The Biggest Mistakes You're Making When Buying Meat At The Butcher Shop

When we think about buying meat, we automatically imagine rows and rows of beef, poultry, and pork at our local chain grocer. Instead of going to a butcher shop, you simply walk up to the refrigerated case, pick up the cut you like for the price you deem reasonable and are on your way to something else. However, in recent years, the profession of meat cutting (and with that, butcher shops) has witnessed a bit of "a renaissance," according to the Miami Herald. With consumers leaning more towards clean-eating practices, food-and-beverage analyst Darren Seifer told the Miami Herald that more and more consumers are visiting butcher shops in an effort to really know where their meat is sourced from. 

Meat cutting is an art and with very good reason. Programming like Bon Appetit's Handcrafted demonstrates in extreme detail why butchers are masters of this skill and deserve the praise. Many people, like Reddit user batchrelease, might feel intimidated because they don't know what the proper etiquette would be when visiting the butcher. Ordering meat from your local butcher can be quite easy, but there are a few pointers you need to know that'll put you above the rest next time you're buying meat.

Not asking for their opinion is a mistake

Butchers are very passionate about their careers. Very passionate. The Local Butcher, based in Denver, Colorado, reveals that one of the reasons they love being a butcher is because of their ability to talk with people about a subject that they truly love. They revealed how chatting with customers allows them to better assist them (and anyone else) who walks into their shop. So asking a butcher for their opinion can actually help open up doors and windows to a whole new cut of meat (i.e. ribeye vs. hanger steaks vs. culotte). 

That being said, being a butcher comes with a learning curve, according to Thrillist. They need to be exact when cutting their meats, be aware of proper storing temperatures across the board, and be aware of current food trends so that they can best serve their customers. So their knowledge is golden, and best heeded, not ignored. Reddit users recommend that a best practice is to go with an open mind and an idea of what you'd like to make so that the butcher may best assist you.

Trying to cut a deal is a big mistake

This is a huge no-no. When you walk into a butcher shop, you're not only going to get to share a space with someone who is truly knowledgeable about their craft, but you will also get quality meat that is sourced using the best practices available. Some butchers follow a "cradle-to-grave" approach and sometimes own ranches or farms filled with the livestock they sell at their stores (via Thrillist). Regardless of whether your local butcher shop is a mom-and-pop location, you shouldn't go in trying to get a deal (unless they are already running a special), because not only will you be undervaluing the meat you're getting, but you might also risk insulting your butcher. As one Redditor put it. "If you go to a quality butcher please don't argue about cuts we are selling we are not trying to trick you we want you to come back."

Another reason you shouldn't try to haggle is that the butcher shop is a small business like any other and has employees it must pay. According to ZipRecruiter, butchers make a national average of $16 an hour, with hourly wages going up as high as $21 and as low as $8. Many of their hourly wages fall between the $12 to $16 per hour range. So it's important to honor thy butcher and thy price when visiting a local meat cutting shop.