Some folks can personally remember and some have just seen on TV the old-fashioned, local butcher shop. It was a place with a neighborly feel, where the customer and owner knew each other on a first name basis, a place to get advice on the best way to prepare a special meal or to order a cut of meat just the way you liked it. Fortunately these shops have not all been relegated to the past. In fact you can find one such shop here at Hirsch’s Meat Market.
Hirsch’s Meat Market opened in Plano in 1992 and has been at its present location, 1301 W. Parker Rd., for 14 years. Before opening his own market, Gary Hirsch was working as a butcher in a chain grocery store when he began to see changes in the industry that to him were not for the better.
According to Gary, chain grocery stores began selling a lower grade of meat that was already prepackaged to keep prices low. The craft of being a butcher was now reduced to the role of a simple meat cutter. As he explained, a butcher takes an entire side of beef and breaks it down to primal cuts, while a meat cutter simply prepares those cuts for sale. It could be compared to the difference between a chef and a line cook. Hirsch’s Meat Market requires a two-year apprenticeship to become a full-fledged butcher in the shop.
Hirsch’s employs between 16 and 20 staff members, including a chef to advise customers on the best way to prepare their purchase or the best side items and wine to serve with the meal. Gary’s knowledgeable staff keeps Hirsch’s a cut above on customer service, something Gary feels the industry has lost over the years.
Gary buys meat from all over the country, seeking out the best quality he can find. Besides beef the butcher shop also carries pork, chicken and sausage. His team produces 36 different sausages in house and also makes its own signature crab dip. Hirsch’s also sells 20 varieties of wood for smoking meats at home.
When asked what is the best steak that someone could purchase from Hirsch’s to prepare at home, Gary suggested two: a Wagyu and a dry aged rib eye.
Wagyu is a Japanese breed of cow; the word literally translates into “wa” meaning Japanese and “gyu” meaning cow. Wagyu is prized for its fat marbling. Wagyu cattle genetically have more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than other breeds of cattle. This produces an extremely tender steak with a buttery flavor that melts in your mouth. In 1975 Wagyu cattle began to be imported to the United States. Now in the country there are pure-bred Wagyu and also Wagyu cattle that are cross-bred with Black Angus cattle to produce the American style Kobe Beef crossbreed.
A dry-aged rib eye is produced by hanging the meat in a refrigerated unit at 34 degrees for around a month. The dry-aging process allows moisture to evaporate from the meat creating a greater concentration of flavors. Enzymes in the meat are also broken down which makes the meat more tender. The process is time consuming and reduces the weight of the meat – two reasons you will not find a dry-aged rib eye in your local big box grocery store.
Another perk of shopping at a specialty butcher shop is the high level of client care. Gary is very proud of the relationships he has built over the years. Today he serves the grown sons and daughters of some of his original shoppers. Even long-term customers who have moved to other parts of the country come back once or twice a year to stock up at Hirsch’s Meat Market.
Visit Hirsch’s today to experience customer service of the past and see why loyalty is always is in stock at this long-lasting butcher shop.Hirsch's Meat Market >