Chilebrown at home

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Welcome to another addition of the ‘Bacon Revue’. Today’s act is from Berkeley, California; ‘The Local Butcher Shop’. This natty butcher shop has a concept and theme that is a good fit for its location in the ‘Gourmet Ghetto’. We recently purchased some delicious organic grass fed hamburger meat from this shop. Bacon seemed to be the perfect accompaniment to our purchase. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Let the curtain rise.

This was some good looking bacon. It was darkly colored. It had some streaks of white film on its exterior surface. This is from salt that has risen and deposited on the surface. We wanted to know every detail about our purchase. What breed of pig? Cure? Smoke? And of course what is the price. This is when we ran into a brick
wall. The old saying goes; ‘It would be easier to pull teeth’. The clerk was pleasant and nice enough but something was not right. He stumbled on the breed question. “It may be a Duroc/ Berkshire cross” Well is it? He asked a fellow butcher about the smoke. This was my answer. It may be cherry or hickory or apple, it is what ever we have on hand, maybe. The cure is sugar, salt and spice. I left it at that because anymore detail would have been a shock. The last question is price. I did get an answer and it was a premium answer. The perceived notion of paying a premium price will guarantee a superior product is in practice. In spite of lack of information the bacon was purchased. It really does look beautiful.

Once home the black iron was put to use. The meat to fat ratio leans to a meaty cut. The meat had a darker color possibly because of its possible heritage breed. It fried up beautifully. This crisp rasher of beauty had an almost beefy like flavor. All the components of salt, sugar, and smoke were in perfect balance. This was some bacon to seek your teeth into. We enjoyed it with a avocado sandwich. Yummy!

We really liked our bacon. It would have been nice to have known the pedigree of our purchase. The Local Butcher Shop is selling not just meat but a concept. They struck out in the customer service department. This bacon will receive a rating of 3 stars out of 5. I subtracted one point because of pretension, lack of knowledge and good old plain frustration. It was a mighty tasty sandwich.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Where: 1600 Shattuck Av. Berkeley, Ca.
Price: 14.00/pound


Three Dogs BBQ said...

Chilebrown, are you sure it was not just protecting trade secrets and not pretension? Just saying...

Anyway, that is a bacon sandwich with avocado, not an avocado sandwich... ;)

Chilebrown said...

Three Dogs BBQ, I guess you really had to have been there. I am not sure of the reason for the double speak and or brush off. Most butchers are proud and want to share ingredients.Of course if there are trade secrets they will talk in general terms. This just was not the case this time.

cookiecrumb said...

That's buttheaded. Remember "attitude" from back in the 80s? Where the employees who were there to serve us preferred to make us feel bad? Thought that was over.

Greg said...

Bacon with a side of attitude. I thought that was a Marin thing. Your photos made me hungry!

Monica said...

Poor service is never acceptable. As the owner of The Local Butcher Shop I would like to apologize that your experience in the shop was less than wonderful. I am glad however, that you enjoyed the bacon. I would like to give an explanation as to why you weren't given solid answers to your questions. We buy our pigs from a few different farmers, all located within 150 miles of Berkeley. Each farm raises a different breed or cross. We get 6-8 pigs in each week and we make bacon out of bellies as needed. Between the butchering, curing and smoking, it becomes really hard to say which slab of bacon came from which pig, thus the breed is very hard to decipher per slab of bacon. Secondly, we buy our smoking chips in bulk as an assortment of woods. One week we will be working through the cherry wood bag and the next, hickory. You can see why it is hard to say which wood was used on each individual slab of bacon. Never the less, this all could have been explained to you at the counter. I hope you will come back and visit The Local Butcher Shop again. Hopefully the bacon was good enough to give us another try.

Monica said...

One more thing, our bacon is $14.00/lb, not $14.99.

Chilebrown said...

cookiecrumb and Greg, I guess you have read the reply from Monica. The bacon was very good. I will return to The Local Butcher Shop.

Monica, Thankyou for the explanation. The bacon was delicious. I also really enjoyed the hamburger meat. I have changed the price to the correct amount and thanks again.

cookiecrumb said...

Monica: Your explanation works for me. Too bad you get a buttheaded customer every now and then who wants to know what the temperature and humidity of the abattoir were on that day.
JUST KIDDING, Chilebrown.
I'd like to be a customer too, if I wasn't so far away in Marin.

Chilebrown said...

cookiecrumb, They have cars now you know. Are we going to see you bright and early Sunday for asparagus?