The Forks blog

Butcher on Butler now open

Written by Melissa McCart on

butcheronbutler2Michael Rado opened Butcher on Butler at 5143 Butler St. in Lawrenceville last week. The space had been home to Foster's Meats until Bruce Foster passed away in 2012.

The chef-turned-butcher moved back to Pittsburgh four years ago after a stretch working for Joel Robuchon at The Mansion and Daniel Boulud Brasserie (now closed) in Las Vegas as well as at Daniel in New York City. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Mr. Rado said a big reason he wanted the space is its two-story smokehouse. "You can outfit a place with a new smokehouse, but there's nothing like a 60-year patina of pig fat and apple smoke to season meat," he said. "It's really cool."

The shop will soon feature up to 40 kinds of sausages. Right now, he sells beef sticks, three kinds of Italian varieties and breakfast links. Over the next couple weeks, he'll make andouille, French garlic sausage, brats and boudin.

He also makes the original Foster's kielbasa. "It's already good and the neighborhood likes it," he said. "I don't need to improve on it."

Mr. Rado will offer a different sandwich every day for $7 to $8, such as roasted chicken or a burger made from beef he grinds in house, served with chips and a drink.

He's also in the process of making his own deli meats. "I'm brining then smoking turkeys right now," he said. He'll also offer corned beef for St. Patrick's Day, hams and pastrami.

Today, he is breaking down an animal from Jubilee Farms in Butler County into various cuts of beef. He said he's working toward selling all-local meat. The challenge is to find a pig farmer who would be able to raise enough animals to deal with his volume of sales.

Being a neighborhood butcher means locals can establish a relationship with him to learn when certain cuts are available or how to prepare them. Another benefit is that he can take care of cravings for your pooch, too. In addition to dog bones the shop sells smoked pig ears for a buck apiece.

Melissa McCart photo

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