Originally Posted by Eric1977
unfortunately, real butchers are a dying breed. For the exception of few sections of society, like us, everyone wants that one stop shop deal. In my area, we are already at the mercy of whatever Kroger, WalMart, or Sams carries is the only choice we have. My only hope for a whole brisket is at Sams. Kroger carries flats only, and Walmart (at least here) has some questionable quality points. I can get butts at Kroger and they are really pretty good.
I agree that the megamarts are the way of many parts of our country. What I find ironic about Eric1977's post is that he is coming from the heart of bourbon country. I love bourbon whiskey because it is a great American product that has very strict rules for its quality. It must be at least 51% corn (most are 75-80% with rye, wheat, or barley as a 2nd or 3rd grain) Straight bourbon must be aged for at least 2 years (most are 4-8 years, premiums much longer) in NEW charred oak barrels. These strict and expensive rules have turned out a world renowned product with tremendous consistency. Often for a price that is very reasonable.
Think of the work that goes into an eight year old Jim Beam Black as compared to a mid level vodka like Stoli or Skyy. Nothing against vodka but it is distilled a few times, bottled and then it hits the shelf. The bourbon has to be put into the barrels and then they are rotated and stored for all that aging time and then it gets to hit the market. Yet they are very close in price.
I wish we could create some new designations for meat raising, processing, safety, packaging, and sales methods that although they might not be the most cost effective, would set a standard that would create the quality/safety consistency that we want and deserve.
On the other hand, I frequent a butcher who refuses to try to wet or dry age beef, get in prime grade beef, and sells whole huge spares with brisket and chine attached and markets them as "St. Louis Ribs" and generally is not open to any criticism or suggestions from long time customers. I recently tried some prime sirloin from Costco and was very pleased. I want to keep local but the quality and taste of that Costco beef is damn tempting. It's complex.