Think about that one "thing" that you know a lot about. This may be your education major, career, hobby, or just something you've been exposed to since childhood. This one "thing" can be archery, small engines, wood working, Star Wars, etc. but what makes it your "thing" is the uncommon level of understanding on the topic.
If wood working is "your thing", people come to you with questions on wood types, tools, and remodeling. Nine times out of ten, you know the answer before they can finish the sentence about what type of artificial wood flooring they want to install in their kitchen.
You smile, maybe let out a chuckle but you'll reach out to help them. "No, no...no. Let me show you how to use a Brad Nailer". Often times, you'll offer re-encouragement and guidance which (hopefully) gets you off the hook for next Saturdays big job.
That one "thing", you just get it. It's all you know.
Now - Meet your local butcher (Figuratively now, Literally later). Preparing meat for you and your family's consumption is their "thing". It's not easy, but it's what they know.
Your local butcher doesn't get quite the foot traffic the local grocery chain does. They don't make quite the profit your local grocery chain does. Their options may not be quite the same as your local "big box". Their pricing may be slightly higher than your local grocery chain too.
Measure twice, cut once.
Back to the woodworking analogy. Your local butcher is like the Bob Villa of meats. Measure twice, cut once applies perfectly. The guesswork is done. What you will find in your local butcher case is nothing but the best that shop has to offer. Sure, some of the cuts may seem a little obscure but with a simple search on your phone, you can open your eyes to a world of flavor and nutrition. Personally, I've found that when I buy a higher quality product from a local source, I tend to eat less of it. My cost is higher so I will not waste an ounce. I don't take the meal preparation lightly either.
Woodworking analogy - This isn't patching a hole in your your college dorm wall, it's finishing the master bath in your custom-built cabin on 40 acres.
The meat is the keystone of the modern dinner plate. The keystone holds the meal together as secure as mortar. Think about the times you've had amazing dinners... No one says, "I made some brussels sprouts and potatoes, and O, yeah ... a side of 24-day Dry Aged Local Black Angus".
Learn and Pass it on
Earlier, I asked you to think of your "thing". There is an expert in your area with a focus on that "thing". Your local archery shop carries every piece of the puzzle you need from learning archery basics to employing archery pro's to teach you the minutia of grouping target shots.
If you're an artist or musician... there is a difference between buying your guitar from the big box and the small shop in the village owned by the former guitar player from that band that is rumored to be making "one more go-round"....
Your local butcher shop is more than a food source, it's a source of education that will lead to years of health.
At first, visiting a local butcher shop can be intimidating to some. But, just like the local archery shop I reference above - they've seen more first-timers than a hotel in Panama City Beach during Spring Break.
Walk into your local shop knowing what you'd like to accomplish and let the staff guide your purchases. This is their "thing".
Once you make the change, you'll find comfort in knowing that with the additional cost you may find per ounce, you will be compensated with a wave of lifelong passion for the art.
What the hell is an Ham Hock?
The local butcher will focus on "whole animal" butchery. This is best for assuring minimal to zero waste and allows for incredible flavor and nutrition options.
A distinct benefit of visiting your local butcher shop will be the range and variety. Typically, you'll find a lot of options from cows and pigs, but it's not uncommon to find fish, birds, bison, elk, and other meat sources you've never seen on a store shelf, let alone tried to prepare for your next meal.
Rest assured, if your local butcher has it in their case, they will either know how to prepare it or give you a point-of-contact to blow your mind with a new entree plan.
100% Grade A Give-A-F*CK
Every customer that walks through that butcher shop door means something. Every dollar said customer spends goes to your local economy via staffing, local farmers and ranchers, local distribution systems, and finally........ way at the back of the line, owners compensation.
What you will find in your local butcher shop is a traceable origin source and story for their product. Without it, the butcher has nothing. Most commonly, the butcher is not the rancher or farmer. The butcher must spend time building trusting relationships with local ranchers, farmers, and other purchasing sources. Trust this - the butchers' livelihood is weighted on it and they will often use this exceptional transparency as a marketing and sales tactic - a true win/win for the business owner and consumer.
If it's not clearly listed, I encourage you to strike-up the conversation with the staff. For this, is their competitive advantage.
With a push toward ethical treatment and proper nutrition for the animal, these local relationships have never been more strong. The total sum of food quality, professional service, and product consistency is their North Star.
Where they at, yo?
The easiest way to find a local butcher is to simple type "TOWN butcher" or "butcher near me" into a search engine. But, let's use that as a last resort.
If you still have a member older generation around you at work or at home, ask them. At the very least, you'll get a story about what "used to be". This can be a great resource for recipes that have been taken out of the rotation as well. Ask for ideas, ask for recipes, listen for the passion that building your dinner from what we've been given breeds. This is our strongest resource.
Now, more than ever, we must group together and support these local businesses. Nutrition is a premium, health and fitness is premier. Seek the professional - the one that has made this their lifelong "thing".
Our life could depend on it...