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Jan 30, 2006 01:19 PM

Austin -- Meat Sources

  • r

What's the current status of butchery in Austin? I haven't checked in a while, but I know that the Meat Shop closed. I'm beginning to boycott Central Market owing to their ever-increasing prices. For example, rack of lamb at $27 per pound. They are also selling dry aged prime ribeye for something like $39 per pound.

Has anyone explored all or any of the new carnecerias that have been popping up?

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  1. Cooper's, a custom-cut meat market at 1601 W. 38th St.
    Best steaks in town.

    1. s
      Seamus Mitwurst

      La Michoacana on E. 7th

      When we needed a whole pig for porchetta, this was the only place where we could find one. Had to bone it ourselves (OT, but I had a friend who was recently mocked mercilessly for using "boned" to mean "removed the bones." Anyone else find that weird? Does anyone else like parenthetical notes as much as I do?).
      I was impressed by the meat, though maybe I was more impressed by the preparation.

      It's definitely worth checking out.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Seamus Mitwurst

        Good timing, rudeboy. I needed to know a meat market where a person can buy a whole pig.

        By the way, Seamus, I don’t know if you’ve tried the porchetta and polenta at Enoteca Vespaio. I did. I’m sorry to say that it’s not traditional porchetta of the sort that we talked about on an earlier thread. Their pork has been braised in liquid, not slow roasted over a spit or in the oven; there is no crackling skin to savor; and the meat has not been rubbed liberally with garlic and rosemary. The texture of their “porchetta” is not unlike Mexican lengua guisada, the dish of stewed tongue. Cubes of braised pork are served in a bowl over a mound of polenta with sautéed broccoli rabe on the side. The composition of the plate reminds me of an Italian version of pho, without the broth. The polenta was bland, so most of the flavor comes from the pork fat and the very garlicky rapini (the greens were over-cooked when I was there). Any mouthful of meat and fat was quite good, but the pork meat itself left something to be desired. It was very disappointing.

        Now that I know where to shop, I can make the real thing at home.

        1. re: MPH
          Seamus Mitwurst

          If I had a nickel for every time I heard that... I'd have to borrow money to buy a cup of coffee.

          I tried the porchetta at Enoteca. I went in fully aware that it was not "real" porchetta and, thus, was not disappointed. The rapini I had was well cooked and full of garlic (my favorite vegetable). The meat was very guisada-esque, I would be ashamed to call it porchetta. But it was tasty and tender. The polenta I had was actually pretty good. It was creamy and cheese based, iirc. All together it was a satisfying meal. Might or might not eat it again. Would complain to the staff that I want real porchetta. Would then probably be treated, again, like the unhip rube that I am.

          Your pho statement made me think. That might be good.
          Instead of porridge style polenta, congealed and grilled or fried polenta with rapini and pork in a pork soup. I think I might need to eat something now.

      2. s
        Seamus Mitwurst

        Wandering through My Thahn Market on Lamar, I noticed that they had some nice looking cuts of meat, including whole shoulders with skin still on. They could probably get almost anything you might need. It might take some communication skills. I saw one guy talk with the butcher there for five minutes, neither one seemed to understand a word the other said until they began using limited English. It was an interesting event to experience while noodle shopping.

        I think I may try them out for pork to smoke after I run out of the wild stuff.