Ask The Expert: Mariah Kinkade of The Upper Cut KC

9769 N. Cedar Ave., Kansas City, MO | 816-781-8694 |

The Upper Cut is a premium butcher shop that specializes in Akaushi (aka-ooshie) beef raised on their own local farm. They also hand make all of their own delicious brats, sausages, jerkys and burgers. The Upper Cut is the type of old-fashioned butcher shop you don’t find anymore: the staff remember what you had on the grill last weekend, steaks are hand-cut to order and you won’t have to request help carrying a hefty order out to the car.

As owner Mariah Kinkade says it, they’re “still old school when it comes to giving great service, we believe it matters.

Q: What makes your steaks and burgers unique?

A: We’ve been around for five years, but I’m a sixth-generation rancher. We raise our own cattle, there’s hardly any butcher shops still raising their own beef anymore—we want to be in control of the entire process. We are one of the few in the Midwest that both raise and sell Akaushi, which is a prime Japanese breed—some people call them the “Lamborghini of beef.” We finish with root-to-stalk silage, which gives the beef great marbling and flavor. We grow GMO-free corn and harvest the corn, which we sell as a commodity, and then we feed the cows the rest of the plant, from root to stalk, which is actually really nutritious for them. After the cattle are taken in, we age the meat for 21-35 days, making it more tender and even more flavorful. Then we cut everything from steaks to briskets, tri-tips to roasts to order in our storefront.

Q: What mistakes do people make buying steak?

A: Everyone goes to the grocery store now, they don’t really have the experience with selecting meat like you did in the days of the neighborhood butcher. So it’s up to us to educate them. We ask them their preferences—maybe have them show us a picture—and we’ll take them through the process of picking the best cut. What we get them will probably be better than anything they’ve ever had- it’s not only cut for them, it’s free of any dyes, fillers, antibiotics or enhancing products. For me, I like to be able to go in somewhere and say “I like my ribeye two and a half inches, I want the cap end and I want them bone-in.” It’s all customizable here, which is really unique. It’s just not done that way anymore.

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