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Reliable, high quality, no-nonsense butchers

Ya Recyclor, I thought the exact same thing at first.. but I left very satisfied. And since that time I've also been to their sausage making class - which for $50 you do take home sausages and is probably the most worthwhile "cooking" type class around. I've taken some classes at other places where there was no shortage of individual equipment and you take home stuff - like at Dish or Calphalon - but you're looking at $130 minimum cost. For the $80 butchering class, there was a very limited number of people (unlike the cooking classes at other places that ram in a lot more) and very intimate setting with their head butcher (Ryan I believe), another butcher, and Mario (the owner). Although you don't take home anything, the amount you learn about meat just by watching and askign questions justifies the 80 bucks easy. The class I went to was butchering lamb and elk, and during the class Mario was grilling up pieces of lamb and elk and cured stuff they made in house and I got to try different cuts that I normally wouldn't try, a couple of sausages and they had made this dry-cured lamb sausage which was out of this world. They don't even sell it in the store, it's just something the butchers are playing around with -- these guys really have a passion for what they're doing. When I took the sausage class, Mario and his wife Tara ran that class and I left with the same feeling - both of them really believed in what they were doing and what they were selling. Who woulda thunk it... Mario used to be a lawyer and Tara used to be a banker - I think what they're doing now really suits them. I'm probably the pickiest meat eater around and used to be (and still am) a Cumbrae's fan... and a lot of my friends like me have switched over. I still visit Cumbrae's, but Healthy Butcher is closer for me and i enjoy going there just as much. But to get off this rant and go back to your original question about the cost of classes, try going to one of their sausage making classes - my wife and I had a blast and for $100 together we took home probably $30 worth of sausages.

Reliable, high quality, no-nonsense butchers

The Healthy Butcher on Queen West. You always find every cut of meat there since they are one of the few shops in the city dealing only with whole animals, and not boxed meat. Unfortunately, they're pricier than the other names on this blog, but that's because they're selling all Certified Organic meat. Sometimes the meat is a little lean for my liking, but if you ask one of the butchers to cut you a well marbled cut, they will usually come back with a AAA or Prime. I've been to one of their butchering classes which was awesome - they butchered 2 Lambs and an Elk in front of a small group of people and explained everything along the way. They have classes on beef and pork as well. See:
It's worth going to one of these classes just to get an understanding of all the cuts and visually understand where they come from in the animal. I couldn't believe how impeccably clean they're work area was.

Organic Lamb Burgers (Brickworks Farmer's Market)

You can get all kinds of Certified Organic lamb burgers and sausages - including very original recipes from The Healthy Butcher on Queen West.

Where to buy the best steak?

The Healthy Butcher is my vote... all the butchers mentioned are good, but for the same price or less than some of the most expensive places, you get Certified Organic, dry aged, heritage breed beef... I also like the fact that they don't deal with "boxed meat" like pretty much everywhere else, they deal only with whole animals from local farms and can butcher any cut you want. If you have a group of people, try a Vacio cut which is fantastic and half the price of a NY or Rib steak.