Market Guide 2013: Meat

Local cuts, cured meats and fine seafood.

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Cason's Fine Meats 

8238 N Denver Ave., 285-4533. 

Theotis Cason opened his Kenton butcher shop in the summer of 2011 in a storefront just south of the towering Paul Bunyan statue. The building used to house another butcher shop until a few years ago, and now it does again. Long live meat. All of the beef in the case comes from Oregon Natural Meats, including 10 or so cuts of steak along with all the other usual suspects. The pork is from Carlton Farms. A Cason's specialty is the house-smoked meat selection, including turkey necks and wings, pork shank and barbecued ribs available by the rack, half-rack or four-rib cut. LC.

Shopping list: Ready-to-eat house-smoked ribs, oxtails, chitterlings, tubs of lard, smoked turkey necks.


3808 N Williams Ave. Suite E, 288-1901; 735 NW 21st Ave., 221-3012; Williams location closed Monday-Tuesday.

Chop's tag line is "know your butcher." All I know about Chop owners Paula Markus and Eric Finley is that they make some of the finest cured- and smoked-meat treats this side of…well, anywhere. Goldilocks would say their bacon was just right—not too salty, not too bland; it cooked up chewy and crisp. It's perfect enough to make vegetarians swear bacon grows on trees. Beyond bacon, the small shop inside City Market NW also offers locally sourced cuts of cow, pig, lamb and poultry, and an array of salamis, sausages and pâtés to satisfy any carnivore. MHW.

Shopping list: Sopressata salami, lard, veal stock, hunter pâté (with wild boar, porcini mushrooms, caramelized onions).

Gartner's Country Meats

7450 NE Killingsworth St., 252-7801, Closed Monday.

Anxiety (and euphoria) strikes as you survey the football-field-long meat counter and the buzzing hive of attendants and choppers behind it—do you order the porterhouse steak? Or the Polish sausages? Beef ribs? Portland's best butcher shop cures wishy-washiness. There are no bad choices here: top-notch ground beef, world-class chops, marinated chicken, two kinds of house-smoked, nitrate-free bacon, best pepperoni sticks (two for a buck) in the galaxy—mostly sourced from Northwest ranchers. Housed in the same outer Northeast Portland location for 50 years, and currently run in part by one of the original owner's granddaughters, the space is utilitarian and often very busy on the weekends. It's worth the wait—the old-school crew will cut roasts to order, patiently explain what head cheese is and slice the excellent house pastrami and other lunch meats to your liking. KC.

Shopping list: Pepperoni, pastrami, steaks, and smoked cow femurs for the dog.

Laurelhurst Market Butcher Shop

3315 E Burnside St., 206-3099,

One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons depicts a doctor giving a dire prognosis to a porcine patient. "It's your ribs," he says, a concerned look on his face. "I'm afraid they're delicious." And here in one of the east side's toniest neighborhoods, probably well-populated with New Yorker subscribers, is a welcome connection to the wide-open ranches from whence those unknowingly tasty beasts come. Charcuterie and sausages from bangers to blood accompany a range of high-quality cuts listed by producer—most of them local—expertly carved, cured and repurposed by a talented crew. Whatever isn't in the small case can typically be obtained quickly; just ask. Not in the market for raw meat? Pick up a sandwich to go. On a recent visit, the brisket with barbecue sauce was a messy revelation of spice, tanginess and fleshiness, gone before it was even unwrapped. CB.

Shopping list: Prosciutto, pancetta, pate; prime rib, porterhouse—take your pick.

Phil's Uptown Meat Market

17 NW 23rd Place, 224-9541. Closed Sunday-Monday.

Three decades in, Phil's still keeps it simple with quality meats cut in-house, a few shelves of sauces and rubs, an impressive wine cellar and a small deli. The main floor's top attraction is its meat counter, with tenderloin steaks, buffalo kebabs, baby back ribs, meatballs the size of an 8-year-old's fist and a handful of fresh seafood options. Head downstairs for the store's other main source of pride, its cellar filled with an extensive wine selection, including some rare bottles you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in town. Don't miss the stellar bento cart on your way out. NB.

Shopping list: Tangy pork kebabs, fresh potato pancakes, homemade applesauce.


EC Kitchen

6335 SE 82nd Ave., 788-6306, Closed Monday.

EC Kitchen is, to the best of our knowledge, the only outfit in Oregon producing Chinese and Taiwanese dried sausages. Imported brands of these sweet, salty and characteristically knobby pork logs are commonly available at East Asian markets and used in fried-rice entrees around town, but EC Kitchen's are better. The owners are so devoted to authenticity that, faced with the unavailability in the U.S. of a 100-proof grain spirit used to make the sausages, they applied for a distillery license to start making their own. The result is a chewy, fresh-tasting sausage like an explosion of sunshine on a gray winter evening. Along with sausages, EC also carries vacuum-packed barbecued pork, Chinese-style bacon and "preserved duck leg." BW.

Shopping list: Chinese-style pork sausages with pork liver and a tea egg for the road.


Beaverton Halal

11527 SW Canyon Road, 574-2383. 

Consider it the goat-butcher equivalent of an open kitchen. At Beaverton Halal, your goat is butchered while you watch. The front of the store is a half-sorted hodgepodge, with spices of various provenance arranged by dart throw down the left aisle and mega-sacks of rice stacked near the door, with sundries like honeycomb and sweet jallab syrup stored on miscellaneously stocked shelves in the store's midsection. But the action's in the back at the butchery, where owner Mahmoud Tajgerdu butchers goat and sheep at staggering affordability, in quantities like "quarter goat" and "half goat," fresh from a farm in Eugene and all in accordance with Islamic law (which, for secular purposes, mostly means that it's not pork, amphibious, carnivorous or gross.) JG.

Shopping list: The goat and mutton will be the main attractions, but heart and liver can also be found here.

Halal Meat & Mediterranean Foods

11535 SW Pacific Highway, 293-3020.

Iranian-born Mustafa Elogbi has been offering halal goods—meats butchered according to Muslim custom, much like keeping kosher—for more than two decades. Give a respectful nod to the very fresh-lookin' whole, skinned goat staring up at you from the butcher's case at this small market buried in a Highway 99W office park and load up on beef and lamb cuts, hearts, tongue and kidneys. Elogbi gets his animals from local farmers every Wednesday and Friday. The market also carries Persian and Mediterranean staples like kefir, olives, cheap spices, Kontos Greek pastries and long, flat, sourdough-ish sangak bread. KC.

Shopping list: Ground goat meat, halva with pistachios, chana flour, date syrup, flatbread.


Tails & Trotters (NEW!)

525 NE 24th Ave., 477-8682, Closed Sunday.

Used to be you had to track this place down at a farmers market or at KitchenCru. No more. But like an antimatter version of halal or kosher, Trotters has maintained its absolutely relentless focus on pork—specifically, pork from Washington pigs that have been truffling down reams of hazelnuts with the goal of one day becoming marbled prosciutto. But it doesn't stop there. Tails & Trotters' new space on the side channel of the Ocean food mall at Northeast 24th Avenue and Glisan Street boasts rillettes and pâté, brisket and smoked ham, coppas and trotters and lunchtime sandwiches packed with "porkstrami", a dangerously un-PC version of the old-school Jewish deli meat. Note, however: The cured meats are what hit the real sweet spot, and the aged pancetta is the centerpiece. MK.

Shopping list: Pancetta, bacon, porkstrami, ham.


Allick's Sausage Kitchen

18893 SE McLoughlin Blvd., 656-9766, Closed Sunday. Cash or check only.

At this old-school Gladstone sausage spot, it's all about the smokers: a pair of half-century-old, creosote-caked, fire-belching monsters that Dave Parker and Nick Allick feed logs into all day to smoke their garlicky sausages, German wieners, smoked salmon and chewy, sweet Hawaiian jerky. They've been at this for a while. Parker has been at Allick's for three decades; Allick even longer. He started in the family biz as a kid, stapling boxes together in the back room. Today, under the watchful gaze of the huge-framed black-and-white photo of Nick's dad, Ed, clad in his boxing gear circa 1950, the crew makes everything from monster-sized smoked ham hocks and Portuguese linguiça to bacon ("the kind that doesn't all shrivel up when you cook it," says Allick proudly), mostly from Carlton Farms meats. The blue, elk-shaped neon sign out front that pimps "game processing" is no joke either; the pair estimate they turn around 30,000 pounds of Oregon deer, elk, fish and other critters into custom sausage and jerky for local hunters and fishermen every season. KC.

Shopping list: Hawaiian jerky, spicy pepperoni sticks, all-beef garlic "smokies" sausage, smoked ham or turkey for the holidays.

Edelweiss Sausage & Delicatessen

3119 SE 12th Ave., 238-4411, Closed Sunday.

This German stop is a beautiful place to pick up a lovely variety of Haribo gummi snacks or Ritter Sport bars; for such a serious people, the Germans are terrifically adept at all matter of junk food. German processed-food companies like Maggi are really the gold standard worldwide. But there's a reason Edelweiss puts sausage in its name; it has a nice variety in the meat case that is probably unmatched in German meats, from Weisswurst (white sausage) for breakfast to liverwurst, braunschweiger, curry sausages and all manner of crazy sliced sausages (like the calicoed Tyrolean and its blend of everything imaginable). Edelweiss is pretty good about giving samples, too; forget reputation. These Germans are friendly as all get-out. MK.

Shopping list: German sausage, German sandwich meat, German cheese, German beer, German minced fish and roe in tubes.

Old Country Sausage Co.

10634 NE Sandy Blvd., 254-4106. Closed Sunday.

Don't let the Romanian accent of the lovely lady behind the counter fool you; this store and cafe, tucked away in an unassuming strip of Northeast Sandy Boulevard, across from a dim-sum shop, is a deeply Teutonic wonderland full of German meatloafs, German meats, German sausage and a nice little collection of imported  cheese. Parkrose (who knew?) is a secret enclave of German culture in Portland, and there's a German bakery next door if you need a pretzel with that sausage. Old Country's grocery section, away from the meat and cheese case, is a small collection of German essentials (pickled herring, anyone?) acting as a buffer between the little cafe that cooks up the shop's sausage and sauerkraut, both of which are made here. If you've got the time, they'll make you feel at home.

Shopping list: That Polish sausage rivals the German. And get some jerky.

Olympic Provisions

1632 NW Thurman St., 894-8136; 107 SE Washington St., 954-3663; 

The Northwest location of this deservedly popular sausage empire has the biggest to-go deli case, filled with all manner of fresh and cured sausages, ham, bacon, capicola, and little tins of Olympic's fabulous pâtés. However, it also happens to double as the work counter for the small attached restaurant; keep in mind that if you try to make a purchase during dinner hours, you may have to wait a while for the bartender to finish muddling an old-fashioned or the waitress to finish preparing a cheese plate. Rest assured it'll be worth it. KM.

Shopping list: Saucisson D'Alsace, chocolate salami, tin of pork pistachio pâté for your next party.

Original Bavarian Sausage

8705 SW Locust St., Tigard, 892-5152, Closed Sunday.

While I can't confirm the originality of this emporium of all things deutsch just off Highway 99W in Tigard, I can say that it is genuinely Bavarian, from the high peaked roof to the jars of Süßer Senf mustard to the piles and rings of wurst in the glass case that runs the length of the room. It's a cavalcade of all things pink and slicable, from smoked schinkenwurst to teewurst, weisswurst to rotwurst, along with loads of imported candies and housemade pickles. BW.

Shopping list: Bismarck herring, landkäse, green-tomato pickles, hausmacher leberwurst.

Otto's Sausage Kitchen

4138 SE Woodstock Blvd., 771-6714, 

The Eichentopf family has been running this German-style sausage shop for three generations (since 1929), and the sausage-link knowledge seems to have been passed unfettered to the sons and daughters; this is as close as America gets to its own version of old-world cooking. Those links are smoked on wood that comes from the family's property. You can always stop by and try one of the many sausages straight from the cooker outside, but you'll want to bring some home. Biographical detail: My father never has less than a few pounds of Otto's sausage in his freezer, for emergency rationing. The deli case also has plenty of cheeses and salads, and the little grocery will stock up your German needs. MK.

Shopping list: You never go wrong with an Otto's brat. Lately, we're partial to the mustardy mettwurst.

Overseas Taste

4431 SE 64th Ave., 771-7450.

Many are the joys of this Eastern European market specializing in smoked meats of all shapes and species, though mostly ground and stuffed into sausage casing. The Sloboda family's smokehouse churns out links, salami and bologna in Eastern European styles from Poland to Bulgaria. You're unlikely to escape without having a sample of the garlicky "homemade" sausage, which sits in a gleaming, tan coil on top of the counter, forced into your hands, but don't hesitate to go beyond the obvious. The Hungarian sausage is great, and the smoked fish is better. The walls are lined with oils, pickles and canned goods from the East. Don't skip the fresh cheese and Russian sour cream. BW.

Shopping list: Hungarian sausage, garlic sausage, smoked herring and Hunter's wieners.


ABC Seafood

6509 SE Powell Blvd., 771-5802. 

With large tanks harboring several kinds of crab, shellfish, lobster and tilapia, this cramped shop is as much public aquarium as fish shop. It's not uncommon to encounter shoppers who seem to be there solely to gawk. The small, friendly staff is accommodating of the curious, and extremely considerate. The typically very fresh fish are sold whole, or cleaned and decapitated just out of sight (though not out of earshot). And there's much more than seafood here; surprising for its tiny space, ABC offers pretty much all the basics for everyday Asian cooking, a welcome discovery for Foster-Powell residents who don't feel like making the trek out to Fubonn. CB.

Shopping list: Fresh crabs, catfish and clams; dried ginger slices; tofu.

Flying Fish Company

2310 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 260-6552,

A huge blackboard of specials welcomes seafood lovers to this charming wooden shack nestled next to Kruger's Farm Market. It's amazing what owner Lyf Gildersleeve manages to pack into the tiny, tidy spot: beautiful fresh fish, from Alaskan halibut cheeks to Oregon black cod depending on the week or season as well as Kumamoto oysters; frozen, sushi-grade tuna; grass-fed or -finished beef and lamb; and chest freezers full of sausages. Nothing is particularly cheap here, but it is very high quality. Once you've anted up for some troll-caught Oregon Chinook salmon, you might as well shell out the extra bucks for local organic goat cheese and organic green eggs. Flying Fish is open until 7 every night, so you can nab the catch of the day on your way home from work. KC.

Shopping list: Whatever fresh fish Gildersleeve recommends, house-smoked salmon, Lady-Lane farm milk, grass-fed venison or buffalo.

Mio Seafood Market (NEW!)

1703 NW 16th Ave., 972-1140,

Right around the side of Olympic Provisions' ode to dry-cured salamis, the eight-restaurant (soon to be nine) sushi chain has been kind enough to open the sale of its sushi-grade fish to the public at the retail level. The fish stays fresh because it's constantly pumped out to the various restaurants. The counter sells the various seaweed and noodles native to Japanese fare, and the warehouse also serves up excellent fish and chips for lunch, but the real boon is access to a small but lovely selection of sushi-grade fish. And hell, the shop's so affordable for its Pearl District-Nob Hill 'hood the whole shop almost seems like a public-relations stunt for the sushi chain. Well…it worked. MK.

Shopping list: What's there is what's there, though it's one of the rare inland spots where one might commonly find marlin or shark.

OM Seafood

3514 SE 76th Ave., 788-1984,

The first thing anyone notices about this decades-old retail and wholesale seafood mainstay is the smell: This is generally not a good sign at a seafood place, but it's as good as can be expected considering the obscene amount of fresh and frozen seafood available here and all at fairly decent prices. The standard tanks are full of depressed but delicious-looking crabs and lobsters, and fresh Maine lobster is only $11.50 a pound. Sorry, little friends, at that price you are dinner. The store also carries live steamer clams and oysters, which aren't always easy to come across in a market this far from the ocean. Besides seafood, OM stocks a small amount of sundries you might need to prepare or accompany your fishy cuisine. Mostly sauces and spices, but also a small selection of teas and juices and some left-fielders like Magical Tales Strawberry Egg Rolls. JL.

Shopping list:  Live Maine lobster, live crabs, fish, clams, oysters.

Newman's Fish Market

735 NW 21st Ave., 227-2700, 

Newman's sells wholesale to the local fine restaurants in town, and you can get the same sweet and briny goods—often air-cargoed in (in 100-pound boxes with gel ice and liners)—at the company's fish counter and live tanks in Nob Hill's City Market. You'll find a wide variety of seafood—salmon, halibut, grouper, rockfish, scallops—and the majority is wild and fresh or frozen at sea. Newman's live tanks are always changing, but a typical selection includes oysters, crab and lobster; the clams and mussels are kept in the back. If you're looking for whole fish as opposed to fillets and steaks, drop by on the weekend when there are usually a few types to choose from. LC.

Shopping list: Oregon albacore, chinook and coho, crawfish.

Pacific Seafood

3380 SE Powell Blvd., 233-4891, Closed Saturday-Sunday.

Pacific Seafood has grown a bit since its humble Portland beginnings seven decades ago. The company remains family-owned but now manages an extensive seafood processing and distribution empire stretching from Alaska to Texas. The Powell Street Fish Market is a glimpse back to the company's humbler roots. A knowledgeable staff ably assists customers not only in choosing the right fish, crustacean, bivalve or other desired denizen of the deep, but also explains how to prepare it. CB.

Shopping list: Always fresh and changing, but we recommend the cracked crab and wild-caught salmon when it's in.


Western Meat Market 

4707 N Lombard St., 283-5174, Closed Monday.

Western Meat Market isn't pretty. In fact, it's as old school as it gets: painted plywood sign out front, old black-and-white-checkered floor, and enough butchered meat (boneless pork ribs, rump roast, marinated pepper steak, etc.) to make you shudder at the thought of a power outage. If you hunt, the Western Meat butchers will cut and wrap your deer or elk for you. They'll also make it into sausage for $3 a pound. LC.

Shopping list: Meat packs ($49.95-$259.95), housemade spicy Oktoberfest sausages, pork shoulder or tri-tip for the 'cue, a russet potato for vegetarians or vegans.