The big holiday is fast approaching. Time to start planning the menu for the 4th of July picnic or barbecue. To help with that task, we've polled some of L.A.'s best butchers to find out what they're laying in for the holiday. Dry-aged steaks, house-made sausages, slabs of ribs, marinated meats, even pies. They've got you covered. Just remember that it pays to plan ahead and if you have some special cut you want to make sure of getting, pick up that phone a couple of days ahead.
Alexander's Prime Meats & Poultry
Owner Mike Milazo says that in anticipation of the 4th they’ve been bringing in magnificent cuts of prime beef — rib-eyes, New York steaks, Porterhouse, tenderloins — and hanging them for five weeks in their aging room. They’ve also got prime tri-tip (the same cut they grill up for their weekend barbecues, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays). No choice beef at all, just prime. For pork fanciers, there’s Kurabuto Berkshire pork. Hot dogs? They’ve got Big City Red dogs out of Chicago. You’ll find Zacky’s free-range chickens ready to grill and fish that has never been frozen. Call ahead if there’s a special cut you’re interested in.
Alexander's Prime Meats & Poultry, Howie's Market, 6580 N. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel, (626) 286-6767, alexandersprimemeats.com. Open on the 4th until 3 p.m.
Belcampo Meat Co.
The new whole-animal butcher in Grand Central Market with its own sprawling ranch at the foot of Mt. Shasta will have slabs of pork spareribs and baby back ribs. Also burger patties (the same mix as the Belcampo burger, which is 100% grass-fed beef with 20% fat) and another burger mix with 20% of their house-cured bacon. What else? House-made all-beef hot dogs in packages of six. No need to order ahead. "We'll be pretty well loaded up," says manager and head butcher Jered Standing.
Belcampo Meat Co., Stall F-9, Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 625-0304, www.belcampomeatco.com. Open on the 4th until 2 p.m.
Harvey's Guss Meat Co.
Harvey's Guss isn't anything like a regular butcher shop. The business is mostly wholesale to the restaurant trade. But some years ago Harvey Gussman began selling to the public. There's no butcher case to peruse. No catalog or price list. You just call up a day or two ahead and tell him what you want to order — oh, and you have to be able to pick up Tuesday to Friday before noon. For the 4th, he'll have cases and cases of baby back ribs, but also boneless duck breasts, Kobe beef patties and chicken parts for grilling. "And steaks, of course," says Gussman. "I've got prime rib roasts and short loins. And the big seller right now, dry-aged Tomahawk steaks, about 20 ounces. That's prime rib with a long bone." Order a day or two ahead and leave a message if Gussman doesn't answer.
Harvey's Guss Meat Co., 949 S. Ogden Drive, Los Angeles (Mid-Wilshire), (323) 937-4622, www.harveysgussmeat.com. Open only 5 a.m. to noon Tuesday to Friday.
Co-owner Jim Cascone says Huntington Meats in the Original Farmers Market will have USDA prime bone-in rib-eye at a great price. And, of course, they'll be making up lots of Mozza queen Nancy Silverton's special burger blend (freshly ground prime chuck with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio). That's always a big seller for the Fourth of July. The beef is ground several times a day, so it's always fresh. They'll also have turkey burgers, either garlic or without, plus a third option called savory, which is ground turkey seasoned with salt, pepper and basil.
Huntington Meats, Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 938-5383, www.huntingtonmeats.com. Open on the 4th until 6 p.m.
Lindy & Grundy
For the 4th, the high-end Fairfax district butcher will have four types of burger patties: ground beef with smoked jalapeño and cheddar cheese, beef and bacon grind stuffed with blue cheese, pork with Swiss cheese and mustard, and lamb stuffed with house-made tapenade and feta cheese. Those who want to take it easy can pick up barbecued pulled pork and potato salad. Pre-marinated meats for the grill include chicken thighs or drumsticks in an herb rub with olive oil or in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and chile oil. Thin-cut pork chops get a spicy Mexican-style pork rub. And any of their summer grill packages can be ordered with two days' notice.
Lindy & Grundy, 801 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 951-0804, www.lindyandgrundy.com. Closed June 30, open on the 4th until 2 p.m.
Marconda's Meats and Puritan Poultry
Marconda's, family owned since 1941, lays in extra-meaty Piedmontese beef ribs and, of course, extra baby back ribs and also spare ribs, which they don't normally carry. And then they always make plenty of their gourmet burger blend, which has four different cuts of beef. They'll also have several kinds of hot dogs, including one from New Jersey that has a real snap when you bite into it. Owner Lou DeRosa says to call ahead if you want ribs pre-seasoned with their special barbecue rub; otherwise they'll put it on right there. For the 4th, they sell more steaks than anything else — Piedmontese, grass-fed, Wagyu and more. His favorite? The Wagyu sirloin cap, "like tri tip but a gazillion times more tender and tasty." One more special: carne asada made from scratch from the rib-eye chuck, sliced a half-inch thick and marinated.
Marconda's Meats and Puritan Poultry, Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 938-5131; http://www.marcondas.com/. Open on the 4th until 6 p.m.
McCall's Meat & Fish Co.
Nathan McCall plans to have plenty of burgers and sausages for a crowd. The house burger blend combines rib-eye and New York with chuck. Sausages include fennel and thyme, spicy Italian and short rib studded with porcini and Gruyere, plus their special barbecue sausage — "basically the flavors of pulled pork in a sausage." Not to forget chicken tomato basil sausage and lamb merguez. Also for the grill, he'll have spare ribs, baby back ribs and meaty beef back ribs. Ordering a few days ahead is recommended. And as the only butcher in town with a resident pastry chef, McCall's will also have luscious peach and apple pies to go.
McCall's Meat & Fish Co., 2117 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles (Los Feliz), (323) 667-0674, www.mccallsmeatandfish.com. Closed July 4.
Wheat & Sons Butcher/Rotisserie
The butchers inside the spanking-new Anaheim Packing House, Ashly Amador and Nate Overstreet, both chefs, plan to make half a dozen different sausage for the 4th. That would include their juicy bratwurst, chicken chorizo and breakfast crepinettes. Ready for the grill: pre-made grass-fed burger patties (plus buns and condiments) and a large selection of grass-fed cuts of beef, pork and lamb. Another option is halved chickens marinated in either an adobo sauce or classic herb and lemon. And also lots of tri tips, ribs, hanger steaks, bavettes, skirts, culottes and rib-eyes. And to make it easier on holiday cooks, you'll be able to pick up sauces and butters for the steaks, such as bone marrow butter, chermoula, salsa verde or chimichurri.