Best butcher for non-prime cuts of meat
At home, I like to grind my own meat, make sausages, stock, or braise tougher cuts. Often times, I'm getting my off-cuts from Loblaws because the butcher shops more often than not don't readily carry what I'm looking for.
I've decided that Cumbrae's is my go to pace for steak, but not much else. Case in point, over the holidays I wanted a bit of pork shoulder. They only had a smallish piece of st-camut pork, which cost $35, no thanks. And when I asked for some back fat (to make sausage), the best I could do was some trimmings from a berkshire pork shoulder, for which they kindly offered to knock off $1/lb How generous!!! I just called to see if they had any ham bones (I want to make split pea soup). Again, no dice.
I was happy when a place called Blackstone opened up on the Danforth near my home. Not so happy when I noticed its trendy decor, and prime-cut only selections (including a lot of pre-marinated stuff). And they looked at me like I was from another planet when I asked if they have sausage casing.
And forget about SLM, at least the South Market.
I understand the laws of supply and demand. Prime cuts are most in demand, so that's what the butchers readily supply. But to me, a real butcher shop should offer everything, even if it's frozen. You'd think this nose-to-tail movement would have caught on by now.
So CH'ers...where do you go for your non-prime cuts of meat? I expect Healthy Butcher will get a few mentions. I've never been. Do they gouge on the off-cuts?
For the record, my go-to place is Jerry's Supermarket, between Woodbine and Coxwell on Danforth. It's an older school italian place. Pretty good quality, the carcasses are hanging in the back. I know that if I'm after pork shoulder, chuck, oxtail, back fat, casings, etc. they'll have it. the problem is that it's a bit of a hike. But hey, I don't mind.
Well heres the first to suggest the Healthy Butcher, they're my go to butcher (Queen - original location). They do have a location over on Eglinton and Avenue (much bigger than the Queen location). If you give them a call before heading over to either location it'll save you a trip. They're pretty flexible if you order ahead of time and reasonable prices for organic meat. Keep in mind that all of their meat in the case are fresh from the farm and they only freeze if the particular product doesn't sell within 2 days.
I couldn't say that they'll have all of the products you're looking for but worth a try to call them up and ask - they really knowlegable and friendly!
You might want to try Grace Meats, at Grace and College, if that's closer for you. You'll definitely have to ask, but I've bought pork shoulder, chuck, and oxtail from them before at much more reasonable prices than what you're talking about.
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I usually hit one of the Charlie's Meats locations (found in some No Frills around the city). My local location is my staple for pork shoulders, loins, ground chicken and beef, chickens, wings, beef short ribs, beef back ribs, the occasional rib eye.... The Neilson Rd location has a selection of ox tail, tongue, cow foot, tripe as well as rabbit, lamb etc....