Though neighborhood meat markets are quickly becoming a thing of the past, Smitty's Meat Market and Smokehouse in Tomball is working to revive the tradition by preparing its offerings to the exact specifications of customers.
"I think it's important to be able to, as a customer, come in and know who's cutting your meat," said Blake Smith, owner of Smitty's Meat Market and Smokehouse. "You can watch me cut it and get the cut you want."
Smitty's Meat Market and Smokehouse opened in December 2013 at 11210 Mahaffey Road in Tomball at the site of the former Silver Seal Meat Co. For 30 years, the previous business sold meats, homemade sausage and jerky before eventually transitioning to only offering deer meat processing.
Smith has brought back the original offerings from Silver Seal Meat Co., along with a name change.
"I grew up in this area," Smith said. "We used to come here and get our deer processed, and my parents would come here and buy steaks."
Smith spent nine years employed at Target before working alongside his uncle at a meat processing plant until late 2013. A year ago, Smith decided he wanted to go into business for himself.
"I came back from my uncle's and started looking for a place, and this was the first place I came to," Smith said. "It used to be a meat market, and it had all the drains and coolers I needed so we worked out a deal, and everybody's happy about it."
The market sells pork chops, ribs, certified Angus beef and a variety of cuts of steak, Smith said. Offering affordable prices, Smith said the business sells fresher, higher quality meats with more flavor than traditional grocery stores.
"It's all fresh, never frozen and never sits behind the counter for more than three days," Smith said. "Ground meat at other stores sits for seven days—it only lasts three before it starts browning up. What [other stores are] throwing away when it doesn't sell, I'm able to turn into sausage."
In addition, the business also makes and sells its own sausage, boudin, bacon and jerky. Smith said he takes pride in offering a wide variety of tender meat products for customers.
"We bring in bacon bellies, put it in a brown sugar cure and then smoke it for our bacon," Smith said. "We make three different flavor profiles of beef and pork sausage—mild, spicy and jalapeno cheese."
A holdover from its days as Silver Seal Meat Co., the location still offers deer processing for customers. Deer meat can be cut into steaks or turned into ground meat for $65.
"We sometimes get 50 deer in here a day," Smith said. "Last year we processed 1,200 deer during hunting season."
Smith said he enjoys the opportunity to continue the long-standing tradition of operating a neighborhood meat market in the Tomball community.
Smitty's Meat Market and Smokehouse, 11210 Mahaffey Road, Tomball 281-516-7205, Hours: Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.–4 p.m., closed Sundays