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Food and Drink Features

A cut above

Specialty meat purveyors supply selection and service not common at chain supermarkets.

Doug Hill December 7th, 2011

In supermarkets, where most people shop for groceries, it’s rare to find anything in the meat case but plastic-wrapped parts on foam trays shipped from hundreds of miles away.

Operations such as Artisan’s Pride Quality Meats, 1965 W. Lindsey in Norman, believe they offer not only a better product, but personal service once common in another era.

“We provide a lot of advice,” said Daniel Hyden, production manager. “We offer cooking and seasoning tips or what cut of meat to use.”

The small shop is brightly lit and fastidiously clean, and the meat case contains an unwrapped selection of beef, pork and poultry. Sausage is prepared in-house. It also carries cuts such as tritip, flank and skirt steaks that one rarely finds at chain stores.

“It’s amazingly good, and you just don’t find it in groceries,” said Hyden, adding that Artisan’s Pride also offers buffalo steaks from Sandy Springs Farms in Hinton.

At one time, butcher shops could be found in most metro neighborhoods. There were even specialty butchers such as Rubenstein’s Kosher Shop on Reno Avenue as recently as the 1940s, according to Rabbi Abby Jacobson of Emanuel Synagogue.

“We’d be thrilled if there was a kosher butcher here again,” she said. “The gastronomically in-the-know are moving back to the butcher-shop model. In other cities, some have added a deli, grill or small grocery store to wrap the business all up together.”

Jacobson’s congregants have kosher meat shipped to them or travel to Dallas for it. A couple of Oklahoma City grocers carry a small selection of frozen kosher meat and poultry. More than twodozen meat markets and butchers are listed in the OKC telephone directory, including those catering to Asian, Latino and halal tastes.

Bill Kamp’s Meat Market, 7310 N. Western, has tried selling Oklahoma-sourced and grass-fed beef, but found it didn’t meet his customers’ quality requirements.

“Today, people want premium steaks and roasts, but not the less expensive cuts,” Kamp (pictured) said. “At one time, people knew what to do with a Pike’s Peak roast, but those days are long gone.”

For locally raised beef, Le Reve Ranch near Lindsay provides retail consumers an attractive option.

“Our line is unique, because we don’t harvest anything we don’t raise,” owner/operator Marshall Brackin said. “Unlike the city meat markets supplied by [wholesalers], any steak, hamburger or sausage you buy from us was raised right there on our ranch.”

Le Reve operates an on-site retail store and a refrigerated mobile unit at the Norman and Newcastle farmers’ markets, and offers online ordering. The most economical way is to buy a quarter, half or whole beef, but Le Reve will sell you a Garvin County-raised Angus two-pound chuck roast or pound of hamburger, as well.

Photo by Shannon Cornman

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12.12.2011 at 01:07 Reply

No mention of Ralph's Packing Co. in Perkins?? Serious omission...