Good Butcher in Boston

I’ve recently started making my own sausage at home, and just this weekend I made my first cased sausages! The hardest part by far was trying to find one place to get everything I needed. I called to a Whole Foods ahead of time to ask if they has pork casings for sale, which they did. When I got there, they sold me casings (for $17/lb!!!) and a nice pork shoulder, but they didn’t have pork fat or veal shoulder. I’m still scratching my head as to why they would sell pork casings and not sell fat. I had to go to my local Stop and Shop to get the fat, which they had already wrapped and out for sale in the cases (the Allston/Brighton one has so many awesome parts of pigs and cows that aren’t typically for sale at run of the mill grocery stores!). Anybody have a suggestion for a butcher (preferably close to Allston, but I’d be willing to make a trip) where I could get a wide variety of meats, as well as pork casings and pork back fat?

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The two options I would suggest aren’t terribly near Allston but… MF Dulock (higher-end) and McKinnons (neighborhood) are both butchers in Somerville that should have what you need. I have never bought pork fat at McKinnons but I’ve bought casings there several times. Call before making the trip!

Dulock is the best butcher in the area, and dedicated to local sourcing, but be prepared for sticker shock. yikes! I can really only afford it occasionally.

You can’t go wrong with Dulock.

I make sausage a fair amount. M.F.Dulock is where I go if I have bought an entire animal and need it broken down. Sadly, I can’t really afford to buy sausage makings there that often. I do find their pork fat prices to be quite reasonable but they don’t always have some for sale since they make their own sausage now. For the casings, I find those at Market Basket. And in general, the Market Basket will have pork butts as well. If you decide that you want to make some paté, I find that McKinnons has a better selection of livers. It is not a bad idea to call them in advance and they will make sure that they have what you need.

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Curious, smtucker, you buy a whole animal elsewhere? primals, sub-primals? From where?
And then bring it to Dulock and they break it down for you? How much do they charge? Is it all wrapped for freezing?
So many questions.

Yes. I have bought whole animals that are delivered to Dulock after slaughter, where it is broken down. They prepare the cuts per my instructions. I then bring the cuts home, vacuum pack and freeze in my home freezer. They charge, as I recall, about $.75 per pound. It is not cheap, but, a bunch cheaper than buying the cuts retail. And you get some cuts that you will never see at a store. Who knew that pork shin was so tasty? So far, I have only done pork. I get my whole lambs at a farm located way up North, and they provide all the butcher services.

I have been getting my lamb from Nick at Coolidge Variety in Coolidge Square, right across from the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. He sources it from Mennonite farmers in western Mass. He is a really nice guy and I try to support him whenever possible.
( Also the subs from the place next door, Emilios Homemade Italian subs and dinners, are quite good. A meatball sub and a side of the fried eggplant that you slip beside the meatballs is a guilty peasure of mine after which i need a nap. They got my vote when I asked them not to put lettuce on my Italian sub and the guy looked at me horrified and said " Who puts lettuce on an Italian grinder?" Boom. Loyal customer.)

But I would be interested where you get your lamb.
Do you drive up to get it, or do they deliver to the area?

My lamb is from northern NH, just shy of the Canadian border. The family that raises them own a dairy farm. One of the kids raised a few sheep as a 4H project and now they have sheep. The kids have all graduated from college now, but the Mom still raises sheep for people like me as a side business. [Life isn’t easy up there.]

There are some shortcomings. Like many north country folks, they are lacking some people and communication skills. One doesn’t know when the animals are going to slaughter/butcher until just about the day that it happens and then you need to pick up within 30 days. The weight of the animals can vary greatly from year to year. And then there is the drive to pick up the packed animals. I order my lambs in November. Of course, they never know how many lambs they will have, so if it is a year with lots of twins and triplets, they continue to take orders until the animals have all been reserved.

For the past few years the charge has been $4./lb hanging weight plus the butcher fee [which went up a lot this year] of $100/animal. Their current butcher is really very good, unlike the previous one who mangled the meat. I provide the cut list.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo