The Vegan 'Butcher' Counter Braving The Lone Star State

A Texas grocery chain just debuted a completely meatless butcher counter—and, yes, there's brisket.

Ah, Texas! The land of giant hats and 72-ounce steak races. They say everything's bigger there—especially the beef cattle. But now, a specialty grocer is focusing on the meat-loving state's proud vegan residents with a completely meatless butcher counter.

Per Austin Culture Map, the Meatless Butcher has arrived at a high-end grocer in the Austin, Texas neighborhood of Westgate. The "butcher" counter is tucked into the produce department of Central Market, an upscale division of cherished Texas grocery store H-E-B. The counter opened on Friday, April 22 and, per Austin Culture Map, will now "provide many of the options a typical butcher would, but all the items will be plant-based and prepared daily by Central Market's talented chefs."

What’s on offer at a vegan butcher counter?

In short: a lot. Austin Culture Map reports that the plant-based items include meatless chicken wings, meatless chicken fajitas, and meatless brisket made with jackfruit, vegan beef-flavored stock, red miso paste, tahini, vegan Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and spices. There's also a meatless chorizo option, meatless pepperoni for vegan pizza, and several cuts of marinated "meat."


Are vegan butcher counters the next grocery frontier?

The Central Market news is fantastic, especially in a region that produces by far the most cattle in the U.S. True, the Meatless Butcher has set up shop in famously progressive Austin, Texas—but it seems like an excellent way to shed light on the tasty possibilities associated with meat substitutes like jackfruit, seitan, and tempeh. That's especially true when it comes to bridging the gap between vegan consumers and meat-and-potatoes types. Take my dad, for example. He was born and raised in a dusty town outside of Amarillo, and he's got the taste buds to prove it. If I can slip him a jackfruit brisket and convince him it's the real thing, it'll be a miracle. Sounds like Central Market's Meatless Butcher is one step closer to converting Texan dads everywhere that plants make great barbecue, too.