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The Best Butcher Shops in New York

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Getty

For Sausage Parties and Backyard Barbecues

The Meat Hook, 397 Graham Ave., Williamsburg; 718-609-9300;

When the meat hook opened in 2009, it joined a just-starting-to-open bunch of “New Williamsburg” specialty shops that would lure in people from other neighborhoods (Marlow & Sons was a few years old; Saltie was brand new). The once-small counter space is now a 900-square-foot emporium with a classroom for instruction on how to cook offal or butcher a pig. Chef and author Natasha Pickowicz shops there for backyard gatherings. “Their large-format things are great for that,” she says, citing the in-house brined and smoked ham, which feeds 15 to 20. Other meant-for-a-crowd dishes include an entire rib roast and a pork loin with belly attached. For Ted Allen, host of Chopped, “what really sealed the deal for us was the incredible job they did catering a birthday party. Not just top-notch steak, ribs, and chicken but really creative sides and super-nice, friendly service.” The staff also welcomes collaboration, which drew in author Carla Lalli Music. “I can roll in with a rough idea of what I’m in the mood for or how many people I’m cooking for, and whoever is behind the counter will game it out with me,” she says. “We talk methods and prep, they show me some cool cuts that I’ve never heard of, then I get to watch them fabricate my order right in front of me.”

For Special Orders and Serious Hand-Holding

Foster Sundry, 215 Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick; 718-569-8426;

Past the Taiwanese soy sauce, the dried fruit from Afghanistan, and jars of harissa is Aaron Foster’s whole-animal meat counter. Since 2015, Bushwick carnivores have been coming here for the shop’s grass-fed, grass-finished beef. Beef comes in on Tuesday, pig and lamb on Friday. Foster, the former Murray’s cheese buyer, is known to give out his number to those unfamiliar with some of the lesser-seen cuts, such as a whole Denver steak. “We email them all the time to ask for advice,” says Fernando Aciar, owner of nearby restaurant Ostudio. The shop takes special orders, too; Aciar’s gotten veal brains for his grandmother’s croquetas and picanha for asados. “Everything from his cheeses to spices to pasta is the highest quality,” Aciar says.

For Super-High-End Cuts of Japanese Beef

Japan Premium Beef, 59 Great Jones St.; 212-260-2333;

Outside this boutique butcher in Noho that specializes in almost–impossible–to–find–in–New York Japanese beef, the walls are covered in graffiti and murals. (Next door is 57 Great Jones, Basquiat’s last studio.) Inside, everything is pristine. In the butcher case, neat tranches of meat are so marbled with fat they seem snow-covered. Opened in 2009, the store stocks imported Japanese A5 Miyazaki Wagyu and Washugyu, a crossbreed of Japanese Black Wagyu and American Angus sourced from Oregon. The meat is, predictably, pricey ($60 per pound for American tenderloin, $130 per pound for A5 striploin). Eunice Byun, the co-founder of Material and a frequent dinner-party host, says, “Time and time again, I find myself going to JPB when there’s something to celebrate because this place is just that special. Their meat is the definition of exquisite with our favorite being the dry-aged rib eye.”

For Carbone’s Supplier

Pino’s Prime Meat, 149 Sullivan St.; 212-475-8134;

Leo Cinquemani, the current owner of century-old Pino’s Prime Meat, mans the shop behind a case of chops, homemade sausages, and Murray’s chickens just as his father did (his dad traded his Cadillac for the store in the 1980s). Cinquemani works the counter with his brother, Sal, and his cousin, also Sal, and his friend Gustavo, whom he’s known since he was 5. The staff caters to locals and restaurants, providing lamb racks for Carbone, veal for Song’E Napule, and dry-aged steaks for Park Side Restaurant. Most everyone who walks in is greeted by name. “Pino’s is a family business, and everyone in there is family or becomes family,” says Miguel Trinidad, a chef who visits often for the ground-lamb burgers (“The gamy flavor and the spices are perfectly balanced,” he says) and a familiar feeling. “When I walk in, it feels like I’ve been transported back to my childhood on the Lower East Side,” he says. “The aroma of meat sparks that nostalgia of the New York I grew up in.”

For an Old-School Shop

Staubitz Market, 222 Court St., Cobble Hill; 718-624-0014;

The squeak of the screen door of Staubitz Market has been heard on Court Street since 1917, when John Staubitz first opened the shop. Not much has changed — though John McFadden, who had been working the counter since 1967, died last year. Vintage light fixtures hang from the ceiling. Large photographs on the wall show butchers smiling from the 1920s to the 1980s. An old cashier’s booth still occupies the back corner. Today, McFadden’s son, John Jr., lobs friendly banter over the counter as he expertly carves a tenderloin or debones a shank. Customers come in for Staubitz’s rotisserie chickens and Frank’s (gluten-free) chicken meatballs as well as the rosy cuts of meat, including Newport steaks for three. The staff also still picks up the landline. “I love that they answer the phone,” says Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, who buys everything from first-cut briskets to bags of chicken bones and schmaltz. “It makes me feel like I’m living in a tiny little village.”

For the Ecoconscious Carnivore

Ends Meat, 254 36th St., Unit 38, Sunset Park; 718-801-8895;

To avoid industrial meat production — and the climate-wrecking that comes with it — Ends Meat buys from small farmers whose animals are well treated. “Ends Meat has some of the strongest sourcing ethics of pretty much any butcher in New York,” says food and agriculture writer Chloe Sorvino. Founder and head butcher John Ratliff uses every part of the Berkshire hogs, free-range chickens, and sides of beef delivered to Ends Meat’s two locations — one with a long lunch counter in Industry City, the other at the Market Line on the LES. One 350-pound hog becomes lonzas and lomos, coppas and culatellos, porchettas, pancetta, prosciutto, and pork chops. The heart becomes ’nduja and doggy treats; the skin, chicharrones. No part is left unexploited nor left to remain undelicious. But it’s not only Ratliff’s efficiency that attracts acolytes. K. C. Boyle, a political consultant who cooks for up to 20 people at least four times a month, says, “John’s dry-aged program is unmatched in the city. He has inventory from 80 to 140 days old. That’s incredibly rare, especially when the meat is grass fed and sourced from New York farmers.”

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