Photo by Amber Fouts

These community butcher shops quickly pivoted to accommodate pandemic shutdowns (think: online shops, delivery services, meal kits) to ensure that, through it all, we’ve got unique cuts to pop on the grill.

Addo

When the pandemic closed the city down, owner Eric Rivera went all in on a takeout platform where customers select themed cooking packages and have the ingredients prepped and delivered to their doorstep. This includes an ingenious scrollable meat market, selling anything from spatchcocked chickens to kalbi-style short ribs to a pound of veal bones for sauces. This summer, Addo offers a lineup of grill packs centered on the butchery’s dry-aged steak and housemade hotdogs. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Don and Joe’s

This old-school butcher in the heart of Pike Place Market has been a Seattle fixture since 1969. Owner Don Kuzaro Jr has a selection that spans global meat traditions. Need some tripe? He’s got it. Mexican chorizo? Look no further. Come summer, the shop offers a variety of cold cuts and jerkies for picnicking as well as their regular selection of housemade bratwurst and Italian sausages. Home meat prep gets an assist from the shop’s own steak seasoning, blended next door by longtime fellow vendor MarketSpice.

Beast and Cleaver

Although this Ballard butchery and restaurant might be a relative newcomer, prior to Covid-19 the four-month waitlist for a reservation in the dining room points to owner Kevin Smith’s expertise. The shop focuses on whole animal butchery and relies solely on handsaws to get the job done. Most of the cuts come from Washington state farms, like Chehalis Valley Farm, which raises poultry specifically for Smith’s shop. Over 40 varieties of sausage rotate on a regular basis, but the real standout in the case is Smith’s pate en croute, done in the French style. A butcher will also tailor your meat purchase to the wide selection of natural wines. 

Bob’s Quality Meats

A Columbia City institution, this neighborhood butchery opened its doors in 1962 and has been sourcing Washington meats ever since. Though you might need to shimmy your way up to the counter in this small store, the dedicated stream of regulars signal that the wait is worthwhile. The shop’s vast selection includes staples like whole free-range chickens and more specific items like veal ossobuco and beef tongue. Butchers can help navigate all these selections and point you toward grill-friendly picks like baby back ribs from Puyallup. The bundles—anywhere from five to 10 different cuts—are a popular way to sample the shop’s wide variety.

EC Wilson Meat 2 Go

Established in 1906, this long-standing butchery has been handed down for four generations in the Hine family. The Lynnwood shop started as a counter at Pike Place Market and has evolved into one of the major suppliers for Seattle’s top restaurants, and sources all its chicken, beef, and pork from the PNW. The shop’s extensive online store makes it easy to shop the meat case from home and any orders placed will be packed for curbside pick-up. Don't know where to start? A wagyu Gold Flat Iron steak or a classic Double R Ranch Tomahawk steak done on grill are both foolproof choices. Curbside pick-up available.

Marx Foods

Justin Marx continues the legacy of his great-grandfather's Brooklyn butcher shop in the form of Marx Foods, a Seattle-based online specialty grocery store that doubles as “culinary tech support.” The Seattle Sampler Boxes arrive with printed recipe cards that highlight the ingredients you purchased, and a number you can text with any questions. A professional chef will quickly respond to your questions on how to score a duck breast or cook a rack of lamb. The site's distinctive product is Iberico pork, sourced from a family business outside of Salmanca, Spain. The sampler boxes, which were released in early March, have also become a popular staple for their variety of meats and curated recipe cards. Free shipping on all orders.

Rain Shadow Meats

Tucked next to the entrance Melrose Market, this meat counter opened in 2010; owner Russ Flint focuses on whole-animal butchery, educating customers on the oft-overlooked parts of the animal by making sure that even the most obscure cuts end up in the case. During the summer, the shop offers some grill-worthy picks like ribs, juicy bacon burgers, and “big bites”— sausage casings filled with hot dog meat, pickled jalapenos, and cheddar. Delivery available.

The Ruby Brink Bar and Butcher

Part butchery, part specialty grocer, part bar and kitchen, The Ruby Brink is a compelling argument for journeying to Vashon Island. Co-owner and butcher Lauren Garaventa opened the shop to bridge her commitment to sustainably raised meats with her culinary background. Rather than rely on traditional industry meat gradings, Garaventa lets personal relationships with farmers and the quality of the animal’s life guide her choices of what to offer. The Ruby Brink’s signature rustic-cut meats and smoked pastrami are stellar and the rib eye steaks (sourced from Pure Country Farms in Ephrata) make an excellent addition to a summer barbecue. If a decision evades you, simply ask the butcher behind the counter—their insider know-how will make sure you walk away with an insider’s pick. Delivery available on Vashon Island.

The Shambles

A butcher-bar hybrid, The Shambles offers a meat selection that is curated with as much expertise as their beer list. Co-owner Matthew Brady translates whole animals into curated meat boxes, a savvy way to sample the shop’s lesser-known cuts. For summer, the Wagyu steaks from Snake River Farms in Pullman are easy to throw on the grill, but if cooking isn’t your thing, the charcuterie selection is extensive. Insider tip: The fennel kimchi and other fermented creations from Shambles chef Seamus Platt elevate any meal. 

The Swinery

West Seattle’s favorite butcher shop knows how to kick off grilling season—the Norwegian ribs alone are reason enough to break out the grill tongs. The meat is brined overnight, then seasoned with paprika, cayenne, and brown sugar, all before getting the shop’s signature smoke treatment. A consistently inventive selection of sausages like the Toulouse (ground with bacon and then seasoned with a healthy amount of garlic and white wine) require little to no prep and are available year-round. In the event that temperatures exceed comfort, try ordering sandwiches from the shop’s deli.

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