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ISO Butcher -- with Bacon (NOVA)

Where in Northern Virginia is there a good butcher that carries a range of meat products, including pork and bacon, in particular?

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  1. I"ve never shopped at the place I'm about to recommend, but you might give The Organic Butcher in McLean a call. Their web site is little more than a business card: name, address, hours, phone.

    Still they must be doing something right. They've been in business considerably longer than I would have imagined given their proximity to Balducci which has a reasonbly decent meat counter and offers one-stop shopping convenience.

    http://www.theorganicbutcher.com/mcle...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Indy 67

      fancy!
      thanks, i'll check it out...

      1. re: Indy 67

        The meat that I've gotten there has been excellent, if pricey. I couldn't say, though, whether they have bacon. However, we were very unhappy with their prepared meatloaf, though. It tasted as if it had been flooded with vinegar.

        There are two meat vendors at the Arlington Courthouse farmers' market. Eco Friendly foods has outstanding pork. They do have bacon and ham, too. It's very old-fashioned in style and perhaps not to everybody's taste. But worth a try.

        By the way, this market goes all year now.

        1. re: Indy 67

          I can recommend the Organic Butcher of McLean. I live around the corner from it and go there all the time. Their fresh beef is fantastic. It is locally raised, organic, and partially grass fed. I believe there are two brothers, one raises the cattle and the other runs the butcher shop.

          Their prices have been creeping up as they become more established though, and they're in McLean after all. They used to have hangar steaks for $9/lb, then it was $10/lb, now it's $11/lb. Some of the premium cuts get as high as $28-30 per pound. Very high quality stuff though.

          They have prepared products like sausage, marinated meats, etc. also frozen items such as duck breast and some game meats like venison. I couldn't get liver there. I haven't tried their meatloaf and similar items.

          But back to the topic, for fantastic pork products I can recommend the Flying Pigs Farm in NY. They raise their own heritage pigs, and ship pork products around the country. The pork arrives in an insulated box with cold packs and is frozen solid upon arrival. As long as it goes right from the box to your freezer, and then you thaw it fully before cooking, the quality is outstanding. Much more flavor than anything you'll get at the grocery store.

          I first heard about this when my father in law sent us a box of pork from there for Christmas. So far we've had the blade roast (sort of like a pork chop roast), bacon, and spare ribs.

          I think they were relatively unknown until they were recently written up in Bon Appetite and suddenly got flooded with orders.

          Note, heritage pigs have a lot more fat than today's factory-bred varities -- this is the pork you remember from 20 years ago. Sometimes I have to drain the pan once or twice when cooking bacon. Chops and roasts arrive with a thick rind of fat, which you can remove or let it render while cooking. Probably not a low cholesterol meal, but delicious.

          http://www.flyingpigsfarm.com/

        2. I can't give specific advice as to NoVA, but I find a wide assortment of inexpensive and nice looking pork products at my local Asian grocery store. They have everything from bacon to pork belly to pork fat.

          1. I love the applewood smoked bacon at Balducci's in McLean. Meaty and tasty...not to mention the wonderful odor it leaves wafting through your house.

            1. I know you said NOVA, but you might think of venturing into DC for some more choices. Eco-friendly Farms and Cibola Farms both participate in the Dupont Circle Farmers' Market on Sunday mornings and offer locally-raised free-range pork products. Cibola is in Culpeper if that's closer to you. http://www.cibolafarms.com/ There's a list of their outlets on the website.
              There are lots of pork vendors at the DC Farmers' Market on Florida Avenue in NE DC.http://capitalcitymarket.blogspot.com/
              At Eastern Market, there's a wide choice of meat products from several vendors. Everything from hog maw to foie gras. Several offer bacon, including turkey bacon and sausage at Market Poultry. Union Meats offers just about every part of the pig from the tail to the trotters and brings in hogheads at Christmas time. They make their own sausage or will grind pork for you so you can make your own. Several different styles of bacon available from them or the two Canales stalls.
              I know VA folks hate to cross those bridges but there's enough variety, some at such good prices, that it might be worth an occasional trip.

              5 Replies
                  1. re: MakingSense

                    "If it's part of the pig - we sell it." - Union Meat at Eastern Market on their web page.
                    http://www.easternmarketdc.com/south_...

                    won't sell beef tallow (suet) however...

                    1. re: hill food

                      Union Meat at Eastern Market is very highly regarded, though I've never been there. I needed pork liver for a terrine I was making at Christmas. I called every meat and butcher shop in the area. Union Meat was the only one that even hinted that they could get it for me. I needed it on very short notice and out of convenience I ended up using calf's liver which is widely available. But they made a good impression on me.

                      1. re: UncleLongHair

                        I should add if Union doesn't have it (unlikely) check out Canales - both counters and they just might (esp. for sausage)

                        specifically, what pork products and what bacon types are you looking for?

              1. anything new on the butcher's front?

                1 Reply
                1. re: alkapal

                  I'd love to find a good butcher, too. Or, even better a CSA idea with meat and dairy.