The farmer’s markets are for fresher produce and a more significant connection to where food comes from. In the same vein, butcher shops are where you can find top-quality and locally sourced meats. From tasty smoked sausage to grade A cuts of meat, don’t go to a mega-mart. Head on over to your local meat shop to get the most excellent quality meat products.
Butcher shops can be an unfamiliar and intimidating territory for some. But don’t get too scared of the person behind the counter holding a cleaver. Your butcher is the person that will give you what you need to have a delicious and delectable dinner.
Do you need a particular cut of meat? Do you have any unusual requests? Do you want suggestions of what meat you can buy and how to prepare and cook it? Butcher shops are overall a premiere and preferred source for meats. And your butcher is equipped with all the expert meat know-how. Thus, it’s important to know how to talk to your butcher (and what to say) to get the most out of your visit.
Be Inquisitive, Ask Questions
A common mistake to avoid when you’re at a butcher shop is not to ask questions. Don’t be intimidated. Asking questions and having a good conversation going between you and your butcher is highly encouraged.
Pre-packaged meats from big supermarkets may seem more accessible and manageable; there’s also a sense of familiarity with them.
However, if you keep an open mind, you’ll find that speaking with someone knowledgeable and passionate about their wares can be awe-inspiring, especially when they delve into the complexities and intricacies of the meat business. And that inspiration can be translated to a great dining experience.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Daunting
There is no shame in admitting that you don’t know something. Opening yourself up to knowledge can be an enjoyable and fulfilling phenomenon. When you are unsure about what cut of meat to use or what type of meat you need, use the butcher as your resource.
Do you want lamb, pork, poultry, or beef? Do you prefer boneless or bone-in? How would you want to cook the meat? Grill, roast, sear? Do you want an in-your-face meaty flavor or something milder and more tender? If you’ve been eyeing that smoke sausage, go ahead and ask about it. Communicating with your butcher doesn’t have to be a daunting and intimidating task. You can ask as many questions as you want. In fact, butchers welcome them.
Aren’t Products from Butcher Shops Expensive?
A lot of us are penny pinchers. Thus, it’s easy to understand the appeal of cheaper, pre-packaged meats you will find at big grocery stores. However, you are getting what you pay for. And if you are going to spend more, make it count. Quality over quantity. Go for the relatively more expensive quality that the cheap quantity. Once again, this is where communicating with your butcher will come in handy. They can recommend cuts that are tasty and tender and can be cheaper than what you are expecting. There’s more to steaks than strip, ribeye, or tenderloin.
Another solution to this predicament is to consume less meat. And as for the meat you are going to meat, only take the good stuff. It’s good for the environment and good for your health.
Getting your meats from butcher shops is not anything significantly different than the supermarket. The only distinction is you are getting top-of-the-line products. You can also get the freedom of getting precisely what you prefer, from thickness to weight. Pre-packaged meat products don’t offer the same advantage.
Solving the Mystery: What to Look for in Meats?
When it comes to buying meats, we only tend to look for marbling. What we fail to remember is marbling only indicates the fat content. There are other things to look out for and factors to consider when it comes to buying meats. And these things will give you an idea on the sustainability, freshness, and how the animal was bred, reared, fed, slaughtered. We will discuss these factors in great detail in a future post, so watch out for it.
Generally speaking, what you can carefully examine as a buyer is the overall cleanliness of the butcher shop. If the front of the shop itself is dirty, if there are flies swirling around the smoked sausage, or excess blood pooling around the meats, then it’s a good indicator of how things are kept behind the scenes. This observation will allow you to look more closely at the products.
Respecting the Animals
As ironic as it may sound, good butchery is all about respecting the animals and keeping their integrity. A good butcher appreciates that the meat was once a living thing. They take great care in handling it and making sure nothing goes to waste as much as possible.