Meat isn't an obvious choice for a food trend. It's as primordial as a campfire, as politically loaded as anything on earth that's edible. Vegetarianism is way up, cattle ranches are in a significant national downturn, and a tough economy means the cuts of meat a consumer can afford are tough, too.
Still, it's been the best year yet for specialty meat monger Belmont Butchery, where almost a thousand customers came calling for crown roasts and smoked turkeys over the Thanksgiving weekend. Small family-run cattle farms such as Gryffon's Aerie logged successful sales and growing recognition. New meat-based businesses found the year's economic conditions the right time for a risk. Naturally raised meats and a return to classic butchering and processing are a food movement's response to giant agribusiness practices that are less than humane for animals and less than safe for consumers.
Is handcrafted meat a revolution, a food-snob guilty pleasure — or both? — Deveron Timberlake
Is it better to eat happy animals?
by Melissa Scott Sinclair
Can slaughter be humane?
by Vernal Coleman
Is artisan-made food a status symbol?
by Deveron Timberlake
A few favorite dishes where meat rules the plate.
by Robey Martin
Where to find those unusual cuts.
Compiled by Robey Martin