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Jul 30, 2009 05:50 AM

McKinnon's Meat

I have seen lots of references to McKinnon's, but never a thread solely about them, so thought I'd start one.

First, it appears that the Davis McKinnon's is not connect to the Danvers, Everett and Salem NH McKinnonses, which are connected to each other. The websites are different as are the graphics. The store quality is noticeably different as well. I used to live very near Davis Sq, and can't claim to have ever enjoyed the smell in McKinnons/Davis during the summer time. It's been three years since I went in, so maybe it's better, but whew.

I recently visited the Salem NH chain store, and was very impressed. Excellent meat prices and fabulous selection. They had a stack of Flat Iron Steaks (a perennial favorite with the Chowb and the pups) at least a dozen high, at a very reasonable $3.39/lb. I find Flat Iron very difficult to get anywhere but Hannaford's. (When I asked for it at Hilltop Butcher Shop, the two guys I talked to had never even heard of it!) I bought four chuck eye fillets for about $4/lb and they were excellent on the grill two nights later. The prepared/pre-marinated choices were vast as well, for those who roll that way. I bought some lemon-butter chix breast (we're packing and moving, so convenience wins this week) That was pretty tasty and successful, for $3ish a lb. I had no cooler with me, so I didn't try the fish market offerings, but they looked very appealing. Good variety, acceptable or better prices, and for crustacean fans they had a jumbo lobster tank with the 2.5+ pound monsters in it. I never see those in the regular grocery stores.

The groceries by and large were a bit over priced compared to MB or Hannaford, but not outrageously so--less than Butcher Boy, for instance, with a bit broader set of offerings. The deli meat selections were okay, but not great. Only one "Virginia" ham to choose from. They do carry both Luzianne and French Market brand chickory coffees, though, which is a bonus. Beer and wine prices were convenience store average. Twelve packs of beer ran in the $14 range, though there were one or two $11 specials.

On the whole, worth an occasional trip, with coolers and what not to carry largeish quantities back to the freezer.

Ciao, Chow!

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  1. What a great topic! I head over to the Everett branch when I can and am always amazed by price and quality. Its become my absolute go to for meat and poultry, though I agree that general groceries are not the best.

    I was considering heading to the Davis location- but then realized that they are separate and worried that I wouldnt be as impressed- what is the difference- aside from the smell?

    6 Replies
    1. re: fmcoxe6188

      The smell in Davis to me is not that bad. It is a tiny store filled to the brim with raw meats, so you're going to smell something. I used to go to Dom's in Malden, but now go to Davis McKinnon's. I find the prices much better and the quality as good if not better. I like McKinnon's marinades better than Dom's, too, especially their house marinade for steak tips, which is not as sweet. Their steaks are really tender compared to more costly supermarket steaks. My family knows without being told when they are being served a McKinnon's steak vs. a supermarket steak.

      They sell seafood there, too, but I have not had the courage to try it. Can anyone report?

      The Davis location is definitely separate from the others. They even point it out in their newspaper ad - "the only location family run for xx years" or something. They were obviously connected one time. There must be a story there, but I have never heard what it is. Anyone know?

      1. re: pemma

        I go to the Davis location for convenience. Their prices are pretty amazing sometimes. I usually go for their pork chops and sometimes their marinated chicken breasts. I have tried their fish (I think Haddock) which was fine. I am always a little wary of cellophane-wrapped fish but it wasn't bad.

        1. re: pemma

          I have had the haddock, salmon, and mahi multiple times from the Davis location and all have been fine.

          The sun dried tomato marinated chicken breasts are pretty solid. They also routinely have nicely marbled rib eyes at $5.99/lb.

          1. re: pemma

            The Davis McKinnon's has been my go to spot for meat for many years now, mainly because of price, but I've never had any complaints about quality either. $30 can take you a very long way, especially if you stick closer to (unmarinated) poultry and pork items, and for that reason alone I am loyal. Their fish is also very reasonably priced and the quality has been pretty good, although I question whether it is truly "fresh" as opposed to defrosted and lord only knows about its origin. Lastly on the Davis location, as Pemma says, the steaks really are great. $5.99/lb for a ribeye you wouldn't be embarassed to serve to anyone? Done.

            I have only been to the McKinnon's in Everett once. I traveled there to pick up a turkey I had supposedly ordered for a belated Thanksgiving celebration among friends, only to find out they did not have a fresh turkey as promised. The owner or manager or whomever it was that helped me called all around to their locations to try to locate one, and even when he couldn't gave me a great compensatory deal on a ham, which was delicious. I was impressed with the selection and the service, although I don't find myself in Everett ever so I've never been back.

          2. re: fmcoxe6188

            Davis McKinnon's is my meat market (not just because I work and live in Davis ;-)) when I don't require anything grass-fed or dry-aged! Some of my favorite things about the place:
            - Best house marinaded steak tips, hands down.
            - If you want a special cut or size that is not out in the coolers, they will happily do it for you. Recent examples include them supplying me with a 4 lb pork belly "chicharron" style so I could home cure bacon and having them cross-cut 6lbs of short ribs so I could make kalbi.
            - Random finds in the freezer like ground bluefin tuna at $4.99/lb, gluten-free, polenta-crust organic beef pot pies for $1.99, whole rabbit, goat, etc.
            - Inexpensive fish, generally quite fresh. Try the grill-ready Mediterranean swordfish.
            - Lastly, a whole roast chicken for $3.99 (afternoons usually)!!! Although I have never eaten this on it's own, these are fantastic for shredding up and making a quick Chinese chicken salad or chicken soup.
            This ain't Savenors, but it isn't priced like them either. In sum, great variety of meat, very diverse clientele and some old school staff that knows what's up.

            1. re: fmcoxe6188

              I headed over to the Davis location yesterday-it was every bit as good/economical as the Everett location- I of course stocked up. Most of it I froze, but I did cook up some chicken tenders that I made into a chicken salad that were incredibly delicious, and a steak that was great as well.

            2. I have been shopping the Davis location only for more than 20+ years and have never had a problem with their meats/veggies/foods. In fact, lately they have been having the entire NY Strip roast and I have been getting it and cutting into steaks and I have to say it has been as good if not better than the same (larger) version from the Hilltop. Can't beat the prices... store is always packed (I have to go on weekends) and their cold cuts can't be beat either. My gf swears by their chicken salad at the deli... I have heard some not so good reviews about the other McKinnon's stores.

              1. Also have to mention their pork and beef Florentine "rolls". These are meat rolled up with spinach and cheese. They are a really convenient weekday meal. All you have to do is throw them in the oven when you walk in the door and they are ready in about an hour.

                1. about those flat iron steaks--do you know what usda grade? and were they cut cross grain or with the grain (i.e. iron bottom shape with gristle in the middle or square-ish shape with no gristle in the middle)?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: qianning

                    I actually drive out of my way for the Davis location, much fresher ( esp. the marinaded stuff ) IMO.

                    1. re: qianning

                      They were the gristle free flat piece. They were choice, but honestly the marbling was so good I half suspected they were prime.

                    2. McKinnon's in Davis Sq. is the best meats you can get for the money. They butcher most of their meets on the premise. Their marinated steak tips are the best around.