. That is the only major (old school) style butcher that's around here, that I know of. Not that I've really tried hard. The "World Class" Shop Rite supermarkets sometimes have a decent meat department, but they don't compare to a real butcher (not to say they aren't, but you know what I mean). The closest thing we have around these parts, that I know of is the Wegman's stores (in Manalapan and Woodbridge). The only problem is they get real expensive (Fish/seafood worse than beef/pork/poultry). For New Years eve I picked up some steaks for like $9/lb, which was a good deal.
 
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You ever get ground beef from the grocery that is pink on the outside but gray in the middle. I did and here is why...
[YOUTUBE]YVTUIld-pRw[/YOUTUBE]
(Sorry I don't know how the embed them)

mod edit. done it for you.
 

AlaskaBrewing

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I buy most of my meat from a butcher in Eagle River, Alaska. It takes a 30 min drive but it is worth it. The meat has no hormones and they will cut it to your liking. They don't have any "hanging" meat but they do make fresh brats and other sausages. My favorite is their double smoked sausage. I use it when I make gumbo. They even have several types of bacon (beef and pork).
 

Bernie Brewer

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Chris_Dog said:
You ever get ground beef from the grocery that is pink on the outside but gray in the middle. I did and here is why...

I can tell you that that is NOT why your ground beef turns brown or gray in the middle. It does this because there is no exposure to oxygen in the middle of the beef. Beef has blood in it, and oxygenated blood is red, while non-oxygenated blood is darker in color. Hold your breath long enough, and you'll turn purple too. Here's an experiment for you: Next time you buy a steak, lay it flat on a counter top or cutting board (take it out of the package first, of course). I guarantee you that after 15 or 20 minutes the up-side will still be bright red while the side that is in contact with the cutting board will be black as the ace of spades. I used to be accused of all kinds of ridiculous things as a meatcutter, like wrapping the old ground beef inside the fresh stuff in order to hide it. We did a lot of stuff I wasn't proud of, but adding false color was never one of them.
 
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Bernie you may be right (you would know) however if you do a search you will find the FDA approves of packing meat with several gasses. Carbon monoxide is just one of them. All intended on making meat look (or stay) fresh longer.
 

talleymonster

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Somebody mentioned Wal-Mart above.

One time I went and bought some London Broil. I asked the guy behind the counter if he would slice it for me because I wanted to make some Beef Jerky. He told me that he could not do it for me. I asked him "why?" and he said that Wal-Mart doesn't have butchers. They used to, but then the butchers wanted to go Union so Wal-Mart just got rid of them. (this is all what the guy told me)
Being a Union Carpenter, that decided it for me. I dropped the meat on the counter and walked away.
 

Bernie Brewer

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Chris_Dog said:
Bernie you may be right (you would know) however if you do a search you will find the FDA approves of packing meat with several gasses. Carbon monoxide is just one of them. All intended on making meat look (or stay) fresh longer.

Oh, yes I know. Smoked meats have been packaged that way for years. It improves the self life dramatically. Using gas flushing is relatively new for fresh meats though.


Tallymonster said:
Somebody mentioned Wal-Mart above.

One time I went and bought some London Broil. I asked the guy behind the counter if he would slice it for me because I wanted to make some Beef Jerky. He told me that he could not do it for me. I asked him "why?" and he said that Wal-Mart doesn't have butchers. They used to, but then the butchers wanted to go Union so Wal-Mart just got rid of them. (this is all what the guy told me)
Being a Union Carpenter, that decided it for me. I dropped the meat on the counter and walked away.

Yeah, that was me. And yes, that's exactly why Wal-Mart did it. They don't even have cutting or grinding equipment anymore. I've never worked in a union shop in my life, though, (Meatcutting, or electrical work) so I couldn't care less about that aspect of it. But that is another kettle of fish altogether.
 

menschmaschine

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Orfy, that's awesome. Is that in Chester? I spent some time in Chester doing some temp work for an engineering consultancy. The best steak I've ever had in my life was in a nice pub in Shropshire on my birthday (and I think it was BSE-free:)). It made Morton's and Ruth's Chris taste like a pile of puke.
 

Bruscar

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Like the "lazy" comment earlier, I too buy most of our day-to-day meats at the stupermarket.
Now, if I'm doin' Q, that's a differnt sitchee-ation. Off to one of two Prime grade butchers I know of within 30 minutes of here. I refuse to stoke the Train with coals and myself full of HB for 8-10 hours using cheap meat.
We actually bought a quarter side one time from one of the 2. Cost me $700. Gotta say, the meat was so much better. Just hard to cough up that much coin these days.
 

david_42

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Seems to be the other way around on the west coast, only the big cities have butcher shops. I live in a town of 1600 & there are no butchers here or anywhere nearby. There are places that have "meat counters", but it's the same stuff sliced a little differently. Something I miss from living in the Bay area.

And I really miss the Asian fish markets.
 
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I have a butcher shop near me that I pop in every once in a while but the prices are so outrageous I usually just walk back out. Its more of an en vougue kind of place. Oooh, look - I just spent $22 a lb for this NY strip :rolleyes:. May as well go to a steak joint and have someone cook you one.

The butcher shop at Albertson's grocery store out here is pretty good and they do cut their own meat. SWMBO does most of the shopping and she knows the meat cutters and they tell her whats good/not so much.

The mexican butcher shops out here are really nice (and cheap) as well but they're usually spicing the meats up with something so you only go there when doing a MX cookout.
 

Bruscar

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"The mexican butcher shops out here are really nice (and cheap) as well but they're usually spicing the meats up with something so you only go there when doing a MX cookout."

Ah, but they are sometimes the only ones who have the cheaper cuts for BBQ (Shoulder, butt, etc.)
 

Spyk'd

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Ah, that's what we share Bernie! I knew I'd figure it out someday. I spent 10 years in the meat business in a gourmet supermarket in Southern California and have seen both really good practices and really bad practices.

You say you've never added coloring to meat? Do you remember Dynamite?


Not accusing, just saying, it was around...


:eek:


I was a wrapper and wrapped for four Meat Cutters (not butchers, "I" understand!), needless to say, they kept me busy. I also rotated and pulled codes on about 250 feet of cold case.

We would educate the customers on the cuts as well as tell them how to cook them and even offer recipes (meat cutters are GOOD cooks). It was fun and it was great customer service that you are just starting to see again in some areas. There has been a resurgence in this area for going back to basics and there is a nice "local grocery store" that has an old fasioned deli counter and meat department. They have actual meat cutters on staff and it is the only place I'll buy my beef now. Some people have NEVER smelled fresh beef and it's truly sad.

Wow, didn't mean to type so much...I'm out.

:drunk:
 

rpucci

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Spyk'd said:
There has been a resurgence in this area for going back to basics and there is a nice "local grocery store" that has an old fasioned deli counter and meat department. They have actual meat cutters on staff and it is the only place I'll buy my beef now. Some people have NEVER smelled fresh beef and it's truly sad.
WOW! I dont know of ANY of the supermarkets around here that DONT have a full service deli, meat dept. and fish dept. Every one of them, and I go to 4 diferent ones on a regular basis, will gladly custom cut your meat for you.

I was in one of the smaller ones the other day and needed some ground pork to make Dim Sum and they had none in the display. Their response, No problem, it'll just take a few minutes for them to grind it!

I guess I'm just lucky.

We also have a variety of bucher shps including a Germa butcher that makes all their own Wurst, a Polish butcher who smokes his own Kilbassa!
 

PeteOz77

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My father was a butcher for many years. In Minnesota, it's illegal to sell non FDA inspected meat over the counter, so of COURSE everything in the showcase had the inked stamp on it. It's hard to prove there is ink on meat that has been ground up, or is in sausage, plus we had out own "Secret Stash" of "Good" meat in the freezer that the people that we knew well could purchase. I have to say, that even with state inspectors popping in from time to time, and trying to make the books look good , we still sold at least 85% NON FDA inspected meat.

Just as a side note, you can have sides and quarters of beef hangin, aging and ready for sale even if you don't kill it on site. From time to time, Dad would purchase a side and age it himself in his cooler (mostly just to make all of the beef in the display cases look legit if we did get inspected), adn he would also purchase "Smoked" hams, the inject them, rub them , age them and smoke them properly. The gorcery store across the road had a butcher shop in it as well, and they would brink all of their sausage, bacon and hams over to us to smoke.

I think it was a dying art, but the butcher shops are coming back, jus tlike the microbreweries did. People get tired of the prepackaged **** and decide they want the good stuff again, not just on beer, but in all things I reckon!
 

MikeFlynn74

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I usually buy entire loin or the whole ribeye so I can cut them to my thickness and flavor them to my liking. We have an actual meat cutter at the local Fred Meyers

I tried rock salt and brown sugar once. Actually a very good flavor
 

zoebisch01

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In my ideal world, I'd have a butcher, baker, dairy supplier....etc..

It's funny because a co-worker and I were having this conversation the other day. There are no skilled meat cutters here that I know of. If there were, I would be inclined to give them my business. Especially because there are many cuts/parts that I cannot get anymore.
 
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