Memorial Day is meant for remembering those who gave their lives in military service. It’s also the day that traditionally signals the beginning of grilling season across the country. But we lucky Southern Californians have probably had our grills up and running since lockdown began.
But why not go beyond the supermarket for your steaks, carne asada or LA Galbi? Here is a selection of great meat markets for you to try.
The meat business is one of the most highly concentrated parts of the food business. Global players like JBS, Cargill, Tyson and National Beef control 80% of the U.S. market, earning billions from meat raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These operations are environmental nightmares and very often inhumane. Most butcher shops and supermarkets order meat from distributors who either carry boxed pieces of “primals,” large cuts that are further broken down by the local seller, or boxes of cuts already cut and packaged ready for sale.
By contrast, sellers who practice whole animal butchery purchase whole or half carcasses direct from ranchers rather than outsourcing boxed cuts. There is transparency in that they know where an individual animal came from and how it was treated. For me, this is the greatest advantage and is worth the higher price. Whole animal butchers are happy to tell you who raised their beef, how and where. Because they are so invested in the animal, they take the time to help you decide what cut to choose and how to cook it.
Whole animal butchers
A Cut Above - Santa Monica
Standings Butchery - Mid-City
-They feature a creative sausage program.
Gwen - Hollywood
-California ranches/Australian Wagyu
-They sell boxed cut selections specifically chosen for holiday grilling.
Electric City Butcher - Santa Ana
-They’re featuring a cowboy cut ribeye and making an armadillo egg.
-There’s a jalapeño stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar, garlic, onion, and parsley, packed in sausage and wrapped in bacon. Supplies are short, so order soon.
Huntington’s Meat & Sausages - The Original Farmers’ Market
-Imported Japanese Wagyu
-Huge sausage selection
McCalls Meat and Fish Company
-Beeler pork/snake river wagyu
-Grass fed and finished us beef
-Wonderful neighborhood shop
These are not necessarily whole animal butchers, but instead prepare and sell meat for a culture based community.
Choice Meat Market - Koreatown
-In addition to all the prime cuts you would expect, they have a veritable feast of Korean BBQ kits.
La Carniceria - Bellflower
-Prime meat only. In addition to rib-eyes and tomahawks, they have prime flap meat and tasajo both natural and marinated.
Sevan Meat Market - Glendale
-They cover all your Armenian grilling needs, and offer ready-to-grill beef, chicken lule, and kabob meats, as well as a large selection of spiced and marinated meats from lamb to pork.