They say that dog is man's best friend, which, regarding love and companionship may be a statement of truth, but I must submit the possibility that the sentiment is wrong if viewed from the perspective of a best friend that is giving. I believe that man's best friend — much in the same way as The Giving Tree was to the boy — is the pig.
Today is National Pig Day, and it is the perfect time to celebrate the lovely creatures that give us the gift of such wonderful delights as pork belly, barbecue slathered ribs, and their heavenly jowl bacon. So, let us take a moment to be thankful for our oh-so-tasty pals by heading to some local butchers for the best bites they
have to offer.
Goose the Market
Possibly the most talked about, highly praised establishment in the city of Indianapolis, following the idea that “real meat has a tale,” the Eleys have created an Indiana staple with Goose the Market and its wholesaler counterpart, The Smoking Goose. Their popularity with the community stems from their incredible customer service and, at a close second, their extensive choice of charcuterie options, including the fan favorite Delaware Fireball. This signature salumi, made from coarse ground pork, is a little ball of fire packed with crushed chili, espelette pepper and garlic. Grab a bottle of beaujolais from the wine cellar and dig in.
2503 N. Delaware St., 317-924-4944, goosethemarket.com
Claus' German Sausage & Meat Market
At 103 years in business, Claus' is undoubtedly the longest running meat market in the city, and for that fact they have a staunch group of regulars that stand by this Indiana landmark. It is also the most wallet-friendly option in the city (bring cash, so you don't have to pay the 3 percent credit card charge), and with a huge variety of meats and the ability to easily customize your order, it is the perfect place to stock up. Might I suggest the double smoked bacon? Get a pound; in a mixing bowl make a mixture of cayenne pepper and brown sugar, dip the bacon in, put it on an oiled broiler rack at 350 until crispy (about 15-20 minutes). Trust me, just do it.
1845 S Shelby St, 317-632-1963, clausgermansausageandmeats.com
L. E. Kincaid & Sons
This is my meat shop. I mean, I don't own it, but when I need meat, I head to Kincaid's. I personally go here because I started due to proximity when I was in college at Butler, and I'm a sucker for tradition. Plus, Kincaid's has quality meats, and they've been running for just short of that century mark, so they know what they're doing. While I could steer you towards their hand stuffed sausages that are out of this world good, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't tell you to get the bacon burgers. I know, burgers are beef and this is about pork, but what makes these magical is the bacon (ya know, pork) is ground in with the beef. Yes, it's almost sinful, but hot damn are these burgers good.
5605 N. Illinois St., 317-255-5497, lekincaidmeats.com
Joe's Butcher Shop
Located in the trendy Carmel Arts & Design District, Joe's is a haven for the Ron Swanson in all of us that simply needs a good selection of meats in unassuming refrigerated glass cases. The coolest part about this place is an addition on their website that is beyond useful, especially for when we want something more than a simply grilled pork chop. Joe's has graciously provided free recipes to try out at home, including more than 20 pork options. My personal favorite is the beer marinated spareribs recipe, because mixing meat and beer is my favorite American pastime.
111 W. Main St., 317-846-8877, joesbutchershop.com
The Butcher's Block
The go to spot in Bloomington for meat, it has an old-fashioned feel and a staff that is more than happy to give you tips on how to prepare any type of meat. A huge draw here is their inclusion of exotic meats, such as kangaroo, ostrich, and crocodile, but they definitely have perfected the art of classic cuts, like pork chops. Get a pair and dip the chops in a mixture of cayenne pepper, flour, salt, and pepper, heat 1/2C of canola oil and 1T of butter in a skillet on medium, cook the chops for two minutes on each side (until golden brown); then serve with your beer of choice, I'll go for an Upland Champagne Velvet or four.
115 IN-46, 812-336-6328, bloomingtonmeat.com