Getting the right meat is the first and most important step to great grilling. We live in a state with a long history of meat production, and, luckily for us, that tradition lives on today. Maybe you love to sizzle T-bone slabs. Maybe you prefer to char thin cuts, like skirt or flank steak.
The range of beef cuts you can find in the Valley is inspiring, and could keep you at the grill every night of the season. And that's before we even get into chicken, pork, lamb, and other options. Here are three great meat shops for your summer grilling needs.
The Meat Shop202 East Buckeye Road
In a back room of this south Phoenix butcher, the floors are speckled with ruby flesh. Cattle quarters tower on steel tables, hacksaws rock, sinews separate, and Flinstonian cuts slide free as butchers work on beef brisket, tri-tip, oxtail, pork cheek, trotter, head; pheasant and rabbit, ground chuck and buffalo hotdogs; house-smoked and -stuffed sausages; beef knuckle and marrow; porchetta and pork porterhouse. The humble pig might be the highlight. The butchers break down 10 pigs a week, closer to 16 a week during the holidays, totaling some 650 to 700 pigs a year. The animals are Duroc and Yorkshire breeds. If you need pork, or just about anything else, give The Meat Shop a ring.
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Arcadia Meat Market3950 East Indian School Road, #130
Here, the beef is sourced from Arizona Grass Raised, and that's not all. Lamb options often include rack, loin chops, burger patties, fore quarters, chops, and rear steak. Pork may include rib chops, loin chops, sausage, fresh ham, and an empyrean belly well worth the $12 a pound. But beef is the ruby superstar, coming in many forms, including chuck, New York strip, rib-eye, stew cuts, fillet, offal, and nearly any cut you want. Arcadia Meat Market has rare control over its product. It controls much of supply through its Arizona Grass Raised Beef overlap. It controls how animals are fabricated. This control bodes well for special orders. If you order ahead, the cow is your oyster. Don't miss the bone broth.
The Meat Market37636 North Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree
This Carefree butcher opened in 2016 and, like Arcadia Meat Market, has been bringing in some of its high-end animals from Chiricahua Pasture Raised Meats. Though the shop is small, it has an Old World charm, with nice new-age touches. You can see the fine knifework (and precision sawing) of the staff's two butchers on a flatscreen mounted above the register. The Meat Market can handle a wide range of custom orders. There is a drying program with steaks aged for 30 to 45 days.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on June 28, 2018. It was updated on July 1, 2020.