I hesitate to write this post. Because doing so means the place may get more business. And then I’ll have to share. And I don’t like sharing good bacon. I want it all to myself. But when the bacon email goes out, I get there early and I buy in quantity (probably more next time).
Bucky’s Butchery is a butcher shop on the University of Wisconsin Madison’s campus. Everything associated with the shop is associated with education and students. Just they get to sell the end product. And it is a tasty tasty end product.
Students help raise the animals about 25 miles away from campus. They learn how to grade the animals both before and after butchering. They learn how to do the cuts associated with meat for public sale. They also make special kinds of meats including bacon, different kinds of sausages, braunschweiger, etc. Students also run the shop that sells all this meat. And my experience with these students thus far is that they know what they are talking about; they know all about the cuts they sell and how the cuts are different.
The bacon. I’m not even sure I should tell you about the bacon. The demand for their bacon is so high they can’t keep up. You can sign up to get an email weekly from the Butchery telling you what products they’ll have in the store, and each week they’ll also include whether they have bacon or not. When they do finally get in more bacon, it sells out in a week or two. Keep in mind, the place is only open for five hours on Fridays. Each package of bacon is at least a pound and sells for less than $4. If it were sold in a store, I would imagine it would be labeled as thick cut, but it isn’t as thick as ‘No Name Bacon’. The bacon cooks up fabulously. Maintains a nice crispy yet chewy consistency. And to me, is perfectly flavored. Not too salty, but definitely not bland. I honestly can say its one of the best bacons I’ve ever had.
The only down side to the Butchery is that they don’t sell chicken. So while we do get a fair amount of our meat shopping done there, we can’t do it all. Lamb starts around $4 a pound. Beef around $2.50. I believe the pork starts around $3. Of course prices go up for nicer cuts of meat. We’ve had a few things from them and haven’t been disappointed with any of it. We had lamb shoulder roast for dinner last night (recipe coming) and it was devine. We’ve got a brisket in the fridge from them for tomorrow and some pork sausage for later in the week. We’ve bought ground beef, stew beef, and a few beef roasts from them. We’re just learning about the cuts of lamb, but what we’ve gotten from them thus far has been tasty. We haven’t gotten too much pork from them either, but will likely order a holiday ham from them, as it’s priced reasonably.
The last reason I’ll give you for why I’m in love with this place is my draw of local meat. Yes, we’ve got a number of places in this region of the country that will gladly sell directly to consumers. But they aren’t the cheapest. Some of them I wouldn’t even consider reasonable, especially on a graduate student stipend. Shopping at the butchery allows me to cut down on my carbon footprint for eating meat. The animals are raised 25 miles away. I think the only way I could get more local than that would be to raise them myself (which I’m pretty sure my landlord would NOT okay considering we can’t even have a dog).
Overall, if you’re in the Madison area, it’s a great stop to add to your campus tour. And if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen or grill, pick up something for dinner. You won’t be disappointed. If you already live here, and especially if you work in the middle-ish section of the campus, you definitely want to visit the Butchery. Just don’t buy my bacon.