Yep, and a candlestick maker. The three main characters in an old nursery rhyme. Butchers, however, seem to be a dying breed, especially at the major grocery store chains. Kroger’s, for example, no longer has butchers. They have “Putter Outers” – folks that “put out” the prepackaged meats on the counters. It is much more efficient to have meats trimmed and butchered at a central location, then shipped to the individual stores. More efficient, maybe, but there is now a lack of variety of different meat cuts. Pork, for example. Only the most popular cuts are on display – loins, shoulders, chops, ribs, and the like. You cannot buy a fresh picnic ham at Kroger’s, and that’s one of the best cuts of all.
Reid’s still has a butcher and offers a nice variety of custom cuts. Amazingly, Wal-Mart, though they are “butcherless”, offers lots of options as well. Wal-Mart buys most of their meats from Smithfield, and Smithfield has a wide variety, including fresh picnic hams. A picnic ham is from the front legs of the hog, and almost always uncured.
I searched for one this week and tracked it down at Wal-Mart. A fresh picnic makes, I believe, the best pulled pork BBQ of all the cuts. It’s a little more difficult to trim because of the thick bones, but everyone knows that meat near the bone is always the most tender.
Fresh picnics (whole or half) are easy to cook. Put one in the oven at 300 and cook it for about 8 hours and it’s ready when you are.
Just because there are no more butchers, does not mean we have to go without fresh picnic hams. Just look around a little. There are still a few picnic hams and butchers out there. Candlestick makers, I’m not so sure about.