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We've Crowned our Best Butcher

Our butchers are a cut above the rest, and we just crowned the king.Of some 3,000 meat cutters working in our stores, 300 competed nationally to be the Best Butcher, and just three made it to our 2nd annual Best Butcher Competition, held September 8 at Meatopia in New York.

Our finalists were:

  • John "Kabali" Kalabolas (West Coast champion from our Lafayette, California store in our Northern California Region)

  • Andy "The Animal" Alcorn (Central US champion from our Fort Collins, Colorado store in our  Rocky Mountain Region)

  • Armand "The Arm" Ferrante (East Coast Champion from our Middletown, New Jersey store in our Northeast Region)

The Best Butcher Competition is our way of celebrating our skilled butchers and shines the spotlight on the tradition and craft of butchery — a pursuit that takes a high degree of skill and years of experience to master.
At Meatopia the three finalists were tasked with crafting a turducken (for those of you not familiar with this particular delicacy it’s duck stuffed inside a chicken stuffed inside a turkey) and merchandising a whole lamb. These tests were a surprise, so there was no way to practice. For the ultimate challenge, the three gentlemen had to create a new beef item – a steak, chop or roast the world has never seen (or tasted) before.

The butchers performed beautifully, despite the rain, smoke, and hungry crowds. In the end, judges awarded Best Butcher prize to Armand “The Arm” Ferrante.

Congratulations, Armand! Your 40 years as a butcher have clearly paid off, and we are lucky to have you.

You’ve never had beef like this before, and you’ll only find it here.

Armand’s Jersey Boneless Short Rib steak will be available nowhere else but at our stores (US and Canada only) for just $8.99/lb. Butchers at all Whole Foods Market stores will be creating this cut for you to try!

A great value and a versatile cut, the Jersey Boneless Short Rib steak starts with a four-bone short rib. Armand detaches the bones from the still-connected short rib meat to create a steak that’s an excellent choice for shoppers seeking tender beef at a friendly price. Designed with grilling in mind, this is a value cut that Armand says can also be marinated or rubbed, roasted or braised/slow-cooked.Looking for the best way to season and prep the new Jersey Boneless Short Rib? Try this tasty spice blend courtesy of Chef Tim Byres, owner and chef of Smoke and Chicken Scratch restaurants in Dallas, Texas.

 

 

The more you know about our meat, the better™

At Whole Foods Market, our quality standards for meat include no antibiotics – ever, no added hormones* and no animal byproducts in feed. Plus, all of the beef, pork and chicken sold in our meat department, comes from farms and ranches that are certified to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system.

* Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork, poultry, goat, veal and bison.

And while not everyone is as crazy about butchers, grilling and the pursuit of the perfect steak as the folks at Meatopia, meat standards that improve the quality of our food and animal welfare is worth celebrating. (And celebrate we did – Armand’s entire family came to the competition to cheer him on, along with his fellow Meat Department team members!)

Our expert butchers are ready and waiting for your meatiest questions, because the more you know about our meat, the better.

What’s your favorite way to cook meat? Will you try the new cut?

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