Mel Murphy, Full Metal Pork BBQ Team and NBBQA content contributor
2. Trial and Error
I have good luck with chicken, ribs and butts from Sam's, Costco or Walmart. Brisket is tougher, so I get "practice briskets" for the family. If they turn out great, the butcher gets my return visit.
3. Have a conversation
Go to the store when it's not too busy to have a conversation with the butcher. Tell him or her what you are looking for and ask good questions:
Do they age the meat before it goes on the shelf? Where are they getting their meat? Do they have access to high-end products such as Waygu, or Duroc? Do they understand the competition world (when they get meat in, how do they know the difference between a good competition protein and what would be a mistake to use for a competition)? Is their meat quality worth the price?
4. They should win your confidence
It really is all about meat quality and how it eats. Like any other business, consistent performance is the key.
5. Ask your fellow NBBQA members
"I had a fantastic butcher in Amarillo (Edes Meats)," explains Mel. "I left Amarillo in 2007 and am still looking. If anyone has a great butcher in the Fort Worth area, I would love to hear about it."