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View Full Version : Do you know what a meat "locker" is, and why it's called that?


chique
12-27-2008, 01:33 AM
On my way home from the holiday I stopped by my hometown's locker (http://www.foleylocker.com/) for some summer sausage (regular normal, cranberry-wild rice, and blueberry-cheddar, if you were wondering). As I continued on home I had the following conversation with myself in my head:

"I wonder why everyone else calls it a butcher shop?"
"Oh, it must be because everyone else grew up in a city and I grew up on a farm."
"Wait, southern literature is filled with stories regarding cured protein."
"...but we have BACON!..."
"...but even in backwoods Georgia the towns got electricity and refrigeration before the country..."
"...and my grandparents didn't have any money, either, but even THEY could afford to pay the town's meat processing plant for a locker the size of a dressed-out cow..."
"And, yet, everyone talks about the butcher shop unless they're from Minnesota or the Dakotas. Maybe Iowa. I should start a thread."
"Naw, everyone will talk about the New York mob hanging their enemies on meat hooks."
"NOT THE SAME TYPE OF LOCKER!"
"Yeah, well, you and I know that, but do they?"

Sooo...a geographical quiz, then.

1) What do you call the place where you want to get better-than-grocery-store meat?
2) What do you call the place that will kill and/or process your cow/deer/pig?
3) If your answer to either 1) or 2) is "locker", did you know why it was called that?
4) Where are you (or, where were you when you came to know the name of that dead meat place)?
5) I'm probably forgetting an extraordinarily pertinent question here so just fill in the blank.

Queen Tonya
12-27-2008, 01:46 AM
1. Meat market, but lots of folks still say butcher shop even though I've never shopped in one that marketed themselves as a butchers.
2. Processors.
3. n/a
4. Midwest, lots of hunters around here and in my family, never heard locker used to describe a processor.
5. I like bacon.

Inner Stickler
12-27-2008, 01:47 AM
1) Butcher store
2) I dunno. Processor, butcher, nearest person with a meat grinder/woodchipper?
3) As far as I know, a meat locker is a walk-in freezer where lots of dead animals are stored.
4) Minnesota
5) I don't eat a lot of meat and I've definitely never killed my own or needed it converted from hooved to steaked.

edit: Meat market is a good one. I know there's at least one business in my town that is Blank Meat Market but I think I would call it a butcher store or shop in conversation.

Reply
12-27-2008, 01:49 AM
Huh? From a life-long fast-food/cafeteria eater:

1) What do you call the place where you want to get better-than-grocery-store meat?
Fancy restaurant? Other countries?

2) What do you call the place that will kill and/or process your cow/deer/pig?
Slaughterhouse / highway / Oscar Mayer

3) If your answer to either 1) or 2) is "locker", did you know why it was called that?
No idea.

4) Where are you (or, where were you when you came to know the name of that dead meat place)?
California.

5) I'm probably forgetting an extraordinarily pertinent question here so just fill in the blank.
There are still places that kill live animals for you on the spot? And then keep the pieces in individual lockers for you...?! Wow. I thought celebs getting private wine lockers in restaurants was over-the-top.

Hunter Hawk
12-27-2008, 01:57 AM
1) What do you call the place where you want to get better-than-grocery-store meat?

Butcher shop, possibly meat market. If you went to college at RPI, there was also the Troy Pork Store.

2) What do you call the place that will kill and/or process your cow/deer/pig?

Processor.

3) If your answer to either 1) or 2) is "locker", did you know why it was called that?

n/a since I don't call it a locker, but I'd assume that the "meat locker" is the actual room where they store and/or age the meat. So the locker would be a subset of the butcher shop.

4) Where are you (or, where were you when you came to know the name of that dead meat place)?

Central NJ.

5) I'm probably forgetting an extraordinarily pertinent question here so just fill in the blank.

The Pacific Northwest is in dire need of more European immigrant running butcher shops. There's a lack of sausage around here.

Leiko
12-27-2008, 02:10 AM
1) What do you call the place where you want to get better-than-grocery-store meat?
I usually think of it as a butcher store or shop, because I read a lot of cookbooks and the NYT dining section, but if I'm thinking about the specific places I know, it's Stewart's, the place we get jerky, and that place in Tumwater. And then you get "locker service" at Stewart's- or we did, when I was a kid, because we switched processors.

2) What do you call the place that will kill and/or process your cow/deer/pig? Home Meat Services, because that's the store name. But in general I think of them as a processor.

3) If your answer to either 1) or 2) is "locker", did you know why it was called that? The freezers are the lockers.

4) Where are you (or, where were you when you came to know the name of that dead meat place)? When dealing with meat, Lacey, Washington, with Stewart's in McKenna (map says Yelm, but my Mom says McKenna and I trust her over the map on this) and Home Meat Services out in Kamilche (near Shelton)

5) I'm probably forgetting an extraordinarily pertinent question here so just fill in the blank.
Reply- Small farms (such as my family's) aren't able by law to slaughter our animals on-site, and don't have the facilities to process our own meat. So we need a processor and locker service. Hunters use processors too, to butcher out their kill and make the sausage and jerky and such.
Hunter Hawk- where are you in the Pacific Northwest? If you're anywhere near Yelm, Stewart's has some good sausages: I distinctly remember the cocktail sausages being perfect food to eat in a blanket fort while watching soap operas with one's grandmother.

Hunter Hawk
12-27-2008, 02:43 AM
Hunter Hawk- where are you in the Pacific Northwest? If you're anywhere near Yelm, Stewart's has some good sausages: I distinctly remember the cocktail sausages being perfect food to eat in a blanket fort while watching soap operas with one's grandmother.
I'm in Seattle. If you have specific recommendations, I'd love to hear them--it may take a while for me to get to it, but road trips are an option.

elfkin477
12-27-2008, 04:30 AM
1. I haven't seen one in person since I was in elementary school, but it's a butcher shop.

2. Slaughterhouse

3. N/A

4. NH

5. A "meat locker" is a refrigerated room, not a business.

kferr
12-27-2008, 04:57 AM
1. I remember 'meat lockers' from growing up in southern Iowa. A steer would walk in one end and packaged meat would come out the other. I'm in the UK now and we say "butcher's shop" or just "the butcher's".
2. Locker, butcher's, or abattoir.
3. My dad would refer to the big locking chest freezer where we stored our meat as the meat locker.
4. Formerly Iowa, now (old) Hampshire.

LSLGuy
12-27-2008, 10:43 AM
1. Butcher shop or meat market

2. Here locally (St. Louis), they're called "processor." Some are named "Bob's Meat Locker" or such, but they always have "deer processing" or "hog processing" or the like in big letters on their sign. I grew up in SoCal & out there I'd never seen one, but I'd've used a term like slaughterhouse to describe one.

3. NA

4. See #2

5. OK, so what does the OP think "locker" originally meant?

RealityChuck
12-27-2008, 11:58 AM
1) Meat market or butcher shop.
2) Nothing like that around here. Those cattle farmers in the area tend to raise milk cows, and I don't believe pigs are commercially raised. People who hunt deer process it themselves. In general, I'd assume the term is "slaughterer."
3) NA
4) Upstate NY, originally from Long Island (whose farmers at the time grew potatoes, califlower, and ducks (which were probably killed at the duck farm)).

AuntiePam
12-27-2008, 12:11 PM
I still call it a locker. My parents used one when I was a kid, in the days before everyone had big freezers. They'd buy meat by the quarter or half. The meat was stored in a locker at the place where the processing was done. Think of it like a bank, and your locker as a safe deposit box. When you wanted a few pounds of your meat, you'd get it from the locker, take it home and put it in your refrigerator. It was cheaper to buy it that way, even with the locker fee added in. I don't know if the meat was better than the meat in the grocery store.

ETA: It was called a locker because that's where you locked up (stored) the meat. I never went inside, but it's possible that the storage spaces looked like school lockers.

Fish
12-27-2008, 12:13 PM
1. I call it "Stewart's Meats."
2. I call it "Stewart's Meats."
3.
4. Pacific Norhtwest.
5. There are surprisingly few independent butcher shops and meat processing establishments in my neck of the woods.

stretch
12-27-2008, 12:50 PM
1) When I was a kid my grandparents cut and packaged meat as one of their side businesses, so Grandma's house. We raised our own beef up until about 10 years ago, when Grandma sold the place.

2) Formerly Grandma's house, now Ray's Meats if I want something special. That's cuz I don't live close enought to Stewarts. :)

3) The local lockers are meat processors that will let you store beef there. A locker is where you keep the beef you have had processed if'n you don't have room for it in your own freezer.

4) I grew up in Central Washington and was wrapping beef by the time I was 5. Grandma's old place could hang at least a dozen beef to age, and we cut beef for most of the valley (we did not butcher--butchering is done in the field; we hung and processed already butchered meat.)

5) I love beef and pork. I have cut up enough poorly butchered deer and elk to never eat venison or elk again.

Properties of Iron
12-27-2008, 01:04 PM
This thread was not what I was expecting. Y'all apparently have cleaner minds that I do.

Green Bean
12-27-2008, 10:17 PM
1) What do you call the place where you want to get better-than-grocery-store meat?
--Butcher shop

2) What do you call the place that will kill and/or process your cow/deer/pig?
--Meat comes from animals!? :eek:

3) If your answer to either 1) or 2) is "locker", did you know why it was called that?
--N/A, but I've heard the term "meat locker," and always assumed it referred to a refrigerated room or something.

4) Where are you?
--I'm in NJ. Grew up on LI. Lived in Pittsburgh. Never hung with farmers or hunters or folks like that. Fishermen took care of their own fishies.

5) I'm probably forgetting an extraordinarily pertinent question here so just fill in the blank.
--I really did know that meat comes from animals.

Uncle Brother Walker
12-28-2008, 12:41 AM
This thread was not what I was expecting. Y'all apparently have cleaner minds that I do.

Ditto.

I was thinking more of a 'kung-fu grip' thing.

:D

susan
12-28-2008, 01:09 AM
1) What do you call the place where you want to get better-than-grocery-store meat?
The butcher, the butcher shop (in the Northeast), and meat market in the Northwest.

2) What do you call the place that will kill and/or process your cow/deer/pig?
This guy my friend knows, who for a small fee....

3) If your answer to either 1) or 2) is "locker", did you know why it was called that?
N/A

4) Where are you (or, where were you when you came to know the name of that dead meat place)?
Mid-Atlantic --> New England --> Pacific Northwest

5) I'm probably forgetting an extraordinarily pertinent question here so just fill in the blank.
Care for a tofu pup?

The Tof
12-28-2008, 05:58 AM
1> Butchershop

2> Slaughterhouse or abatoire

3> n/a

4> Oregon-- although possibly relevant, I picked up abatoire from Monty Python. ("Are you planning on slaughtering our tennants?" "Does that not fit in with your plans sir?")

5> I like turtles

samclem
12-28-2008, 10:45 AM
"Meat lockers" evidently came into being in the 1920s in California. Fruit and vegetable producers shipped their wares back East. But, because of excess moisture, much of it molded or rotted. The idea of a huge refrigeration plant to cool the produce down and remove excess moisture before shipping was implemented. These plants decided to also offer to farmers/ranchers/others the convenience of processing/chilling/freezing beef and meats, then storing them in a personal "meat locker" which could hold about 400 pounds of meat. You paid about $10/year for the locker. This concept spread to the Midwest(Iowa/Wisconsin/etc) by the late 20s-mid-30s, in large part by Co-ops.

LadyMack
12-28-2008, 11:57 AM
I still call it a locker. My parents used one when I was a kid, in the days before everyone had big freezers. They'd buy meat by the quarter or half. The meat was stored in a locker at the place where the processing was done. Think of it like a bank, and your locker as a safe deposit box. When you wanted a few pounds of your meat, you'd get it from the locker, take it home and put it in your refrigerator. It was cheaper to buy it that way, even with the locker fee added in. I don't know if the meat was better than the meat in the grocery store.

ETA: It was called a locker because that's where you locked up (stored) the meat. I never went inside, but it's possible that the storage spaces looked like school lockers.

What she said.
When I was a kid, there was a Meat Locker on main street. Very small place, they didn't process deer at the time. The lockers were the metal baskets in large framework, kept in the Freezer room. Each basket slid out and had a lip that you could put your own lock on. Most people didn't have or couldn't afford a home freezer.
When that business moved to a larger building, they started processing all sorts of meats, but only used the baskets to store wrapped orders until the owners would pick it all up at once to take home.
That place is out of business now, and the remaining one in that area is called a Locker Plant.

I still call that sort of place a Locker, and a regular meat store The Butcher's.

Girl Hermit
12-28-2008, 08:51 PM
1) What do you call the place where you want to get better-than-grocery-store meat?
The deli.

2) What do you call the place that will kill and/or process your cow/deer/pig?
The abitoire.

3) If your answer to either 1) or 2) is "locker", did you know why it was called that?
I have never heard the word "locker" used to mean anything regarding meat. Unless it's the men's change room at the gym and meant as a joke.

4) Where are you (or, where were you when you came to know the name of that dead meat place)?
Ontario, Canada

cwthree
12-29-2008, 11:11 AM
1) Butcher shop in general, the actual business name (e.g. Rosen's Kosher Meats) wherever I happen to be living.
2) The place that kills your beast of preference is an abbatoir, slaughterhouse, or simply the local live poultry market. The place that converts your already dead but still intact deer (turkey, elk, etc.) into manageable cuts is a processor.
3) Doesn't apply to me. I grew up in the northeast US, where a "meat locker" is a large refrigerated room where sides of meat or whole carcasses are stored before being parcelled out into smaller cuts. Supermarkets, butcher shops, and better restaurants have a meat locker.
4) Chicago area and New York area, historically.
5) My favorite animal product these days is cheese.

Sattua
12-29-2008, 12:21 PM
1) What do you call the place where you want to get better-than-grocery-store meat?
Butcher

2) What do you call the place that will kill and/or process your cow/deer/pig?
Processor

4) Where are you (or, where were you when you came to know the name of that dead meat place)?
The midwest: Indiana/Michigan/Illinois

hellpaso
12-29-2008, 12:28 PM
1--meat market
2--slaughterhouse/processor
3--always thought a "meat locker" was a walk-in freezer where the meat was stored--not
the business itself. "It's so cold you could hang meat in there!"
4--west TN, north MS, west TX, south TX

delphica
12-29-2008, 12:41 PM
1. Butcher shop
2. The meat processor guy
3. I didn't answer locker for either, but I always thought a meat locker was the storage freezer at the butcher's where the meat was kept. Also, I'm pretty sure Peter got locked in Sam's meat freezer on the Brady Bunch once.
4. New York
5. Does anyone have a good method for roasting eye of round? I made one at Christmas, and wasn't thrilled with it.

BigNik
12-29-2008, 04:01 PM
1. Butcher's shop
2. Abattoir
4. Sydney, NSW.
5. No, but when I was eight I remember that a friend's mother did.

Kalypso
12-29-2008, 04:07 PM
1) House of Beef
2) House of Beef
3) answer wasn't "locker"
4) Oakdale, CA
5) My parents kept ranch butchered meat in a locker at House of Beef, but I never thought of calling the whole place that.