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Photo from Muckleston & Brockwell's website.

Muckleston & Brockwell: a community-centred butcher shop

By Jason Myerson on December 12, 2016

Post by Jason Myerson. Explore more locally crafted language and imagery at www.jasonmyerson.com.

Its definitely an art,” Ottawa born Andrew Muckleston explains to me.  

Muckleston has been cultivating the classic craft of butchery for decades, carving out new ideas to express his creativity. 

Muckleston was cast into a creative mindset from an early age by supportive parents who also saw the independent entrepreneurial spirit within him.

Photo by Derek Frett.

Photo by Derek Frett.

When I first moseyed through Muckleston & Brockwells doors at 127 Beechwood Ave., I was surprised by the ambiance. I had expected the cold murderous smell of meat and the dry expressionless face waiting for you to ask what you need, and get out. This wasnt the case at all. The art form was visible even through the service and the shop itself. Everything glowed of quality in a rustic and royal fashion. 

Photo by Derek Frett.

Photo by Derek Frett.

A friendly Ottawa Valley accent reeled me in closer to an easy going over-the-counter conversation, as I looked up at the glistening chandelier. The relaxed, but professional feel gave me the confidence to ask Muckleston where he procured his meat from and the inspiration for what he does.

He personally selected his beef from Enright Cattle Company, a family-owned, third-generation farm whose trustworthy philosophy is built on quality and exceptional animal welfare practices.

This was my dream from the start, and I want to show that passion to my customers, he said. Muckleston remembers working two jobs and the steep learning curve.

It was clear now that I wasnt just supporting the design or best practices of a place, but also the people who inspire us, and their values.

Photo from Muckleston & Brockwell's Facebook page.

Photo from Muckleston & Brockwell’s Facebook page.

Andrew also has a line of sauces (Andy the Butcher) whose flavours and versatility are incredible. Great ideas seem to percolate through him like the Happy Goat Coffee in the storefront, but I promised the meat maverick that I wouldnt divulge his up-and-coming creations.

While I was chatting away with Andrew, in walked one Sylvain Hotte, a stout, middle-aged man with a genuine smile. Andrew introduced us, and explained that Hottes mother was born in the house that’s now Muckleston & Brockwell. Hotte smiles as he looks back on helping his father shovel coal into the basement stove as a kid. After I helped him put coal into the stove, I remember my father winking at me and then taking a shot of booze, Hotte recalled.

People came in shaking hands, exchanging goods and some just to chat. Being a part of the community is a sentiment put into practice at Muckleston & Brockwell: the echo of a time that brought people together is built into its foundation.

I asked Andrew what his favourite cut of beef was while eyeing the variety. I like the uncommon cuts like hanger, skirt, flat iron, and spider steaks, he said with certainty.

You can get whatever it is youre looking for at the fine butchery, even a chuckle: in this case, the awkwardly uncomfortable chuckle that only the gritty raw realness of sheep testicles for sale can bring to a place.

There was no need for a conversation piece in the shop, yet every single thing seemingly held a story. If you’re hurrying to find a gift idea for a friend or loved one this holiday season, nothing brings people together like food around a fire. Enjoy a candle lit dinner with the help of Muckleston & Brockwell. They also have gift cards to make the stocking stuffing a little more sanitary.

Stop in and spark up a conversation at 127 Beechwood Ave. You can find the shop online, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure to also check out Lindseys artistic word burning creations on Instagram at @carcasspyrography.