HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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

                    1. brains, tongue, heart, kidneys, tail, and other assorted parts can be found at most chinese and se asian markets. try battambang supermarket on church street in lowell for a wide selection

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: galangatron

                        I've spotted brains, tongue, hearts, kidneys, tails, feet, tripe, and liver from assorted animals at Market Baskets too. As with anything at MB, it can be a little hit-or-miss as to whether it's in stock at any one time, so it's best to either call ahead of be flexible.

                        Of course, the only place I've seen pig uterus was at c-mart in chinatown...

                        1. re: galangatron

                          alas, battambang's meat department is now a shadow of its former self.

                        2. I like this thread. My wife has the sweet tooth and I have the meat tooth in the family. Meatland: Family run place since the 60s. I got good stewing beef and pearl beef dogs there to try them out. They have goat and other things but haven't tried. Things look fresh and there are real butchers. Another place I love is Tony's Meat Market in Roslindale Village (Washington Street). Tony is wonderful and been cutting at the same location since 1966. Excellent quality and butchers in plain view at the back of the store. Not sure if he has exotica if that is your interest. I also agree on MacKinnons in Davis Square. Great prices.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gourmaniac

                            Thanks gourmaniac-

                            I'm thinking I may buy my first slo-cooker today and begin with Choucroute. The Country Ham started all this and a crazy yen for scrapple. But if the tripe looks good...

                          2. I should note that there are several Pakistani/Bengali grocery stores on Mass Ave in Cambridge (Nimah Market and Foodland) who will happily butcher goats for you in their basements. My housemate asked about goat brains, and they sawed a goat's head apart on the spot, packaged up the brain, and offered the eyeballs for free (which he passed on).

                            1. Groß wie ein Haus:

                              Ok, so when I started I was only as big as the garage. First off I need to say that this first foray was a delightful reaffirmation that my eyes are still bigger than my stomach so there's lot's more to do with this meat mania. Thanks to all the CHs who lent advice. Stay tuned. We will meat again.

                              Choucroute Garnie was made my best ever by the good folks at Wasik's; The Cheese Shop in Wellesley. They read my mind and had Juniper berries, fresh sauerkraut and a Virginia winner, Grayson; a stinky washed rind cow plus baguettes from Hyannis (La Petite France). Boneless pork ribs, sausages, frankfurters and ham along with white wine, yukon gold taters, garlic and light brown sugar inspired by a Jacques Pepin version and appointed with a coarse dijon plus good beer was mellow, rich, flavorful and satisfying. I ate it 6 times.

                              Lord Jeff's had the smoked Smithfield Ham. (They were out of scrapple). The ham found itself on fresh biscuits with red eye gravy, yam pudding and okra creole style. Next morning it was paired with farm fresh eggs and grits. Later that same morning the funky country aged ham got together with collards and I baked some ECG corn bread. Potlikker like you read about.

                              Chicken with forty cloves of garlic, rice pilaf and a wedge salad under a shower of fried shattered bacon was devoured by the assembled.

                              Pasta with a coarsely chopped pork sauce, pan fried sirloin and fried sweet fried plantains, maduros happened right next to a chocolate layer cake made without any meat products.

                              By now I've had a big nap etc and am thinking about all the carnivorous options up ahead.

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: EATTV

                                  My lunch salad sounds pretty pathetic right now.

                                2. Is Nick the butcher still in the convenience store across the street from the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown? Not sure what he has, but he's a pretty friendly guy to chat up.

                                  Deluxe Town Diner
                                  627 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                    He is still there, and as friendly as always.

                                  2. (No luck at Meatland). Plunged thru the Saturday Haymarket just now and got some great produce like 10 lemons for $1, cress, recao, melons etc. My arms are longer now from carrying the bags. The halal meat markets varied. Some extraordinary fresh fish like snapper with super clear eyes. Great quality seafood! Already got my goat but they had at least 6 heads in one below street level spot. Maybe I'll take a stab at Mannish Water when the weather improves. Shoppers in Saris and ḥijāb in myriad colors speculated as the vendors called out specials. The close press of the shuk-like aisles was fun and I wished I'd had a good camera and no bundles. (NTS: never get a slice in Haymarket no matter how hungry! Had to recover at Umberto 4 slices,2 rice balls, thimble of vino). By that way I'm must note that it seems like Michael Eisner has taken over the North End and Disneyfied it. I feel a rant coming on.

                                    Finally got to Savenor today on leg 3 of the meat trail. Should've called. Fresh out of scrapple. I'll check back. They did have some foie gras chunks that I could not resist and will make poutine w/foie gras sauce using burrata from Salumeria Italiana instead of traditional cheese curds eh. Also had to try some Unadilla Valley beef jerky. I am savoring a plug as I write. Salty, smoky, chewy, tasty. It's where the beef has been I guess. in the case today: Elk, Ostrich, Rattlesnake and Lion. I've have never knowing eaten feline so I can't share its virtues. I think I'm creeping myself out here no matter how omnivorous I may be. I will say if they'd had Moosalami, the purple meat, I would've been all over it. Several veal cutlets fell in the cart which I'll milanese for Cemitas de Puebla after this. Meating adjourned.

                                    Salumeria Italiana
                                    151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

                                    Savenor's Market
                                    92 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA

                                    Blackstone St, Boston, MA

                                    1. EATTV its not a Penn Dutch made product from the Reading Terminal Market, but if you are still looking for the Scrapple Johnnie's Foodmaster on Rt 16 in Somerville has Jones Dairy Farm Scrapple right now (and doesn't look like they are going to sell out too soon). Right next to the Irish sausages in the freezer. And if you are still looking for kidneys McKinnon's had veal kidneys among other more common offal.

                                      Johnnie's Foodmaster
                                      45 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: itaunas

                                        Finally found it at Savenor. I've seen Scrapple can be had online as well as the Cincinnati "caviar" Goetta made with steel cut oats. I like it for breakfast and will look for it again. I've been meaning to get over to Somerville to check out the Market Basket there. Supposed to be some interesting produce. Still need to get to McKinnon's as well. Maybe tomorrow. I need some Boston Butt cuts, ribs and birds for Monday. I was thinking about getting a suckling pig to do Fillipino style.

                                        1. re: EATTV

                                          If you are over near McKinnons I would strongly recommend checking out Fresh Pond Market as well.

                                          1. re: EATTV

                                            I am more used to black and white pudding for breakfast, but usually have scrapple when I go to Philly. But mail order is a good way. Incidentally Farmer's Bounty across from McKinnon's used to carry both white/black pudding but their Irish selection isn't looking so good these days and Johnnie's Foodmaster often has the (local) Olde Irish Butcher Shoppe black pudding, although Kiki's in Brighton is overall better than both.

                                            The Somerville MB has a wider selection of veal than some of the others including cuts from the 5th quarter, seems to have nicer goat than Chelsea, and also is better place for steaks than Chelsea. But if you are looking for selection, latino stuff, offal (including lots of lamb offal around the holiday) Chelsea is better overall. It used to be better on Portuguese and Brazilian, but not really any more (and Chelsea is better for some Asian and Italian staples). So I can't really say its worth a reasonably long trip just for Demoula's meats. McKinnon's does have Boston butts although the prices are bit up from a few weeks ago (grilling weekend), St Louis Ribs are $2.99, whole chickens and parts (although Mayflower has nicer chicken and does also carry ribs). Suckling/roasting pig you are going to have to order ahead from someone except maybe Taurus Packing and keep in mind it may come frozen (not a bad thing as you can marinate it outside of the fridge in a cool place or in a large cooler). Plenty of ethnic stuff to check out in Somerville if you go La Sultana Market, Casa de Carnes Solucao, Sessa's for sausage, and Seabra... plus there may still be a Halal market on Somerville Ave. As Gabatta mentioned Huron is excellent and you could check out the two meat markets in Watertown (not my hood so I have only scoped them out but not bought there).

                                            414 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

                                            Johnnie's Foodmaster
                                            45 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

                                            1. re: itaunas

                                              Just an fyi re Itauna's comment: "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..." --

                                              For some reason, Concord MA hosts a top flight "whole animal" butcher shop featuring local/regional beef, veal and lamb, prime cuts and grass-fed beef, as well as fresh culinary mushrooms of various types. I got a lot of my training in the NYC area and this place is on the same plane as Ottomanelli's, Faicco's and the Florence Meat Market. They also host a remarkable fish/shellfish section. Not cheap, of course, but you do get what you pay for.

                                              Why it's located in a town populated by 17,000 people? Beats me, but it's there for the time being.

                                              (No connection-just a customer...). I didn't look up the exact name but I think that it's "Concord Fish & Prime" or "Concord Prime and Fish".

                                              1. re: jsecunda

                                                Gotta get to Concord. Great tip!

                                                1. re: EATTV

                                                  ...and don't forget Costco has PRIME beef packed in the blue (versus white) styrofoam trays. Their prices are hard to beat and the meat is delicious...

                                                2. re: jsecunda

                                                  Concord Prime is sometimes good and sometimes a-w-f-u-l. The worst, and most expensive (this is not a good combo), standing rib roast I've ever bought (and I've bought a fair number) was from these guys. Did they dry age the meat? Nah. Instead, they cryovac'd the darn thing. And what does a cryovac'd 7 rib prime grade standing rib roast taste like? Sorta like cardboard. Wet cheap cardboard.

                                                  Oh, and when I ordered lamb stew meat from them, I had to trim it myself, and the meat was so un-trimmed (is that a word?), that when I was done trimming, the trimmings easily were 20% of what I had bought from them (and I was trying to trim carefully).

                                                  Those two events happened a few years ago, and I have shopped there since (convenience can be a very compelling force) and their meats these days are good. But I am wary.