If you’re a loyal customer of the U of M Dairy Salesroom, you are likely already a devoted patron of its fleshy twin, the U of M Meat Laboratory Salesroom. However, if you’ve been to neither, read on. But, be forewarned that once you’ve starting purchasing meat — beef, pork, lamb, turkey, and sausages — from the U of M Meat Lab, you might not want to go anywhere else. One loyal customer says: “Basically, we rarely buy meat at the store anymore.” Except for chicken.
Located in a windowless room on the first floor of the Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science building on the U of M’s St. Paul campus and open only on Wednesday afternoons, the Meat Lab offers an array of products to the public and a multitude of training options for students. Sausages are made using the U of M’s own apples for the apple brats and its cheddar for the cheddar brats, cheddarwurst, and jalapeño smoked cheddar sausages. The lamb is raised at the U of M’s research and outreach center in Morris, MN and the turkey, at UMore Park in Rosemount, MN.
You name it — smoked, dried, corned, bone-in, boneless, ground — they’ve got it. Nearly all of it either frozen or cured. And if they don’t have it, say, side pork for making bacon or fat for rendering into lard, you can special order it.
Similar to the ice cream and cheeses sold at the U of M’s Dairy Salesroom, this meat isn’t artisanal, craftsman quality, but it is competitively priced. And the service is earnest. One customer, purchases slung over her shoulder in a cloth tote bag, said as she left the lab: “I’ve been coming here for years. And I’ve always been happy with the quality.” Two U of M pork crown roasts graced our family’s table last Christmas. The roasts, stuffed and elegantly adorned with paper frills, did not betray their humble origins.
Also available: U of M honey and U of M maple syrup. And U of M Meat Science hats.
Hats! You can see why devotees don’t feel the need to shop anywhere else.
University of Minnesota Meat Laboratory Sales Room
1354 Eckles Ave, Room 26
St. Paul, MN 55108