Friday, February 25, 2011

For the Love of Butchery

Up here in Seattle we have Bill the Butcher who has six locations locally. Bill the Butcher believes in supporting sustainable farming practices and working with local farmers and ranchers who raise beef, pork and poultry without hormones, steroids and genetically modified feed. Bottom line, the organic meat in this shop is BEAUTIFUL. They also make and smoke their own sausages. After visiting Bill you may never want to buy meat in a grocery store again. I wish more people cared about meat the way this little shop does. 

After making French Garlic and Cajun Sausages in class at Le Cordon Bleu a few weeks ago there is a meat grinder and sausage stuffer at the top of my "must have" list.  If you've got a KitchenAid mixer then the easiest thing to do would be to get yourself the grinder attachment ($64.99) that can be used for meat, fruit, vegetables, bread, and cheese.  You can also get the Sausage Stuffer Kit Attachment ($13.99) that comes with two different size tubes for stuffing your ground meat into casings. The great thing about making your own sausages is that you can make a bunch and then  freeze them until you need them - awesome to have homemade links on hand for Sunday morning breakfast with the fam :)

Another thing that all foodies will find to be a fantastic addition to their culinary libraries is Jane Grigson's Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery ($35, Borders). This book was published in 1967 in an effort to teach home cooks about prepping and curing all things pork from homemade pate de campagne to smoked sausages, salted ham, and bacon.  

If you care to gain a better understanding of butchery a good place to start is by just understanding the parts of each animal. I learned more by studying the parts of a cow than I ever thought possible - it answers a lot of questions before you even begin the butchering process. I think some of the animal "maps" out there are pretty neat looking - they would be rustically chic  framed in your kitchen or dining room and in turn would create conversation starters when you have company over for dinner and drinks, etc.

Bon Appetit mentioned this great deboning/carving knife (below) in their latest issue. It is made by Dexter and goes for $16.50 - it features a semi-stiff 6-inch blade that is ideal for boning fish and carving meat....great tool to have on hand for butchery! If you are wondering how necessary it is to own one of these  just know that deboning knives are the knives that you never knew you always needed. 

 It's time to step away from the pre-packaged boneless skinless chicken breasts and see what else is out there! Buy a whole fish or chicken and break it down yourself - not only will you save money on the product (less processing = lower cost) but you will better understand the butchery process. It's sort of like riding a bike; nail it once and you've got the skill forever. 

1 comment:

  1. It looks good. We have a meat defrosting tray from the same makers and it's superb.