The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat: How to Buy, Cut, and Cook Great Beef,... by Sausage Making Books
Updated on 5-8-2013.
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Clarkson Potter June 7, 2011
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307716627
- ISBN-13: 978-0307716620
7.4 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
There is a food revolution sweeping the nation, changing the way Americans think and eat, and meat is at the heart of it. The butcher has reemerged in American culture as an essential guide in avoiding the evils of industrial meat—which not only tastes bad, but is also bad for one’s health and for the environment. Joshua and Jessica Applestone, a former vegan and vegetarian, are trailblazers in this arena. They run Fleisher’s, an old-school butcher shop with a modern-day mission—sourcing and selling only grass-fed and organic meat. The Applestones’ return to the nearly lost tradition of the buying and nose-to-tail carving of whole animals—all humanely raised close to their shop in New York’s Hudson Valley—has helped to make them rising stars in the food world.
The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat is a compendium of their firsthand knowledge. This unique book—a guide, memoir, manifesto, and reference in one—shares everything one needs to know about well-raised meat, including why pastured meats are so much better than conventional ones and how to perfectly butcher and cook them at home. Readers will learn which cut of steak to look for as an alternative to the popular hanger (of which each steer has only one), how to host a driveway pig roast, and even how to break down an entire lamb (or just butterfly the shoulder)—all with accompanying step-by-step photographs. Differences among breeds and ideal cooking methods for various cuts and offal are covered, and the Applestones’ decoding of misleading industry terminology and practices will help consumers make smarter, healthier purchases that can also help change what’s wrong with meat in America today.
Complete with color and black-and-white photographs, illustrations, and more than a dozen recipes, The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat is the definitive guide to eating great meat—responsibly.
I recently switched my diet and lifestyle to "paleo" (lots of meats, veggies, good fats; no grains or processed sugars). Paleo highly, highly, highly encourages eating locally raised, grass-fed meats, which I have started easing myself into. However, I have found myself coming across the stumbling block of not knowing what to *do* with all these fancy (and expensive) cuts of meat, as well as not really understanding the differences between them. I started thinking that I needed to take a class or something so someone could sit me down and tell me all the things my parents never taught me (or apparently knew) about meat and how to understand it. Then, out of the blue, a friend of mine recommended this book to me and I figured this was exactly the sort of thing I was looking forAlthough I was looking for technical information, I highly enjoyed the discussion and anecdotes about the owners' journey and learning curve. There are little glimpses of their love and dedication to their work (and each other) scattered throughout the book that make it very pleasurable to just read-through. There are also beautiful pictures (photos and pencil illustrations) that really help hammer home the point that working with such good quality meat is as much art as it is necessity.In terms of the actual information, the book is definitely just an overview. I got the sense that the owners sat down and made a list of all these random tips and tidbits they wanted to convey, and somehow edited them together into a book. These tips and tidbits are useful, don't get me wrong, but except for some large chunks, there wasn't a good sense of organization and flow. While I generally liked the easy, approachable tone of the main author, there were at least two or three points in the book where he used some unexpected sarcasm and lighthearted wording that confused the point he was trying to make (it sounds nitpicky, I know, but I am a science writer by profession so I spend quite a lot of time thinking about how to convey complex concepts as straightforward as possible while remaining accurate). Still, there are good discussions of the different cuts of meat and what they mean, best ways to cook one type of cut over another, some great recipe suggestions, and so on. The authors also won me over personally by discussing a few different breeds of each type of meat animal. I know from experience that people so are disconnected from where their food comes from that the idea that there are different *types* of cow makes people stare blankly. Also, everytime they made the case for keeping the fat in the meat or using fat for other cooking I mentally high-fived them.Technical content aside, I think the book works well as a discussion of what factory farming actually looks like, from hoof to table, and how it is directly affecting our lives. I mean, you can see lists of statistics or even photos of large-scale farming operations, but for some reason it never quite struck me as hard as it did when the author of this book discussed seeing black, clogged, and diseased endocrine glands in the meat of factory-farmed pigs, and how the pasture-raised pigs don't look like that. This book really drove home the point to me that the way most Americans are getting their food these days is Wrong, so so Wrong. Wrong for the animals, wrong for the farmers and workers, and wrong for us the consumers.In summary: a good book, good story, great summary of the field, but if you want more specific details or more depth on some of the topics you will probably have to branch out into other sources.EDIT: I still recommend this book, but for those who read it and want something with more detail, or want to go straight to something with more detail, I recommend The River Cottage Meat Book
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Updated on 5-8-2013.