Holidays and food go hand in hand. And this time of year, that means an abundance of turkey, ham, prime rib, and, yes, bacon!
For those who like to know where their meat comes from, buying local and fresh is a priority. While we’ve always had butcher shops in Indianapolis, these small independent businesses are beginning to make a comeback in recent years thanks to a customer base seeking Indiana grown meat as an alternative to chainstore supermarkets where it’s often impossible to trace the source.
Chris Eley of Goose the Market and Smoking Goose is largely responsible for this resurgence. Since returning to Indianapolis in 2007, after a stint working in Chicago, Eley realized he’d prefer chopping and curing meat to cooking the whole meal and soon dedicated himself to opening one of the best charcuteries in the country. Among other accolades, Food & Wine named Eley one of the country’s 20 best “food artisans” for the work he’s doing.
While Smoking Goose is only open to the public once a month, you can easily find their products at Eley’s Goose the Market every day of the week, as well as several other meat shops around the city. Chances are if you’re dining at a locally-owned fine dining establishment in Indy and enjoying a good piece of meat, you’re having Smoking Goose.
George Turkette of the newly opened Turchetti’s Salumeria has also received some pretty impressive attention for what he’s doing with meat. Just this month, Forbes named Turkette as one of the 30 under 30 Rising Food Stars for his old-world Italian techniques and the high quality meat he’s procuring from heritage-breed local livestock.
For the past few years, Turkette has been selling his meats at local farmers markets and wholesale to local restaurants but opened to the public in August with a charcuterie and cafe in Fountain Square.
The large space is part charcuterie and part sandwich shop (that also happens to have a bar). Open to the public Thursday-Sunday, you can stop in for fresh bacons, sausages and smoked items, like chorizo, mortadella, pickled beef franks, or salami. You can also pick up great sandwiches or dine-in. On the weekends, there’s a new brunch menu Saturday and Sunday starting in December.
Watching Turkette butcher of a gigantic piece of meat is impressive and intentional. Rather than keep the butchering process behind closed doors, Turkette has set up a special section of the shop with windows so passersby along Prospect Street can watch him at work as easily as his customers inside the shop.
It’s a welcome transparency, even if you don’t eat meat. Knowing where food comes from and how it’s prepared was once an everyday occurance. A return to old-world techniques and traditions also seems to mean a return to old-fashioned farming and local vendors--a welcome trend for anyone who wants to eat healthy.
Check out any one of these 10 great local options for fresh meat as you think about the holiday meals you’re preparing this month and celebrating Indy Bacon Week (Dec. 10-16).
- 863 Conner St., Noblesville
- Located in Noblesville’s historic square, All Local lives up to its name and mission by providing year-round meat, dairy, and produce from Indiana--including Smoking Goose, Dewig Meats, and Turchetti’s. Working exclusively with Indiana products, All Local also has a great deli counter where you can pick up fresh sandwiches and salads and a selection of local dairy and cheese products. Closed Sundays.
- 5210 W. Pike Plaza
- This Mexican market on the west side offers up anything and everything from pre-marinated al pastor to full legs of lamb. For more than a decade, owners David and Flor Campos have provided a one-stop shop for Mexican groceries. In addition to the impressive meat section, there are a multitude of spices, dry goods and fresh produce for whatever you need for that recipe. The on-site restaurant is a wonderful opportunity to sample before you try your own hand at cooking.
- 1845 Shelby St.
- Originally started as Klemm’s in 1913 at the Indianapolis City Market, Claus’ has been a staple in Indianapolis for over a century. Specializing in German sausages and encased meats, Claus’ offers classic such as frankfurters, knackwurst, and brats. Their bacon is smoked for three hours and is sliced to order for sizzling perfection. The bacon skins, another must try item, are the perfect touch for enhancing the flavor in baked beans or collard greens. Closed on Sunday and Monday.
- 2503 N. Delaware St.
- Offering a variety of cut to order meats from a slew of local farmers and producers gives customers a variety of choices including slow cured meats from Smoking Goose as well as plenty of local Indiana bacon. The classic applewood bacon is a clear fan favorite, but check out the jowl bacon with a 60% fat to lean ratio for a more robust flavor that leans towards the sweeter side. For cooking, Goose’s lamb belly bacon, from Viking Farms in Morristown, is the perfect flavor to add to bitter greens such as kale or Brussels sprouts.
- 111 W. Main St., Carmel
- Joe Lazzarra’s passion for great food began in Ft. Wayne in the 70’s working for his families Sicilian produce market. In 2005, he opened Joe’s Butcher Shop in Carmel and since then has been a great source for the highest quality meat, fish, and poultry. Always free from hormones and ethically sourced, Joe’s offers top quality products with a keen insight into what makes the perfect cut for any meal or occasion. We stopped in recently and took advantage of a weekly special on Joe’s Local Bacon, direct from Ossian, Indiana, at $499lb.
- 5605 N. Illinois St.
- Providing fresh meats for Indianapolis since the 1920s, Kincaid’s has been owned by the Dugdale family since 2015. While some worried the change in ownership might affect the quality of product, that hasn’t been the case. Selling a variety of local meats ranging from lamb and veal to beef and pork, general manager Shawn Kelley has been producing quality cuts of meat for more than 30 years ensuring Kincaid’s commitment to excellence. The Duckdale Farms platter bacon is a top seller at $5.99lb. They also have a delectable duck bacon from Maple Leaf Farms in Leesburg, Indiana for $10.99lb.
- 1221 S. High School Road
- The Meat Shop of Indianapolis offers a huge selection of local meats at wholesale prices. With a great selection of beef, pork, and poultry, you’re sure to find your favorites. But they’ve also got lamb and goat, as well as a good selection of game including venison, elk, buffalo, alligator, and frog legs. There’s a lot of meat sourced locally here, including a good selection of chicken from Indiana’s Amish country, as well as plenty of Indiana pork. The seafood selection is quite impressive as well including fresh salmon, shrimp, tilapia, catfish, bluegill, oysters, crab and lobster.
- 407 Dorman St.
- If you want to be sure your meat is locally sourced and absolutely fresh, you should head straight to Smoking Goose. Owner Chris Eley guarantees that their meats come from small family-owned farms where there are no gestation pens, no antibiotics, not growth promotants and 100 percent vegetarian fed. Each package also comes with a source code letting you know where the meat came from. While you can place an order online for delivery, or pick up their products at many of the markets listed here, once a month the Dorman Street meat locker location opens for direct buying.
- 1106 Prospect St.
- George Turkette has opened Indy’s first whole animal dedicated, USDA compliant, salumeria and butcher shop and, in the process, been named among 30 Under 30 Rising Food Stars by Forbes Magazine. Using old-world Italian techniques and heritage-breed livestock from local farms, Turchetti’s Salumeria offers a list of high end charcuterie options. Stop in Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to enjoy something from their full service bar, counter service deli, butcher case, grab n’ go deli case. Saturday and Sunday brunch is now an option that you’re really going to want to try.
- 120 S. Audubon Road
- Located in Irvington, Tyner Pond Market knows a thing or two about the perks of buying local. Specializing in meats farmed a mere hop, skip and jump away at their own Tyner Pond Farm in Greenfield, this market is all about reducing the carbon footprint left by importing meats and offering up a top grade product which is locally sourced to its customers. In addition to the benefits buying local has to the environment, Tyner Pond also ensures free range, cruelty free farming practices. Closed Sundays.