Choice butcher shop is primed for success

Aly Teachout, granddaughter of the owners, and Jamie Thistle, the counter person, at Davison Meats. Thistle said she cleans the counters at least once an hour.  (Karen Schaffner/Staff)

At Davison Meats on Ina Road, selling produce is about more than weighing meat and taking money.

Cleanliness is important, especially to store clerk Jamie Thistle, who disinfects the counters hourly.

“I didn’t realize there was so much to know about meat,” Thistle said. “There are so many different parts to (a cow) and different cuts. Learning where they come from on the animal is really cool.”

This isn’t just any butcher shop. Order a particular cut of beef here and head butcher Brett Sippy will make sure it’s done right.

“I cut whatever people need and teach them how to cook it if they need help with that,” he said.

“We do a lot of specialty cuts,” added journeyman butcher Chris Marmon. “Like most places you don’t see Denver (steak). You don’t see tri-tips. We sell hanger steaks, too, and a lot of places don’t have hanger steaks.”

Hanger steaks are a cut of beef prized for the flavor.

Customers trust Sippy because, besides his decade-plus years as a butcher, he spent 18 years as a chef. The Scottsdale Culinary Institute graduate prefers being a butcher over a cook.

“This is what I do,” he said simply.

Davison Meats is the first Ina Road butcher shop to come along in 15 years, Sippy said. Located in the Embassy Plaza, it’s doing fairly well, well enough to keep the doors open for the last year and a half. The store specializes in selling prime cuts of beef, with prime ribeye steaks its best seller. High-quality choice cuts are also available at Davison Meats.

“We try not to handle regular mainstream choice, because that’s the realm of the supermarkets,” Sippy said. “The upper certified choice programs, we buy out of those. Sometimes those cross over into prime in terms of how the marbling content and everything is.”

What’s the difference between prime and choice? Well, price for one thing. Prime is about $2 more per pound.

“Prime beef is the top 1% of beef that’s produced domestically, and it has the highest marbling content available,” Sippy said. “It also has the creamy white fat. (The beef cattle) are generally grass fed and finished on a high-quality grain for the last 30 to 60 days. Prime is the best for quality and palatability.”

Most of Davison Meats’ products are never frozen, and come fresh from Greater Omaha Packing. This is the only shop in the Tucson area that handles products from this company, according to Sippy.

“(Greater Omaha Packing) is considered to be basically the best that is produced here in the continental United States,” he said. “They have really high quality and sanitation standards.”

Davison Meats’ pork comes from Kansas and Iowa. It is quickly sold, Sippy said, so it’s always fresh.

At Davison Meats, Sippy and Marmon make all the brats and sausages. They grind their own ground beef, and make a variety of patties, including the ya-ya patty, made from 33% ground bacon and 66% ground beef. The pair grind and sell turkey, chicken and lamb. They make both beef and pork chorizo and breakfast sausage. They even make dog food, grinding together organ meats, beef trimmings from the case and vegetables. Sippy said the dog food is biologically appropriate for a raw diet. Find it in the frozen case. “It’s a wholesome product,” Sippy said.

This is all front-of-the-house stuff. In the back of the shop, Sippy introduces Big Bertha, the grinder, where they make the sausage, the ground meats and the dog food.

“Not at the same time,” Sippy is quick to add. Big Bertha gets a good cleaning twice a day. Nearby is a meat-cutting saw, which looks like a band saw; a freezer for storing items like the dog food; and some ground meats, and the cooler, where meat is stored at a nippy 29-degrees.

The Davison Meats employees keep after the details of running a meat market. They all know it makes for a better shopping and eating experience.

“The quality level that we carry, the attention to detail that we have, and the sanitation level that we keep: it all equals a higher quality dining experience and a safer dining experience,” Sippy said.

The owners are Reb Davison and Sandy Teachout. Their granddaughter, Aly Teachout, a freshman at Canyon del Oro High School, works at the shop, although she can’t touch saws or knives. She said the next goal for the shop is adding locally grown beef, sourced from the owners’ ranch in Elfrida. It is hoped the local beef will be added sometime this year.

Teachout enjoys working there, as she likes being part of a team.

“I think it’s really important that it’s family owned,” Teachout said. “All the staff are really friendly; we get along really well. All the meat is really high quality.”

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