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Butcher’s Buying Guide

We’ve put together this Butcher’s Buying Guide to help reassure that there really isn’t anything easier than buying from a reputable butcher. So, if you’re baffled by weights, measures, quantity or cuts, you’re not alone and this guide can help.

The number of local independent butchers has been decreasing rapidly, with many people choosing to buy from the supermarket instead.

However, shopping at your local butcher can save money and present you with variety that isn’t always available at supermarkets. Your local butcher is here to help, and with our butcher’s buying guide you can make the most of them.


Butcher’s Buying Guide


– If you don’t understand weights and measures – don’t stress. Butchers are the experts and they are here to help – just tell them how many people you will be feeding and they will guide you on quantity. Portion size as recommended by the NHS is 75g per person or roughly the size of a deck of cards.

– Consider buying a roasting joint instead of individual steaks from the butcher. You can slice a loin roast into steaks, and a pork loin into boneless pork chops. You’ll save money and a roast stays fresh for a few days longer than when it’s sliced up. Have the butcher slice it if you’re eating it the same day or, do it yourself – all you need is a sharp knife.

– There are some key words to look for when choosing your cut. Expect anything labelled “marinating”, “stewing” or “sirloin” to need a long, slow cooking time. On the other hand, luxury cuts is anything with labels “grilling”, “tenderloin,” “rib eye” or “T-bone”. Cook these fast and high.

– Try buying and cooking cuts with the bone left in. Bones are excellent meat conductors so they help radiate the heat through the meat, resulting in quicker cooking times. In terms of taste, some say meat on the bone has a better, more intense flavour than filleted meat. Meat on the bone should also be cheaper than filleted meat as it requires less preparation by the butcher and will cost less per kg. Bones are also brilliant to boil up afterwards to make stock. Your butcher will be able to advise if you tell them what the meat is for and how you would like to serve it. They will happily fillet and tie the meat up for you, while you wait, if that is what you prefer.

– Remember: fat equals flavour. We are all programmed to look for lean cuts with no fat, but a little bit of fat goes a long way when it comes to taste. With luxury in particular, choose a piece that has nice flecks of white fat throughout; this is called marbling. A well-marbled piece of meat will baste itself during the cooking process and will stay moist, juicy and tender. Ultra-lean cuts of meat can dry out if you don’t baste, think of a well-marbled piece as self-basting.

– Cheaper cuts like neck, shoulder or chump are readily available at the butcher and can save you a fortune on your budget, as well as being more flavoursome. The only thing you really need to remember is cook them slowly. Slow cookers are brilliant for this AND save time and money with lower electric use than an oven. Butchers can often tell you how to cook them and could even probably share some recipe cards with you too. We supply all our stockists with recipe leaflets for our Packington Pork and Poultry products.

– Think of different meats as ‘working cuts’ and ‘luxury cuts’. Working cuts need ‘low and slow’ cooking methods to ensure super tasty dishes, but are very economical. They usually come from the front of the animal – the neck, shoulder and flank. Luxury cuts come from the back of the cow and pig, for example, rump, rib and loin and generally can be flash-fried quickly. Since they make up a much smaller proportion of the animal, they cost a bit more.


We hope you’ve found this guide useful- never be afraid to ask questions. Your butcher is there to help and will happily share recipe suggestions, cooking tips and advice on what is seasonal and good value.

A good butcher will enjoy helping you find the best meat for your needs – family, purse and taste.

We are lucky to have many fantastic butchers stocking Packington products, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to know your nearest stockist.

Butcher's Buying Guide