General Question

noodle_poodle's avatar

Is meat from butchers better?

Asked by noodle_poodle (1614points) September 23rd, 2009

I am trying to get into this healthy eating thing as i am trying to shift a small spare tyre around my waste…I get plenty of excersize but I have started to pay more attention to food…meat from the supermarket is cheap but is it decent…should I be worried about growth hormones and additives? and if so would meat from a butcher be of a better quality and maybe cheaper? Is organic meat worth the price tag?

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21 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

depends on the butcher

SpatzieLover's avatar

Is your good health worth more money out of pocket? I say YES!

Yes, the meat from an actual butcher shop (or butcher in a high quality food store) is better. Besides the butcher having the ability to control what meat gets purchased, he/she can also control what ingredients are added into sausage—etc.

I now only buy my Italian sausage and brats from a butcher that uses no corn syrup or artificial ingredients.

deni's avatar

Every steak I’ve had from a local butcher has blown restaurant and store steaks out of the water. Meat from a butcher seems to cost way less, and be way better overall.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I forgot to add:

The nice thing about a quality butcher is the questions you can get answered without his/her need to “find out” for you.

We had a FAB butcher down the street, but the “cheap” supermarkets put him out of biz.

Now, I have to travel further for great cuts, and high quality. The trip is worth it!

gailcalled's avatar

You need to ask the butcher where he gets his beef, pork, lamb, chickens. Are they free-range and able to graze and do they eat non-sprayed grass, slops, etc.

See the film, Food, Inc. clarify the issues

For example, “With a constituency limited to anyone who eats, “Food, Inc.” is a civilized horror movie for the socially conscious, the nutritionally curious and the hungry. Yes, it has a deceptively cheery palette, but… Robert Kenner’s doc—which does for the supermarket what “Jaws” did for the beach—marches straight into the dark side of cutthroat agri-business, corporatized meat and the greedy manipulation of both genetics and the law.

Doc biz may be in the doldrums, but “Food, Inc.” is so aesthetically polished and politically urgent, theatrical play seems a no-brainer, though it won’t do much for popcorn sales”.

wundayatta's avatar

Butchers tend to know the source of the meat. They develop relationships with farmers. It is generally better if you know where your meat comes from. You can discuss husbandry methods and get a sense of care for the animals. This affects flavor. In addition, local meat will be fresher, and more environmentally friendly (less travel energy).

Yup. I’d always prefer to use a butcher. Unfortunately, they don’t have one in my neighborhood, so I use a supermarket. They generally have good meat, but I don’t have a relationship with the butcher, so I don’t know much about it. They also sell meat at my farmer’s market, but it is frozen, and that’s a hassle and it does diminish the flavor, and makes it harder to cook (thawing is always a dicey thing, and I never have time to plan that far ahead, so I use the microwave, which sucks because it can cook the meat if you get it wrong).

The answer to your question is an unequivocal yes!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Any butcher worth their pay is going to be better than the prepackaged stuff if only because the butcher knows where the meat has been recently.

AstroChuck's avatar

Alice seemed to think so.

noodle_poodle's avatar

hmmm thanks guys…thats what i had thought…being in uk the supermarket food is pretty much always cheaper than anywhere else so sometimes its hard go against it but recently i wish supermarkets would sod off

dpworkin's avatar

If you are going to eat meat, I think it is better to cultivate a relationship with a good butcher. What you get may not be intrinsically healthier (I don’t know how you would determine that anyway) but it is more likely to be what you have asked for.

Butchers will cut or trim to your specifications, will find you special cuts, will order according to your needs (Kosher, Halal, etc.) and above all are a superior source for a superior cook who is likely to want his or her meat to be grown, butchered, cut and prepared in very specific ways which cannot be obtained in a supermarket.

Judi's avatar

If you want to loose weight I would be focusing more on the vegetables and fruits than the meats. Try and eat at least 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day and reduce you meat to about 4 oz. per day. Also cut down on the cheese and breads. Use fruits and vegetables t fill up.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Judi I lost a LOT of weight eating lean red meat and turkey breast from my butcher

Judi's avatar

@SpatzieLover ; were you able to keep it off? Was it a lifestyle change you could live with for the long haul? A high red meat diet has been linked to heart disease. The healthiest way (and most hunger free) to loose weight is bu filling your diet with low calorie high volume foods and minimizing high calorie low volume foods. It’s just math.
I lost weight on the Atkins diet many years ago, but I gained it all back and more. Replacing high calorie foods with fruits and vegetables and committing to exercise is the only way I have found to loose weight and keep it off for the long haul.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Judi Yes, I was able to keep it off. It wasn’t Atkins. It’s called 1st personal diet. The tips from this doc have helped me make wiser choices…like doing away with “fillers” such as cereals and chose “safer” desserts when I feel I must have something. I do eat a lot of veg and a little fruit (learned on the diet fruit is not everyone’s friend, too) with some meat to end cravings and control hunger

sandystrachan's avatar

The next best thing to meat from a butcher , is going out and killing it yourself :) If you can’t handle it stay with a butcher Supermarket meat is not stored correctly.

cwilbur's avatar

All meat comes from butchers. The principal question is whether you have a direct relationship with the butcher, or whether he’s an anonymous employee in the back of the supermarket putting meat into packages.

I buy a lot of my meat from butchers I can talk to, even though they run meat markets where the meat is just as packaged as in the supermarket. I’m not sure that there’s enough of a health benefit from eating organic meat to justify it; you’d probably see significantly more of a benefit from cutting your meat intake by 20% and replacing it with vegetables.

laureth's avatar

If you have a Farmer’s Market near you, I’d recommend it. It’s like going a step back from the butcher, and 3–5 steps back from the grocery meat. There are vendors of chicken, pork, lamb, beef, and buffalo at our farmers’ market, and the booth is staffed by the people who raised the various animals. They can tell you what it ate from birth (or hatching) on up.

And yes, all of it is hundreds of times more delicious and better than grocery meat bleeding on their little “pads” on the styrofoam tray.

Unlike grocery beef, for example, the beef from the farmer’s market guy doesn’t taste like chicken litter because it’s not fed chicken litter. When I go back to grocery beef, it actually tastes something like chicken litter smells now.

I don’t know about your butcher, but the meat is only as good as s/he’s willing to source out.

noodle_poodle's avatar

@ thanks ye well i eat a lot of vegetables anyway…i shall attempt to eat more ..cant live without meat tho ..its meat that makes the meal

noodle_poodle's avatar

thanks everyone @cwilbur My major health issue with it all is more with chicken and pork..the whole being able to grow a adult chicken from an egg in like 9 days is all great costwise but the growth hormones they use to make it happen…do they get into our food? If i buy a free range chicken can i avoid this risk? or at least lessen it?

OpryLeigh's avatar

I prefer to know where the meat I purchase and eat comes from and so I am much happier with meat from the butchers. Like @SpatzieLover said, any decent butcher will answer any questions you have and they are not in the least surprised if you ask where the meat came from, if it was as cruelty free as possible (in my case) or if it’s got any added crap that you don’t need. It does tend to be better quality and you will often find that the meat you get from a butchers is local to that butchers.

It is more expensive than supermarket meat but if you can afford it I would definately recommend it.

laureth's avatar

“Free range” means different things to different farmers. Sometimes it means chickens are allowed to run free in a yard. Sometimes it means they’re kept out of a cage but in the barn, which has a tiny hole to the outside that they birds are all afraid to use, but “technically they have access to the outdoors.”

Free range is all about how much room they (theoretically) have to roam, and nothing at all about what medicines or hormones they are given. The only ways that I know of to get hormone-free chicken are to buy organic – or, since certification is so expensive and time-consuming to get, to buy from a small farmer you trust who promises they don’t do all that stuff.

Meat makes the meal, I agree – but you can use it as a condiment, for the flavor, and maybe not need a big chunk o’ flesh all the time. It’s cheaper, and better for you that way. (Think veggies in a beef broth, or pepperoni on an otherwise veggie pizza, or a little bit of chicken or shrimp in a veggie stir fry. These are efficient ways to use a little meat to make something essentially vegetarian taste way better.)

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