Get to Know: Local Butchers
Meat-eaters of America, grilling season starts with burgers. And great burgers start with great meat, freshly ground. Which is why this grilling season is the perfect time to start a relationship -- with your butcher.
Find yourself a good full-service butcher -- someone who grinds daily, and grinds to order. Just as importantly, find someone you can talk to. That someone holds the key to carnivore happiness.
The following list is intended to help you in your search. Call it grill season matchmaking. All the places below grind beef fresh daily. Some even make their own proprietary burger blend. But at these establishments you needn’t feel limited by what’s already in the meat case. Any good butcher will be happy to grind whole cuts for you. Chuck roast, which has great flavor and a fat-to-lean ratio well-suited to burgers, is always a good burger choice on its own. But try mixing in some brisket or adding some short rib and top round to the mix and see what a difference it makes. Better yet, solicit some ideas from the guy behind the counter. Get to know him!
As you search, do bear in mind that skilled butchers are often hiding in plain sight. The old school neighborhood store is not your sole option. While your supermarket may not produce its own charcuterie or age beef in-store, the fact is many supermarkets do have someone manning the meat counter willing and able to do many of the things neighborhood butchers have always done: butterflying and boning, trimming and tying, tenderizing, and of course grinding. I strongly recommend you get to know that someone. Carnivore happiness awaits you.
This list is only a tiny sampling of some of our nation’s most beloved neighborhood butcher shops. We need your help to, umm, flesh it out. So we want to know, are you currently in a relationship? Do tell!
Specialty food market co-owned by chef Anne Quatrano. The meat department’s focus is on heritage breeds and sustainably produced meats. They produce their own charcuterie and do their aging in-house.
Full service Atlanta favorite. Yes, grinds to order.
Full-service, family-owned butcher shop/meat processor. This is no boxed beef establishment. Treuth starts with the whole carcass.
Old-time (est. 1939) mom-and-pop specialty food market and butcher. Was a favorite of Julia Child’s. The shop sources some of its meat from Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and elsewhere in New England. They grind prime chuck fresh in house daily. Wide selection of rare meats and charcuterie.
Full service butcher. Family owned since 1945. Good prices.
1964 N. Halsted Chicago, Il.
3501 N. Lincoln Ave.
Specializing in a huge array of house-made sausages. Great brats here.
They work from the carcass and do their own dry aging. Been voted best in LA more times than you can count.
Grind several times daily. Offer a special Nancy Silverton burger blend.
Focused on pasture-raised meats, cutting by hand, and whole animal butchery.
Whole animal butcher. Sources locally. Does a special burger patty of 80% beef and 20% bacon.
Whole animal butchers. All NY State, all the time.
In Philly’s 9th St. Italian Market (America’s oldest outdoor market) since 1911. FN has featured these guys in the past. Wholesales to many of the Philly areas best restaurants. Old-school Italian butcher, fresh, hand cut meats. Grinds in-house, will grind to order.
3155 E. Burnside St.
5666 Main Ave.
Full service butcher shop. Smokes, ages, and cuts on-site. Processes wild game.
5810 Folsom Blvd.
Legendary Italian grocery store with a top notch meat department.
Locally owned wholesale-retail meat shop. Grinds fresh daily.
235 Cortland Ave.
Full service butcher specializing in whole animal butchery, local meat, and house-made charcuterie.
85 year-old D.C. delicatessen with a specialty market that houses a full-service whole animal butcher shop. They grind beef daily. Will grind to order, but who needs it when one considers their special house burger blend is a 50/50 mix of prime chuck and sirloin, dry-aged in-house. Meat sourced regionally. Pam the Butcher is a rock star. Iberico de Bellota: they were the first to carry this as fresh pork via their relationship with Jose Andres.
Looking for the perfect burger recipe? We got it, plus everything else you need this summer: