If you are like most people when you’re traveling and need to find information, you Google it! For now that may be your quickest option when looking for the next meat market boasting the best smoked bacon in the land. Luckily, Bacon Scouts is setting out to change that. My next stop in the quest for great meat products takes me to middle America; Omaha, Nebraska. Known for attractions like the College World Series or Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Omaha is also known for Just Good Meat (JGM) meat market! This market not only knows meat, they know how to promote it. Whether it is online at www.justgoodmeatomaha.com or greeting customers as they walk in the door, these guys know what it takes to keep them coming back for more.
My first impression came from the markets web site. It was so well done that you would have thought they were affiliated with a national chain. The storefront was inviting with a large black and white sign on the front outside wall informing customers of this week sale item of Thick Cut Ribeyes. On the top of the building is an older sign featuring a Black Angus bull with a halter on his head and the words, Just Good Meat, Old Fashion Meat Market. Meat markets are one of a handful of industries that can get away with promoting techniques and services considered old fashion.
As I reached the front door, 12 smaller black and white signs went into great detail discussing their freezer meat options. The first thought that came to mind was, “Why doesn’t every meat market make it this simple to buy a ½ hog!” If you are new to meat market lingo, freezer meat refers to the practice of buying meat in bulk such as ½ hog or ¼ beef. It is usually a combination of a variety of cuts from one animal.
As I entered the market, I was greeted by a young man who was eager to answer my questions and promote the products in his meat case and freezers. He reminded me like he could have played fullback for a certain college football team in Nebraska. I asked a few questions about his freezer beef options and he explained that his beef came from western Nebraska, the hogs also came from Nebraska and the chicken came out of Iowa. I like the fact that he knew where his animals were coming from and also that he was willing to share the information with me. As we finished our conversation, he instructed one of his staff members to give me and another customer a try of a fresh batch of jalapeño cheese meat sticks. First impressions are priceless.
I began my search for the next award winning bacon when my eyes were sidetracked by two huge extra thick Hickory smoked pork chops. These things were over 1” thick and screamed “eat me!” I continued to peruse their prepackaged meats, chicken, seafood and more. The store is basically laid out with the center of the room serving as space for butchering and packaging with two meat counters surrounding shaped like an L. The outside walls are lined with freezers. I was again sidetracked from my quest for bacon when I found his bacon cheese brats. I really enjoyed looking over his vast array of products and wall decorations. I love the fact that they had Just Great Meat t-shirts for sale. I finally settled on the pork chops and bacon cheese brats.
The pork chops were the first to great meet at the shop so they were the first to be consumed. I baked them in the oven at 325 degrees on a baking pan with no seasoning. They took about 20 minutes before the fat began to melt and cook. As you made your way through the chop the flavor of the meat intensified the closer you got to the fat and bone. I’m always torn when to say when while eating the meat nearest the bone on a pork chop or T-bone. On one hand I want to follow my mother’s instructions of not wasting any food but my adult conscience tells me to hold back for the sake of my heart. With this pork chop, mom’s advice prevailed. The brats were good and carried far less guilt than the pork chops. The JGM butchers got it right with the ratio of bacon and creamy cheese flavor. The sausage texture was extra fine and just the way I like it. Both products were filled with flavor, smoke and pleasant texture.
I find it interesting that consumers can purchase most products (fruit, boxed food, paper products) in mass quantities from local big box stores, but meat is something that is still predominantly purchased on an as needed basis. As a frequent customer of buying my animals off the farm, I love how JGM advertises their freezer meat options. They explain the different cuts, quantities and portions along with the current prices. Most meat markets don’t provide this information in such a clear, concise format. I will be giving these guys a call when buying my next ¼ beef for my family.
I definitely recommend a visit to Just Good Meats when in Omaha or if you’re a local, stop by this weekend. Their wide selection of everything protein, friendly staff and competitive prices make this market a winner on BaconScouts.com
Once again, thank you to America’s livestock families and butchers for providing us with the best meat products in the world.