Down to the Bone

Meat the six butchers who make our critic’s cut

Summer means outdoor grilling and, if you’re gonna do it right, a trip to a quality butcher shop. We’re fortunate to have many local options. The supermarket chain Cardenas has various cuts popular at the Mexican table, such as carne asada; the Chinese-owned 168 Market cuts beef and pork to order for stir-fries; and Whole Foods Market offers organic chicken and boutique meats, at premium prices. High-quality and specialty meats are also available at competitive prices through local specialty retailers. Here is a short list of where to buy that favorite cut:

Village Meat and Wine. Milwaukee native Tim Jensen took over this venerable shop 14 years ago from a couple who’d opened it in the 1970s. He makes 40 varieties of sausage to order (six-pound minimum) and sells at least 16 mustards, one being Bertman’s Ball Park Mustard of Cleveland. His delicious hot dogs are $5 a pound—make that $7 if you opt for Oregon Kobe beef. But his choice for the grill is an excellently beefy prime flatiron aged 28 days, for $11. “Don’t marinate it,” he says. “A dry rub better brings out the flavors.” In Village East Plaza, Tropicana and Eastern Avenues, 736-7575. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue-Sat.

Glazier’s. This swank new westside market (there are plans to open a branch in Henderson by early fall) has lots of great deals. Black Canyon Angus New York strip was a good deal at $10 a pound when I last stopped by, and its sausages, ground fresh daily, include bratwurst, kielbasa and sweet Italian, sold in coils, patties and links at $4 a pound. This shop will even sell you a deep-fried, fully cooked 12-14-pound turkey for $46. 8525 W. Warm Springs Road, 614-1111. Open 6 a.m.-midnight daily.

John Mull’s Meats. I’ve stated on these pages how Chuck Frommer, the owner and pit man in this converted North Las Vegas house, makes the best ribs in town for his catering operation. (The secret is slow cooking and red oak.) But this is mainly a butcher shop where great deals stand out. Prime rib-eye is $10 a pound, smoking anyone else in town; house-made beef hot links are $14 for a 5-pound bag, yielding about 20 sausages; and marinated chicken breasts, ideal for the grill, are $2.30 a pound. Be sure to try his killer red barbecue sauce ($6.50), which he sells in bottles, and the wonderful, all-natural beef jerky $6 for a 4-ounce bag). 3730 Thom Blvd., 645-1200. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon-Sat.

Branded Meats & Deli. Homegrown Gary Gonzales started his career at Safeway, and later opened The Mirage, Bellagio and Wynn resorts as a butcher. His Green Valley shop has been open four years, a welcome addition to a neighborhood, where the only real competition is Whole Foods. Gonzales carries a line of 1855 Meats, as well as Boar’s Head cold meats, which he slices to order. He also has fresh buffalo rib-eye for $19 per pound, and slices USDA prime meats to order off huge slabs. Gonzales recently added healthy grass-fed steaks from Estancia Ranch in Uruguay (the New York and rib-eye are $17 a pound; the other cuts are $6). I’m also a sucker for his fresh chipotle-jalapeño sausage, $4.70 a pound, which has a subtle flavor and a finish as long as vintage wine. 1550 Horizon Ridge Parkway, Henderson, 492-9998. Open 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Tue-Sat, noon-5 p.m. Sun.

The Butcher Block. Ron Lutz (see Page 94) opened five years ago after a long stint as head butcher at the TI, where he did the beef program at the excellent TI Steak House. This is a great place for a game enthusiast, as antelope, elk and wild boar are available, albeit in frozen glory. Lutz carries Wagyu beef from Darling Down in Australia’s Queensland, and rib-eyes vary from $39 up per pound, strips from $59. He’s also the only butcher in town who’ll cut a round into 16 pieces, the way it is done in Austria for that traditional boiled beef dinner. He’s proud of his sausages: “I use actual lamb casings,” he says, “which allow the links to brown and crisp beautifully on the grill.” 7625 S. Rainbow Blvd., 558-6328. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon-Sat, noon-5 p.m. Sun.

Greenland Market. This Korean supermarket may be more notable for its all-Korean food court, but the meat department is filled with incredible bargains. If you know how to use them, pork neck bones can make a delicious soup or stew, and at 99 cents a pound, how can you resist? Koreans love to throw meats on the grill, and this market has several ready-to-cook marinated meats at bargain prices. A hot marinated chicken off the bone is $3 a pound, and bulgogi beef with a sesame oil and garlic marinade is $3.39 a pound. Incredible! 6850 Spring Mountain Road, 375-5100. Open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.