A Guide to the Best Boston Area Butcher Shops

By Eric Twardzik
12/10/2020
Savenor's

We usually write about the restaurants that cook your meat, but these butcher shops will make you want to indulge your carnivorous instincts at home. The greater Boston area hosts a treasure trove of meat purveyors, many of which are family-run and have been in business for generations. Whether you’re in the market for a sustainably sourced cut to slow-cook or just want to snag some house-made Italian sausage, the butchers below will meet (meat?) your needs.

A local institution on par with Fenway Park and Faneuil Hall, Savenor’s Market has been family-run for 75 years and famously served as Julia Child’s butcher. (Today, they service local restaurants, including Craigie on Main and Oleana.) Savenor’s operates two locations: a Cambridge outpost where whole-animal butchery takes place, and a Beacon Hill butcher shop that doubles as a market selling produce, pantry staples, and a wide selection of cheeses. Both locations are also known for their game birds and exotic meats, including wild boar, elk, alligator sirloin, and even rattlesnake. Delivery is available via Mercato: Order here for the Cambridge location and here for the Beacon Hill location.

Alpine Butcher

Credit: Thomas Doyle

Lowell’s Alpine Butcher is a fourth-generation family-owned business that takes pride in both a long history (they’ve been slicing since 1913) and an incredible selection. The latter is broad enough to include exotic game meats like buffalo and alligator, but don’t overlook the more predictable meats. All of the beef is USDA Prime and the pork is humanely raised and hormone-free. Alpine Butcher also offers a custom burger mix that begins with a base of USDA Prime beef and can include garlic, onions, cheese, bacon, and whatever other mix-ins customers desire. Somewhat surprisingly for such a legacy business, Alpine Butcher operates a robust Instagram feed; follow them for the beauty shots of beef tallow-dipped prime filets or Australian Wagyu you never knew you needed. Home delivery is also offered; orders can be placed here.

M.F. Dulock

Credit: Scott Murry

Somerville butcher M.F. Dulock takes local sourcing seriously: Every animal it butchers is raised within a 250-mile radius. The in-house selection of beef and lamb cuts is generous. The spot also operates a “Meat Club” share that provides five pounds of meat per month and is collected in-shop. The share includes three to five different selections, typically broken down into one roasting or braising cut, steaks or chops, ground meat or sausage, and a wildcard option such as pork jowl. In addition to giving customers a deal, the share program helps ensure that every part of the animal is used.

Mayflower Poultry

The old-school Cambridge shop’s “Live Poultry Fresh Killed” sign is locally iconic enough to be reproduced on tees and hats, but the true draw of Mayflower Poultry remains its birds. All are free of antibiotics and hormones, and free-range and organic chickens are available as well. Mayflower is also the place to pick up staple beef and pork products like sirloin steak tips or boneless pork loin, and frozen game birds including pheasant, goose, Cornish game hen, and quail.

McKinnon's Meat Market

Photo Provided

Half-century-old McKinnon’s Meat Market, which styles itself “The Tenderloin of Davis Square,” is the place to find values in Somerville. It’s where you can snag anything from two-packs of filet mignon to Chinese pork spareribs, often at prices that are too good to pass up. As of December 2020, McKinnon’s offers curbside pick-up and delivery through Mercato. Order here for delivery.

Quality Meat Market

Tucked away behind an unassuming storefront in Roslindale, Quality Meat Market is the very definition of a hidden gem. It’s earned a loyal local following thanks to the high quality of its halal meats, a knowledgeable owner, and friendly customer service. Expect excellent poultry, a generous selection of cut-to-order meats, and shelves of basic groceries that allow for one-stop shopping.

Walden Local Meat Co.

Credit: Joe St. Pierre

Walden Local Meat Co. partners with farmers in New England and New York to provide 100-percent grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken, pork, and lamb. You can experience it in two ways. The first is through a “Share,” a monthly subscription of selected cuts of meat plus specials like grass-fed butter and bone broth. The second is via their butcher shop in the South End. Entire sides of beef, chicken, and more are broken down daily at the brick-and-mortar, which sells scores of cuts and also accepts orders for custom cuts online. Marinades, house sausage blends, and regional craft beers are also sold in the shop.

DePasquale's Sausage Company

Nestled away in the Italian-American neighborhood of Nonantum, DePasquale’s Sausage Company is a Newton institution. The 101-year-old spot is understandably famous for its namesake product, which comes in varieties including Sweet or Hot Italian, Garlic and Cheese, and the Massachusetts-specific Chinese Style Links. Breakfast sausages are on deck, as are other Italian specialties including meatballs, Italian canned goods, sauces, and dried pasta.

Butcher Boy Market

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Butcher Boy Market in North Andover boasts a 60-foot-long meat counter and doesn’t waste an inch of it. The incredible selection includes high-end cuts like filet mignon and Delmonico steak, plus a wide range of marinated meats and beef tips in flavors like sweet bourbon, steak house, and burgundy. All of their marinated meats are vacuum-sealed, so you can easily toss them into the freezer for later use. If you’re looking for a wine pairing, Butcher Boy has you covered with more than 1,000 bottles to choose from.

Sulmona Meat Market

Stepping into Sulmona Meat Market is like being transported to the old, real North End that residents say vanished years ago. The zero-frills, no-nonsense, cash-only establishment offers a small selection of meats on a chalkboard—veal chops, lamb tips, ribeye steaks, and other classics—plus rabbit, veal osso buco, and house-cured pancetta. Their house-made Italian sausage, available sweet or hot, is deliciously seasoned with a grainy, fresh-from-the-grinder texture.

The Modern Butcher Shop

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This North Shore newcomer opened in 2019, bringing locally sourced steaks, chops, and more to downtown Newburyport, including innovative sausages in a rotating range of fun flavors—think: Korean Spicy Pork, Nashville Hot Chicken, and even Birria Beef. Along with fresh proteins, there are ready-to-eat items from the kitchen, like house-made fettuccine Bolognese, and an ever-changing sandwich of the day announced on social media and available until sellout. True to their name, The Modern Butcher also curates Instagram-worthy grazing boards featuring charcuterie, cheese, fruit, and more.

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