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Looking to buy lamb

j
Janet C. Mar 22, 2004 04:50 PM

I'm sure it's been discussed on the board before, but for some reason I haven't been able to track down any postings...

I'd like to try making kubideh/kefta kebabs w/ ground lamb and need a good source for the meat that's not too out of the way. Preferably close to downtown (or at least west of Western) or easily accessible by public trans.

Fox & Obel might be out of my price range. Any opinions on Whole Food's offerings? Ideally I'd like to find one of those small-establishment/privately run butcher shops, but not sure where to find/which are good.

  1. a
    Aaron D Mar 22, 2004 05:01 PM

    I embarked on a similar quest last year about this time, and was quite satisfied with Chicago Halal on Devon. Thread linked below.

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Aaron D
      j
      Janet C. Mar 22, 2004 05:12 PM

      Thanks for the link!

      How did your kebabs turn out?

    2. c
      c8w Mar 22, 2004 05:24 PM

      There are several butcher-shops on Devon, fairly
      close to Western - though they are all "kosher"
      meat.

      The one Ive found to be the best is..um. Not sure
      I even recall the name :-) But its just east
      of Western, by about 2 blocks. About 2230-2240
      West Devon IIRC. Named something like Farm City
      Meats or similar. You cant really miss it, they
      have an attached grocery store as well (and theyre
      next to a bar called "Cary's" and a restaurant
      called "Usmaniya".

      They carry goat, lamb, chicken and beef - no pork,
      a halal store. Seems like its family-run too,
      since you mentioned it.

      c8w

      1. a
        Antonius Mar 22, 2004 05:53 PM

        Try 'City Noor' butcher shop on Kedzie, on the west side a short ways down from Lawrence. They usually have a freshly prepared mixture of ground beef and lamb on hand and will always happily grind meat up for you per request. Good Halal chickens, veal, beef, tasty little Merguez-like lamb sausages and, of course, nice cuts of lamb are all available in this small, clean, family-run butcher shop. The very friendly proprietors are Palestinian.

        Across the street, Andy's also is said to have a good butcher counter. Al Khyam grocery, just north of City Noor, also has a butcher counter; these two we have tried but of late, when Amata and I head up there, we usually go to Al Khyam for fresh and excellent pita from their bakery and to City Noor for meat.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Antonius
          j
          Jen Mar 23, 2004 12:15 PM

          I have to second the choice of the place on Western by Lawrence. I believe this is the same place I bought saffron -- fresh and the real stuff -- for an incredibly cheap price. As in, unbelievably cheap. I made lamb stew from their lamb and it was really delicious. Their lamb sausages are good too...

          1. re: Antonius
            e
            Eldon Kreider Mar 23, 2004 01:48 PM

            City Noor is practically at the Kedzie stop on the Brown line.

            Andy's is good for pork and chicken but lamb selection has been minimal. We have often found beef bones etc. for stock there.

            Chicago Produce (3500 West Lawrence) has a large meat counter with hispanic influence. They carry a good selection of lamb, which is probably a holdover from when the building housed Gikas Brothers Supermarket.

          2. e
            Evil Ronnie Mar 22, 2004 06:30 PM

            Janet,

            Paulina Market always has ground lamb, and they're just one block from the Paulina station on the brown line.

            Evil Ronnie

            5 Replies
            1. re: Evil Ronnie
              j
              JoelF Mar 22, 2004 07:18 PM

              I'll vouch for Paulina's lamb. I just had their rosette-like kebabs of strips of lamb rolled then skewered. Tender, flavorful yet mild lamb. Came out perfect, even though I overcooked them a bit.

              1. re: JoelF
                b
                bryan Mar 22, 2004 10:20 PM

                I will third this. Expensive, but really well worth it. I buy a leg of lamb from here every Easter and they're beautiful. The ground lamb is just fine. Better than any grocery store for sure, if you can find it! Remember when it was always there? I do. I hate the demise of meat at supermarkets, but that's another thread.

                1. re: bryan
                  j
                  Janet C. Mar 23, 2004 09:55 AM

                  How expensive is expensive?

                  I've heard only praise about this place, so definitely will have to check it out, especially when I need to impress company. But, when cooking for just myself, I might need a more "budget friendly" source.

                  1. re: Janet C.
                    a
                    Antonius Mar 23, 2004 10:04 AM

                    Again, I would suggest you try 'City Noor', or at least check it out. Mind that the ground meat (lamb and beef) mixture that they make is surely specifically intended for keftah/kibbeh preparations and their prices are very reasonable, sometimes astoundingly so. If you want pure ground lamb, they will happily grind it up before your very eyes.

                    1. re: Antonius
                      j
                      Janet C. Mar 23, 2004 11:30 AM

                      Thanks! That area is a bit out of my way, but I have a friend who lives around there, so I guess this gives me an additional reason to visit more often.

            2. a
              ab Mar 23, 2004 09:41 AM

              There are a few butchers on Devon that have whole lambs you can check out for freshness before buying specific cuts. One in particular is on the northside of Devon, just West of Western.

              probably the best deals in the city and very high quality lamb (imo)

              2 Replies
              1. re: ab
                z
                zim Mar 24, 2004 11:38 AM

                on the eastern end of devon, almost to damen, north side of the street in a fairly empty looking grocery store called I think Chicago Halal (green awning, attached butcher)- you can place an order before thursday for hole/half baby lambs which are delivered on saturday from somehwere in tennessee(?). Very good, very affordable.

                Farm City Meats a little further west on the south side of the street, is a very good alternative, but I think their strength is more goat (or frozen camel if that's your thing)

                1. re: zim
                  a
                  annieb Mar 24, 2004 07:06 PM

                  Zim,

                  Have you compared them to Bismallah, around Rockwell and Devon (N side of street, just past the bank)? They have whole/half lambs and goats, reasonable, and I've only had the lamb but it's very small and very tender. The goat looks beautiful.

              2. f
                Fran D Mar 24, 2004 03:52 PM

                You can always find ground lamb at Treasure Island. I also buy it at the Oakton Marketplace in Skokie (just west of Skokie Ave. on Oakton St.). Oakton Marketplace butchers their own meat, and often have leg of lamb for $3/pound or less.

                I would suggest Jerry & John's butcher shop as well. They are on Dempster in Skokie.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Fran D
                  j
                  Janet C. Mar 24, 2004 04:21 PM

                  Hi Fran,

                  Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, I live in the city and don't have a car, so Skokie's kind of off my radar. When I used to live in Evanston and could borrow friends' cars, however, I loved going to the Oakton Marketplace. Great selection of produce and other ethnic ingredients at cheap prices.

                  I have decided to swear off buying meats from Treasure Island. I don't know if different locations vary, but the one I go to on McClurg/Huron always has a very strong smell of ammonia in the meats/seafood section. I have never bought seafood from them (and likely will never), but I bought a package of chicken breast once that ended up smelling and tasting like ammonia. I mentioned this to a friend and she told me she and another friend had similar experiences in the past.

                  Someone really ought to report them to some kind of regulatory agency.

                  1. re: Janet C.
                    f
                    Fran D Mar 24, 2004 07:33 PM

                    Wow! I used to go to the TI on Broadway and NEVER noticed any problem with the meat. Since I've been in the burbs, I've also gone to the one in Wilmette and not had any issues.

                    Sorry to hear that you can't get to the Oakton Marketplace...there go all my suggestions out the window!!

                    1. re: Janet C.
                      s
                      Steve Z Mar 25, 2004 05:00 AM

                      Another good butcher shop in the city is Gepperth's Meat Market on Halsted just South of Armitage. In many ways, I prefer it to Paulina. Gepperth's is smaller than Paulina, but they have a very good selection and will custom order for you, although, they shouold have all types of lamb cuts in stock.

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