Mickey Michalik of Tag’s Meat Market in Chalmette is one of Louisiana’s top butchers and a consistent source of meat for cooking experiments in our test kitchen.
But the man also presides over a fine lunch house featuring massive 24oz hamburgers, and 32″ po boys stuffed with liver cheese, hot sausage, pork chops, and Cotto salami amid a long list of other potential fillings.
If you can’t imagine tackling one of these beastly meals then more diminutive versions are also on offer.
Like an 11″ Alois J Binder French loaf stuffed with 2 house-ground beef patties ($7.29) griddled on an antique flattop that’s seen thousands of pounds of meat come off it over the years. There is no substitute for what the patina of an old-timey grill gives to food.
Tag’s has been around forever starting back in the 1940s as a stall in the French Market before migrating, first to the Lower 9th Ward, and then to Chalmette which Michalik describes as being “like the wild, wild West back then”
We love the modern St Bernard Parish for that very reason. It gives us a nice break from New Orleans which is increasingly buffed, polished and codified by our city’s ‘leaders’
What does a hard-working butcher do when he’s not running his meat market? “I’ve got a ’69 Camaro that I like to cruise around the 9th Ward in” “I’m a people watcher and the 9th has some real interesting characters in it”
As residents we could not agree more.
Our chat descends into arcane butchery methods, talk of the changes wrought in the modern livestock industry and how slaughterhouses are vanishing from the Louisiana landscape. Michalik is surprised when I tell him of T-Boy Berzas’ operation up in Mamou where animals are led in the backdoor bellowing and carried out the front door in the form of boudin and pork chops.
I grew up in a slaughterhouse and it’s nice to converse with a man familiar with the old way of doing things.
We order some jalapeno cheddar pork sausages and a packet of ground beef for Tex Mex chili, thank Mickey for the conversation, and say our goodbyes.
On the way out of Chalmette we pop into Jeanfreau’s Meat Market to see what their butcher Larry has in his case.
Residents of ‘da parish’ can thank their lucky stars that they have two world class meat grocers in their backyard.
1207 E Judge Perez Dr
Hours of operation
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