Nearly 100 essential independent shops, from coast to coast.

By David Landsel
November 20, 2020
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During this year of great uncertainty, this much we’ve known for sure, even from the earliest days of March, when the supermarket shelves emptied out and everybody retreated home with a lifetime’s supply of toilet paper: 2020 was going to change the way we consume, the way we eat, and the way we shop. Everything was going to look different.

The question was, what kind of different—good, bad, ugly? As with every other sector, the damage looks as if it has been exacted by some cantankerous tornado with commitment issues, leveling so many businesses, so many hopes and dreams, while leaving others unscathed.

Credit: Claudia Mak

Almost untouched were the butcher shops. We may have been sent home indefinitely, but by god, apparently we were going to eat all the damn steak we could afford. The news began to trickle in, beginning back as early as late March, with some shops reporting growth of fifty percent, even more, in sales. First on items that supermarkets were having trouble keeping in stock, and then, just because people remembered, or learned for the first time, that eating good meat makes everything better. 

Had the pandemic hit even a decade ago, we would not have been so lucky. It has only been fifteen years or so since two frustrated New York restaurant workers, one of them a vegetarian, opened one of the first butcher shops in the country dealing solely in sustainable product from small, local farms. Joshua and Jessica Applestone had no idea how to run a butcher shop; they just knew that the American meat supply chain was completely screwed up, unconscionably abusive to both the animals and the people whose thankless job it was to process them, and they were going to do something about it.

Jarrod Spangler and Shannon Hill of Maine MEat
| Credit: Emily Kan

Fleishers opened in Kingston, New York, in 2004, accidentally sparking a revolution. The Applestones’ modest shop was suddenly supplying top restaurants in New York City, and would quickly become a teaching lab for some of the best butchers in the country today. Not all that long after the notion was waved off as a trend, there are now very few cities in the United States left without a studious, sustainability-minded, whole animal butcher shop—complementing, of course, the specialists that never went anywhere, the pork store, the metzgerei, the carniceria, each one serving fortunate communities that never considered anemic, plastic-wrapped chops on Styrofoam trays from the supermarket an option.

There’s still a Fleishers, though not in the Hudson Valley, not anymore; the Applestones stepped back from the business they so successfully built, stripping everything down and going back to the basics. Their follow-up project? Vending machines. At the time, a lot of people, even some of their biggest fans, were puzzled—would this be the same? Pre-packaged steaks and chops and sausages from a machine? Well, it worked, even if it took some convincing. Then 2020 hit.

Even in the darkest days of New York’s catastrophic first wave, there would be people patiently standing around in the parking lot at the Applestone Meat Co. in Stone Ridge, waiting their turn, some of them all the way up from the city with coolers, loading up on whole chickens, bavette steaks, chorizo and merguez sausages, dry-aged ribeyes—some of the highest quality meat money can buy, for not very much money at all, with no contact, just swipe your card, press the button, and toss it in the Igloo. If anything, the demand only increased as the weather warmed and a relative calm was restored. The meat—much of it requiring only a little love, attention, and sea salt during the cooking process—is just that good.

Applestone Meat Co. vending machines
| Credit: Courtesy Applestone Meat Co.

Food is love, hospitality is a calling, sure, fine, but there are so many things you can do besides opening a butcher shop. Go make coffee, open a hot dog cart, buy one of those little backyard pizza ovens, do anything other than trying to step into the unholy mess that is meat in America today. And that’s what makes it so special—running a butcher shop is a bit like writing a letter by hand in 2020. Butchering is a labor of love, thinking sustainably, thinking whole animal, nose to tail. It’s doing good for the planet, but also being realistic—we’re not all going plant-based, so might as well make a difference where you can. You will meet, more than you might expect, vegetarians or reformed vegetarians, working within the industry to try to help heal the bruised and battered food chain.

Butchering is a commitment, and as so many pretenders have discovered, this isn’t a trend that you ride, and it's not for the weak. The battlefield is littered with failures, the ghosts of cute shops with subway tiles, the pricey, custom-made aprons collecting dust on the peg. If you’re not in this for the right reasons, the last few years have provided extraordinary clarity: you will not be around for very long.

Thankfully, things have been moving in the right direction for long enough now, that many of the butcher shops we recently considered new and unproven are now celebrating five, ten years in business. All of them were baptized by fire in 2020, just like the rest of us. As the year draws to a close, we are able to look back and feel good about the many success stories, a wonderful and unexpected bright spot during this annus horribilis.

Assorted meats at Marrow in Detroit, Michigan
| Credit: Michelle Gerard

In choosing this list of nearly 100 essential shops across the country, there was one very clear standard—the more sustainable, the more rebellious against the prevailing winds in a morally corrupt industry, the better. However, from the very start, we knew the list would need to be much more inclusive, which is why you will end up reading about more than a few of the classics, some of them a century old, or even more than that, doing incredible work in the sense that they pull people away from the worst of the commodity meats at the supermarket meat counter, and into a small, locally-owned business with some kind of standards. (In the pursuit of perfection, we must never make it the enemy of the good.) These shops have served their communities well for so long, when they could be doing something, anything else. We celebrate their commitment and perseverance.

And so, from coast to coast, old and new, future-minded and hopelessly nostalgic, just in time for the holidays, here we go. Find the closest shop —or not, many of our favorites ship, and we’ve noted this where available—and remind yourself of this simple fact: in this year of little pleasures where you may find them, a piece of really good meat can be everything. For you, for the planet, for everyone.

A & C Pork Store, Paterson, NJ

Peppery, from-scratch pancetta, veal crown roasts, all the trippa, and dreamy braids of fresh mozzarella made on the hour—Aldo Iacovo and Antonio DeGennaro, both born in the old country, are serious about the fundamentals at this classic Italian market (try their sopressata, sweet, hot, or both), just a few blocks from the Great Falls.

Applestone Meat Co., Hudson Valley, NY

Joshua and Jessica Applestone changed American butchery for the better when they opened Fleishers in Kingston, New York, back in 2004. Their second act—selling some of the country’s finest meat from rows of vending machines, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at shops in Hudson and Stone Ridge—proved to be a pandemic game changer.

BEAST Butcher & Block, St. Louis, MO

He’s already proven himself as one of the more creative pitmasters in the Midwest, and now David Sandusky wants you to take his Wagyu brisket, Duroc pork, and other high-quality meats home and cook them yourself. If you like, that is—this is still a barbecue joint, too. Snag some of that soft Salami Cotto, a Piedmontese specialty that’s rather widely appreciated in St. Louis.

Beast & Cleaver, Seattle, WA

Frustrated by the lower standards for meat in his adopted country, British expat Kevin Smith has thrown his hat in the ring, sourcing only from well-managed, top-quality farms, often very small ones. Opening just weeks before the pandemic broke out in the Pacific Northwest appears to have been no problem at all. Sausages, patés, and terrines stand out.

Bellville Meat Market, TX

Pecan wood puts in the work at this pilgrimage-worthy, small town smokehouse not far off the well-traveled route between Houston and Austin. All-beef links and smoked Thanksgiving turkeys are a true taste of the Lone Star State, delivered—if you can’t make the trek—directly to your door. Ships nationwide

Belmont Butchery, Richmond, VA

After nearly fifteen years running the city’s best modern operation, Tanya Cauthen still catches the odd first-timer searching in vain for the  archetypal burly male butcher in charge. Once they get over their preconceived notions, they’ll find that this woman-led shop—more gourmet mini-grocers than standard meat market—isa trusted friend in any quest to upgrade the home cooking experience.

Beltex Meats, Salt Lake City, UT

Strictly local meats only at this modern, whole animal standout, where they’ll chop up all the Utah beef you want to eat. The other reason you’re here, however, is for chef-turned-butcher Phillip Grubisa’s exacting charcuterie. The house Pate Forestier—which recently snagged considerable notices—is about as close to France as one could ask for in these parts.

Bichelmeyer Meats / Carniceria Bichelmeyer, Kansas City, KS

The legendary Kansas City stockyards may now belong to the history books, but this melting pot of a meat market, serving a much-changed community since 1946, lives on. Local whole hogs, briskets for your next ‘cue competition, hearts and kidneys of all kinds, the odd head or two for your barbacoa party, a tray of tamales, or just a plate of tacos—it’s all here.

Bob’s Quality Meats, Seattle, WA

There has been a meat market of some kind at this Rainier Avenue South address for over a century now, and nothing—not even a roof-melting fire, back in 2015—has proved capable of putting an end to one of Seattle’s best loved meat market traditions. Wish it, want it, they’ve probably got it; you’ll do well to snap up some sausages, from chorizo to boudin blanc.

Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions, Maplewood, MO

Culinary Institute of America-trained sustainability advocate Chris Bolyard works with local family farms to bring the very best pasture-raised meat and poultry to an appreciative customer base in the St. Louis area. Dry-aged ground beef and high-quality whole chickens are an excellent jumping off point for new-to-the-game home cooks.

Brazeau’s Butcher Shop, North Adams, MA

David Brazeau made a name for himself in the Berkshires with a home butchering operation—something he did in his spare time, when he wasn’t running the meat department at a local supermarket. When the store closed, he decided to make it official; fans of his sourcing prowess (and his sausages) couldn’t be more pleased.

Bunzel’s Meat Market, Milwaukee, WI

Sometimes you need a 350 lb. side of beef—Wisconsin-raised, all natural, of course—and then sometimes you just need a fistful of freshly-made brats, or Hungarian sausages, or Greek-spiced lamb links. Whatever the occasion, this proper family operation—four generations in, and counting—has Milwaukee covered.

The Butcher & Grocer, Grandview Heights, OH

All pastured Ohio meats, all the time—or very nearly—is the rule at this whole animal shop in suburban Columbus. In just four years, they’ve gained a considerable following for quality. This is one of the more passionate crews you’ll find in a butcher shop for many a mile.

Butter Meat Co., Perry, NY

Jill Gould’s commitment to sustainability lured her out of corporate life and into the growing dual-purpose beef business. When dairy cows age out of the system at the family organic farm, they wind up as steaks on your dinner table. Delicious, well-marbled, pre-aged steaks. Ships nationwide

Cabalar Meat Co., Lancaster, PA

Finding good, local meat is hardly a challenge in Lancaster County, home to countless small family farms. Live here long enough, and you’ll probably wind up sourcing from all sorts of obscure sheds and shelters located down unpaved roads. This sparkling new cityside butchery and restaurant takes the guess work out of the process, sourcing from farms with only the most impeccable credentials. It’s also a great place for lunch.

Chop Shop Butchery, Asheville, NC

Everything you’d expect from a serious modern butcher in a city as passionate about its food you will find here. This relatively new spot works with some great area farms, including the terrific, student-run operation at nearby Warren Wilson College. There’s a shop in Charlotte as well.

A Cut Above, Santa Monica, CA

Back in 2014, after two decades in the restaurant trenches, chef Eddy Shin moved out to the beach and opened what quickly became one of the best butcher shops in Los Angeles. Had he doubted his indispensability to meat-loving Angelenos before, the pandemic appears to have laid most fears to rest—put your orders in early.

Czerw’s Kielbasy, Philadelphia, PA

Way up Northeast, not far from a certain year-round landscaping company of some sudden renown, Polish immigrant Jan Czerw opened up shop—building his own brick smokehouses—back in 1938, selling good kielbasa to the people. Very little has changed, except now the grandkids run the show. One of those places that people who left town decades ago will happily drive back for—sometimes for hours.

Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club, Austin, TX

One of the best restaurants in Austin is also one of the best butcher shops in Texas. Chef Jesse Griffiths breaks down whole animals sourced from some of the state’s best ranches, not just for the night’s menu, but for the public as well.

Deep Cuts, Dallas, TX

Texas is one of those states producing enough quality meat and poultry to overwhelm the unfamiliar, more than just a little. As far as guides to the regional landscape go, you’d be hard pressed to find better than Nate Abeyta; his shop, opened with partners a few short years ago, is already working on an expansion—yes, in the middle of a pandemic.

Dziuk’s Meat Market, Castroville, TX

In the part of Texas settled by Alsatian immigrants back in the 1800s, it’s not really a party until someone breaks out the parisa, the local take on beef tartare, typically including cheese, and often chiles, along with a dash of citrus—no surprise then, it's a hot seller at the busiest butcher shop in the area. Ships nationwide

Eckerlin Meats, Cincinnati, OH

Order a freshly made breakfast sandwich stuffed with the house goetta—some of the best in a city that can’t get enough of the stuff—before browsing the overstuffed (but not for long) case at this Over The Rhine institution, a pillar of the historic Findlay Market experience.

Electric City Butcher, Santa Ana, CA

From-scratch bacon and dry-aged ribeyes star at this modern favorite, the most knowledgeable whole-animal operation in a county of three million, and somehow still feeling like the best-kept secret. Always worth the trip to downtown’s 4th Street Market. (Yes, there’s free parking, relax yourself.) 

Esposito Meat Market, New York, NY

A hugely likable classic—around since 1932—that looks like it jumped out of a photograph of old New York and couldn’t find its way back. Very nearly just behind the Port Authority Bus Terminal, this full-service butcher shop deals in everything from sirloin to squab, rabbits to ribeyes. A Manhattan must for real deal, homemade Italian sausage.

Farmer’s Daughter Market & Butcher, Capon Bridge, WV

Pete and Kate Pacelli weren’t exactly dreaming of running a grocery store in a small town food desert when life and family pulled them into doing just that. A few years on and you could fool just about anybody who walks through the door of West Virginia’s best butcher shop—this is one of those places where passion for the work really comes through.

Fatted Calf, Napa, CA

In a region spoiled for options, this early-to-the-mat modern, whole animal operation grew out of a small charcuterie business, going on to become one of the top operations in the Bay Area. Besides the original shop adjacent to Napa’s Oxbow Public Market, there’s been a San Francisco store—lucky Hayes Valley—for a decade now.

Fleishers Craft Butchery, NY / CT

The bold pioneer of modern American butchery has come a long way from grass roots beginnings in New York’s Hudson Valley, back in 2004. Nowadays, Joshua and Jessica Applestone’s pilot project has grown into a mini-chain serving New York City and suburbs under new leadership. All changes aside, Fleishers remains a regional favorite.

Florence Prime Meat Market, New York, NY

You’ll still find sawdust sprinkled on the floors at this tiny shop on a cute (is there any other kind) West Village back street, almost like they’re hiding, successfully, until now, from the forces of gentrification that have all but consumed the neighborhood in recent decades. The venue may be diminutive; the dry-aged, bone-in ribeyes are anything but.

Gartner’s Country Meat Market, Portland, OR

For a dinner to remember in a city spoiled by good food, take a drive out to this airport-adjacent old timer for a few pounds of their reasonably-priced, marinated beef short ribs. Pick up, take home, cook them properly (if you’re not sure, just ask), you’re welcome. Make sure you snag a handful of teriyaki jerky for the ride home.

Gepperth’s Meat Market, Chicago, IL

Otto Demke’s half century of butchering experience sets the tone at his best-loved Lincoln Park shop, in business since the turn of the last century. Family-run and very much of the old school, the emphasis here is less on changing the game and more on being an invaluable resource for the neighborhood’s home cooks.

Gratiot Central Meat Market, Detroit, MI

Come for a Saturday morning scene like no other, for multiple vendors under one roof, selling everything from halal meats to you-buy-they-fry gizzards, to Amish turkeys, and everything in between. It's easily one of the country’s biggest, most eccentric meat bazaars, and a key piece of the Eastern Market experience.

Guerra Quality Meats, San Francisco, CA

Most people don’t dream of moving to California for the Italian deli culture, but it’s real, it’s spectacular, and this photogenic Sunset District classic defies all laws of modern San Francisco, going strong as a traditional, no-fuss meat market more than fifty years after the fathers of the current owner-operators first set up shop.

Huntington Meats, Los Angeles, CA

For every cook that overlooks the historic Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax, there are plenty more who wouldn’t set foot elsewhere, darting up and down the passageways, doing their weekly shop. For meat, it’s this classic Nancy Silverton favorite, where you can snap up Harris Ranch ground beef or A-5 wagyu—something for every budget, in other words.

Iverstine Farms Butcher, Baton Rouge, LA

There’s some fine work being done on the ranches and farms of Louisiana, including the Iverstine family’s own operation near Kentwood. This newer shop along the well-traveled stretch of interstate between the state capital and New Orleans has proven to be a great showcase for quality local meat.

Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Co., Jackson, WY

Buffalo meat—considered a desirable, more sustainable alternative to beef—may be their calling card, but lean, mineral-rich elk meat might be the star of the show at this long-running operation, around since the end of the Second World War. Ships nationwide

Japan Premium Beef, New York, NY

The clue’s in the name at this tightly-focused operation with two shops in the city, one in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn. It's one of the finer sources in the country for those who must insist on the very best Japan has to offer. (There’s domestic Washugyu as well.)

John’s Meat Market, Scotch Plains, NJ

A fixture in the Garden State since 1939, the second and third generation of the founding family remains in charge at this classic New Jersey butcher shop known for doing the most for their customers, who come from a wide range of distances seeking prime, 30-day dry aged beef, not to mention everything else. Ships nationwide

John Brown General & Butchery, Cockeysville, MD

After a rocky few years for good butchering in Baltimore, this modern, whole animal operation far up the Falls Road is the best of its kind in the area. For your short journey from town, you’re rewarded handsomely with grass-fed steaks, housemade charcuterie, and fine sausages.

John Mull’s Meats, North Las Vegas, NV

At this Wild West holdover on a semi-rural back street not all that far from downtown, they’ll dress your wild game, feed you a mess of ribs, and send you home with steaks—how’s that for hospitality? With fifty-plus years of history in the rear view, this isn’t modern, strip-mall Vegas as usual.

Kenrick’s Meats & Catering, St. Louis, MO

They’re still using the same recipes Herb Kenrick cooked up back in the 1940s for the very fine landjager (and some other sausages, as well) at the largest butcher shop—practically the size of a good neighborhood grocery store, at this point—in a city known for enjoying the odd meat orgy. Excellent value barbecue bundles are a summer backyard staple.

Kiefer’s Smoked Meats, Manheim, PA

For cured meat junkies, Pennsylvania Dutch country is hog heaven—you’re never far from a robust selection of locally-produced cold cuts, liverwursts, souses, and the like. Tucked into the Tuesday-only Root’s Country Market (a Lancaster County must), this is one of our favorite examples of the genre. Whole hams are a holiday favorite, while applewood-smoked bologna and bacon, all from quality local pork, are serious pleasures of the everyday kind.

Kowalonek’s Kielbasy Shop, Shenandoah, PA

The product list at this century-old small town butcher reads as if Forrest Gump swore off shrimp and went into the kielbasa business. Way down the list, past the kielbasa sticks, kielbasa jerky, and kielbasa burgers, you’ll find the reason people dream about this place from afar—the magnificent kielbasa loaf, which is exactly what it sounds like. Slice it up for sandwiches, or just eat it by the chunk—just get some.

Kuby’s Sausage House, Dallas, TX

The way the family tells it, the Kuby’s story begins back in Germany and many a century ago, when one of the very-elder Kubys was known for making some of the best venison wurst in all of Kaiserslautern. Years later, hunters may still drag their carcasses to this Park Cities processor that’s also very much a terrific butcher shop and restaurant. Kuby’s landjager is echt Dallas.

Lake Tomahawk Meat Market, Lake Tomahawk, WI

Hiding out at the cabin this winter? (Want to take us with you?) On the off-chance this wasn’t already on your list of treasured family traditions, make time for a stop at this Northwoods institution, famed for Sheboygan-worthy brats and some mighty fine steaks. House jerky and snack sticks are perfect fuel for the road ahead.

Leeway Butcher, Lawrence, KS

Lee Meisel started out as the hot dog guy, opening Leeway Franks back in 2015. For a follow-up, he opened the best butcher shop in town, a sustainability-minded, whole animal operation sourcing from small, local farms. Just in case you need a snack for the ride home, the hot dog joint is conveniently located right next door.

Left Bank Butchery, Saxapahaw, NC

Why shouldn’t one of the most likable small towns in North Carolina have the state’s most charming butcher shop? Started by meticulous pig farmers looking for an equally good place to buy all the meats they couldn’t raise themselves, the operation has grown—propelled by no small amount of community support—to include a sister operation, Alimentari, at a Raleigh food hall.

Lobel’s, New York, NY

During a normal year, you’d fall rather easily in love with this Madison Avenue treasure, hiding in plain sight just one block from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, now up to the fifth and sixth generation of Lobels running things. In 2020, the whole affair feels rather miraculous. Missing New York right now? Have their pastrami—or whatever else—delivered straight to your bunker. Ships nationwide

The Local Butcher Shop, Berkeley, CA

Chez Panisse grad Aaron Rocchino packed up his knives and moved pretty much right across Shattuck Avenue a decade ago, creating the most meticulous butcher shop in the East Bay, everything sourced from regional farms, with plenty of classic European technique on display. Classes are offered for curious do-it-yourselfers, on everything from butchering a hog (because you never know what 2021 holds) to making bone broth.

Luis’ Butcher Shop, Downey, CA

Moises Rios-Hernandez turns out some of the top-quality carne asada around Los Angeles, continuing a tradition started by his father a few decades back. Anyone planning a (socially distanced) backyard affair will be wise to stop in—first for a breakfast burrito, then for a chat about your meat needs. Take home all the fresh chicharron you can carry.

Maine MEat, Kittery, ME

From an early star of modern butchering in nearby Portland comes this great shop—or rather, came some time ago, already—to spoil Mainers in the market for the very best the region’s farms are able to produce. Keep an eye on the ever-evolving selection of sausages at the front of the case.

Marrow, Detroit, MI

How about a locally-raised duck on your table at this year’s no-rules holiday non-gathering? This smart addition to East Side isn’t just a highly likable restaurant; Marrow is also Detroit’s best modern butcher shop, sourcing conscientiously from small family farms.

McCann’s Local Meats, Rochester, NY

Maybe it was his theater training, or those years at the Culinary Institute of America, but somewhere along the line, Kevin McCann became one heck of a butcher, opening up this popular shop to sell great steaks (try the top sirloin, his favorite), cured meats, and much more. Come check out one of a very few 24-hour meat vending machines in the business.

The Meat Hook, Brooklyn, NY

Tired: Buttering your bread. Wired: Taking thin slices of the porcetta di testa and letting it melt into your bread, instead. This obsessive whole animal spot from a gaggle of Marlow & Daughters grads, now clocking over a decade in business, remains close to the head of the new class.

M.F. Dulock, Somerville, MA

This sharp as a tack, 100% nose-to-tail operation prides itself on sourcing only the very best, never-frozen meats from around the region. The monthly, five-pounds-a-go meat club is a great way for novices to acquaint themselves with the pleasures of buying top quality. 

The Organic Butcher, McLean, VA

Shop for goat spare ribs and Berkshire chops with government spies and political pundits at one of the most ambitious—and accomplished—butchers in the entire DMV region, a whole-animal advocate working as close to fully organic as possible.

Olivier’s Butchery, San Francisco, CA

About as close as you’ll find to a classic boucherie on these deprived shores, Olivier Cordier is a master of whole animal butchery in the French fashion, yielding traditional cuts of beef you probably haven’t seen since your last trip to Paris. It's easily one of the best butcher shops in the country.

Paisanos Butcher Shop, Brooklyn, NY

Long before Smith Street was fashionable, this sliver of storefront, going since Kennedy was president, was a neighborhood essential. So it remains today, no small feat, considering the competition within a rather tight radius. Dry-aged steaks stand out, and those who insist on 100% organic meats are in capable hands here. 

Pampita Meat Shop, Jersey City, NJ

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been embroiled in a conversation with Argentinians about the beef in Argentina, and how it is so much better than the beef elsewhere. See what everyone’s on about at this shop sourcing grass-fed beef straight from the Pampas; of course they’ll only be too happy to cut it up for you—the correct way. Dále, genial, good talk.

Paulina Market, Chicago, IL

Grab your number from the pig’s mouth and get in line at the granddaddy of Chicago meat markets, a North Side necessity for 70 years and counting—look for polishes, wieners, bologna, pork sticks, as well as all fancy stuff (as in, meats that are not yet cured). Swing by for free brats at the annual customer appreciation day.

Peter’s Meat Market, The Bronx, NY

Bari-born Pete Servedio’s half-century-old stall remains a star of the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, run by a tight team of long-time butchers serving a customer base that’s equally loyal. Along with the classic market itself, this is one of those treasured places there to remind us that New York absolutely still has a soul.

Piece of Meat, New Orleans, LA

This 2019 Food & Wine Best New Restaurant alum is also one of the best butcher shops in the South. Owners Leighann Smith and Daniel Jackson have made themselves indispensable to the city in almost no time at all, sourcing top-notch meats from regional greats like Home Place Pastures in Mississippi.

Porter Road, Nashville, TN

What began as one of the most promising new shops in the region—they’re particularly good at dry-aging beef—has grown rather quickly to become a national brand, offering coast-to-coast delivery of some of the region’s very best product; pasture-raised turkeys are a treat. Ships nationwide

Primal Supply Meats, Philadelphia, PA

Local star on the scene Heather Thomason has become a force to be reckoned with, offering twin shops, delivery service, and a meat subscription/CSA program, always sourcing from the very best farms in the region. As anybody who knows Eastern Pennsylvania can tell you, that’s a pretty deep field.

Publican Quality Meats, Chicago, IL

At the heart of the old meatpacking quarter, Paul Kahan’s appealing (and very popular at that) butcher shop and restaurant is a stellar source for dry aged beef—an average of 60 days—not to mention some of the finest charcuterie you’ll find in town.

Rabbi’s Daughter, Los Angeles, CA

The coolest kosher butcher in all the land, or at least this city—co-owner Nomi Feuerstein is actually a rabbi’s daughter, yes—is where you go when you’re looking for 100% Glatt Kosher grass-fed beef, particularly in cuts that can often be difficult to find. P.S.: Love the chicken schnitzel, gluten-free or otherwise.

Raddell’s Sausage, Cleveland, OH

When Clevelanders crave smoky, garlicky Slovenian sausages, which they do quite often, chances are they’re thinking specifically about the boil-in-the-pot beauties from this century-old shop producing over 1,000 pounds of the good stuff every week. Fat polish links and spicy andouille are worth a look as well. Ships nationwide

Rolf’s Pork Store, Albany, NY

One of the few things in the neighborhood that hasn’t changed during the last fifty-ish years, this serious German butcher draws people from around the corner and around the country for head cheese, liverwurst, beautiful whole hams, and sausages galore.

Ronnie Berry’s Halal Meats, Dearborn, MI

Grab a jalapeño cheddar stick—you’re in the Midwest now, we don’t make the rules—and browse the selection at one of the country’s longest-running halal butchers, serving one of the largest Muslim communities in North America for more than half a century. Try their corned beef, a Detroit specialty.

Rooster Street Butcher, Lititz, PA

Another jewel in the growing modern Lancaster County butchery scene— popular enough, in fact, to have branched out from their original shop and restaurant in to add two more locations, one right inside the competitive Lancaster Central Market, one of the oldest in the country.

Salt and Time, Austin, TX

Need a top-notch brisket, maybe even wagyu? The state capital’s pioneering whole-animal butchery is—already, where has the time gone?— celebrating a decade of indispensability to the regional food scene. Breakfast sausages are a cut above.

Saucisson, Cleveland, OH

In a Rust Belt town that puts the butch in butchery, Melissa Khoury and Penny Barend Tagliarina have managed to power past so much tradition with their beautifully curated shop. Stop in for a sustainable taste of France—from beautiful, everyday bavettes to intricate, special occasion terrines.

Savenor’s Butcher & Market, Cambridge, MA

Julia Child sourced her pheasant and goose and suckling pigs from this Boston-area institution—official butcher of the Red Sox, mind you—that’s been serving happy customers since the end of the Great Depression. The charcuterie case shows off the shop’s creative side.

Schaller & Weber, New York, NY

Perhaps the country’s best-known metzgerei and still one of our finest, opening in 1937 in a neighborhood that used to be a whole lot more German than it is today. Come for class-act cured meats galore, and to appreciate the Schaller family’s ongoing commitment to not messing with a good thing, no matter how many developers come knocking on their door. Ships nationwide

Sepulveda Meats & Provisions, San Diego, CA

A local fixture after less than five years on the job, this low-flash neighborhood shop offers something—make that something high quality—for everyone, from oxtails to carne asada to tri-tip; a rotating selection of sausages, from choripan to cheddar brats, will not be ignored. 

Smokehouse of the Catskills, Veteran, NY

Beautiful brats—the kind that will be requested at every subsequent barbecue, once you start serving them—and very fine steaks stand out at this classic German butcher shop that would easily make a name for itself in the big city; instead, they’ve been here by the side of the road between Woodstock and Saugerties for generations, doing their thing, and doing it very well. See how many types of imported mustard you can count on the shelves.

Smoking Goose Meatery, Indianapolis, IN

From award-winning duck prosciutto to a not-so-humble braunschweiger, this Midwest charcuterie whiz covers most of the classic bases—Indiana maple syrup-cured bacon bits for your salads, because you’ve got to—while pulling double duty as masters of experimentation. Sometimes, the two ethics collide—Wagyu beef bologna, hot smoked, for example. Yes, please. Ships nationwide

Snider Brothers Meats, Salt Lake City, UT

The classically stark facade—and those magnificent, hand-painted signs (on butcher paper) in the windows—give the appearance of a butcher shop out of a mid-century movie, but this is 2020 (sorry). They’ve got crown roasts and pot pies, turducken for the holidays, and you’re still encouraged to fax in your sandwich orders at lunch time. A Salt Lake staple since 1938.

Strip District Meats, Pittsburgh, PA

Any excuse will do for a visit to one of the country’s most authentic old food market quarters, where this old timer—in business for nearly 70 years—sells pretty much any kind of meat you could ever want, and some you probably don’t. Don’t see it in stock? They can probably get it for you.

Taylor’s Market, Sacramento, CA

First impressions shout charming holdover, but the locals know all about this classic corner market refitted for the modern age. The in-store butcher shop marries the best of new and old, sourcing top meat and poultry from California’s best ranches. And yes, that is a wine list at the in-store cafe.

Ted’s Butcherblock, Charleston, SC

One of the best lunches in Charleston, a town known for great restaurants, is the relatively simple sandwich you’ll make yourself at home, featuring ruby red-rare and thinly-sliced wagyu roast beef, sold from giant piles at the city’s favorite new school butcher. Just add Duke’s.

Staubitz, Brooklyn, NY

What’s said to be the longest-running butcher shop in all of New York City—opened in 1917—remains a credit to Court Street all these years later, with standards (grass-fed and finished beef, Berkshire pork) hewing much closer to the new school shops than you might expect from such an old-timer.

Terranova Super Market, New Orleans, LA

Run by the Terranova family for nearly a century, this charmer of a corner store serving the Bayou St. John neighborhood draws cooks from all over the city for the highly regarded Italian sausages, Louisiana-style hogshead cheese, chickens stuffed with artichokes, pork chops, and more. 

Thorndale Meat Market, Thorndale, TX

Trey Felton’s knack for tinkering quite successfully with traditional aging methods lures quality beef freaks to this small town butcher shop, smokehouse and barbecue joint just a short drive out of Austin. Highly recommended for their dried sausages, a Texas specialty.

Union Pork Store, Union, NJ

Behind the facade of what looks like yet another old-school Jersey sausage factory, not that we’re spoiled or anything, beats the heart of one very fine family-run German metzgerei, churning out stellar franks, wursts, specialties like leberkase, smoked fish, and thick-cut bacon worth the drive from a considerable distance. Ships nationwide

Vincent’s Meat Market, The Bronx, NY

From opulent, dry-aged steaks to the nicely-priced sausage of the month club, this Arthur Avenue favorite has been meeting the needs of a highly ingredient-conscious neighborhood since the 1950s, cultivating a reputation not just for quality, but for service and accessibility as well.

W.A. Bean & Sons, Bangor, ME

Sugar-cured hams and red snapper hot dogs from this fifth-generation family operation have been staples in Maine kitchens since the 1800s, but locals also know the popular brand as a full-service meat market, selling everything from whole smoked chickens to beef mince. Discount meat bundles are a bargain hunter’s best friend. Ships nationwide

Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, Denver, CO

Kate Kavanaugh was a strict vegetarian long before opening this smart shop specializing in grass-fed and finished beef. For many people, love of animals and the environment might mean running in the other direction; for Kavanaugh, it meant quite the opposite. Today, she’s one of the region’s most enthusiastic evangelists for ethical butchery.

Wiatrek’s Meat Market, Poth, TX

Go for the grass-fed beef (and the house links) at this full-service destination with its own processing plant, and a pretty tight barbecue set-up on weekends. You don’t see slow-cooked ribeye steaks coming off mesquite-fueled pits every day—not even in the heart of Texas. There’s a second shop in suburban San Antonio.

Willi’s Sausage Co., Frankenmuth, MI

Make all the jokes you want about the Midwest’s committed-to-the-bit “Little Bavaria,” we’ll be in line for the best wurst at this century-old shop, run for decades by immigrant master sausage maker Willi Becker. There’s new ownership these days, but the recipes—metts, brats, you name it—remain. Ships nationwide