Among many other things (including hundreds of local vendors selling everything from flowers to fresh produce to craft foods and LOTS more — you don’t fill six blocks with just run-of-the-mill offerings, after all), Eastern Market is one of the best places in Metro Detroit to score direct-from-the-butcher meats. With some 28 butcher shops surrounding the 43-acre market, there is a shop to suit each of your meat-buying needs, no matter how diverse.

The meat at these markets is served up and displayed in the same old-world fashion that it has been for decades. Unlike the pre-packed, mass-marketed, over-styled meat displayed at the supermarket, large cuts and whole carcasses hang from meat hooks in the ceiling, and sausage is made fresh daily. The meat cutters and butchers are actually knowledgeable enough to tell you where the meat came from and how to cook it.The markets are easy to spot. Most of the squat brick buildings are painted red and decorated with cute murals of livestock happily frolicking in the grass. Many markets, like Ftoni Meats, have a refrigerated store front (which is a great way to cool off after wandering around in summer heat and crowds).

Everything needed for events from a summer barbecue to a traditional holiday meal can be found at these meat markets. Get whole pig and lambs at Wolverine Packing, handmade sausage from Detroit Sausage Co., top cuts like Kobe beef and Berkshire pork from Fairway Packing, and Eid lambs from Berry & Sons Islamic Slaughter House.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series about Eastern Market, a real bonafide Detroit institution.