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Peoria Packing Butcher Shop - Photo Essay

Peoria Packing Butcher Shop - Photo Essay
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  • Peoria Packing Butcher Shop - Photo Essay

    Post #1 - February 12th, 2005, 9:53 pm
    Post #1 - February 12th, 2005, 9:53 pm Post #1 - February 12th, 2005, 9:53 pm
    I love how Chicago continuously unfolds and amazes me with her treasure trove of foodstuffs. Until last summer when I took Gary's smoking class, Peoria Packing house was off my radar screen. I never imagined such a place, the closest being the farmer's markets in Eastern Europe did I see such an open display of meats:

    From head
    Image

    To tail:
    Image

    From hoof to tongue:
    Image

    And everything in between:
    Image

    with a few odd bits thrown in:
    Image

    and a bit of sausage, too:
    Image

    I brought Mom2 whose father was a butcher, which kept them fed during the depression. She had never seen anything like it. The entire room is refrigerator cold. All customers are expected to wear plastic gloves at all times. There are bits of the animal and cuts of meat, I have only read about or had in a restaurant and assumed they could only be special ordered. Fat bellies are there, which are convenient for making bacon. I assume the bits needed to make guanciale are present, whether it is the cheeks or the jowl; it is there. If it isn't, well, maybe you should come earlier in the day.

    Peoria Packing House can be a devil to get into just before major holidays. They sometimes hire security to meter customers into the store with a line waiting outside. Cash and LINK cards are the only payments accepted.

    Peoria Packing Butcher Shop
    1300 West Lake Street
    Chicago, IL 60607
    312-738-1800
    Monday - Saturday: 7am-6pm
    Sunday: 8am-3pm
    Last edited by Cathy2 on February 14th, 2005, 10:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #2 - February 12th, 2005, 11:46 pm
    Post #2 - February 12th, 2005, 11:46 pm Post #2 - February 12th, 2005, 11:46 pm
    Is Peoria Packing a pork-only house or do they offer other meats?

    Reminds me of Cattleman's in Detroit.
  • Post #3 - February 13th, 2005, 12:07 am
    Post #3 - February 13th, 2005, 12:07 am Post #3 - February 13th, 2005, 12:07 am
    They offer (in addition to pork) beef, chicken and a limited selection of fish. They will also trim and or cut the meat to your specifications.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - February 13th, 2005, 12:40 am
    Post #4 - February 13th, 2005, 12:40 am Post #4 - February 13th, 2005, 12:40 am
    Hi,

    They also have lamb.

    Here is a table of frozen fish:

    Image

    I did buy two pork shoulders weighing about 9 pounds each, which will be transformed to pulled pork. I paid about $1.19 per pound. I also bought about 3 feet of hot links to smoke and some cheap white bread, which goes especially well with barbeque.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - February 13th, 2005, 12:53 pm
    Post #5 - February 13th, 2005, 12:53 pm Post #5 - February 13th, 2005, 12:53 pm
    I had always wanted to take pictures at PP - to share with family and friends that couldn't possibly imagine a scene like that - but was under the impression that they frowned upon cameras. Was this photo session "blessed" and, if not, did you notice any reaction to your picture taking?
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #6 - February 13th, 2005, 1:05 pm
    Post #6 - February 13th, 2005, 1:05 pm Post #6 - February 13th, 2005, 1:05 pm
    Kman wrote:

    I had always wanted to take pictures at PP - to share with family and friends that couldn't possibly imagine a scene like that - but was under the impression that they frowned upon cameras.


    I tried to take a few pictures there and was followed around and stared down by the manager. I got a few snaps taken holding the camera in my pocket , but nothing like Cathy2's . Congratulations, I think you're the first to ever photo document Peoria Packing.
  • Post #7 - February 13th, 2005, 1:10 pm
    Post #7 - February 13th, 2005, 1:10 pm Post #7 - February 13th, 2005, 1:10 pm
    Hi,

    I didn't ask, I didn't hide, though maybe they were too busy with the Saturday crowd. I did not use flash, which likely would have called attention to my activities, only because it wasn't necessary. In any case, nobody said a word. I was divinely blessed of ignorance of the picture taking prohibition at PP. I only learned about it last night when G Wiv contacted me after seeing my post.

    I had long wondered why there were no pictures of PP, now the cat is out of the bag and the horse has left the stable.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - February 14th, 2005, 11:21 am
    Post #8 - February 14th, 2005, 11:21 am Post #8 - February 14th, 2005, 11:21 am
    C2,

    I often park about 1/2 a block from PP while visiting a client of mine. Thanks to your pictures I now know to bring extra cash, and to make more time between appointments.

    Thanks,

    Flip
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #9 - February 14th, 2005, 12:55 pm
    Post #9 - February 14th, 2005, 12:55 pm Post #9 - February 14th, 2005, 12:55 pm
    Hi Flip,

    I would bring a cooler as well.

    I'm glad I didn't know pictures were frowned upon. Sometimes ignorance is bliss!

    Your welcome!
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - February 14th, 2005, 4:22 pm
    Post #10 - February 14th, 2005, 4:22 pm Post #10 - February 14th, 2005, 4:22 pm
    Nice shots. I've always loved the place. Whole hogs and hogs in every state of disrepair. Other things to know: thay claim to sell more whole goats than any other place in the city (which means, maybe country) selling largely to Mexican, Carribean, etc. There are many fine and very cheap hot links of the sort that are found only in chicago (lots of sage and red pepper). If you want a whole dressed animal, be persistent. Quite literally, many of the stock folks will tell you you can't buy a whole hog retail because they don't want to go across the street and haul it over. Tipping helps.

    And, in spite of the great photos, pictures can't do justice to the scale of the place. There's a lot of pig parts in that building.
  • Post #11 - January 5th, 2007, 8:18 pm
    Post #11 - January 5th, 2007, 8:18 pm Post #11 - January 5th, 2007, 8:18 pm
    I was at Peoria in December, 2006.
    They take Mastercard and Visa now.
    Great pictures, but so much better to be there !
    :) :)
    Phil
  • Post #12 - January 6th, 2007, 12:32 pm
    Post #12 - January 6th, 2007, 12:32 pm Post #12 - January 6th, 2007, 12:32 pm
    Wow, look at those pig ears! I wonder if it would be economical to make one's own (instead of buying the ones in the bag at Costco).

    For the dogs to eat, the ears would be, I mean, though I like to nibble on crispy pig parts too...
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #13 - January 6th, 2007, 3:33 pm
    Post #13 - January 6th, 2007, 3:33 pm Post #13 - January 6th, 2007, 3:33 pm
    leek wrote:Wow, look at those pig ears! I wonder if it would be economical to make one's own (instead of buying the ones in the bag at Costco).

    For the dogs to eat, the ears would be, I mean, though I like to nibble on crispy pig parts too...


    Toss a bunch on your WSM for a few hours and then transfer to a low oven or dehydrator. I've made them for my dogs in the past.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #14 - October 4th, 2007, 4:15 pm
    Post #14 - October 4th, 2007, 4:15 pm Post #14 - October 4th, 2007, 4:15 pm
    That store is freezing!! Literally, it's at the temperature of a meat freezer when you walk in there, the whole meat store is.

    I asked them once, what grade their beef was, it's only Select. The place is interesting to visit, their meat is nothing out of the ordinary.

    The majority of their customers are African-American.
  • Post #15 - October 4th, 2007, 4:18 pm
    Post #15 - October 4th, 2007, 4:18 pm Post #15 - October 4th, 2007, 4:18 pm
    :?:
  • Post #16 - October 4th, 2007, 4:28 pm
    Post #16 - October 4th, 2007, 4:28 pm Post #16 - October 4th, 2007, 4:28 pm
    If you notice in the photos, the customers are basically walking around a meat cooler. You need a coat and the temperature in the store is something like 40 degrees.

    Right now, I'm actually wet-roasting a bottom round roast in my crock-pot (from Peoria Packing!!), that tomorrow will be on my slicer to become Italian beef.
  • Post #17 - October 4th, 2007, 4:34 pm
    Post #17 - October 4th, 2007, 4:34 pm Post #17 - October 4th, 2007, 4:34 pm
    Not everybody gets as excited as I do about a tubful of tongues and feet, I guess :wink:
  • Post #18 - October 4th, 2007, 4:35 pm
    Post #18 - October 4th, 2007, 4:35 pm Post #18 - October 4th, 2007, 4:35 pm
    JeffB wrote::?:

    Yes, agreed, RiverWest's post is a bit puzzling.

    Peoria Packing is cold because it's essentially a meat locker. Beef, which is select, is an afterthought to many who shop Peoria Packing, it's all about the pig, every part but the squeal.

    Far as clientele, pretty much every Chicagoland BBQ guy I know, and I know quite a few, speaks highly of Peoria Packing. Shoulders, skin-on hams, spare ribs, rib tips, Chicago style hot links and whole pigs for the asking.

    Count me a fan of Peoria Packing.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    http://www.wiviott.com/
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #19 - October 4th, 2007, 4:38 pm
    Post #19 - October 4th, 2007, 4:38 pm Post #19 - October 4th, 2007, 4:38 pm
    Looks like a place worth visiting, just for the museum factor if nothing else! I've been looking for some smoked pork butt or shoulder that I could have ground up for use in stuffed cabbage. Do you know if this place would have that?
    What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?
  • Post #20 - October 4th, 2007, 5:11 pm
    Post #20 - October 4th, 2007, 5:11 pm Post #20 - October 4th, 2007, 5:11 pm
    PP also sells whole rabbit, it's in the freezer case near the deli.

    And is it just me, or is $3.99 for beef oxtail too much? It's that price everywhere nowadays. Didn't oxtail used to sell for under $2.00 per lb.? Shouldn't it still since it's mostly bone?

    PP sells whole raw hams. One day I'd like to cook up a whole ham on my own, glaze it on my own, etc. etc.
  • Post #21 - October 4th, 2007, 5:26 pm
    Post #21 - October 4th, 2007, 5:26 pm Post #21 - October 4th, 2007, 5:26 pm
    Hi,

    I agree on the awfully high price on oxtail. At H-Mart they have several price points for oxtail. You can actually purchase beef filet cheaper or at least on par with their highest priced oxtail.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #22 - October 4th, 2007, 6:33 pm
    Post #22 - October 4th, 2007, 6:33 pm Post #22 - October 4th, 2007, 6:33 pm
    RiverWester wrote:
    PP sells whole raw hams. One day I'd like to cook up a whole ham on my own, glaze it on my own, etc. etc.


    Just make sure you don't foget the all important step of curing it as well :)

    Jamie
  • Post #23 - October 4th, 2007, 9:01 pm
    Post #23 - October 4th, 2007, 9:01 pm Post #23 - October 4th, 2007, 9:01 pm
    RiverWester wrote:And is it just me, or is $3.99 for beef oxtail too much? It's that price everywhere nowadays. Didn't oxtail used to sell for under $2.00 per lb.? Shouldn't it still since it's mostly bone?


    Cheap oxtails were the rule ... until two things happened. First, in the old days, most beef came to the butchers in the form of a carcass. With each dressed carcass, you got an oxtail (tail of a steer or cow) that the butcher had to price to get rid of. Now 95% of the beef comes in cryovaced PRIMAL cuts of beef. I mean, you get boxes of loins, chucks, rounds and the like.

    Second, people discovered oxtails. All of a sudden, people have rediscovered "less tender" cuts that require braising.

    Personally, it'll be a snowy day in hell before I pay $4 for oxtails. I generally pay $1.99/lb at Woodman's when they are in the discount bin. OR I will shop at some of the Mexican meat markets (LaRosita in Crystal Lake or McHenry) where they are generally $1.50/lb. Or if my in-laws are slaughtering a steer or cow, I ask for first dibs on the oxtails ... and sometimes get them.

    Just made up a pot of oxtail stew on Monday. I will note that I NEVER had that at my parent's house BUT my great aunts ALWAYS were talking about them when I was in Findley Market in Cincinnati as a child.

    Hope that helps.
  • Post #24 - October 5th, 2007, 10:13 am
    Post #24 - October 5th, 2007, 10:13 am Post #24 - October 5th, 2007, 10:13 am
    OK, exactly how many of us are there who used to get offal from Findlay Market as a kid?
  • Post #25 - October 5th, 2007, 4:05 pm
    Post #25 - October 5th, 2007, 4:05 pm Post #25 - October 5th, 2007, 4:05 pm
    Jamieson22 wrote:
    RiverWester wrote:
    PP sells whole raw hams. One day I'd like to cook up a whole ham on my own, glaze it on my own, etc. etc.


    Just make sure you don't foget the all important step of curing it as well :)

    Jamie


    What does that mean/entail?
  • Post #26 - October 5th, 2007, 5:10 pm
    Post #26 - October 5th, 2007, 5:10 pm Post #26 - October 5th, 2007, 5:10 pm
    RiverWester wrote:
    Jamieson22 wrote:
    RiverWester wrote:
    PP sells whole raw hams. One day I'd like to cook up a whole ham on my own, glaze it on my own, etc. etc.


    Just make sure you don't foget the all important step of curing it as well :)

    Jamie


    What does that mean/entail?


    A fresh ham = an unsmoked roast, Think PORK ROAST. And that is something you probably will not glaze.

    What you are describing appears to be a smoked ham.
  • Post #27 - February 10th, 2008, 3:23 am
    Post #27 - February 10th, 2008, 3:23 am Post #27 - February 10th, 2008, 3:23 am
    Hi,

    I visited Peoria Packing House today, where I identified two new bits of information:

    1) They now offer whole rotisserie chicken for $3.99. No idea how big the chicken may be.

    2) They accept credit cards in addition to cash and LINK. When I asked how long did they accept credit cards, the manager said, "Years." I didn't believe him, so I kept asking how many months. He again replied, "Years." "Really? I have always known this place as a cash-only establishment. When did you really start accepting credit cards?" "Two years ago." I wish I knew earlier, because sometimes I didn't stop in if I didn't have enough cash for my purchases and my other plans.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #28 - February 10th, 2008, 8:04 am
    Post #28 - February 10th, 2008, 8:04 am Post #28 - February 10th, 2008, 8:04 am
    Cathy2 wrote:When did you really start accepting credit cards?" "Two years ago." I wish I knew earlier, because sometimes I didn't stop in if I didn't have enough cash for my purchases and my other plans.

    Cathy,

    I'm relatively certain accepting credit cards is a very recent addition, cash and Link have been, to my knowledge, the only form of payment Peoria Packing accepted.

    Thanks for the info though, I'm sure it will save me an bleary eyed early morning pre PP run to an ATM.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #29 - February 10th, 2008, 9:00 am
    Post #29 - February 10th, 2008, 9:00 am Post #29 - February 10th, 2008, 9:00 am
    Call me crazy but how can the products be safe to eat with all these customers touching, sneezing, coughing, etc.

    Image
    Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Spaghetti and Meatballs! (Beauregard Burnside III)
  • Post #30 - February 10th, 2008, 9:04 am
    Post #30 - February 10th, 2008, 9:04 am Post #30 - February 10th, 2008, 9:04 am
    Phil wrote:Call me crazy but how can the products be safe with the customers touching, sneezing, coughing, etc.

    Phil,

    All customers wear plastic gloves, no meat is touched with bare hands, the room itself it kept at meat locker temperatures and, in my experience, most, if not all, observe the polite convention of not sneezing on other peoples food.

    So, yes, the products are safe, and to my mind a hell of a lot safer than many examples of shrink wrapped meat I have seen throughout the years.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow

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