The Fareway meat department is a smorgasbord of inspiration for any carnivore. The meat in the case is a quality product at a reasonable price, and you’re never short on options. But, if you ask me, the real bonus at Fareway are the people behind the counter. If you’re open to it, these butchers can help you beef up on your meat science know-how. When many of us spend ~20% (or more) of our grocery bill on meat, it’s nice to know we have a reliable resource behind the counter.
Too chicken to strike up a conversation with your butcher? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Have a recipe in mind? While requesting a particular item from the case, ask your butcher what to look for in a “good” cut. They can teach you about tenderness, marbling, and all sorts of tricks for braising, grilling, or baking your selection. *
- Interested in saving time in the kitchen? (Who isn’t?) Butchers can help with your prep, too. They can trim, (de)bone, slice and dice…it never hurts to ask. A while ago I was chatting with my butcher about steak for tacos. He recommended a piece of beef on sale, then offered to slice it thinly so all I had to do was toss it over high heat with my peppers/onions. My husband raved about those tacos all week (and it took me 3 min to make, thanks to my trusty meat man).
- Want to save a buck? Tell the butcher what your recipe calls for, and then ask if there is a more affordable option on sale that will deliver the same taste/tenderness in your finished product. You might be surprised how much you can save.
*Just pondering some new recipe concepts? Mention them to your butcher and ask for their recommendations. If you develop a relationship with your butcher, they might keep an eye out for you when new options come in or go on sale in the case.
When shopping for beef cuts, it’s not always easy to know what you’re looking for. If you don’t have a trusted butcher, check out the Cattleman’s Beef Board website for a handy reference: http://www.beefboard.org/consumer/checbeefcutschart0158.asp.