Best butchers in Chicago?
I am a soon-to-be transplant from California, and I seek your advice on finding the best butchers in Chicago. I've searched this board, but have yet to find a real consensus. I'm looking for a shop that sells grass-fed beef, heritage pork, pastured poultry, and home-made sausages and salumi. I want to be able to talk to my butcher, rather than buy weird meat wrapped in plastic. Alternately, if anyone can recommend purveyors from whom one can purchase half pigs and quarter cows, I would also be very interested. I will be living in Hyde Park, but I will certainly travel the length and breadth of Chicago, if that's what it takes to find a really quality shop. Thanks very much for your help.
For good kosher all beef salami you can not beat Romanian Kosher Sausage - while there also check out their corned beef, pastrami and hot dogs - all are excellent - their beef is not too bad either -
Romanian Kosher Sausage Co
7200 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60626
I LOVE Gepperth's. In my opinion, they have the best service in Chicago. They're a little more expensive than some of the other butchers, but I think it's worth it. I had a pig roast last month and they put the pig on the spit and injected it for me the night before. They also have a great selection in their store.
If you're looking for a cheaper place to get 1/2 pigs/cows, a lot of people in Chicago recommend Peoria Packing. (Bring a jacket if you go, the whole building is refridgerated.) They need a couple days notice.
The recommendations made thus far are good ones. These (and others) also appear in the more extensive discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/380774
Also consider Fox & Obel, the gourmet store just northeast of downtown Chicago. www.fox-obel.com They have some of the finest meats anywhere. And for grass-fed beef, they carry Tallgrass Beef there.
None of the recommendations (here or in the link) are on the South Side. I've got to believe there must be one or two good butchers there, especially with the affluence and diversity represented in Hyde Park. I'm not familiar enough with that area though to make recommendations - hopefully someone else can.
Depending on where you are in the northern suburbs, I have two recommendations.
Zier's in Wilmette is IMHO the very best butcher I've been to in the entire Chicago area. They have prime meats (prime rib better than most restaurant cuts), they smoke their own meats, and, well, it's just a fantastic place. Don't let the tiny storefront deceive you; they're the best.
Zier's Prime Meats & Poultry
813 Ridge Rd
If you're further north, like in the Vernon Hills / Mundelein area, you'll find more recommendations in the discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/461754 (including a vouch for my experience with Tony's in Grayslake).
I'm not sure about venison and ostrich, but you can always ask at these butchers; if they don't have them, they probably know where you can get them.
It's not exactly meat, but don't forget Harrison's Poultry in Gleview with the best, freshest free-range poultry in Chicago. Farm-fresh eggs, too. Well worth a trip, especially with Thanksgiving coming. I'll be placing my order with them and schlepping up there TG week.
Harrison's Poultry Farm
1201 Waukegan Rd, Glenview, IL