5 Reasons To Skip The Supermarket & Head To Your Local Butcher Instead

various cuts of meat in glass showcase at butcher shopWhen it comes to purchasing meat for your family, you have two main options – your local butcher or a nearby supermarket. While many people are under the assumption that they can’t afford to shop at a butcher, the fact is that it can be just as affordable! There are undoubtedly many benefits your local butcher can provide that you just won’t find at the grocery store. Read on for five of the top advantages.

 

 

1. Quality

Think about the meat section at your grocery store – shrink wrapped, pre-packaged and just laid out until someone decides to buy it. There is simply no comparison to the fresh, robust meat case you’ll find at a butcher. When you purchase meat from a butcher, you are going to be getting fresher and higher quality meat that’s often cut right in front of you. Raised ethically and free of hormones and antibiotics, you can feel good about the meat you’re eating and feeding your family.

2. Selection

Because grocery stores need to carry multiple types of food, they often restrict the types and cuts of meat that they stock. Butchers, on the other hand, are able to provide a wide range of meat. If you’re looking to try something new, a butcher shop is the place to go! You can find your standard cuts of meat along with specialty items like beef tongue, bone marrow or pork liver.

3. Advice

Interested in trying a specialty meat but not sure how to cook it? Unsure of what the best cut of steak is for your upcoming BBQ? No matter what your level of expertise is, your butcher can point you in the right direction. Cost would also fall under this category. Yes, meat from a butcher can sometimes be more expensive than it’s grocery store counterpart; however, a knowledgeable butcher will be able to suggest alternative cuts of meat that will save you money without sacrificing flavour. More so, when you consider the difference in quality, you’re getting more bang for your buck.

4. Local Products

Shopping local is becoming more and more important to consumers. Local butchers often source their meat from surrounding or nearby areas. Shopping locally helps to boost the local economy, while also supporting responsibly sourced meat.

5. Excellent Customer Service

Buying local has other great benefits, like allowing you to build a relationship with your butcher. Smaller shops can have a tough time competing against large chains, so it’s in your butcher’s best interest to offer you top notch customer service. Whether it’s a custom cut, cooking tips or a special order, your butcher will do whatever they can to make sure their meat is the best thing you’ve ever tasted!

Here at D’Arcy’s Meat Market, we pride ourselves on being meticulous about sourcing only the highest quality meat and poultry. Stop by and check out our selection today!

4 REASONS TO BUY MEAT FROM A BUTCHER

why-shop-at-butchersOver the last few decades, food markets have been dominated by huge “box-store” chains thanks to a culture of convenience. Fortunately, people are now seeking a more reliable, better quality product– but how can someone on a budget justify paying higher prices by the pound? Keep reading for four value-adding reasons that will encourage consumers to vote with their dollar to support their local butcher, food industry and overall economy!

#4: KNOWLEDGE

Many butchers, like D’Arcy’s Meat Market, have dozens of years (if not generations) of experience on their side! All professional butchers are well-trained, but there is a wealth of knowledge that is exclusive to independent butchers that manage every aspect of their businesses. Since your satisfaction is our first priority, we are happy to pass that knowledge and experience on as advice to all of our customers.

#3: VERSATILITY

The butcher counter at your favourite chain may have a wide selection, but is often the same choices over and over again. Independent butchers provide an unparalleled flexibility when it comes to custom orders or special preparations. We also curate our inventory based on seasonal quality and taste. The digital age has broadened food options of families and gourmands alike– allow us to handle any of your needs, such as a regular order or a special request.

#2: QUALITY

Local butchers know they cannot be as convenient as supermarkets, wholesale clubs or frozen food retail chains– so butchers ensure they have the edge when it comes to quality. D’Arcy’s exclusively uses reputable, local sources that deliver only the freshest products without exception. Eat better food and support local businesses, choose a butcher!

#1: TRANSPARENCY

While a plastic-wrapped slab of ground chuck is easy to grab alongside your milk and bread, do you really know when that meat was prepared and what went into it? When you visit a butcher like D’Arcy’s, you can see almost every step of the process: choose your cut, have it prepared to order and walk out knowing your meat wasn’t handled unnecessarily. Our butchers can also tell you where your meat came from, when it arrived and how long it will stay fresh.

The four examples above are only a few of the advantages of shopping at your local butcher. At D’Arcy’s you can build a relationship with our friendly staff in a less intimidating atmosphere than a bustling supermarket. If you have any questions or concerns, contact or visit us today!

BUTCHERS’ BEST-KEPT SECRETS: The Truth from Behind the Counter

Male butcher hanging meat on hook in shop

Since we are the ones that handle the meat from some of its earliest stages, D’Arcy’s butchers have seen it all. From exotic game to how the sausage is made – our staff is proud to be a fountain of knowledge for any customers that walk through our door. Below is a peek at some of our industry secrets that we’re passing along for your benefit. Read on!

LESSER-KNOWN CUTS OF MEAT

Flatiron steak: a tender, juicy steak often overlooked for its less recognizable shape.
Short ribs: affordable and delicious when braised long over low temperatures.
Rump medallion: lean and meaty with all the juiciness and tenderness of fattier cuts.
Hanger steak: only one per animal – a flavourful cut that excels when marinated.
Bone marrow: a ‘peasant dish’ classic that is exploding in gourmet circles.
Lamb neck: intense lamb flavour from a part of the animal that is often wasted.
Organs, etc: odds and ends such as bellies, sweetbreads and suet are considered delicacies in many cuisines.
Venison & other wild game: adds all new flavours and textures to any dish or cookout. D’Arcy’s offers special orders or even custom game carving.

BUTCHERING TERMS

Separable lean: when a cut of meat has all visible, exterior fat removed.
Separable lean and fat: when a cut of meat is left with its external fat.
Bias slice: cutting perpendicular to or against the grain of the meat; allows for clean, even slices.
Matchstick: adds another cut to bias sliced meat, producing narrow strips.
Cubed: just like it sounds, good for stewing or braising meat.
Minced or ground: finely chopped or pulverized; can be made from any quality or kind of meat.

D’ARCY’S CUSTOM MEAT CUTTING

Are you a hunter or have one in the family? Invested in an animal share, but butchering is extra? Consider D’Arcy’s for your next custom meat cutting order. We can tailor your order to your preference, whether it is deer, elk or any other kind of freshly caught game – even hand-raised livestock. Call ahead and book your custom order today. Availability is limited and spots fill up quickly!

There you have it, a few good nuggets of wisdom from your friendly, neighbourhood butchers here at D’Arcy’s Meat Market. Are you curious about any of the items or services above? Looking for something you don’t see on our site or blog? Visit or contact us today – our helpful staff can answer any questions or concerns you might have thanks to our years of experience.

BUTCHER SHOP WHO’S WHO: Lamb & Mutton

fresh chopped mutton

Many homecooks avoid meats that seem exotic or difficult to cook. The fact is many of these “exotic” meats boast long traditions of preparation and cuisine, a solid foundation for cooks of all skill levels. While many North Americans are well versed in lamb chops, racks and roasts– the same people might shy away of similar cuts of meat labeled as mutton. Read below for D’Arcy’s quick-look definitions, comparisons and contrasts of lamb and mutton.

LAMB
Lamb is defined as the meat of a sheep slaughtered between four months and one year old. Low in fat content, the meat is often pink or pale red with delicate yet distinctive flavour. Not all lamb is made equal– different cuts offer different advantages and disadvantages.

MUTTON
Mutton is nearly identical to lamb: it’s the meat of a sheep. The only difference is the slaughtered sheep has been allowed to mature past twelve months, usually in the range of three years old. Mutton is rich in fat, bright red and intensely flavourful. Often considered an “acquired taste” in North America, mutton is extremely popular throughout the Middle East and Europe.

When preparing lamb or mutton, it is important to adjust your plans and recipes to accommodate the differences of either meat. While lamb is prized for its subtlety, a cheap cut of lamb can end up just as greasy and odorous as a mutton counterpart when prepared incorrectly. Conversely mutton has a bad reputation, but it can easily be served as part of a fine, gourmet meal.

Are you interested in trying out lamb or mutton on your dinner table? Visit or contact our helpful staff at D’Arcy’s and they will put their expertise to work for you. We will cater to you by ensuring you have the right cut of meat for your needs.

RAISE THE STEAKS: Why Buy Steak at a Butcher Shop?

Selection of meat at a butcher shop

Predicting the weather, playing blackjack, picking out a cut of meat… there are some things we tell ourselves we’re good at, but we know deep down there’s a science to it that we have yet to master. This is where a good butcher like D’Arcy’s comes in! Don’t waste your time staring into a giant cooler, trying to unlock the secrets of cellophane-wrapped steaks with your hidden mind powers– just call, email or visit and our experienced staff will customize your order to your exact needs and specifications.

Still want to unlock some of those secrets? The list below contains several reasons why you should buy your next steak at D’Arcy’s!

STEAK FOR EVERY SEASON

Tell your butcher what recipe you are cooking or what you envision as the end product. They may ask a few questions, but it is only to determine the perfect cut to meet your needs. Think of your butcher like a caddy, but instead of golf clubs they know which cut of meat suits each situation.

STEAK BY ANY OTHER NAME

“Steak” is a popular favourite food, but ask a butcher for steak and he’ll ask: “What kind?” There are dozens of varieties of steak, each with their own advantages and disadvantages– depending on the situation. Ribeye, strip, tenderloin, t-bone, Porterhouse, Flat Iron… and the list goes on! Serving size and style vary from one to the next, but all can be delicious in the right context. Your butcher is a wealth of information on the different cuts of steak and their purpose.

B-SIDES OF BEEF SIDES

Lesser widely known steaks like tri-tip or sirloin can outstrip their “cheap” status with proper grilling or even a simple marinade. World famous BBQ pitmasters and gourmet chefs alike have made their fortune by taking so-called lesser cuts of meat to the next level. Looking for something special that won’t break the bank? Ask your butcher for suggestions next time you’re looking to grill something different.

SHOW & TELL

Compare a butcher’s counter to a supermarket cooler– what’s different? At a butcher like D’Arcy’s the meat is open in a sealed cooler, while supermarket meat suffocates in cling wrap and styrofoam. Not only can packaging negatively affect optimum moisture levels in the meat, but you also cannot inspect the entire product. Our butchers will gladly show you every cut available, helping you pick the right one for you needs.

Steak Tips

  • Look for a rich, red colour in the meat of the steak
  • Good marbling– threads of fat throughout the cut– is key to a tender steak
  • Any meat with a sour or ammonia smell is not fresh & should be returned
  • Overly sticky or tacky-feeling beef should be returned
  • Read the fine print: flashy labels don’t tell the whole story!