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Columbia Halal Meat


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Howard County's butchers have added a spiritual flavor with Columbia Halal Meat that has opened on Rte 108 and stands out for lamb, goat and some other cuts perfect for winter cooking.

Columbia Halal Meat is actually just across the line in Elkridge, but it's worth crossing Rte 108 if you want halal meat or if you're just looking for cuts like the lamb shoulder that I purchased over the weekend.

Columbia Halal Meat is a small Indian grocery store with rice, spices, boxed meals and other items that you can get at any of Howard County's Indian grocery stores like Food Cravings and Desi Market in Columbia and Eastern Bazar or Apna Bazar in Laurel.

As the name promises, Columbia Halal's claim to fame is the small halal butcher in the back. Obviously, the meat is crucial for Muslims who follow the religious rules. But it's an asset for anyone who wants to step outside the supermarket meat section. First, Columbia Halal sells cuts -- like whole lamb shoulders and whole goats -- that you can't just pick up in a plastic tray. Second, the butchers at Columbia Halal handle your order personally. They're running a bandsaw right in view, and they'll cut your order however you want.

Clearly, not the spot for vegetarians (although I did see Mango Grove flyers next to the cash registers). But it's a resource for people who want that special attention. I bought a lamb shoulder. Initially, I couldn't find the "shoulder" on their list of cuts. I'm such a child of the supermarkets that the butcher had to point out that "leg" and "shoulder" mean the same thing on a sheep. It's not like sheep have arms.

Overall, it's a nice store. A good resources for the basic Indian ingredients if you live near Rte 108. The butchers let me stand around for a while probably because I didn't look their regular customers, but they were happy to help once I explained what I needed. They sell chicken, beef, goat and lamb. Next time, I need to ask if they grind their own beef in the store. I'm looking for a source for hamburger that didn't come from a factory, and Columbia Halal might just be my partner to grill.

The other option for halal meat in Howard County is Caezar's International Market in Elkridge (near Rte 103 and U.S. 1).

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