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YEG’S NEWEST BUTCHER SHOP PRIDES ITSELF ON USING THE WHOLE ANIMAL
  • WRITER
  • SPARK & PONY
  • PHOTOGRAPHER
  • JAKIE NG

The Butchery is a new meat shop in Edmonton offering a diverse selection of locally sourced meats and accompanying seasonal staples.

Tucked just outside 124 Street and 107 Avenue, the Butchery is the latest homegrown meat shop to open in Edmonton. A pronounced 4,000 square feet large and adorned with rustic furnishings, it sits beside the infamous RNG RD, a beloved eatery that’s been a staple in Edmonton’s culinary scene for the last six years.

Co-Owners Blair Lebsack and Caitlin Fulton founded RNG RD in 2013, offering cuisine inspired by the greatest parts of the Canadian landscape. Even in its infancy, the goal was always to have RNG RD be accompanied by an attached butcher shop. “The restaurant was kind of the backbone of everything,” explains Lebsack.

“We wanted to showcase how amazing local farms and their products were. So we decided to reach out to them and start purchasing directly.” 

Foodies across the city have come to love the cuisine that RNG RD offers, particularly their rustic cuts of meat. The Butchery seemed like a natural progression for the business, highlighting those same exceptional cuts in a butchery-style shop. It gives fans of the restaurant an opportunity to take some of their favourite products home to their own tables. 

THE BUTCHERY DECOR

The moment you walk through The Butchery glass doors, there is no doubt of its carnivorous authority. A large meat slicer sits at the front to greet shop purveyors while a deli-style counter runs across the outer ridge of the space. Handcrafted Bison tile lines the far wall, a homage to both the origins of the classic butcher shop and the famous Alberta staple. 

The main room is a blending of modern architectural elements like the 12-foot long, counter-height table that sits squarely in the middle to a foreboding French cabinet from 1890 sourced by Scott Landen Antiques that rests at the back.

Off to the side sits a dry products section that features everything from in-house made pickles, grains, legumes, spice rubs, and other seasonal items; or as Lebsack boasts “things that go really well with our products.” 

Vintage 1950s lights sourced from a New York warehouse illuminate the space, which successfully shakes off the typically cold ambiance you would expect from a butchery shop. Instead, the space offers a warm, more inviting tone.

The Butchery is a place you want to stop on the way home for a glass of wine or local brew, and of course, a few cuts of meat. And that social element you feel is reminiscent of its more renowned older sibling, RNG RD. 

While it might be warm and cozy upfront, make no mistake. This is indeed a butcher shop. In the back lies the lab, equipped with stainless steel machinery, slicers, grinders, hacksaws, and a sausage maker with quick-cutting blades that slice fast and furious.

The products are high-quality and so is the machinery, manned by a team of butchers hunched over giant slabs of meats and bones, working to exact the perfect cut. 

Also Read: The Man Behind the Knife

A WHOLE ANIMAL BUTCHER

The Butchery is not just your average meat supplier. Just take for instance their dry-aged cooler. Custom built and outfitted with slow velocity fans and humidity controls, it houses dozens of locally-sourced cuts of meats, some that have been aged as long as 100 days.

Cuts like a 100% grain-fed Red Tail Beef ethically raised in Caster, Alberta sit for months on end to achieve a flavour Lebsack calls incredible. Next to that sits a larger slab of meat from a neighbouring farm, all serving to showcase the Butchery motto that believes in making use of every element of the animal.

“We’re super proud to be a whole animal butcher,” says Lebsack. Our quality control is unbelievable; we get it in, we age it ourselves, we know exactly where it’s been, what that animal is eaten, and how we’re going to prepare it.” 

That type of philosophy lends itself to a bit of creativity, he explains.

“Trying to use a whole animal means we’re gonna have to make really interesting sausages, prepared foods, and other raw products that people will want to try.”

A COMMUNITY BUTCHER SHOP

Local is at the heart of each cut of meat, seen in choices like their Dexter beef, a smaller animal sourced just outside Fort Saskatchewan. They also carry Nature Green Acres tender sirloins that offer less fat than similar cuts. Lebsack says using the whole animal also allows them to have customers pick and choose which cuts they want, tailored to their specific tastes. 

Meat lovers will rejoice at the wide variety of offerings available on any given day. From a section devoted to butcher steaks for the classic buyer to hanger steaks, flat irons, and merlots for those open to the creative ingenuity of their team, the choices are endless.

It’s that commitment to using the whole animal that lets them offer options not seen everywhere else. Lebsack laughs when he refers to the high-quality sausage equipment they recently installed, designed for crafting beautiful mortadella smoked wieners.

“I tell my sous chef that I’ve promoted him to hot dog King.”

Jokes aside, there is something inherently community-driven about The Butchery. From the aesthetic contributions of local woodworkers and designers to the connections made with local farmers and artisans.

Lebsack and Fulton are also residents of the Westmount and after operating RNG RD for all these years, they’ve gotten to know their neighbours, and more importantly, their taste buds, intimately. 

“We really wanted this to be a place that people could come in and shop every day, they don’t have to stock their freezer full. We’re just giving people that ability to buy high-quality products any day that they want and we think it’s going to be a nice stopping ground.”

In terms of Covid regulations, Lebsack says The Butchery has considered all angles, designating different areas for guests to keep them safe. 

“If you’re getting sausages, you’ll be in one area. But if we’re butchering and cutting steaks, doing some roasts, and tying things up, then you will have your own space to wait in as well. We’ll be monitoring the capacity closely as well as designating people to man the doors. So that everyone feels safe.”

Lebsacks’  final suggestion for new visitors?

“Don’t be shy to try lots of things in small amounts to start with, because we’re going to have a lot of products. We think you’re gonna have a lot of favorites.”

Find The Butchery at 12237 107 Ave NW downtown Edmonton and follow them on Instagram here.

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