Know-how. That’s what you gain by befriending a butcher, and Marty Caron is an exceptional one.
Premium proteins are his passion. He managed meat and seafood departments for Publix for 28 years (helping them expand in two states) before opening Hooked Meat and Seafood Market, but as a teen he apprenticed at an independent butcher shop in Connecticut hoping one day to own a place like it.
“All these years I learned and planned. I didn’t want to open a chop shop or a franchise. I dreamed about stocking quality meats, the cuts we’d do, and the fresh seafood we could offer. The variety excited me and the gourmet items too,” says Caron.
He opened Hooked Market on Stallings Road last October near the neighborhoods surrounding Pebble Creek Golf Course with his eldest daughter, Heather Waters. The 1,800-square-foot market is beautifully clean with banks of new equipment cradling Black Angus beef, heritage pork, house-made sausage, and wild domestic seafood.
Spend a bit of time with father and daughter and you’ll catch them “dusting the ice.” It’s the practice of top dressing cases with flake ice to keep fish at an ideal state. They pamper their offerings, and it shows; cases are emptied, drained, and cleaned each night and are immaculate because of it.
“We’re artists at heart,” says Waters. “We like to make things look beautiful so you’ll want to try it.”
Service is key and Marty’s favorite part of each day is butchering directly from the 32-degree walk-in. “I love it when a customer points to a steak and says I wish it was this thick showing me between two fingers. I go straight to the cooler and pull out a whole rib of beef or a tenderloin and hand cut them exactly what they describe.”
The duo has been known to make custom sausage while a customer waits (it takes 20 minutes if all the ingredients are in house) or to print out recipes on demand. They are ready for football season — and of course the holidays. Both are avid cooks because, simply put, they can’t get away from food. “You have to know how to handle your product and pass that onto your customer,” says Waters. “We love the ‘backyard bbq champions,’ as we call them. They want new ideas and different things to try all the time.”
The newest offering is a braided (yes braided) fresh pork belly ready for the smoker or grill. They skin it, then slice not quite through, and braid and tie it using a beef needle. Marty says to dry-season it and smoke it for an hour at 250 degrees, glaze it with Sally’s Greatest Peach and Ginger Jam, and place it back in the smoker for another hour.
There’s Kobe Wagyu beef available too and crown roast from Allegiance Pork and duck breast, live lobsters, Carolina shrimp, wild salmon, and mako shark, king crab legs, and even fresh rabbit.
Semi-prepared foods include a dozen types of sausage made on site (including fall favorites pumpkin pecan and country cranberry apple), seven types of burger patties, a half dozen kabob options, stuffed chicken breasts, twice baked potatoes, dips aplenty, and more.
So if you’re looking to up your game at the grill this fall, look no farther than Hooked.
How To Cook A Great Steak
- Bring whole cuts of beef up to room temperature, which allows connective tissue to soften before cooking.
- Don’t season with salt until you’re ready to place meat onto heat.
- Use coarse ground sea salt and fresh ground pepper to compliment the natural flavors of premium beef.
- Let it rest. If you’re willing to take the time to bring it up to room temperature, take 5 or 6 minutes to let the meat rest off the grill, allowing it to reabsorb its natural juices.
- A medium to medium rare steak (of an average thickness) typically cooks over charcoal for 8 minutes on the first side and 5 minutes on the other.
- If all else fails, the poorest cook will have a hard time ruining a thick steak. Purchase a steak around 1.5-2 inches thick, and use a meat thermometer.
Be a boss at the grill.
Marty says there’s an easy way to entertain like a pro: Impress with a mixed grill. Cook a variety of proteins and board them together offering guests a chance to make their own plates. He likes a combination of beef shoulder medallions and pork tenderloin with some specialty sausage and Carolina shrimp (and says the range in price overall really favors the host).
What’s new for fall? Spoon roast. Top sirloin roast is hand-rolled and tied so when prepared it’s tender enough to “eat with a spoon.” It is best for oven roasting or a grill preparation. And, don’t forget about turkey. If you want to dine like White House royalty order a Bell and Evans bird at Hooked Market; it’s the same turkey served to the President each Thanksgiving.