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6 Extremely Useful Questions To Ask At The Meat Counter

Things to Ask Your Butcher

It’s always a surprise to learn something new about a place you go all the time. For example, a few months ago I learned that my local library offers 7 useful services that I knew nothing about, even though I frequently go there when I need a quite place to work!

Today we’ll be exploring some useful services offered at another place we all go frequently: the grocery store! Because as surprising as it might sound, the information and services offered by the meat department are simply too good to pass up!

To show you exactly what I mean, I’ll be sharing 6 questions you can ask your butcher the next time you’re at the store. By the end of this post, you’ll understand exactly how the fine folks who work in the meat department can help make your mealtimes quicker, easier, and more delicious too!

Related: This One Simple Trick Will Save You A Fortune On Groceries

6 Useful Questions To Ask Your Butcher

Things to Ask Your Butcher

1. Which Cut Do You Recommend?

If you’re shopping for meat to use in a specific recipe, try asking your butcher what cut they would recommend using. They can tell you which cuts will work best for both your cooking method and your budget!

Related: 7 Devastating Mistakes You Must Avoid For Better Bacon

Things to Ask Your Butcher

2. How Should I Prepare This Cut?

On other occasions, you may be shopping for a specific cut without a recipe in mind. (For instance, you might want to make filet mignon to celebrate your anniversary!)

Take a few minutes to ask your butcher for tips on cooking the specific cut you’ve chosen. They can tell you what temperature to cook it to, how long to let it rest, and even the best way to cut or slice it!

Things to Ask Your Butcher

3. Where Do You Source Your Meat?

Don’t be afraid to ask where your butcher where they source their meat. Sourcing is especially important when it comes to organic, humanely-raised, and grass-fed meats, and your butcher should be well-versed on where their meat is coming from!

Things to Ask Your Butcher

4. Which Lesser Known Cuts Do You Like?

One of the best ways to take advantage of your butcher’s vast store of knowledge about meat is to ask about less popular or lesser known cuts. They’re sure to have a favorite cut that you might not know about, or a new way to prepare an old favorite!

Things to Ask Your Butcher

5. Do You Make Your Own Sausages, Burgers, Etc.?

Find out which items in the meat department they make in-house, such as freshly made sausages, burger patties, seasoned or marinated cuts, and more. These are sure to taste fresher and more homemade than their pre-packaged counterparts!

Things to Ask Your Butcher

6. Would You Prepare This For Me?

Butchering meat on your own can be tricky and time-consuming, so why not ask an actual butcher to do it for you? They can grind and blend meats, trim or shape chops and roasts, break down or spatchcock whole chickens, and more!

Your butcher repeats these kinds of prep tasks dozens of times every day. They’ll be more than happy to save you some time and effort by doing the prep work for you. (Especially since it’s likely to be something they can do quickly and easily!)

Have you ever gotten a great tip from someone at the grocery store?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • i have never asked the butcher to prep any meats for moi. who knew? i have asked them to break a pkg to make the serving small, never thought to ask for custom butchering. thanx.

  • Jillee, I live alone, so I often ask the butcher to break up packages with multiple pieces of meat for me. I live in an apartment with a very small freezer, so being able to get a single steak (for example) is quite helpful for me.

  • On a couple of occasions, I have called the fish/seafood department of my local supermarket to purchase a bunch of lobsters and they will boil them for you just before you pick them up so they’re still piping hot and there’s no fuss or mess for you at home!

  • My best grocery store tip: I was looking at salmon, and a woman behind me said that she was a chef, and she recommended buying according to the date packaged, not “best before”. Buy fish packaged on the day you are making it when possible, she said. Ask at your meat/fish counter if you don’t see any packaged that day.

  • I’ve had the butcher grind up a round roast for me if the price per pound was cheaper than the ground beef. But I actually haven’t bought grocery store beef or pork in a long time as it’s hard to find grass-fed meats at a decent price in our part of the country (I buy from a local farm that raises its own animals). However I appreciate #3 as the more we ask these kinds of questions, the more the big grocery chains will carry them and the more mainstream grass-fed meats will become – and prices will drop! I imagine the same is true for organic produce and other sustainable (but more expensive) commodities.

  • Sure, buy that whole salmon or trout (or other fish, too) and the butcher will weigh it and fillet it (you will still pay for the entire fish, but you won’t have to take the bones home with you, unless you want to make a soup stock). And you can take advantage of her sharp knife, too, and buy that whole pork loin and have it cut into the thickness of chops that you want.

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