Last week I did a post on the best traditional greengrocers in Dublin city, the response was huge and it was clear that Dubliners are a discerning bunch when it comes to sourcing top quality ingredients. I decided to do butchers this week, and my only problem was how to narrow it down to the top 5 as there are so many quality butchers in the city.
There really is no comparison to buying meat from a good, reliable butcher and buying meat from the supermarket. Good butchers can tell you exactly where your meat is from, how it was reared and how best to cook it. While I know supermarkets now have to show traceability, they don't have same knowledge or passion for meat as a good butcher. My local butcher gives great advice on how long to cook my meat for so it's perfectly tender, what meats to use if I'm on a budget and also makes delicious pre-seasoned packages of meat for when I don't have much time to cook myself.
While you can get free-range and organic meats in the supermarkets, the living conditions of the animals can still be pretty hairy at best. If you're not looking out for organic, free-range meats you could be picking up a chicken or other meat that has been imported from a battery farm in another country. Many of them are fed with low quality chemical ingredients to pump up the weight of the animal unnaturally fast so that you end up with a big but fatty animal with little taste. Many poor quality meats are pumped with water to fill them up, so when you see the super cheap deals for giant tasteless chicken breasts, have a think about why it is so cheap. While I'm certainly not a vegetarian, I still care about the conditions that the animals I consume were reared in, and the way it was fed and reared has a huge effect on taste. A reputable good-quality butcher will be able to tell which farms their meats are from and their expertise is incredibly helpful too.
We're lucky to have many incredible butchers in Dublin city, so please read on to see our top picks.
5. Brady's Butchers
Brady's Butcher has four locations: Belvedere, Fairview, Templeogue and Newcastle. If you live anywhere near any of these spots you should get acquainted with Brady's pretty quickly. Brady's is a family butcher and they're dedicated to sourcing their meats from the best farms. All their lamb, pork and beef comes from their own farm in Meath. They're also known and loved for their amazing homemade sausages.
4. Ennis Butchers, Rialto
I have been party to some the best Sunday roasts and BBQs in the city thanks to a friend who lived nearby Ennis Butchers in Rialto. Great quality everything really. I can vouch for their burgers as being incredible, juicy little rounds of meat heaven- perfect for this BBQ weather we're enjoying!
3. Fenelon's, Stillorgan
Fenelon's has gotten the thumbs up from many well-known Irish chefs for their incredible, high quality meat. Our own favourite chef, Rory, uses this butcher all the time for the incredible meaty dishes he puts together for our Lovin Dublin recipe section, such as his juicy pulled pork and Jack Daniels chicken. Reason alone to check this place out!
2. Lawlors Butcher, Rathmines
Lawlors Butcher on the Upper Rathmines Road is my local butcher, and I don't even know where to start in describing how great it is. This butchers sells a vast selection of meats, many which are prepared for you such as incredibly tender kebabs, seasoned full chickens, delicious homemade sausages (the spicy italian ones are my favourites... No dirty jokes please). They even make up meat dishes to popular recipes such as Nigella Lawson's meatballs, Jamie Oliver's chicken curry etc. So if you're in a rush, this is a great place to check out as they have tonnes of options where most of the work is already done for you. Theres also a great selection of condiments and sauces.
1. FX Buckley
FX Buckley is, in our opinion, the best butchers in the city and they have two locations on Talbot Street and Nutgrove Shopping Centre. FX Buckley is hitting the number one spot for their extensive selection of meats: they sell all kinds of offal; should you be from the south this might be happy (or unhappy) to see tripe and trotters for sale; they sell oxtail which is beautiful in stews but not easy to find; if you're a heath nut you might be relieved to find somewhere that sells turkey mince and turkey sausage. They do nice deals as well like their breakfast pack which includes their own fresh homemade sausages, puddings and bacon. This is an incredible spot that you need to check out asap.
These are our top picks but the city is brimming with excellent butchers. If you have a favourite butcher let us know in the comment box below so the rest of our readers can discover it too!