The Meat Hook--Williamsburg
Has anyone shopped here?
I was really excited when they opened up in the neighborhood, but their meat prices are outrageous and I'm wondering what others think.
For example: Bone-in Pork Shoulder Roast--$2.99/lb., Whole Foods (Niman Ranch), $3.50/lb. Eight O'Clock Ranch (Upstate NY), $7.99/lb. The Meat Hook.
Can their meat really be almost 3x as good as Niman Ranch or Eight O'Clock Ranch? Why? Because Tom Mylan handles it? Marlow and Daughters (Mylan's old place) was worse at $9/lb!
I would really like to patronize local businesses and local food, but, even with my ample grocery budget, I can't see shelling out $30-40 for meat.
The meat at the The Meat Hook is aged, including the pork I believe. Could this account for some if not most of that substantial cost difference? I wanted to try the pork. I have felt the sticker shock as well and have a hard time justifying the cost so far. I bought a standing beef rib roast for Christmas dinner and it was delicious but not worth the $120 it wound up costing for me. I am going to try again with steaks but I definately can't be doing that very often and won't continue to do so if I don't find it to be X many times better than when I can get at Meats Supreme ;)
I took their pig butchering class (a lot of fun and I learned a great deal) and went back to get some pork shoulder. The price was high, but I have to say I have never tasted such flavorful pork in all my life and the only seasonings I used were salt and pepper. It was so good that I had to go back and buy more the next week just to stop my mouth from watering. I certainly can't afford to shop there for everyday cooking, but it is definitely worth the splurge on occasion. Will probably go back this week to try another cut and some lamb.
The Meat Hook
100 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
$120?! Just for the meat?! I wouldn't call myself a cheapie, but that just seems absurd to me.
My husband also took the pig butchering class and the pig was delicious, but I wouldn't say it was exponentially delicious than any other well-prepared pork I've had.
I guess to me this opens up a bigger question about whether or not the slow food/local food movement is sending mixed messages.
Frankly, charging that much more for meat comes across as a bit elitist. Is slow food a food justice movement or just a yuppie gourmet movement?
Definately pricey. $22 or so per lb and it was on special (I thing regular price is $24) and we purchased almost 5.5lbs. It is roughly double what an unaged bone-in roast would cost. What I can't compare it to is an aged piece, I don't have a way of comparing. I think the cost difference would probably much smaller. Whether or not that would also be from a known local farm?
In the end, it was delicious, but I don't think this particular cut of meat and the low and slow with sear method of cooking really 'shows' off extra flavor and tenderness of the meat as much as quick grill of a steak cut would. A steak from The Meat Hook is next on my list to along with some pork. For special occasions I see no reason to not go for this.
As to slow food/local movement being elitest, it seems obvious to me... higher prices is a definate side effect of buying small scale production local foods - this is not constrained to The Meat Hook or meat from my experience. There are exceptions at times but when I go to a green market, I know I am going to be paying a nice premium for the product.
The Meat Hook
100 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
I guess it would make more sense to get a steak, as opposed to a roast or something, from The Meat Hook. Nonetheless, the amount of money I would spend just to buy meat there is close to what I would spend for an entire meal at many good restaurants around the city (and I don't run the risk of ruining an expensive cut with my amateur cooking skills).
Yeah, the local food movement is elitist, but I guess the question for me is, is it supposed to be?
I'm not sure if you saw the documentary "Food, Inc." but they profile a poor Latino family who can't afford to buy even conventionally grown produce so they end up eating frozen food and fast food because that's what's cheapest.
"Food, Inc." also profiled the Growing Power urban farm program in Minneapolis, which is geared toward poor people.
So, on the one hand, there's this idea that lower income people should be able to afford local food and feed their families better, but the prices you see in reality don't match that. And if you question the prices there's this whole argument of "this is the real cost of real food" but that does nothing to answer the question of how to bring local, healthy food to the masses.
I am a frequent patron of The Meat Hook and feel that it is very well priced for its quality. Like any great shop, their meat prices run the gamut from every day use to special occasion. I am one of those people that paid over a $100 for their standing rib roast over New Years. But that was a special occasion and the meat was unbelievably flavorful. However, The Meat Hook is also a great butcher shop for every day use. My boyfriend and I bought two huge pork shanks for osso buco the other night, and that rung up to about $10. I've also bought dry aged NY strips that go for $18/pound, where as Fairway's is usually about $28. My last little plug is that the guys behind the counter are so passionate about what they do, and that translates. They'll tell you everything about where the meat came from and help you figure out the best way to cook it.
They also have housemade stocks, fresh vegetables from the farmers market, bread from Roberta's...
I know, I know, I sound like a commercial but I really think this place is a fantastic addition to the neighborhood!
I shop here every week and love it. It's not that I don't trust the bigger chains, but I feel like I know for sure that the meat at Meat Hook really comes from where they say it does. Also, the butchers are wonderful. If you go enough, you'll get a ton of free goodies that make it worth your dollar.
And there are def things that are way cheaper than others. I've purchased a chicken for $10 that lasted for at least 6 servings. The ribs are a good deal too.
I now buy almost all meat from them or Marlow and Daughters. I eat less meat because of it, but I value what I do eat. Anytime (or everytime!) I buy something from them I am taken aback at the price a bit, I get home, make what I've bought and think "it was worth the price"-- I also then make sure to use EVERY bit of what I've bought, making stock, rendering lard, etc. It works out to my advantage-- meat's now becoming a specialty item for me