If you know me at all, you know one thing: I’m a huge carnivore. So is my husband, the Angry Chef. So is (understandably so) our beast, Dexter the Barking Sous Chef. So, it will probably come as no surprise that we tend to seek out the best—and best priced—meat we can find locally.
Beef short ribs
Allow me to set the scene
When I was just a little mouse, my mother used to take with her to run errands, which often included hitting one or more butcher shops.
The one I remember most vividly was Fairway Beef, which sadly burned down in the ’80s. It was a tiny market with something that made quite an impression on me: a walk-in refrigerated butcher section that took up at least half the store.
Possibly, that was the beginning of my great love of steak—and just about every other meat that walks around on four feet.
Now, McKinnon’s is just this kind of old-fashioned butcher shop.
Beef Back Ribs
The white-jacketed butchers are frequently out on the floor. They’re mainly older men and they’re nice as pie to you if you have any questions—provided, of course, that you’re polite (this is Boston, after all).
Bone-In Pork Shoulder
They’ll help you choose a cut, then give you advice for how to cook it. The cash registers are run by at least one sweet old lady and a rotating flock of very agreeable high-school girls.
It even has that unmistakable butcher-shop smell. While I know that this puts some folks off, in my mind, it’s the mark of a true butcher shop that turns over a lot of meat.
McKinnon’s in Davis Square: Meat & produce selection
McKinnon’s has a surprisingly good selection of barbecue sauces, and a small section of Italian specialties.
Lamb Rib Chops
Their deli counter features almost everything you can think of—all at a cut below what you’ll pay at any of the bigger chains in the area. You’ll find everything from imported prosciutto and mortadella and salamis to provolone and domestic cheeses. There’s a fair selection of rolls and breads from local bakeries. They also have a little produce section, stuffed with all the basic fruits and veggies.
Beef Eye of the Round
But that’s not why you go there. You go for the meat.
Lamb Loin Chops
If there ever was such a thing, McKinnon’s is a carnivore’s playground.
Multiple cuts of lamb, from lollipop chops to whole legs, both Australian and domestic. Pre-marinated pork loin roasts. Ribs galore, including beef spare ribs, short ribs, and whole racks of pork baby back ribs. Familiar and hard-to-find cuts of beef. Don’t even get me going on the homemade sausage and hot dog selection.
Pork Butt, Bone In
Their boneless club sirloin steaks sell for $5.99-$6.99 per pound, which is dollars less than I’ve seen elsewhere.
Their boneless, skinless chicken breast is always about $1.99 per pound. Retail average at the big stores around Boston is $3.99 per pound, or more. Their chicken wings tend to be about 99 cents per pound.
Chicken Leg Quarters
Other butcher shops in the Boston area
We used to go to Hilltop Butcher Shop in Saugus, MA. Nestled behind the Hilltop Steakhouse on Route-1’s Las Vegas-esque strip, their entire market is refrigerated.
The walls of the meat section are lined with tall, stainless steel carts that are piled high with beautiful roasts, chops, and steaks. Their selection is great, but it’s a haul from where we live, which makes it impractical for day-to-day shopping.
McKinnon’s is nearby and always fresh. I know where our steaks are coming from tonight.
Beef Filet Mignon