Think of Memorial Day and you’re likely to think of two things: the late great veterans who have died in battles throughout our nation’s history and epic backyard parties at which mountains of meat are seared on a grill and then ravened down. While major supermarkets offer often impersonal delis where you’re just a face in the crowd, the Pasadena area is home to a number of mom-and-pop butchers and meat shops that go the extra mile to keep their customers well-fed at affordable prices.

(Please also see for information about Memorial Day events.)

George’s Market (494 N. Wilson Ave., Pasadena; 626-795-1533) has been in operation for 51 years, with owner George Go behind the counter the whole time. Still slicing up fine meats at 81, he’s a classic mom-and-pop business owner battling bravely against surrounding big-chain food stores — so help make his Memorial Day extra-special by trying out his “finest meats of all types, special-cut to order.”

Taylor’s Ol’ Fashioned Meat Market (14 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; 626-355-8267) has been owned and operated by Don Taylor for the past 42 years. He takes pride in his staff and his full line of meats, including every type of steak you can dream of: New York, porterhouse, filet mignon and top sirloin are just the tip of the iceberg. “We have great service and aged prime beef from Nebraska that’s just wonderful.”

Pastor Meat Market (1362 Huntington Drive, Duarte; 626-358-8920) is yet another store that’s been thriving for the past 40 years. Catering especially to the booming local Latino market, its manager proudly noted, “Everyone says our meat is still good.”

Hindoyan Meat Market (1864 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena: 626-791-1223) has been open since 1993 and takes special pride in its ground beef, filets and chicken. They’re especially renowned among their growing customer base for their marinated meats — particularly filets and chicken.

The Latino Meat Market (51 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena; 626-577-5750) is the baby of this bunch, with just six years of serving carnivorous customers. Here, barbecue chicken, ranchero steak and pork chops are the specialty of the house.

Finally, Alexander’s Meats (6580 N. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel; 626-286-6767) finds it easy to stand out, at least since being named the best butcher shop in Los Angeles by LA Weekly. While they feature everything from fresh fish to poultry, a “top-notch” deli and gourmet sausages and hot dogs, owner Mike Milazo says that the real draw is his shop’s dry-aged beef.

“Every other butcher shop I know of brings in boxed meat from the Midwest that’s then cut into prime cuts. We bring in 200-pound beef carcasses and hang them in a cooler for three weeks,” explains Milazo. “This allows the natural dry-aged process to take place. It makes for a more flavorful and tender cut of beef. Most places’ Cryovac-packed meats never get the chance to age,” he says.