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Jul 17, 2014 01:36 PM

lard, tallow, good extensive butchers in Madison, Wisconsin?

^ I posted the thread above after I found some nontraditional meats like ostrich, emu, duck eggs, and lamb heart at the Farmer's Market at the Capital Square here in Madison. But I would like to continue to try all the exotic nontraditional foods that I can find before I leave when summer is over.

Can you please tell me where are the best butchers and meat shops here? Here are just some of the things that I would like to buy:

lard, tallow, duck fat, geese, raw milk, raw milk cheese and butter, suet, bone marrow, and many other things as well.

Where do you recommend? I am staying right by East Campus Mall at the University Square if that helps any.

From my research, I have found these two places: <- hopefully for exotic meats but on the phone they said their online is menu is outdated so they don't carry a lot of things the advertisement says they. (ie no duck, etc.)
Whole Foods Madison for duck fat
Cops for lard
Farmer's Market for raw milk and butter
UWP meats, Woodmans, Dicks,
Conscious Carnivore (black earth meats) for bone marrow and suet

Thank you

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  1. Your options are pretty limited for this stuff, as far as I'm aware, but Underground Butcher is a great place to start -- as is the Dane County Farmers Market and the market out by Hilldale on Saturdays. I would go into Underground and see if they can work with you on what you want to try.

    Perhaps give some of the ethnic markets a shot for some unusual meats, like Midway Asian Market on Park Street.

    Also you could go right to the source by calling Jordandal ( or one of these farms ( and seeing what they have to try.

    You can find Willow Creek Farms lard at the Willy Street Co-op, I think leaf lard included.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SLOLindsay

      I like the suggestion of Jordandals. That is my source for pork belly when making bacon.

      I would float Knoche's out there as an option. I have only ever sourced pork shoulder roasts from them, but have found them knowledgeable. I have heard good things about what they can source, also.

      Knoche's Meat - (608) 233-1410

    2. I second Underground Butcher. I've bought suet there before, and my understanding is they that they start with whole animals so they can probably get you any pig or cow part if given enough notice.

      1. I got a tub of duck fat through neesvig's.
        You might want to call them on other items.

        1. Update:

          This weekend I was able to most of what I was looking for. I found and bought the duck fat, lard, tallow / suet ?, bone marrow and potentially some exotic meats.

          I put a question mark next to suet because when I asked for suet the butcher asked me if I wanted 'raw suet' or 'rendered suet'. I thought there was only 'suet'. He said people usually only cook with 'rendered suet'. So, I said I'll take it.

          When I got home I found out that 'rendered suet' is called 'tallow'. Lol. So, I that is what I have. I am not sure how to use all these different types of oils that I now have.

          I now have: vegetable oil, peanut oil, olive oil, tallow, lard, and duck fat.

          I am going to do some research to see if there are particular foods that each oil is very well suited to. If the oils are not divided up like that and the only difference is fat content then I will probably throw away all of the vegetable oil and peanut oil and solely use the olive, tallow, and lard.

          The bacon at The Underground isn't bad but has nitrites. Boy, I wish WF made in-house smoked bacon with no nitrites. I will try to check Conscious Carnivore this weekend for no nitrite in-house bacon and other treats.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bloodboy

            Not adding "pink salt" nitrates means using LOTS more "natural" (celery-based, usually) and generally inferior nitrates, leading to a less healthy, less "natural" product. Don't believe the hype.


          2. Conscious Carnivore has Lard and Tallow made from the fat from the animals from Black Earth Meats. They render them in shop and sell them in mason jars

            Full Disclosure: I am the Operations Manager for Black Earth Meats and Conscious Carnivore

            8 Replies
            1. re: Joethebutcher

              Joethebutcher, According to this article, Black Earth Meats closed in July 2014. Did they reopen? I hope so.


              1. re: Fowler

                Not everything reported in the news is true. Black Earth Meats can not slaughter anymore, the bank has called in the loan,we are down from doing 100 animals a week to 15 or so. Down from 50 employees to 5. But we are still supplying the Conscious Carnivore with meat and some wholesale accounts (AJ Bombers, Grumpy Troll, Ians Pizza,etc)
                We are shuffling our ownership a bit. Bartlett will now be concentrating on the legal things happening and Ken (our Hog Farmer)and Brian (our Cattle Buyer) will take a more active role in the day to day operations and I will do like I have for the last 18 months and run the day to day operations
                We are closing the Retail Store in Black Earth (today) and we are looking for a new home for our wholesale operations but I can assure you Black Earth Meats is still around.
                Feel free to call me at Black Earth if you want any more infor

                Joe Parajecki
                Operations Manager
                Black Earth Meats
                Conscious Carnivore

                1. re: Joethebutcher

                  Joe, this is good news for the Madison food scene. I work a few doors down from Conscious Carnivore (3330 University) and will become a regular customer once I eat through a quarter-beef in my freezer.

                  Best of luck to all associated with your operation. You are needed in the community.

                  1. re: Joethebutcher

                    If your slaughter operation has been closed down, how are you processing any animals at all, much less 15 per week? Not trying to be challenging; I'm legitimately curious.

                    1. re: TheBookPolice

                      I worked with the crew at Driftless Meats and More in Viroqua to help get them open. They are USDA Slaughter facility so we are taking our Beef and Lambs there now for slaughter and then bringing them back to Black Earth so my crew of experienced Butchers can break them down and fabricate them.
                      I also worked with a slaughter facility in Iowa 15-20 minutes from our Hog Farm so they can do our hogs for us.
                      The only thing I am having some problems with right now is getting goats done bu I am working on that too
                      BookPolice that was a valid question and I applaud your curiousity
                      We have always prided ourselves in being transparent in what we do and how we do it. If you have questions feel free to ask here or call me in my office 608-767-3940 I am usually there Mon-Thurs 7am-3pm and Fridays from 7am-11am

                      Joe Parajecki
                      Operations Manager
                      Black Earth Meats
                      Conscious Carnivore

                      1. re: Joethebutcher

                        Hi, I am curious now about the "legal things happening" as you put it. Legal issues could mean a number of different things for your business and customers.

                        1. re: Fowler

                          The Legal things are

                          The Village Issued Citations for to us for 3rd party violations. Things like Farmers Parking in the middle of the street and truckers parking on the street when we were not there.
                          Also for pigs squealing, which is how they communicate to each other. We can't stop them from squealing

                          Then there is the illegal taking of our business from the village. You can not take a business without compensating the business for it. This is the Lawsuit we filed against the Village

                          We had conditional zoning to run a slaughterhouse. The Building we are in has been a slaughterhouse since the 1940's. Prior to that it was a cheese factory from the 1800's.
                          We had zoning, we had no health violations, we actually have a USDA inspector on site and they have issued no violations.

                          I am not the one dealing with the Legal stuff but if you like I can ask more specific questions to Bartlett and have him respond to you.

                          or again feel free to call me at BEM

                2. re: Joethebutcher

                  I have already departed from Madison. But I did get a chance to visit CC (Conscious Carnivore) before I left. I really liked their breakfast sausage, the Offal Tasty, and the different types of pork belly that you have.

                  Now, that I am back in Hawaii though I was wondering do you ship here?