If you've been dissatisfied with the quality of the meat at your local supermarket, there's no need to think about adopting a vegetarian diet. Instead, look for a butcher shop in your city and pay it a visit. When you step through the doors, you'll be awestruck by the dozens of cuts of meat neatly presented behind glass and the fast-paced, enthusiastic staff ensuring other customers' needs are met. Entering a butcher shop for the first time might seem a little overwhelming for the uninitiated, but there's no need to be intimidated. Here are three things to know if you're a butcher shop novice.
Engage The Butcher In Conversation
Shopping in the meat department of a supermarket makes you accustomed to just grabbing whatever product looks best. Perhaps the central advantage to frequenting a butcher shop, beyond higher-quality cuts of meat, is the ability to discuss your cooking plans with a butcher. Instead of just ordering a certain cut of meat, for example, tell the butcher that you're cooking for six people, that you plan to use the barbecue and that your ability in the kitchen is intermediate. He or she might ask you a couple follow-up questions and then recommend a different cut of meat that could save you time or money without compromising quality -- and provide some preparation and cooking tips, too.
You Can Get Good Results From "Lower-Quality" Cuts
If you're used to shopping at a supermarket in which the meat often tastes old, you might be tempted to seek prime cuts such as beef tenderloin and rib steaks, as these offer better tenderness and taste. Butcher shops are renowned for having fresher, better-quality meats that other retailers -- thanks, in part, to a dry-aging process that improves the meat's taste and texture -- which means you can often opt for a less-expensive cut of beat that still tastes great but doesn't cost as much. For example, flank and sirloin steaks aren't known for their tenderness, but they'll be fresh and tasty at a butcher shop and can be delicious to eat.
Order Ahead For Large Purchases
One of the joys of shopping at a butcher shop (such as Custom Quality Meats) is that if you're planning a large get-together in which you'll be serving a lot of meat, you can call in advance with your order. Whereas supermarket shopping often limits you to what's on display at the time of your visit, being a butcher shop customer gives you the ability to place custom orders. Whether the butcher just has to do some extra butchering and put your cuts aside for you or needs to order a specific product, you'll find that calling ahead is one of the main perks of supporting your local butcher shop.