Seattle's Local Meat Guide

If you appreciate a good steak, a thick chop, a juicy roasted chicken, this edition is what’s for di

We love meat. There, we said it. Vegetables, granola and tofu have their places in our diets, but deep in the primal depths of our beings, we just crave gamey lamb chops. Pork belly calls to us in our dreams. And because many of us, for ethical and health reasons, find ourselves buying less—but better (humanely raised, organic, pasture-fed and locally raised)—meat, we hunted down the choicest cuts in town for you to cook at home.

During our research, we explored the city’s many new meat shops while rediscovering the butcher shops we’ve loved for years. We predict that, like the many local chefs whose names we know by heart, butchers will be the new culinary rock stars, inevitably the next names to be dropped by foodies.

Last, but certainly not least, we ate our way through the tastiest pork chops, duck breasts, rib-eyes and even chicken feet in town. We devoured pâté and beef tongue, and gained untold pounds tasting sausages, all so that we could present this list of carnivorous delights. So, please, dig right in. Us? We'll be recovering with a couple of really big salads.

The taste of locally raised pork—whether tender and lean or striated with rich layers of flavorful fat—is about as far as you can get from the slabs of meat stacked in the supermarket’s discount cooler. While it’s not always economically feasible to buy only the top-grade local stuff when you’re feeding a family, consider these terrific shoulders, bellies and chops for your next special-occasion feast.

Whether you fancy your smoky strips thin and
crispy, or thickly cut with a satisfying salty crunch, bacon’s inherent deliciousness is cause for obsession. Here are our picks for the area’s superlative sizzling strips.

We’ve embraced pork, lamb—even goat—but beef is our first true love. It’s what we crave the most. We wanted to find locally raised beef that we could feel good about eating, and, boy, did we ever.

The Steakhouses
There is nothing quite like dinner at a steakhouse. The sense of occasion, the mouthwatering promise of really good meat, tip-top service and splurging on that excellent bottle of red—it all adds up to a special night out. Lucky us, we went to them all so you can better decide which fits your style.

With crisp, golden skin, succulent breasts and intensely flavored, juicy legs, it’s no wonder that chicken is America’s most popular meat. Here’s the scoop on where to find the best-tasting birds in the city.

Duck, Turkey and Goose

It’s holiday time, and a whole roasted bird is the centerpiece of the celebration. Here’s where to buy locally raised ducks and geese, and heritage breed turkeys, too.

For those who prefer a slightly gamey piece of meat, there’s nothing better than locally raised lamb. And did you know the most commonly eaten meat in the world happens to be goat? Try it; we bet you’ll like it.


Sometimes subtly spiced, sometimes bold and assertive, plump, juicy sausages are always a welcome addition to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here’s our roundup of the best encased meats Seattle has to offer.

The six best 100 percent locally house-cured charcuterie plates

Butcher Shops and Meat Markets
New boutique meat markets have opened in recent months, proving that many of us like to shop for our meat the way we shop for our clothes: in style. But behind the picturesque displays is substance, with an emphasis on local, sustainably raised meats.

The Art of Butchering
Perhaps inspired by Julie and Julia author Julie Powell’s second book, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession, or by an increased interest in knowing just exactly where their food is coming from, more and more people are doing it themselves when it comes to butchering meat. Several Seattle classes offering lessons in meat preparation have emerged, and some of them will even please the squeamish.

The Meatless Meats

A brief history of seitan—vegan grain “meat”—and how Seattle-based Field Roast, one of the top producers, arrived in local kitchens and restaurants
Once abhorred and discarded, offal—“secondary cuts” such as internal organs—has made a resurgence in
this town. With more chefs tackling the flavorful, nutrient-rich cuts, we believe these delicious picks can sway even the most conservative palates.

A Burger for every budget

There are way more meat markets out there than we could shrink-wrap into this 3-oucne package, so the story continues here.

Where to Find Game Meats
Once a staple enjoyed only by those wielding a bow and arrow, game meats such as venison, pheasant and elk are now mostly raised on farms. We tried these lean meats at various places around town. Here are the ones that made the cut.

The Seattle Meat Directory

Featured restaurants, farms, and butchers & meat markets address and contact information

Published November 2010