Restaurant recommendations from MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers
It’s almost time for Minnesota Monthly’s GrillFest, but it’s always time for grilling at my house. There’s something about getting those bone-in pork chops and dry-aged rib eyes from a shop that’s been around longer than I’ve been around. Whether you’re on the way to the cabin, or close to home, don’t forget a trip to the butcher!
• Osseo Meats: This is my go-to butcher shop, sitting right off 169 on highway 81 for more than 100 years. Dick and Faye Welk have owned it for nearly 40 of those years. The service makes the place: always a butcher ready to help. I love their homemade sausages and my kids love their “beef stick heaven” with flavors from smoky cheddar to spicy habañero. (Osseo)
• Thielen Meats: Beef sticks, jerky, summer sausage, and more! The Thielens have been in the meat business since 1922 in Pierz. Since 1990, the third and fourth generations of Thielens have run the meat market in Little Falls, an easy stop in between St. Cloud and Brainerd. Bring me some smoked bacon! (Pierz and Little Falls)
Growing up on the Range, we made weekly trips to the local butcher shop. I love the smell of fresh butcher paper in the morning. A quality cut makes all the difference when upping your grill game.
• F & D Meats: Follow the sign with the neon pig to a carnivorous wonderland: smoked turkeys, Lake Superior whitefish, chickens, sausages, steaks, and an entire bacon mélange. Try to remember restraint and start with classic, gloriously fatty bacon and maybe a custom-cut, 3-inch-thick pork chop. (Virginia)
• Everett’s: Ever find yourself eyeing the wares of a meat counter while waiting…and waiting…and waiting for someone to help? This will never, ever happen at Everett’s. There’s a fleet of butchers who know everything you could ever need about meat. Enjoy the free deli-meat samples while pondering the hot Polish sausage and smoked pork chops. (Powderhorn, Minneapolis)