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Old 01-23-2009, 05:35 PM   #1
Jay Cohen
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Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

Why you should find a good butcher, then visit him on a weekly basis, or at least ever other week. This assumes youíre not buying your meat from a local farmer. I do(pretty lucky), but for some odds and ends, your local butcher is pretty cool.

The first time I visited a local butcher that I had been passing on the way home for years, was a real experience. His deli cases were filled with real interesting cuts of meat, most of which I wasnít sure of. Home made sausage, jerky, hamburger, steaks, chops and some really weird looking stuff. Ham Hocks, Shanks and Feet(easy to identify, toes gave it away).

So, I start asking questions and buying stuff. First I bought a few smoked turkeys for friends this past Thanksgiving, then some Jerky(they make their own), then I got adventurous and bought 15lbs of Pork Belly. Man, was that fun to cook and eat, plus itís about 65% Fat.

Well, I asked what do you with Ham Shanks, few people in the store chimed right in, put them in a slow cooker, add some Sauerkraut cook till the meat falls off the bone. No problem there. So, I had the butcher cut the Shanks in half, brought them home, tossed in Crock Pot, added some spices, Apple Cider Vinegar, 7 hours later, you can see the results.

The meat fell off the bone and man, must say, pretty tasty. BTW, these were smoked Ham Shanks, so there were already cooked, but either way, crock pot works great.

See pics for graphic proof, Pork is where itís at.

I now have 4lbs of Smoked Pigs Feet in the fridge, which I plan to cook slowly, then pick off the meat, add BBQ sauce, and place under the broiler for a while. Iíll have pics up Sunday.

Bone-A-Petite

BTW, the guys in the Grocery stores are meat cutters, they're OK, but find a small local butcher shop. Disclaimer, I doubt if their meat will be Grassfed, as they're buying production animals, but get to know him, who knows what he'll do for you.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:02 PM   #2
Mike ODonnell
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

Amen.....that reminds me, I suck at cooking (but am great at eating)...need to get a crock pot and master using it....so simple and yet so delicious. I am starting to once again enjoy the art of "trying" to cook dinners, always been an impatient fellow but there is something enjoyable and peaceful about taking time to make a good dinner....seeing how I don't eat 6x a day anymore (long ago), I can now enjoy meals and dinner is the most important one in my lifestyle (breakfast...highly over-rated).
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Old 01-25-2009, 01:42 PM   #3
Joe Bernard
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

Good stuff Jay, always nice to see new meat. Never heard of shanks before. I can't wait to see what pics you'll post today. As for me, I'll be having some steaks tonight, can't wait. Gotta start :stir:
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Old 01-25-2009, 01:46 PM   #4
Max Lambert
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

I've googled it so many times and can't seem to find a butcher in/around Davis.

Its really frustrating because we have a good one near where my parents live

At UC Davis we have a meat lab where they slaughter cows and pigs to teach agriculture students how to deal with the meat industry and they sell the meat cheap, but they're only open a couple days a week and I can only bike so many lbs of meat back home...granted I took 9lbs of liver the other week
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:51 PM   #5
Andrew Thompson
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

Couldn't agree more!

There is a recently opened butcher in San Diego called Homegrown Meats. They specialize in grass fed beef, but also have lots of other meat as well.

They can special order just about anything.

The people in there are great. He remembered my son's name from the previous week's visit, and asked how I liked the tri tip I bought. I told him that I cooked it exactly the way he said, and it was the best tri tip I ever had.

Just can't get that at the globo-grocery.

There is a market where I live now called Cardiff Seaside Market. They appear to have a good meat selection as well. Service is top notch too. On my wife's b-day I was looking for whole red snapper to grill for her. I called Seaside market to see if they had any. They said they did not, but recommended another market that might. They were right, and we had grilled whole red snapper for dinner. That impressed me with how much they cared that the customer got what they wanted.

Getting to know the people that sell you your food is important. Getting to know the people that grow your food is even better, but I have not been able to do that yet.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:49 AM   #6
Veronica Carpenter
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

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Originally Posted by Max Lambert View Post
I've googled it so many times and can't seem to find a butcher in/around Davis.

Its really frustrating because we have a good one near where my parents live

At UC Davis we have a meat lab where they slaughter cows and pigs to teach agriculture students how to deal with the meat industry and they sell the meat cheap, but they're only open a couple days a week and I can only bike so many lbs of meat back home...granted I took 9lbs of liver the other week
try Creston Meat (wfs)

They deliver to several areas, not sure if Davis is one of them though.
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:26 PM   #7
Andy Gann
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

There is a small co-op type business in the town where I work. Inside are three different businesses: 1) A home made lunch restaurant 2) An agricultural co-op 3) And a grass fed beef, chicken, pork, etc ... farmer.

I always go on my lunch hour on Mondays to buy food for the week. Today - he said that he had smoked some of his smaller T-bones and was selling them for 5 dollars ... right out of the smoker.

I couldn't resist. I bought one, grabbed the top of the 'T' and ate it like a kid eating a meat candy bar as I drove back to work. It was delicious ... can't wait to have the pork chops tonight ...

The ham shanks idea is great. I totally don't use my crock pot enough ...
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Old 01-26-2009, 04:58 PM   #8
Jacob Cloud
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

You could have also named this "Why you should buy a smoker."


Anyway, I struggled to find a real brisket when I moved here recently from Austin until I found the local meat market. When I asked for a 10-12 pound packers cut, he said "Oh, we call those the TX Cut." Heaven. When the guy gave me some free jerky, I almost dropped to a knee.
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:10 PM   #9
Max Lambert
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

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Originally Posted by Veronica Carpenter View Post
try Creston Meat (wfs)

They deliver to several areas, not sure if Davis is one of them though.
Thanks. I emailed them so we'll see what happens!

They have rabbit...I do loooove rabbit
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:15 PM   #10
Veronica Carpenter
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Re: Why your Butcher should be your best friend.

if you've got some yummy rabbit recipes, I'd love to try them out. We've got one in the freezer right now and a goat as well.
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