Iowa: We’ve Got The Meats Worth Looking For

Old Station Craft Meats in downtown Waukee offers all the cuts you may want for your Memorial Day barbecue. Photo: Verdigris Photography & Design

Indie meat markets are popping up all over the state. Here are some new options plus a few old favorites worth a visit.

Central MarketDes Moines
Des Moines Public School kids enrolled in the agri science course are learning farm-to-table in real time. Students raise lambs, goats, pigs and chickens, then sell meat and eggs in their shop on the farm campus. Find other student- and teacher-made products such as pottery and graphic T-shirts, as well as products from other local farmers and makers. The market is open Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 6 and Saturdays from noon to 3.

City Meat Market, New Albin
Tucked into the far northeast corner of the state, this small town boasts the oldest specialty meat store and smokehouse in the state—it’s been in business since 1882. The small country shop is revered for smoked pork chops, hickory smoked bacon and steaks. Plus, find gourmet hot sauces, wine, beer and other essentials for a picnic near the Mississippi.

Elma Locker & Grocery, Elma
Another small-town gem, this market stocks both fresh and smoked products, as well as sausages and sticks (some spiked with cheese and flavors such as dill pickle). While at the grocery, pick up honey, soft-serve ice cream, cheese, pickled herring and gluten-free baked goods.

Old Station Craft Meats, Waukee
Another new-on-the-scene market, this downtown Waukee butcher sells bacon, steaks, sausages and more. The beef tenderloin roast looks particularly tasty for the first post-pandemic party. Owner Nick Lenters recommends flat iron and Delmonico steaks for summer grilling.

West Forty Market, Ankeny and Greene
In Uptown Ankeny, this new small meat market stocks gourmet cuts such as short ribs, oxtail and porterhouse steaks. We picked up bacon and made the best bacon, basil, heirloom tomato and avocado sandwiches with our haul. The original market is in Greene and carries beef, pork and poultry.

Woudstra Meat Market, Orange City
See a Dutch master at work carving a side of beef at this northwest Iowa shop (yes, the staff wear Dutch hats). The butcher shop (in business since 1926) also sells smoked sausages, dried beef, ring bologna, plus Iowa wines and Dutch treats.

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