Meat UK’s hidden gem: the butcher shop


The UK Butcher Shop is located in the basement of the W.P. Garrigus Building off Cooper Drive in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Adam Sherberg | Staff 

Jelyn Washington-Mays

Tucked away in the basement of the W.P. Garrigus Building is a unique fixture of campus life: the UK Butcher Shop.

The boutique shop, considered that because it does not have a consistent supply, was opened in 2013 as a way to supplement funds back into the UK Animal and Food Sciences Department, according to shop manager Brock Billingsley.

The meat sold in the shop, which includes beef, pork, sheep and goat, is all USDA approved and raised at the university.

“For the people that are very conscious about their health, this is the freshest and healthiest option,” Billingsley said.

He said there are no hormones added, and that people who are interested in what the animals ate during their lifetimes can check with the shop employees.

Billingsley said that while students do come into the shop, one of its biggest markets is the hospital on campus. Lots of people from the Lexington community regularly come in as well, he said.

“We’re still trying to reach out to the rest of campus,” he said. “I don’t think that they know we exist yet.”

Even some people who have worked on campus for years don’t know about the butcher shop, he said.

So how does UK’s hidden gem plan to attract more student consumers?

Facebook, its social media manager said.

UK agriculture student Emma Shelton runs the social media for the shop.

“I post every Wednesday and Friday just to let people know what we have,” Shelton said.

One of the shop’s signature items right now is a smoked cheddar bratwurst called “The Cheddar Cat.” Another signature item, according to its website, is the Spicy Fat Cat, which is an all-beef sausage infused with habanero cheese. The dish is available at the shop, as well as at Kroger Field and Rupp Arena.

More information can be found at the shop’s Facebook page, which is called University of Kentucky Butcher Shop.

In addition to posting updates about what meat is available, Shelton gets creative. One November post read, “What would happen if pigs could fly? The price of pork would skyrocket! Lucky for you, pigs don’t fly! But our fresh pork can fly off the shelf in the Butcher Shop today…”

Another day, she posted this joke because bratwurst was available: “Did you hear about the pessimist who hates sausage? They say he fears the wurst!”