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The Meat Shop in Phoenix: What We Bought, What We Skipped, and What We're Still Lusting Over

The Spot: The Meat Shop, open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

See Also: - Pop-up London Butcher Shop Offers "World's Finest Human Butchery" - Ten Favorite Phoenix Meat Shops - Camelback Esplanade Farmers Market in Phoenix: What We Bought, What We Skipped, and What We're Still Lusting Over

What We Bought: We'll admit that we were sketched-out the first time we walked into the Meat Shop. The neighborhood isn't the nicest and the blacked-out windows make it impossible to see in before you enter. Once inside, the small room with large meat displays in front of the actual butcher shop isn't anything fancy, but the greeting and information you'll get from the employees will have you hooked.

We love picking from their weekly specials, which always include artisanal chops and sausages. This week we had to pick up the rashers bacon ($6.25/pound), a perfect cut we became addicted to in Ireland. Cooked, it has the smoky crunch of standard bacon, while still maintaining a chewy melt-in-your-mouth richness. We're tempted to wrap some asparagus or goat-cheese filled dates with the rashers for a crazy tasty (and quick!) hors d'oeuvre.

What We Skipped: We'd like to think of ourselves as adventurous types, but sometimes even we chicken out. We shied away from lamb hearts and whatever the heck goes into their "dog scraps," although we're sure that stuff's probably better than what we feed our dogs.

What We're Still Lusting Over: One word -- guanciale ($5.99/pound). If you've never had it, you really haven't lived. The smoked bacon-esque cut comes from the pig jowls and is popular in Italian cooking because it adds a wallop of flavor to any dish and is the perfect match to thicker pastas. We're also going to make sure to stop by next time we plan a barbecue for their grass-fed beef selection. The expert butchery combined with the healthy way the Meat Shop raises its cattle make for a perfect steak. Prices range from $10 to $20 depending on the cut, and there's a shelf behind the counter with all your sauce, seasoning, and rub needs. No wonder this place wins so many Best Of awards.

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