As covered in a good Chicago Sun Times article by Mike Noland on August 13th, Moo & Oink is back in meat business and in your local meat department.
I’m sure some of us remember the commercials on the radio with Tommy the meat man (Mooooooo & Oink), or seeing Dwayne Wade’s father on Comcast cable commercials five or six years ago. Those commercials were so memorable that Tina Fey and the Saturday Night Live show actually did a skit about them.
But Moo & Oink was always about… well the meat. I remember 20 years ago it seemed their meat producing arm was called Calumet Meat Company. Moo & Oink had four stores, there was the original south side store at 72nd & Stony Island, another south side location at 82nd & Racine or so and a west side location on Madison and then a store in south suburban Hazel Crest (183rd & Kedzie), that carried their products but might have been franchised out to a different owner.
I visited both south side locations with my father many times, a die hard Moo & Oink man. He liked Moo & Oink because they had the traditional soul food meats, such as chitterlings (aka chitlins), pig’s feet, pig ears, neck bones, fat back, etc. A lot of these are hard to find at the mainstream stores like Jewel & Dominicks and the smaller local stores might not have the freshest meat.
The thing about Moo & Oink is it was always busy and they sold a lot of meat so it was fresh. You never smelled anything and the meat was always a good color and at a good price.
I remember being there with my dad at Thanksgiving and Christmas and they did HUGE business in chitterlings (yes pig instestines), in fact they were one of only a few stores to sell loose, fresh chitterlings by the pound. Most places just sold the frozen red bucket (10 lbs), or the smaller cleaner chitterlings (Aunt Bessie’s), that were in a 3 lb or 5 lb pail.
I liked Moo & Oink best for their famous burgers, aka “The Moo Patty”, it was a quarter pound frozen burger, about 80% lean that didn’t shrink much (like other frozen burgers), and had some flavor. But even better was their improved burger called “Hi 5”, it had small bits of onion and flavor in the actual burger (like a Bubba burger with soul), and also cooked well, didn’t shrink and had lots of flavor.
But Moo & Oink always did the “oink” best, and that also included what we called “links”, or pork sausage, primarily Italian style sausage, they had medium flavor and then the famous “hot link”, just like in the neighborhood BBQ restaurants, lots of flavor and always cooked nice, especially on the grill. Add some onions and you have a meal on a bun.
The breakfast sausage was no joke either, links or patties, talk about starting the day off right.
So I was so happy on Monday to hear the Moo & Oink products are in many local stores, including the south suburban chains like Berkots & Walt’s. But they are especially at home at Ultra Foods, where I went Monday night. They had frozen burgers and sausage, the “links” are on sale this week until Wednesday. I even had an older gentlemen see me with several Moo & Oink boxes in my cart (yes I stocked up), and asked me about them. It cannot be understated how Moo & Oink was a south side tradition, links & burgerss in the summer, and chitlins and other products in the winter.
It’s good to see them back in the meat department and can’t wait to cook them and get that south side flavor back.
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