Jared Uecker has come a long way since his days of managing the bar at the Lincoln Country Club.
The Norfolk native has hiked through the jungle in the Amazon, worked organic vineyards in Oregon, then met and married his wife, and they had their first child. Along the way, he realized just what he wanted to do in life: procure the finest local meat available and become a butcher, like his grandfather.
The epiphany took place at a weekend retreat for bartenders in Oregon, where he spent most of the afternoon talking with the man who was responsible for the pig roast. He was intrigued, and the seed was planted. For the next eight months, he apprenticed with a butcher in Portland, Oregon, then returned to Nebraska and opened up shop as O’tillie Meats. The O’tillie name comes from his wife’s side of the family and is not only her middle name, but has been passed on for generations, and so it seemed a good fit.
Once back in Nebraska, they found a home in Lincoln, but the commercial space he needed to process his pork-heavy menu was in Omaha. So he made the commute and began selling his cuts at the farmers’ markets there, and also supplied restaurants in the area. However, in October 2020 when a location in Lincoln opened up, he jumped at the chance.
Now located at 27th and O streets, he has opened up shop and sells directly to the public. There you will find local ground beef, freshly cut pork roasts, loin, pork belly, skin on porchetta, and an assortment of pork chops, including bone-in and tomahawk.
But the item that truly seems to differentiate him from other butchers is his sausage. Jared makes about 10 different types of scratch sausages: the popular beer brat style, which is made with a local Zipline IPA and Old Bay spices; the Breakfast, with sage and maple; the Italian, with garlic, fennel and chili; and my personal favorite, the Longaniza, which is a Spanish-style sausage made with paprika, rosemary, pepper, allspice and red wine.
When I tried the Longaniza, I got out my favorite mustards, etc. But after my first bite, I realized that this sausage needed absolutely nothing. It was incredibly flavorful on its own, and I should mention that according to my aunt, uncle and all the friends on their camping trip – his chorizo makes THE BEST tacos!
O’tillie Butcher Shop is located at 129 S. 27th St., which is a bit tricky to find at first, but it is on the southwest corner of 27th and O streets, around the back of the building by H&R Block. The shop is easy to get in and out of, as there is a very large parking lot right in front of it. Hours are Tuesdays, 12-4:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 12-6 p.m.; Thursdays, 1-6 p.m.; and Fridays, 12-4:30 p.m. Stop by and stock up for all of your grilling needs.