Thursday, February 26, 2009

Butchers and Meat Markets in Howard County

Choice is the key to a great butcher or meat market. You can buy steaks at any supermarket, so you should only drive to a butcher if you can choose some cut, some quality, some flavor outside the everyday.

There are four Howard County -- or close -- meat markets that come to mind. They're all old-fashioned places, selling simplicity rather than the Whole Foods style of organics and name brands.

For me, they're each worth the trip just for thick-cut bacon and home-made sausage. Those are my weak points, and they're great to buy in a special place. Better six slices of thick-cut, pepper-edged bacon than an entire pound of plastic-wrapped fat. Better meaty sausage at the base of a stew than all the Egg McMuffins that I ate in high school.

I've eaten some great steak from these joints. I particularly remember a filet from JW Treuth that seemed perfect -- tender, but real beef flavor. But I'm no expert at meat, and the truth is that I pay attention when I make a special trip for beef. I buy something nice. I find a good recipe. A few hours of anticipation make almost everything taste more delicious.

So I never know if I'm getting anything super-different than what I could get at Giant or the Bloom. If anything, I'd love a little education from one of these butchers. Sometimes, I ask questions, but I've never gotten an answer much more than, "The filet is good" or "A porterhouse would be good on the grill."
  • Boarman's Meat Market in Highland. This country market at Rte 108 and Rte 216 serves up meats -- along with housemade sausages and even crab cakes. The sausage is a real draw, a nice Italian link for sandwiches or a breakfast sausage to make your own patties. Boarman's is due south of Roots in Clarksville, so it's a convenient place if you're on the road shopping for a special meal.
  • Columbia Halal Meat in Elkridge. For Muslims, this can be an essential spot on Rte 108 because they -- along with Ceazar International Market -- sell halal chicken, lamb and goat. But I think it's a general resource for anyone looking for lamb or goat -- especially for large cuts like the whole goats -- or for personal service from the butchers who will trim and cut your order however you want.
  • (Nazar Market in Columbia.  The newest halal butcher fits the same space as Columbia Halal and Ceazar, and they give really friendly, helpful service with similar cuts.  The ground lamb became a regular part of my shopping in 2010 when I learned to grill kabobs, and you can use it for meatballs, sauces, etc.  They grind the meat personally for each order, so you know that it's fresh.  They also sell tiny lamb chops, chicken hearts and other unusual cuts.) 
I'd love any suggestions about what you buy from these butchers. Special cuts? Special orders? Or is there something special at one of the supermarkets that you love?

This is part of the "What I Learned" series of posts. They're organized in rings. See below to continue on the ring about shopping in Howard County. Or click to switch to the posts about different cuisines or posts about areas and ideas.

PREVIOUS: Vegetable Shopping in Howard County
NEXT: Organic Shopping in Howard County


Anonymous said...

I didn't even realize there was a Dutch Market in the area, and I know we've driven past that area on the weekends before to get to Cuba de Ayer. Do you know happen to know how the prices are on the Beiler's organic beef?

HowChow said...

I don't remember the prices, but I will keep an eye out when I go back. I'm hoping to visit over the next few weeks because I need some candy!

K8teebug said...

Thank you again for another informative post. It's so nice to know there are many places yet to explore in this town!

Anonymous said...

Try the slab bacon at Treuth's. My family loves it more than the bacon we get from Boarman's. Treuth's also sells great half-smokes.
Boarman's has better baby back ribs and their sausage is the best.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for unsliced slab bacon. Went to Treuth's and they didn't have it. Any ideas? Thanks!

HowChow said...

@Anon -- Definitely try Beiler's, the butcher at the Dutch Country Farmers Market in Laurel. They sell multiple types of bacon and seem to have an enormous volume. They strike me as the kind of people who would bring unsliced bacon if you ordered enough.

The other thoughts are Laurel Meat Market in downtown Laurel and Boarman's at Rte 216 and Rte 108 in Highland.

MarkM said...

Boarmans is a treat. Their sausage can't be beat. Their beef is local and top quality. Great deli sandwiches, too.