meat

Old-fashioned butcher shops drawing a crowd

HerCanberra Team

If you are looking for meat, Fyshwick Markets house five speciality butchers – all within rissole-throwing distance of eachother.

At a time when the humble suburban butcher shop is being crowded out by the meat sections of vast supermarket chains, there is something reassuring about choosing some bespoke sausages at the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets.

In fact, between the four butcher shops and one Halal meat shop located there, you could probably count close to 100 different permutations of the humble snag on offer.

That’s before you even consider a steak, which could range from a free-range local lamb to a crocodile – depending on where you choose to shop.

Long-time butcher and manager of Fyshwick Gourmet Organic, Pat Flynn, has seen business rise over recent years because he believes people still value the quality and service of specialist butchers.

While Pat is sad that more people are accessing supermarket meat rather than making a trip to a butcher, the rise of greater consumer consciousness regarding meat provenance and an increasing desire for organic and  free-range product has seen his shop often form queues out the door.

Their nitrate-free ham and bacon are huge sellers and an accidentally large order of ham hocks for a customer a few years back saw Pat stumble on a winning option – ready-to-eat roast pork hocks which sit in the front window enticing passing trade with their crunchy golden crackling.

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“We sell 600 of these every weekend,” he says proudly.

Down the corridor, Barry Hawke’s Butchery, has been operating for more than three decades and is now run by Barry’s son Ron.

This shop specialises in prepacked fresh meat and does a roaring trade in sausages with combinations such as smoky bacon maple, pork and honey and beef and beer flying out the door during barbeque season.

All meat is sourced locally and processed on site. Customers can choose what they want from vast walls of refrigerated fresh-packaged meat rather than stand before a counter and request specific amounts.

“It’s a bit of a different model but our customers love the convenience,” says Jessie Deegan, who has been working with the Hawkes for seven years and loves helping customers try new cuts and combinations.

barry hawkes butchers

At Mike’s Meats, there’s a huge range of beef, lamb, pork, veal, chicken and their own brand of smallgoods. Bulk orders are catered for and a wholesale business next-door in Fyshwick means purchasing might allows them to offer regular specials for the canny shopper.

Meanwhile, Halal Poultry owner Louisa Koo is happy she made the marketing decision to specialise in poultry and meat that is Halal – meaning all meat is slaughtered and prepared according to Islamic guidelines.

As well as a wide range of Halal meats on offer, including duck, quail, spatchcock and goat, Louisa also offers hot food ready prepared for customers to eat in or take away, all prepared to Halal standards.

halal butchers

And if you are after something really different, forget a lamb shoulder and go straight to Unique Meats for crocodile fillets, venison steaks or even possum.

Owner Matthew Hicks said the possum meat was something of an accident. He received some in a mistaken order and was going to send it back before he thought he would try it out. It sold.

Now it is a regular offering, although he admits only a few game chefs are keen to try it.

“We find that people see our menu and then have a think about it before the come back a few weeks later.”

He is happy to recommend crocodile meat (or sausages) which taste like a cross between chicken and fish. But if Matt has his choice, he will always prefer a perfectly cooked piece of veal with a simple mushroom sauce.

Slider Image: Tim Bean Photography

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