The ultimate barbecue

The ultimate barbecue

Mike Erb of Sugar Valley Meats likes to stay a cut above by offering the freshest meats and specialty cuts you can’t find at the grocery store.


It’s grilling season. Backyard barbecues celebrate warm weather and warmer gatherings. Food cooked outside tastes better, and that fact alone is more than enough reason to make the most of it.

No one knows for sure why — it just does — but the one surefire way to make the food at a backyard barbecue taste even better is not to settle for whatever is at the grocery store.

For superior flavor and the freshest cuts, no one knows better than a butcher.

For backyard barbecues, Sugar Valley Meats is made to order.

“Since we process the beef and hogs right here onsite, we have a large selection of cuts available,” Sugar Valley Meats butcher Mike Erb said. “You’re able to get a lot of cuts that grocery stores won’t carry.”

Over the last 30 years, Sugar Valley Meats has gained a loyal base of backyard chefs in Sugarcreek and beyond. They come from all over. Some are looking for the rich flavor, tender texture and lean cut of a tri-tip steak. Others are looking to go all out with a whole 16-pound brisket.

Whether they wait in store or call ahead, Sugar Valley Meats can fill almost any order for custom-cut meats.

“If you want 25 half-inch-thick cut steaks for your next backyard event, we can do that.”

There is renewed interest in the market for the consistently high quality and custom-cut meats that only a skilled butcher can provide.

“We keep a lot of whole loin cut here,” Erb said. “That’s nice for couples. A wife will eat a smaller-sized portion, a normal or maybe half- to three-quarter-inch thick-cut steak, while her husband might have a bigger appetite. He can go all the way up to an inch-and-a-half.”

Since no one knows better, Erb has some tips to make the most of grilling season.

“I like a good steak that has a lot of fat to it, and rib eye is my go-to,” he said. “It has nice marbling and stays nice and juicy on the grill. You won’t have to worry too much about overcooking it. If you just bought a smoker, start with a pork shoulder butt. It’s nice and fatty and lends itself to learning. Mostly, check out our website and come visit us. We’re here to be a knowledge base. That’s what we like to do."

Find Sugar Valley Meats at 2149 Dutch Valley Drive NW in Sugarcreek (330-852-4423) and online at

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