The 10 Best New-School Butcher Shops in America

Get to know the cleaver-wielding men and women behind some of the country’s finest meat purveyors.

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Storied butchers of the past—burly men with muscled forearms and crisp white aprons—were once beloved neighborhood lynchpins, as crucial to the community as corner barkeeps and high-school football coaches. But for the last decades, they appeared to be a dying breed, their handiwork replaced by pallid meats suffocating in plastic wrap and laid on bloodied styrofoam.

Then, in the past few years, something remarkable happened: The bone saws came back out, the hatchets were sharpened, and indie meat maestros began setting up shop all across the country. Those on the front lines are holding doggedly to an old-fashioned model of butchering while bringing some new-school swagger to the once venerable profession.

While the uniforms may have changed (skinny ties and cleaver tattoos weren’t part of the game back in the day), the goal remains the same: to break down the freshest, most naturally-raised animals available. The code is still one your grandparents will recognize, but the new generation is also inflecting shops and cuts with their own inspired signature styles, as well as a passionate commitment to ideals culled from the locavore movement.

Click to start the list
  • Ann

    I don’t want to interfere with anyone’s preconceived idea that Houston is some hillbilly backwater by pointing out we’ve had Revival Market, a sustainable butcher shop since early spring 2011.

    • Greatscot

      I was looking through the list waiting for Revival to show up. Very disappointed it was left off, in favor of a market that is “in the works” for Austin.

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  • ChefJune

    I’m thrilled that butchering is undergoing a revival in the USA because it gives hope that quality meats will continue to be available. (Lord knows the stuff sold in most supermarkets is not safe to eat!)

    But somehow this article takes away from the fact that there have been and continue to be — for decades — fine butcher shops in many US cities. I realize there are not as many as there used to be, but they do exist. And I think they should be celebrated, rather than relegated to some dusty closet on the side as if they weren’t there at all.

    Check out the butchers who’ve been operating in New York for many years. They don’t go looking for publicity….. likewise Chicago and Boston. I can’t speak for other cities because I’m not conversant with their foodways, but I’m sure these places are not alone.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.runkle.1 Benjamin Runkle

    By the way, Salt & Time is open now!

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  • new forever customer

    I came accross a local meat market called ” Kenrick’s Meats” its a small shop in St. Louis Missouri and it has a variety of everything from 80 types of bratwurst (all made in house) to lunch meats and cheeses some of which are also made in house. I strongly suggest giving this place a try i have heard they can also ship to anywhere in the U.S.. With the location being in St. Louis they have what they call ” Pork Steaks” ready to go at all times! Check them out!

  • Trapper

    Bishers Quality Meats
    Ramona California

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  • eric senie

    will investors love to franchise butcher shops in Africa?? There is a potential market lying unexploited for years and now , i think it is due tym that investors get down to the developing countries to promote the consumption of animal product through packaging and destribution to take care of protein deficiency in children to enhance mental strenght.

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