How to pick a butcher

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by bluebombersfan, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I still consider myself to be a new guy at smoking and I have shopped around to try and find the best butcher in town.  It seems like they are all a little bit different which leaves me unsure of which one to be my butcher of choice.  I know there are a lot of previous and current butchers and catering guys and gals on this site so I just thought I would ask what are some of the deciding factors some of the pros use when chosing a butcher??[​IMG]

  2. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I think picking a butcher or establishment would be how comfortable you are at your visit. Atmosphere, politeness, being treated like your a person not a "what can i get ya...... a little conversation about who they are and a little about yourself......  Kind of like a relationship.......Pops and SOB would better at answering but That is what I  would look for......

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Blue, afternoon... Try to find a family owned shop... Maybe they make their own sausage and have their own smoker....   Look for smoke coming from the roof or out back.... There was a chain store where I used to live and the guys in the meat room made sausage for the store... It was really good.... I got casings and spice mixes from them...  It takes awhile to get to know some of them.... Buy their sausage and keep coming back for more.... Developing a raport is really important in this day and age....  Let them know they are your go to folks cause you want them to stay in business and how much you appreciate the personalized attention....  Dave
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Finding a true butcher in my area is a real task.

    It seems like a dying art?

    Seems like all we find is meat cutters?

    If you find a good and true butcher, please patronize him even if his prices are a little higher.  He is worth it!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for the reply a few I have been into are exactly what can I get ya.............
  6. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'll keep my eyes open for smoke! 

  7. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think most the ones in my area are just meat cutters as well.  I have found one that is famous in my city and the two brothers that started still work there.  they must be in there 80's!
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    In my area if they Process Deer...They are Butchers and typically slaughter and process Pork and Beef...It helps to do some research and learn the lingo... Canada is part of North America, you guys use the North American Meat Processors Guide or something similar...Check it out, lots of info...The guide is available from Amazon too...JJ

    BTW...You would be surprised how far a Dozen Donuts or Bagels will go getting to know a guy...
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  9. terry colwell

    terry colwell Smoking Fanatic

    I can relate to this very much in the town I live in. I do not have a butcher within 50 miles of me. I have small shops that process meat from hunters and farmers but not a per say "butcher"  shop. I had one when I moved to this town 17 years ago but time faded him out, and I bought ALL my meat from him while he was open.

     I would say MY most important thing when looking for a butcher is always how clean they keep shop. It was one thing you couldn't hide. And the ones that have the cleanest shops usually have the best meats. Then comes how their people skills are....
  10. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    I agree with everyone here.  In the past two years I have had 3 butcher shops come available. Two of them are "fancy" butcher shops, fancy = expensive and one is a just cut meat shop.  However I have grown to know the just cut meat shop and there prices are more my style if you know what I mean. 

    I also found that the butcher is really ambisous to learn more about his craft and wants to provide even more then he does now.  We chat about books and this website. 

    The other two are great butcher shops and have much more to offer in the craft but I find that they get a little carried away with there prices.

    I guess what I am getting at is that getting to know them will be your best bet when it comes to making that decision.

    hope it helps..
  11. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I would say MY most important thing when looking for a butcher is always how clean they keep shop. It was one thing you couldn't hide. And the ones that have the cleanest shops usually have the best meats. Then comes how their people skills are....

    This^^^^^ Would be my starting point!
  12. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree and a few of the ones I have shopped at are just "fancy" butcher shops.  I have found one that is a cut meat shop and have been leaning torwards staying with them.  Thing is it has been around for many years and has grown to be more of a what can I get ya kind of place due to the amount of customers.  Sat. the place is shoulder to shoulder.  Like i said in the previous post the guys that started the place still work in it and they must be in there 80's.  The thing I like is what ever I ask for they will go into the back and get the butchers to cut for me.  I guess I would love to find a place I could get to know the guy and that's the only reason I have been shopping around but I seem to be slowly finding out that places like that are rare these days.

    Thanks for all the replies!!  
  13. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well here is what I do when looking for a place to buy my meat;

    1. Talk to people I know/ ask around where people are getting there meat.

    2. I will stand out in the parking lot and talk to customers, to get there take on the place. 

    3. I will observe how the people in the shop treat customers. 

    4. I will check health department records, (they are public record here)

    5. I will buy a small amount of several meats, I will recheck weights and quality of the meat

    6. Talk with owner/manager 

    Don't rule out a place just because they are not a full butcher shop. I have 2 places I buy 90% of my meat from; 1 is a full butcher shop and other is a cutter. The cutter is my first choice he has cheaper prices for comparable meat and gives me a discount since I travel 15 miles to buy from him. the other 10% of my meat comes from the grocery store or another cutter here in town.

    I have 1 other place I buy meat from, if you can find a place like this by all means check them out. This place buys all the meat it sells from the local sale barn. I would buy more from him if he was closer. 
  14. I'm blessed with three or four nice processing butch shops in my area due to the fact that deer and bear hunting rule supreme here. It didn't take long to narrow my choice down by the cleanliness and friendliness of one of the shops. This shop has been around for years and the father has passed it on to his son. He is a great guy with a quick joke and a good laugh. He always has time to answer any of my questions. Once he found out my passion for smoking meat and sausage...bacon making...years ago, we have formed a closer bond through it. He offers pointers and tips with my projects and is interested in my smokin adventures. They have excellent homemade sausage..bacon...jerkey...etc. for sale there and the quality of meat is next to none. I have a standing offer from this on will be here fresh on Thursday policy that i have used often. He is a great guy with a great staff...all i can say is Thank You "Cubby"...until i typed this i didn't realize how awesome of a friend and mentor you have become!!!
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

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