Salem butcher is cut above the rest on national TV show

New London

Long before Sean Kelley showcased his meat cutting skills on a national television show he made a name for himself at Salem Prime Cuts.

He also gained quite a following on his Instagram account which is how he was discovered for “The Butcher” which airs on the History Channel.

On the show he faced unique challenges like breaking down a side of bison with a hatchet.

“We do a lot of a lot of whole animals here so I’ve just been lucky enough to get that practice in,” said Kelley.

He says what he likes about being a butcher in New England is that how he cuts meat changes with the season.

“Right now people are grilling so these are really good for grilling these shoulder chops,” explained Kelley.

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“Fresh meat and the quality is awesome,” said customer Tony Punzalan of Newington. “The taste, the flavor it’s hard to describe.”

Punzalan had Kelley process a side of cow for him last year and he’s back with another one.

Kelley started out 15 years ago wrapping meat and working in the slaughterhouse and now he’s the head butcher at Salem Prime Cuts.

So it didn’t surprise some that he was top choice and took the top $10,000 prize in the cutting competition. 

Some say he is a cut above the rest who is happy to share the spotlight with his co-workers and other local butchers.

“There’s E and J Farms in Willimantic,” said Kelley who named other local shops.

He says if you want local fresh meat you just have to look for it.

“You can come down and talk to any of us,” said Kelley. “We’d love to talk to you.”

Even this nationally known champion who is humbled by the whole experience.

“I was shocked that I won yeah,” said Kelley.

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