For many people, heading to the local megachain supermarket to get a few steaks or some ground meat for the evening's meal just won't cut it. Instead, those folks prefer to seek out meaty treasures from a standalone meat market, a type of business that is not as common as they once were, but that often offer cuts of meat and in house specialties that are not likely to end up on the shelves of most regular grocery stores.
Fortunately for residents of H-Town, the Houston area has quite a few good options for those individuals who want different types of choices when it comes to the meat they buy. Many of the existing meat markets have a definite old school charm as a result of being in business for many decades, and a trip to some of these places can feel like a trip in a time machine. Regardless of whether they trigger a nostalgic journey down memory lane or not, all of these meat markets offer their customers choices they won't easily find elsewhere.
Guy's has been in the grocery and meat business since 1938, but the current location has been going strong since it opened in the late '50s. Guy's isn't huge, and most of its employees seem to have been working there for decades, giving the place a homey feel. They still use ancient wooden butcher blocks, and offer everything from family meat packs to stuffed pork chops.
Guy's also has its own smokehouse and sells some delicious BBQ, including a smoked burger that's gotten the store national acclaim on more than one occasion.
4. Hebert's Specialty Meats - Various locations This small chain of Cajun meat specialty stores is not exactly a meat market in the classic sense. There's no counter with meat cutters working behind it at the Galleria-area location I visit most often, but man is Hebert's (pronounced "A Bares") a treat for any fan of Cajun meats. They sell delicious étouffée and gumbos, crawfish pies, stuffed ducks, and the list just goes on and on. Besides that Galleria area store, Hebert's also has two other locations - one in West Houston on Dairy Ashford, and the other in the Woodlands-Shenandoah area. It's well worth the trip to one of them if you're a fan of southern Louisianan meat specialties. They also will ship orders anywhere in the United States.
With more than 50 Houston locations, it's pretty likely that anyone living here has driven by a La Michoacana, or lives near one. They are a chain of meat markets specializing in Hispanic specialty items, and they fill that niche very well.
I used to live a few blocks from one for many years, and loved to stop in early to buy breakfast tacos and carne guisada. If you're looking for chicharron (similar to pork rinds but better) or need marinated fajita meat, La Michoacana's Carnicerias will fit the bill.
2. Bud's House of Meat - 6730 Cullen Bud's has been open since the '70s and offers all sorts of items, ranging from a large selection of smoked sausages to stuffed chickens, stuffed pork chops, and meat family packs. The market also sells BBQ and offers deer and hog processing, a service that is getting more difficult to find in Houston.
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Most good meat markets have a certain atmosphere about them. It's a mixture of age, since most have been around a while, and of the confident attitude that a place earns from doing what it does so well. Bud's House of Meat has that feel about it.
B&W is housed in a huge wooden building with a large cow statue looming on its sign above North Shepherd. It's been around since the late '50s, and is a real treat for any carnivores looking for their fill of sausages, steaks, or any other meaty goodies that they might be craving. The last time I visited B&W they had hard to find specialties like turtle meat and frog legs, items not usually available unless you catch the critters yourself. When I bought a leg of lamb at B&W a while back, the meat cutter preparing it for me was friendly and took the time to explain what he was doing. It's hard to go wrong with service like that.
Residents of Houston and its surrounding areas are fortunate to have quite a few really good markets left that specialize in preparing meat in ways that are getting rare to find at the average supermarket. Those large chains may be fine for grabbing a quick pound or two of hamburger, but it's unlikely that they will have sausages smoked in-house, or offer Cajun stuffed turkey made from a family recipe. For those kinds of culinary treats, a person should head on over to one of the city's meat markets.