CHICAGO (WLS) -- Memorial Day Weekend is here, and for a lot of us, it's the unofficial start to grilling and outdoor smoking season. But with COVID-19 related slowdowns at commercial beef and pork processors, some grocery stores are limiting purchases.
With all of that restaurant business gone, small farmers and butchers have plenty of product to sell.
You'll need to order online, and in some cases, go pick it up. But you'll be guaranteed your purchase is supporting local farmers and business owners, and the quality is hard to beat.
For more than a decade, Shelly Herman and Irv Cernauskas have been buying from regional farms, delivering local, organic produce, meat and cheese all over Chicagoland.
"We buy directly from the producers - the farmers who are raising the animals," said Cernauskas.
"When you're buying from small farms, they send it to a small processor. We do buy a whole animal at a time," said Herman.
"And we know now that some people are limited to buy one package at a supermarket at a time, but that's because the industrial meat system - where everything gets sent to one huge plant - is very different than buying from small farms with small processors," she said.
"So you have a small, local and regional economy, that can be resilient in times like this," Herman said.
A few miles away, in Northfield, the Hofherr Meat company has one of the best butcher shops on the North Shore, delivering all over the region. They buy from farms like Catalpa Grove and Creekstone, usually trimming and breaking things down themselves depending on customer orders. They also have grilling and smoking meat boxes this week, as well as a number of housemade sausages.
In the West Loop, Publican Quality Meats is butchering the same way.
"We are sourcing from small, family farms and we are getting whole animals, and we are introducing our customers to less common cuts of meat," said Head Butcher Rob Levitt.
That might mean flap steak or aged charcuterie. Either way, they're breaking down every animal in-house.
"We bring our animals in whole so we can make sure they're cut exactly the way we want them. We know that these farmers are raising things the right way," he said.
And just a few blocks South, El Che has shifted from a restaurant with live-fire cooking, to a Meat & Provisions shop.
"So right now I'm smoking some sweetbreads to get our parilladas ready to go for the weekend," said Chef-Owner John Manion.
Manion is working with a new smoker he had installed, hoping to prep some meats for customers, while selling others raw.
"We're gonna take the front host stand, and make into a retail section, where you can pick up, order meats, our line of chimichurris, smoked salt all kinds of stuff," he said.
Unlike the large, primal cuts you'll find at Publican Quality, Manion says his emphasis is more about the passionate South American grilling traditions in Brazil and Argentina.
"We're gonna do a number of different cuts, and then chorizo, morcilla, typical Argentine food - sweetbreads - roasted marrow bones. We're in the same neighborhood, but not doing the exact same thing," said Manion.
Irv & Shelly's Fresh Picks
Publican Quality Meats
Delivery & Curbside, 10 am - 6 pm
Hofherr Meat Co.
Delivery & Curbside
El Che Meat & Provisions
More options for Memorial Day Meals:
Bub City - Chicago:
Memorial Day Weekend BBQ Package
WHEN: Friday, May 22 - Saturday, May 23: 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM; Sunday, May 24 - Monday, May 25: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
WHERE: 435 N. Clark St.
WHAT: Bub City is offering a Memorial Day Weekend BBQ package that serves 4-6 people and includes your choice of BBQ meat like Charcoal-Roasted Baby Back Ribs, 18-Hr. Natural Smoked Brisket or the Rib & Brisket Combo, served alongside Mac n' Cheesy, Southwest Chopped Salad, Grilled Asparagus and Chocolate Chip Cookies.
The package is $49.95 per person, plus tax.
Add on a cocktail kit from Bub City to complete the experience.
Curbside pick-up is available from 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM and all orders must be placed an hour before pick-up.
Bub City - Chicago: Memorial Day Weekend BBQ Picnic Package
WHEN: Friday, May 22 - May 25: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
WHERE: 435 N. Clark St.
WHAT: Bub City is offering a Memorial Day Weekend BBQ Picnic package that serves 10 people and includes pulled pork, chopped brisket, chicken tenders, mac n' cheesy, chopped salad, sliced watermelon, bread 'n' butter pickles, Martin's potato buns, two bottles of BBQ sauce plus housemade creamy ranch and buffalo sauce. The package is $225, plus tax. Add on a cocktail kit from Bub City to complete the experience. Curbside pick-up is available from 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM and all orders must be placed an hour before pick-up.
CONTACT: 312-610-4200 or order Bub City's Memorial Day Weekend BBQ Picnic Package online
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse (Chicago, Oak Brook, & Rosemont), Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House (Chicago & Naperville), LUXBAR, and Gibsons Italia are offering special Memorial Weekend Grill at Home Meal Kits for carry-out on May 23rd, May 24th and May 25th.
Kits include burgers, hotdogs or steaks, coleslaw, corn on the cob, house-made potato chips, Gibsons seasonal beer & Gibsons signature carrot cupcakes.
Call 312.587.0508 to order.
Pre-orders and Same-day orders will be accepted while supplies last.
All Gibsons Restaurant Locations will be open for Carry-out + Delivery throughout the weekend offering their regular a la carte menus along with a la carte pre-packaged cook at home steaks, burgers, & chops.
Porcellino: Memorial Day Picnic for Two
WHEN: Saturday, May 23 - Monday, May 25: Pick up from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
WHERE: 59 W. Hubbard St.
WHAT: il Porcellino's Memorial Day Picnic is a special menu for two that includes Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Prime Beef Meatballs, Burrata, Italian Veggie Sandwiches, Green Chopped Salad and Tiramisu. The menu is available from Saturday, May 23 - Monday, May 25 and pick up at il Porcellino is from 12:00 pm-5:00 pm. Orders must be placed 24-hours prior to desired pick up time. The picnic menu is $49.95, plus tax.
M Burger: Memorial Day Burger Making Kit
WHEN: Friday, May 22 - Monday, May 25: 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
WHERE: 161 E. Huron St.
WHAT: M Burger's burger making kit includes 4 burger patties, cheddar cheese, Martin's potato buns, kettle chips and all of the fixings like lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, ketchup, BBQ and M Sauce. The price is $31.95, plus tax. Make it a double! Additional patties are $3.00 each. Orders must be placed by 6:00 PM the day prior to pick-up.
CONTACT: 773-433-5330 Mon Ami Gabi - Chicago: Memorial Day Grill Kit & Meal Packages WHEN: Sunday, May 24: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
WHERE: 2300 N. Lincoln Park West
WHAT: Sunday, May 24, Mon Ami Gabi in Lincoln Park is offering meal packages including a selection of starters, sides and dessert. Choose from a family-style dinner for $60 (serves 2) or $120 (serves 4), plus tax and gratuity. Add on a Grill Kit with pre-packaged Mon Ami Steaks to grill at home, along with all the side dishes to enjoy with your feast for just $50 per kit, plus tax (serves 2) or $100 per kit, plus tax (serves four).
Advanced ordering is required and must be placed by Thursday, May 21 at 10:00 AM via Tock. All orders must be picked up from Mon Ami Gabi on Sunday, May 24 between 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM. The regular a la carte menu will not be available for carryout or delivery on Sunday, May 24.
Shaw's Crab House: Lobster Roll Family Meal (Schaumburg)
WHEN: Saturday, May 23 from 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
WHERE: 1900 E. Higgins Rd. WHAT: Shaw's Lobster Roll Meal is perfect for your Memorial Day Weekend picnic. Each meal includes Shaw's Maine Lobster Rolls, Coleslaw, Chilled Tom's Farm Asparagus with Lemon Aioli, Paula's Baked Beans, and Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Homer's Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Choose between building your own lobster rolls or having Shaw's prepare it for you. The meal is $75 for two people and $140 for four people (prices exclude tax and gratuity). Orders must be place at least one hour prior to desired pick up time.
CONTACT: Shaw's Schaumburg: Email Jill at email@example.com.
Where to pick up barbecue and local meats for grilling this Memorial Day Weekend