A mid-80s TV ad asked “Where’s the beef?” and today you may sometimes ask the same. Or, rather, “Where’s the great beef?” Luckily the answer is nearby. One of the best butchers in the Cities is right here in town. If they don’t already have exactly what you are looking for, they probably know how to make it—just ask!
Brothers Meat and Seafood, located in a strip mall in the heart of Maple Grove, has been open for business for 14 years. Brothers Joel and Jerry Hoogland started their butchering careers some 20-plus years before opening their store. They gained their skills first as meat cutters at Rainbow Foods, and then went on to other careers. The Hooglands decided to open a shop of their own after working in the corporate world for more than 20 years. They wanted to get back to the basics and offer customers simple, natural products.
Brothers Meat and Seafood prides itself on extensive knowledge of meat, and they strive to offer top-quality products as well as top-notch customer service. There is a “great bunch of guys working here,” says Joel. The team can educate customers about different cuts of meat, how to prepare them and what to choose for a special occasion. If a customer is interested in something Brothers doesn’t carry, or if religious or special dietary needs are a consideration, Brothers will find a way to provide.
The meat case is filled with everything from fish and other seafood to pork, chicken and beef. Their most popular items are their homemade snack sticks, 25 different kinds of fresh brats, stuffed burgers and a variety of jerkies. Side dishes are also sold in the store: a one-stop shop for those looking for a complete meal. Russet potatoes, corn on the cob and a variety of salads fit the bill.
With deer hunting season quickly approaching, Brothers offers wild game processing. They also offer a program in which deer can be donated to a good cause, at no cost to the hunter. Brothers processes the donated deer and provides basic deer meat cuts to various food banks and food shelves to help those in need.
While the storefront is bustling with customers and butchers, there is a whole other world behind the scenes. Joel Hoogland took us to the back of the store for a special look at the sausage-making scene. It’s an intricate, fascinating process which starts with weighing the meat, followed by the addition of seasonings, after which it is ground and fed into a hydraulic stuffer. Upon exit from the stuffer, it presents itself encased in tubes, which are then hand twisted and hung to dry on racks. The care and love that goes into the sausage pays off in the end with wonderful taste.
Long-time Maple Grove resident Rob Nelson discovered Brothers Meat and Seafood approximately five years ago. He and his family frequent the store a couple of times per month looking for weekend grilling options. They tend to buy a wide variety of items, but when hosting family or friends they opt for the chicken or steak kabobs. To kick it up a notch for those extra special occasions, the cold water lobster tails are Nelson’s go-to choice.
This small butcher shop boasts big flavors. Whether you are looking to try something new, feed friends or simply look for “the beef,” Brothers is a meat market that leaves an indelible impression.
Are you ready to prepare enough meat to last for the winter and beyond? Brothers processes wild game like elk, moose, bear, goose and duck. These last two make surprisingly good snack sticks. Plan on bagging a deer this season? You can have it made into sticks or jerky, or any of the following:
Maple rope sausage
Old fashioned ring bologna
Ground venison bacon
Cheese summer sausage
The shape, size and mix of venison, pork and beef are endless, and you may hit upon a recipe you’ll want to repeat each year. You work hard, preparing, packing, traveling, and waiting in the cold for that perfect set of antlers to emerge from the woods; let this be the year that you try something creative with your catch.