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In search of butcher in Calgary

JC Jan 12, 2006 08:13 PM

I am rather skeptical of the meat departments in Calgary's local grocery stores (ie Safeway, Superstore, Co-op). Does anyone recommend a good meat shop for lamb, beef and pork in Calgary?


  1. b
    bert Jan 13, 2006 10:45 AM

    I'd recommend Bon Ton in NW Calgary, the Stadium shopping Centre (same area as where Luciano's and the Stadium Keg is located).

    I've rarely seen them offer pork though, mostly free range chicken, beef, and lamb.

    I'm not sure of others, as Bon Ton is close to where I live.

    5 Replies
    1. re: bert
      Gobstopper Jan 15, 2006 12:16 PM

      Bon Ton has a good reputation.
      I like the Better Butcher in the South East, at Heritage and Fairmount. He also gets John Gilchrists seal of approval. Second To None Meats on 4th Street South West is also good. I've had reasonable stuff from Calgary Meats and Deli on Edmonton Trail, but I'm not pumped about it. I find the bad smells in Superstore to be a big turn off.

      1. re: Gobstopper
        JJ Jan 15, 2006 08:49 PM

        second to none on 4th St Sw has always been excellent. Co-Op downtown on 11th St SW is as good a department store butcher you will find... theyll cut whatever you need, excellent variety, and they dry age beef.

        1. re: JJ
          John Manzo Jan 15, 2006 09:01 PM

          I have to second this about co-op- excellent meat dept, at the midtown food boutique one at least. No reason to avoid it.

          1. re: John Manzo
            Jeff Jan 16, 2006 01:23 PM

            Second to None on 4th st is excellent. The owner is also the meat purveyor to many highly regarded Calgary restos, including Catch.

        2. re: Gobstopper
          specialk Dec 30, 2010 05:25 PM

          Dredging up an old thread, but just wondering how folks have found Bob Ton for grocery items. I often buy my meat there, but today also picked some eggs and jerky (snack for me and my daughter on the way home) Jerky was by far the toughest specimen I've ever bought or even made. Upon cracking, the eggs seemed old having faint fishy smell..
          I'm all ears for suggestions on where to buy better, fresher eggs and a tenderer version of my highbrow snack of jerky... !

      2. j
        JC Jan 17, 2006 06:56 PM

        Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Will give some of them a try.

        1. c
          constantcraving Dec 20, 2006 11:32 PM

          Hi JC - I know this post is nearly a year after your message, but there's a website now for Second To None Meats if you are interested in seeing what they offer or contacting them:

          1. s
            Shazam Dec 21, 2006 03:02 AM

            I will timidly add the Rancher's Reserve brand at Safeway, available at the butcher counter. For price/taste ratio, it can't be beat.

            1. z
              Zydeco_Mama Dec 21, 2006 02:27 PM

              Regina's at the Stockyard Farmer's Market is excellent. We special ordered a pork butt from them and it was slaughtered on the Wednesday for pick up on Friday - doesn't get much fresher.

              1. s
                Shazam Dec 21, 2006 08:35 PM

                Oh, forgot to mention Hoven Farms at Currie Barracks. Excellent meat.

                1. b
                  BBQbaron Mar 30, 2008 05:57 PM

                  Coop on 11ave has the best selection I have seen in a grocery store or butcher shop in Calgary
                  Lots of AAA quality beef cuts
                  Their Rib Eyes & Prime Ribs are fantastic
                  Anyone seen Prime Cuts (AAAA) available to the public ?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BBQbaron
                    sweeterpea Mar 30, 2008 11:25 PM

                    We bought some Sterling or US Prime beef from this guy that my husband knows; it was amazing. He works for a restaurant supply company so not sure if he sells just to friends or to anyone who is interested. You have to buy the whole prime rib (ie 8 ribs; not sure if that is the correct term) though.

                    To tell you the truth, we prefer the texture of the Galaway Beef from Second to None over the Prime beef that we had. They have just opened a Bowness store and they say they are doing pretty good business in this location. They sell meat that is "natural" meaning as close to organic as possible without doing the certifications, and is locally sourced. Really nice guys.

                    Better Butcher is also very good, but we prefer dealing with Second to None, they seem more friendlier and knowledgeable, I don't know if it's just the particular people we talk to.

                  2. hornvixen Mar 30, 2008 08:22 PM

                    We have had good luck with Bonton, but it is far for us. We generally use Heaslip Meats on Macleod (7400 block), near where Cafe Metro used to be.

                    1. pants Mar 31, 2008 12:34 PM

                      i like the 11 Ave Co-Op, it's great, we've had beautiful steaks and rack of lamb from there. In fact the rack of lamb we got last week was so tender and moist, you practically didn't need a knife. What I also didn't realize (just not paying attention to the signs and just looking at the meat) they have alberta beef labelled, so that's nice to be able to see that the beef is from here. We were buying steaks last week and the butcher stopped us from the ontario ones, said the alberta ones taste better - they were very good on the bbq.

                      1. knifeguy Apr 3, 2008 02:57 PM

                        Regina at Crossroads is great and she like to eat pig's trotters as much as I do. For the rest of the week it's hard to beat Master Meat on 40th Ave and Center Street North. Nothing is pre-cut. You walk in and ask for what you want. They get a large peice of animal from the fridge and cut off the bit you'd like. The way it should be. They carry both conventional and naturally rasied. I buy a lot of bison there.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: knifeguy
                          girlwithafork Apr 13, 2008 05:38 PM

                          Checked out Second To None recently on CH advice. Definitely great meat. Passionate service and great people. $49.00 for two ribeye steaks? You can't put a price on health but that's a lot to swallow, even for organic, hormone free food. Back to Bon Ton we go ...........

                          1. re: girlwithafork
                            sweeterpea Apr 13, 2008 06:25 PM

                            Yeah, we bought a three rib Galaway Prime Rib, which rang in at $154.00; it was amazing, though I was a bit nervous roasting it ;o) bought a Maple Farms chicken -- for $30.00.

                            We denfinitely don't go there for all our meat, but it's nice to know there's a butcher out there who has all-natural meat and with friendly and knowledgeable service.

                            1. re: sweeterpea
                              taiphun Apr 13, 2008 10:18 PM

                              I got a flyer from them last week so I decided to pop by for my 3 free patties yesterday.

                              Came home with some sirloin (was on sale, buy 3 get 1 free) and a $16 chicken from (Maple HILLS Farm).

                              I'll be grilling the sirloin tomorrow - I hope it's as good as it was pricey!

                              1. re: taiphun
                                sweeterpea Apr 14, 2008 07:32 AM

                                You won't be disappointed! If you are, talk to them. They would want to know if you're not happy, that's how good they are.

                        2. l
                          Lotti May 5, 2008 02:00 PM

                          The best meat in the area, IMHO, is from The Butcher Shoppe in Airdrie (705 Main St) - In fact I've heard it's the one of the three best places to get meat in Canada (or was it North America) - can't remember where I read that but at the time I remember it struck me as a very credible source. Everything they carry is "natural" (ie: hormone and anti-biotic free). Well worth the drive.

                          1. t
                            tlec May 12, 2008 08:24 PM

                            Probably the best NY strip I have ever purchased came from Master Meats. They are located on 40 Av NW just west of Centre St N. Family shop. They age their meat to perfection. I know many steak freaks who consistently say "that is the best steak I haev ever had."

                            Bon Ton is a good spot as well but I give Master Meats the edge.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: tlec
                              mcmuffin May 13, 2008 06:23 AM

                              We use Horizon Meats in the NE. Very happy with them.

                              1. re: tlec
                                zastrazzi Dec 14, 2008 09:42 AM

                                Master Meats has definitely won more of my meat business - They have excellent variety, good customer service. They're also the only place I managed to source a 5 lb wild boar roast ;)

                                120 40 Avenue NW
                                Calgary, AB T2K 0E3
                                (403) 277-5002

                                1. re: tlec
                                  jsfoodchat Jan 2, 2011 03:39 PM

                                  agreed. John at Master Meats is great!

                                2. sarah galvin Dec 14, 2008 03:28 PM

                                  MacEwan Meats in Haysboro, Venture Meats on Macleod Tr just north of Heritage and Gordon's Meats in Montgomery are my favourite.

                                  1. s
                                    sarahbean007 Dec 15, 2008 08:22 AM

                                    If you're willing (or depeinding on where youa re it may even be closer) to drive to Okotoks, Hirsche Fraser Meats is a great place. It's two families who started to sell their meat independantly out of a truck ont he weekends and they have such a following and great product that they've been able to open a store. Great people and great meat! I went in one time looking for stewing beef and they didn't hav any packaged, so when I asked, they cut up a steak and sold it to me for stewing meat price!



                                    1. g
                                      GerryT Feb 16, 2009 06:06 PM

                                      Calgary Meats on Edmonton Trail has very good products. We love their cordon blue and their pork. My favourite sausage is their Hungarian. The staff are very friendly and helpful. I get the service and knowledge from a butcher shop with prices comparable to the grocery chains.

                                      1. 1
                                        1234zoom Mar 21, 2010 05:51 PM

                                        Hi all. I am an immigrant who grew up on a farm and the culture there prohibits eating calf meat i.e under breeding age. It is a taboo.Here I come and I am told all the slaughtered animals are 3-4 year olds which is a turn off for me. There is no flavor also in calf meat as far as I am concerned.
                                        Are there butchers who slaughter older animals in Calgary ?

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: 1234zoom
                                          sweedon Mar 21, 2010 06:52 PM

                                          You're missing out. Veal is delish.

                                          1. re: 1234zoom
                                            Scary Bill Mar 22, 2010 09:40 AM

                                            I found this a curious question, and the answer was not hard to find.
                                            In Canada, beef cattle on average are slaughtered at 18 months of age, with a range of
                                            between 14 and 21 months. This in large part is for consumer safety.
                                            Breeding age can commence as early as 18 months though is typically 2-21/2 years.
                                            You should find a butcher that dry ages AAA beef for up to 30 days. That will make you happy, guaranteed.
                                            Also I agree with sweedon, veal is tops, and BTW nutritionally better than beef, but it is not available everywhere in AB.

                                            1. re: Scary Bill
                                              1234zoom Mar 22, 2010 10:18 AM

                                              Thx guys. Veal could be delish but not for me. It is the way I was programmed growing up to save the young animals for reproduction.
                                              Back to my question: are there butchers in Calgary selling beef from older animals ?

                                              1. re: 1234zoom
                                                Scary Bill Mar 22, 2010 11:18 AM

                                                Doubtful. BSE is an increased concern in older animals. But, call a butcher and ask.

                                                1. re: Scary Bill
                                                  rancher rick Mar 22, 2010 11:32 AM

                                                  I question whether BSE is a real concern in older animals. I think the jury is still out on that issue & many questions remain unanswered,
                                                  My wife & raise grassfed Angus beef on our ranch & it`s as close to "organic" as you can get without the certifcation.
                                                  Perhaps you were making a reference to feedlot beef with hormone implants & regular use of anti-biotics..

                                                  1. re: rancher rick
                                                    Scary Bill Mar 22, 2010 12:03 PM


                                                    You would certainly know better than I. My comment about older animals would clearly not apply to a rancher with feed practises like yours, and is based on information in the press (ok, I know I should not rely on the press too much) about cattle found with BSE in the past few years-not many in any event, I know. The cattle that did have BSE were older cattle, born before more rigid current regulations were put into effect about feed practises.
                                                    More importantly, do any butchers in Calgary or area sell your beef?


                                          2. j
                                            jsfoodchat Jan 2, 2011 03:38 PM

                                            Go see John at Master Meats on 40th Ave and Center Street N across from Tim Hortons.

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