Butcher Block No. 9 & Charcuterie
Special to the Glacier City Gazette
When I think about butchers, nursery rhymes with references to bakers and candlestick makers come to mind. It seemed for a while that the butcher was going the way of the cobbler and ironsmith, old-fashioned crafts taken over by mass production. After all, we do most of our shopping at supermarkets these days, and we usually only have time for the one-stop shop.
The butcher shops I have used were in foreign countries where the one-stop shop did not exist. The European butcher shops reeked of animal blood, the butchers were surly, and the service was matter-of-fact. In Southeast Asia, the meat and every imaginable part of the animal was hung in open-air markets, with concrete floors, rodents slinking past, and a dearth of health inspections. It was fascinating and a little horrifying and certainly not pleasant.
Butcher Block No. 9 & Charcuterie, by contrast, is providing a wonderful experience for the carnivore. This superbly clean shop, owned by Nate and DeAnn Burris, has some of the freshest meats and poultry in Alaska. The couple owns Mat-Valley Meats in Wasilla, and Butcher Block No. 9 is their second location.
For several years, they were offering Mat-Valley products at the Saturday market held at Subway Sports Centre in South Anchorage. Their booth was very popular, but loyal customers were not able to get Mat-Valley products in off-season months without driving to Wasilla.
When Nate and DeAnn decided to expand their business, they chose this South Anchorage location so they could cater to their loyal Saturday market customers year-round. The shop is located at 11108 Old Seward Highway, Suite 3, between Brow Chica and the Pita Pit, just across Old Seward from the Subway Sports Centre.
I was greeted with a smile and a “how can I help you” when I entered. I found an immaculately clean space with well-labeled and organized displays, and it was obvious this experience was going to be nothing like what I had found in Europe and Asia.
I visited with owner DeAnn to learn more about the operation. She told me their objective is to use locally grown meats as much as possible, to let nothing go to waste, and to support local farmers and businesses. Most of the grass-fed beef is provided by Misty Mountain Beef of Delta Junction.
Van Wyhe Family Farm in Copper Center supplies most of the pork. Only when demand exceeds supply do they use outside sources. Hung and cooled for days, the animals are cut for sale. The trim is then used to make sausages. Organs are either sold separately or used in charcuterie, and bones are salvaged for later use. Just as DeAnn said, nothing is wasted.
They prepare everything by hand and they only use the best equipment to make sure the meat is the highest possible quality. They told me that they had an issue with their slicer a while ago which meat the meat slices were uneven. Although they could still use it, because it affected the quality of the meat, they got National Bandsaw manufacturers low cost commercial slicer parts to replace the dodgy parts. They didn’t want the customers to be unhappy with their produce.
Name your favorite meat, and you’re sure to find it at Butcher Block No. 9. In addition to locally grown beef and pork, you will also find buffalo, veal, elk, lamb, free-range chicken, organic turkey, duck, and Cornish game hens. In the coolers is a section labeled “Organs, etc.,” in the event you need a kidney.
The array of sausages is almost overwhelming: bacon, buffalo, jalapeno, cheddar cheese and Philly Cheesesteak brats, chicken curry, Italian, Polish with reindeer elk smokies and so much more. Meat stick flavors include options like elk teriyaki, buffalo pepperoni, habanero firestick, or pepperstick with reindeer.
In the showcases are gorgeous roasts, aged to perfection, alongside exotic options like American braised rolled lamb belly with Mergvez (a lamb sausage popular in North African cuisine) or porchetta (an Italian style rolled pork roast.) For the consummate bacon lover, you will find nitrate-free and dry-aged choices in various flavors.
Meeting one of the latest health trends, Butcher Block No. 9 is offering their own house-made bone broth. You’ll find it right next to the headcheese, which probably falls on the opposite end of the health spectrum but meets a demand for certain tastes.
Duck confit, garlic flavored lard, pancetta pinwheels, ham hocks, meat pies, pates, and most anything you can imagine are available or could be ordered. For the dog owner in search of all-natural treats, ask for a knuckle or a marrow bone.
Whether you are looking for the freshest ground beef or the most unusual cut of meat, you will find it here. Visit the shop Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The well-informed staff can offer tips and suggestions as needed, always with a smile and in a sparkling clean environment. Butcher Block No. 9 & Charcuterie is the real deal, not a fairy tale.