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Feb 23, 2011 11:57 AM

Carnivore Corner: Looking for great Boston butcher shopping

I'm in a meat mood. Tomorrow I will shop several specialty butchers looking for variety inspired by Fergus Henderson's "The Whole Beast". Nose to tail Thursday.

Lately I've been working on Menudo and I might do something with tripe. Coppa Chef Bisonette does a great tripe dish, The Trippa alla Romana/Baked tripe with squash, mozzarella and tomato gravy.

Scrapple (pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, loafed, sliced, fried) is a Pennsylvania thing with fans in Delaware and New Jersey. I'm told that Meatland in Jackson Sq has it. I expect to find other items there that will be irresistible.

Country Ham is illusive. I make sure to get it for breakfast when I'm below the MD line. Salt cured, smoked and socked away for three years it is porcine saline perfection alongside real orange yolked fresh eggs. Hounds say Lord Jeff's Beef Place in Newmarket has it. What else will they have that I must cook or freeze?

(nts: toss a cooler with ice packs in the car).

The Butcher Shop and Savenor often catch my eye but it's a little too clean for this foray. Dewar will order whatever I ask for. Formaggio has done the shopping for me. Thursday I'm conjuring saw dust, and dirty white coats, butcher paper and blood. There will be iron in the air. still with me?

Pork belly for Dongpo Pork 東坡肉 Hangzhou's trademark dish the custard-like fatty pan-fried then red cooked delight. I've been working on my Thai fried pork belly, Moo Krop กรบหมู่. 1001 uses although a wicked guilt pleasure.

Kidneys? Brains (sesos fritos)? Marrow maybe? Tongue, tail, heart. Peruvian Anticuchos perhaps?

Gonna be a kid in a candy store but research is always key. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Lord Jeff's Beef Place
129 Newmarket Square, Boston, MA 02118

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  1. At Lord Jeffs you can also get the scrapple, red hots, they have a nice brand of beef sausage and some lousy ones (all have some beef heart and sage flavor). Beyond the Country Ham, the other two things I buy most there are oxtail (sliced to order so you can get it whatever you want) and pork spare ribs, again sliced to order. They have some additional offal in a freezer in front of the butcher which varies and should have beef tongue, but not everything on your list. Some of the things they sell a lot of aren't on your list (turkey drumsticks, smoked turkey parts, wings). If you are leaning towards pork, Taurus might have more... or you could do Puritan Beef plus the Halal Markets at Haymarket. (Puritan you might get lucky to find them with a pigs head, but I haven't seen one there in a long time. )

    For just good traditional butchers, Sulmona and Fresh Pond Market are worth a visit. Guessing you have been to the former, but the latter is worth trying. There are a couple of decent Brazilian butchers, but offal wise mostly focus on the ingredients for feijoada. The Chelsea and Somerville Market Basket also have a bunch of things on your list, but a lot of it prepackaged. And Blood Farm is a place worth taking a cooler to. Obviously Chinese and Southeast Asian supermarkets have a lot of unusual parts, although not necessarily a butcher experience, but you could add on Kam Man or Hong Kong.

    Fresh Pond Market
    360 Huron Ave, B Cambridge, MA

    Blackstone St, Boston, MA

    3 Replies
    1. re: itaunas

      Well meat indeed itaunas. Lot's to work with. Have you been to Meatland? Curious what they carry. Last year in Jaffa I went to a Shipudeem (Skewer) Restaurant called Itzik Ha'gadol where all parts of all creatures were perfectly grilled over a long narrow trough of citrus wood. Among delights like great big triangles of foie gras there were skewers of spinal cord. I'm not gonna lie here... it was divine.Thanks for all this thought for food.

      1. re: EATTV

        EATTV I recall ever buying anything at Meatland, although I have certainly been by there. After reflecting on this I am _pretty_certain_ that Lord Jeff's has scrapple -- in amongst the sausages, but have a little bit of doubt because of other places which carry chit'lins (which they have) and not scrapple (I believe both Market Basket and McKinnon's have chit'lins).

        1. re: itaunas

          Olá itaunas:

          I am saving your itinerary for another day. Thank you again. I also plan to spend some time hanging out (at the right time) at the many recommended butchers in this post.

          So here's what happened on Meatfest day 1. Lord Jim did in fact have one Smithfield Ham. The affable carnicero cut off a generous portion for me. I am baking biscuits. There will be red eye gravy and some greens. There was no scrapple today, maybe tomorrow. Got my goat to freeze for a yet to be birria. I noticed souse in the case but that was about all that really had to come home. Tomorrow I plan to buy my first slow cooker and I will pick up this meat thread where I left off. Choucroute anyone?

    2. Second Sulmona in the North End. Old school and they would be thrilled if you asked for the lesser cuts (language barrier notwithstanding).

      Also, McKinnons in Davis Square has real butchers. Get over there and ask them what bits and pieces they have for you. No matter what it is, you wont be disappointed or poor.

      Let us know how it turns out!

      8 Replies
      1. re: yumyum

        Yah, Sulmona is my favorite butcher in town period. For the naughty bits (offal) you might call ahead just cause they may not have a full stock on offal every day.

        McKinnon's is the land of the insane bargain. Good stuff too.

        1. re: yumyum

          I lived in the North End during my salad days. I love the neighborhood butchers. I'll visit McKinnon's for sure but I'm on a quest right now for regional delicacies and the protein less traveled by.

          1. re: EATTV

            Hah, I live in the NE in my own salad days. (Though I didn't eat much salad.)

            1. re: EATTV

              The hard part is not the regional delicacies, but rather the experience of getting the meat cut in front of you. Which is increasingly rare and some would even call many of these which work with shrink wrapped sub-primals "meat cutters" -- Sulmona does break down sides of veal still and all of the butchers which work with goat (Halal/Puritan) do too. One idea which came to mind that I haven't checked out is El Paisa carniceria -- at the restaurant they offered their own morcilla, which I assume they carried over there and guaranteed they'll have pork belly, plus probably the know how on the Peruvian anticuchos (I can point you to some other carnicerias in Revere and Everett, but this seems to fit better). If you want to try different sausages, Seabra in Somerville not only was carrying chouricos, including 'homemade' versions in the style of Tras os Montes, alheiras, morcelas -- dunno if they have kept it up. The butcher didn't quite compare overall, though.

              1. re: itaunas

                Ate a lot of blood cake and spleen, intestine and even bile in Isaan, Thailand this fall. All good except the bile (I could offer lots of ways to make it bitter better). The fresh chouricos are gonna come in handy for sure. Blood sausage also. Definitely need advice on getting the anticuchos right. The goat would be great for Birria.(praps I'll freeze that now). I have never had Alheiras (Barcelos) but I am intrigued. Obrigado. Eu não posso esperar para começar a fazer compras.

                1. re: EATTV

                  If you go to Seabra, go after noontime and drop into Samba Bar to see if they have 'caldo de mocoto' and torresmo pururuca. I can't guarantee it'll be worth it, but that and a velho barreiro (they don't carry anything better) would fit well with your tour. Or on Saturdays you could get goat and pork bellies at Haymarket, then head to East Cambridge for chicken bits and game at Mayflower (chicken feet and necks make a nice thick stew with yuca), sausages from Courthouse seafood, fried torresmo, ribs and cheeses at Fernandes, then end up at Midwest Grill in their bar (not dining room) for a plate of grilled chicken hearts with fried yuca (the yuca won't live up to expectations so keep eating the hearts before they cool). Urp. I might take home a container of sweets from Chocolate com Pimenta at Central bakery.

                  Midwest Grill
                  1124 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  Blackstone St, Boston, MA

                  1. re: itaunas

                    1) Aguardente
                    2) Fresh kill (warm on the ride home)
                    3) Ensopado de Galinha
                    4) Had me at Cow's Feet and Pork Rinds

                  2. re: EATTV

                    i have seen pia (cow bile sauce) recreated using the white pith under lime peel mixed with fish sauce and a few other ingredients and then left out to ferment

            2. You can usually find pork belly and tripe and other assorted parts at asian markets.

              I saw some at CMart the other day. It's less than pristine there. Kam Man too, slightly cleaner.

              1. Oh man, if in your searching you come across goetta, let us know. It's a regional variant on scrapple that uses pin oats instead of cornmeal, and it's way better, in my opinion. Hard to find outside of the Cincinnati area, but I never fail to be surprised.

                1. the butcher counter at the c-mart in chinatown has the proper cut of pork belly to make dongpo rou

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: galangatron

                    Is Dongpo Rou on any local menu. Fuloon? I love this dish. Such a sensual textural guilty pleasure.

                      1. re: Nab

                        I remember this thread. Is there a version like the one on this page?


                        Cubes, sometimes tied up. A thick custard layer of cloudy deliciousness perchance?

                          1. re: EATTV

                            东 坡肉 is easy, but time consuming, to make. "Chinese Gastronomy" by Hsiangju Lin has the best recipe I've found. I make it once a year or so...this year I got the meat at H-Mart, had to ask to have the belly cut in the square rather than the strip shape.

                            3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803