Who Does a Butcher Sell To

Butchers sell their products into specialized stores called butcher shops. Butchers at these shops may perform butchery, but typically perform “primary butchery”, but will typically perform “secondary butchery” to prepare fresh cuts of meat for sale.

A butcher shop may also sell additional products at their store including: food preparation supplies, baked goods and grocery items. Butcher shops can have a wider variety of animal types, meat cuts and quality of cuts. Some butcher shops may be set up to focus on a particular culture or nationality of meat production. Butcher shops are starting to make a slow comeback across the country.

An article by Jason Daley on Entrepreneur.com looks at the comeback of the butcher shop. Business owner Justin Rosberg decided after 10 years in the restaurant business he wanted to go into business for himself. “He thought back to his childhood and to the friendly neighborhood butcher shops that were quickly disappearing from New England. It seemed to him that with a few modern updates, the boutique butcher shop/grocery could appeal to foodies, local-food advocates and consumers weary of giant, impersonal supermarkets. So he brought aboard longtime friend Jason Parent, and they laid out their plans for The Meat House.”

“We wanted to bring the fine-dining mentality to a retail atmosphere,” says Rosberg.” “It hit a sweet spot–while specialty meat markets around the country were closing, The Meat House added eight stores in its first three years. In 2008, the Manchester, N.H.-based company began franchising; it now has 30 stores in 10 states and plans to open 10 more franchise locations this year. Rosberg and Parent took off their aprons to tell us how they’re reviving an old-time institution.

What sets The Meat House [and other butcher shops apart for consumers]? “Parent: It all starts with the relationship. People are going to feel comfortable asking questions when the relationship is strong. We have customers who come in and say, “What should I have for dinner tonight?” We’re really proud to have that trust, for them to approach us and say, “I trust you so much; I’m going to ask you what I should feed my family. I think it’s all cyclical. Before the big-box stores, people had Sam the Butcher. We’re smaller and more manageable than a big-box store. People consider us a revival of the local butcher and grocer that their grandma used to take them to, and they like that.

Butcher Shop


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A Butcher’s Guide to Meat at a Meat Market-Advice on Aging Meat

Who hasn’t been to the store and wandered past the coolers looking for the perfect cut of meat for their next special event? But how to do you know if the meat is still in tip top shape…yes the sell by date hasn’t passed but will the meat you selected be the most flavorful option for your dish? A butcher at a meat market can help you make this decision.

Tom Mylan wrote an article, “Dry vs. Wet, A Butcher’s Guide to Aging Meat,” for the Atlantic online. At a meat market, consumers will look at a wide variety of pieces/cuts of meat for sale. Mylan talked about the popularity of dry-aged beef. That’s something that his customers get very excited about. They ooh and ah over what they see in his meat locker then when they see aged meat they start to get nervous. What was all happy and great is now not so wonderful based upon what they see in a meat locker or meat market. “Dry aging, far from being the exotic ritual we make it out to be today, is what pretty much all beef that wasn’t cured or canned used to be 30 years ago. What happened? Why is properly hung beef such an oddity today if it was the industry standard such a short time ago? Plastic bags, unfortunately, are the anti-climactic answer. Basically, the meatpacking industry figured out that if you stick a piece of meat in a vacuum-sealed bag it not only reduces the amount of money that is lost in water weight and trim but it also “ages” faster. Thus the age-old Wet vs. Dry Aging Controversy began,” he said.

Wet Aging is when basically meat is placed in a sealed bag (like at the grocery store) and the plastic ages with the blood of the meat. Mylan explained while that doesn’t sound too appetizing that upwards of 90 percent of beef taken home by American grocery consumers is wrapped in plastic and on a foam tray. So either Americans are just putting up with it or really like the flavor?

Now Dry Aging is a process where meat basically gets more air to breathe. Dry aged meat loses more water which increases its beefiness and makes the amount of muscle fiber comparable. Sounds tasty right? You would think Dry Aging would be more popular in the battle of meat aging methods. However, meat sales across the country justify otherwise as the Wet Aging wins. For more on the different types of aging, please go to your local meat market and talk to your local butcher.

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Is There a Difference Between Supermarket Meat and Butcher Shop Meat?

Is there a difference between supermarket meat and butcher shop meat?

So you’ve tried meat from the grocery store, now you’re thinking about trying meat from a local butcher shop. Is there a difference between the two-YES!

Ask the meat man.com that profiled some differences between the two.

First, an advantage of purchasing meat at a butcher shop is knowing where your meat comes from. Consumers are becoming more educated on how their food is produced and live-stock is raised in effort to eat more healthfully. “As of today, beef sold in supermarkets does not have to label where the beef was raised. It could be Canadian beef, Argentinean beef, New Zealand beef, or maybe even beef raised in the good old US of A.”

There is a difference in taste and food regulations based on where the meat came from, “It’s not the foreign beef is necessarily of lower quality of American beef, but they are not necessarily graded and inspected the same as the USDA does here in the U.S. What the Brazilian government considers Choice graded beef may not be the same as what the USDA grades as choice. But if it is graded Choice beef in Brazil, it is AUTOMATICALLY labeled choice here in the U.S.! So you are not guaranteed that when you buy Choice New Zealand beef (which you don’t know if you are or not), if you’re actually getting Choice beef.”

In addition, the meat sold at a grocery store comes from meat processing companies which can have an adverse effect on flavor. “Probably 99% of the beef sold in grocery store comes from one of three main Meat Processing companies; IBP, Monfort or Excel. The grocery store receive this boxed beef, as it is called, either cut in primal or sub-primal cuts (recently, these 3 companies even began shipping meat already cut for the case, e.g. T-Bone Steaks) So what’s so bad about this? Almost ALWAYS this beef is cut within one to two days after the animal is killed. This leaves no time at all for “dry aging”. Dry aging, which is usually hanging the meat “whole” in a cooler for 7 to 14 days. This aging process tenderizes the meat greatly.”

Most butcher shops have American raised meat and can provide unique cuts of meat for consumers. Butcher shop meat is more flavorful, “[sic] local butcher shop meat is that the meat is usually dry aged for 7 to 14 days (again, be sure to ask). This insures a tenderer cut of meat!”


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Popular Meat Markets Across the Globe


Wikipedia  defined a meat market. “A meat market is, traditionally, a marketplace where meat is sold, often by a butcher. It is a specialized wet market. The term ‘meat market’ is sometimes used to refer to a meat retail store or butcher’s shop, in particular in North America.”

The butcher plays a vital role in the meat market setting, “A butcher specializes in the preparation and sale of meat. Butchers sometimes operate specialized shops selling meat, known as butcher’s shops, meat stores, meat markets or butcheries. Meat may also be sold in supermarkets, grocery stores, and fish markets, and these shops may employ a butcher.”

The concept of the meat market is starting to slowly increase in popularity across North America. Meat markets are very popular across the globe. Some notable international meat markets according to Wikipedia include:

  • Leadenhall Market- “Leadenhall Market is a covered market in London, located on Gracechurch Street but with vehicular access also available via Whittington Avenue to the north and Lime Street to the south and east, and additional pedestrian access via a number of narrow passageways. It is one of the oldest markets in London, dating back to the 14th century, and is located in the historic centre of the City of London.
  • Smithfield Market- (began as a livestock market, but became a meat, poultry and fish market)- “Meat has been traded at Smithfield Market for more than 800 years, making it one of the oldest markets in London.[20] A livestock market occupied the site as early as the 10th century. In 1174 the site was described by William Fitzstephen as: a smooth field where every Friday there is a celebrated rendezvous of fine horses to be sold, and in another quarter are placed vendibles of the peasant, swine with their deep flanks, and cows and oxen of immense bulk. The livestock market expanded over the centuries to meet the demands of the growing population of the City. In 1710, the market was surrounded by a wooden fence to keep the livestock within the market; and until its abolition, the gate house of Cloth Fair was protected by a chain (le cheyne) on market days.[4] Daniel Defoe referred to the livestock market in 1726 as “without question, the greatest in the world”.[21] and the available figures appear to support this claim.

Between 1740 and 1750 the average yearly sales at Smithfield were reported to be around 74,000 cattle and 570,000 sheep.”

sherman provision meat market


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Local Meat Markets Are Thriving

In a surprising resurgence the local butcher and local meat market‘s in our community are thriving again. One of the biggest drivers of this growth is that consumers are focused on the buy local movement. They want to know that their food is being raised locally, and in good conditions, and not being shipped from across the country. They don’t want to eat meat from other countries when they can buy it at the local meat market.

I too have gotten onboard with the buy local movement and so when I decided to start buying at my local butcher shop I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I not only got higher quality meat, but in most cases I paid less than I would if I would have been shopping at the big box stores and large grocery stores. Buying local does have it’s benefits!

buy local

When I am walking through the front door of the butcher shop I am met with a friendly smile and a huge selection of pork, beef, chicken, and other exotic meats and smoked selections. I always enjoy the experience, and the part that makes it most exciting for me is that I know that I am supporting my local community, and also buying healthy locally grown meats.

If you haven’t considered trying out your local meat market yet, then I would encourage you to look up Sherman Provision and stop into see Michael and his team. I know you’ll be provided with the best possible service, fantastic meats, and an experience your definitely going to want to have again. Buying local is one of those trendy movements that actually is a good idea! If you’re looking for more help or ideas about how to buy locally at a meat market near you, then just contact us and we’ll be sure to help you out!

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