Italian Market | 1019 S. 9th Street
Around since 1920, this third-generation butcher shop has long been one of the meat mainstays of the Italian Market. But in the past 25 years or so, the sausage end of the business has really taken off, now accounting for about 60 percent of sales. Pick any of the chicken sausages, but the spinach-and-provolone-spiked is best.
Everywhere | Various Locations
Fussy home cooks who don’t have a butcher nearby and don’t want to overpay at Whole Foods know that Lancaster Brand steaks, available exclusively at Acme, are some of the best available for the money.
Northeast Philly | 3370 Tilton Street
The pierogies and stuffed cabbage are great, but it’s the smoked Polish kielbasa that has us willing to drive all the way into Northeast Philly. Czerw’s has been around for 75 years and has a large and devoted following. Case in point: They open at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and are sold out of most meats by 11.
Reading Terminal Market | 1100 Filbert Street
For a region so rich in German heritage, we typically haven’t taken our Germanic meats too seriously. But that all changed when Jeremy Nolen, chef at Brauhaus Schmitz, opened his meat market at Reading Terminal last year. Whether you go for the bratwurst, speckwurst or bauernwurst (don’t worry; they’ll explain the differences), you simply can’t go wrong.
Lombardi’s Prime Meats
South Philly | 1801 Packer Avenue
Some people like to go to Esposito’s Meats on 9th Street for their prime cuts of beef, but we find the staff rude and the goods not worth the hype. This little butcher shop in deep South Philadelphia, on the other hand, has customer service to match its superior meats.
Drexel Hill | 1216 Township line Road
Di Bruno’s is great. But it’s also insanely expensive. For the same soppressata, salami, prosciutto and coppa carried by the iconic Philadelphia cheese shop, but at a lower price, seek out this Delaware County deli, which has a full array.
Online | Rastellidirect.com
Everybody seems to buy everything online these days, so why not steaks? If you’re looking for the richly marbled USDA prime cuts you find at some of the area’s finer steakhouses, you can get them delivered to your door, deep-frozen and vacuum-sealed, from this Swedesboro distributor, which started out as a little butcher shop back in the ’70s. Suspicious of frozen UPS’d steaks? So were we. Until we tried these.