In today's article I'm going to discuss buying meat from butchers and some of the advantages of buying from butchers over non-butchers. These include:
- Better quality products with a higher meat content and less fat.
- Younger meat, e.g., beef thats sold in butchers is generally less than 2 years old. This means its more tender than older animals sold elsewhere
- Its locally farmed meat. Most bacon sold by other suppliers may not be Irish (which often is of a lesser quality)
- Better quality feeds for the animals; with animals being grass-fed more than grain-fed. According to research, grass-fed beef includes significantly more omega-3s or essential fats than grain-fed beef (California State University College of Agriculture).
- Less plastic packaging and less modified atmosphere packaging e.g., carbon monoxide added to keep it looking fresh and pink.
One butcher I can highly recommend if you’re based in Galway is McGraths Family Butchers, based in Mervue close to the city centre. These are a traditional butcher who are a third generation of the business. This is a hugely popular butchers and considered by many to be the best in Galway, with many people travelling long distances to them.
One great thing about this butcher is the variety of their products. If you’re looking for some alternatives to red meat or pork, they do a great range of handmade products including:
- dry-cured turkey rashers (with less liquid, salt and other additives than other rashers)
- turkey sausages or chicken sausages with leeks (lower fat than other sausages)
- turkey burgers (even ones with 25% sweet potato) that are liked by those that don’t even like sweet potato (see the burger picture below).
Like other butchers, their products are very good quality, for example, even their cheapest mince beef is at least 95% meat and their steak mince has only 2-3 % fat.
As well as the usual products found in a butcher, they provide a wide range of healthy ready to cook options including lamb koftas on skewers, pork and apple burgers, as well as gluten free options like steak burgers.
McGraths Butchers are located in 4 Plunkett Avenue in Mervue (close to Thermo King). Check them out on https://www.facebook.com/mcgrathfamilybutchers for their special offers (e.g., €5 Friday specials), or drop by Mon-Sat (9-6). Give them a call on (091) 757790 or order online and they will have it ready for you to collect.
Finally, one convenient way to use your local butcher is to visit them every few weeks to get quantities of products individually wrapped to pop in the freezer for recipes later. I find many meat products freeze well for cooking at a later date.