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The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat: How to Buy, Cut, and Cook Great Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, and More Hardcover – June 7, 2011
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Josh: My goal is for the book to act as a guide and to help people ease their minds when buying and cooking meat. We don’t encourage people to eat more meat but we want them to have the freedom to make informed choices and eat better meat. Jessica: I like the idea of busting myths like those surrounding wet aging, portion sizes and the idea that organic HAS to be expensive. How would you describe what you do?
We run an old-fashioned butcher shop offering meat sourced locally, free of hormones or antibiotics, and full of real farm flavor. You were both vegetarians, what caused you to become omnivores?
Josh: After about 6months of running Fleisher’s it was our bacon that put me back on a meat eating track. My vegan/vegetarianism was an out growth of my beliefs about how horrible the factory-farmed meat industry is. Once I really knew where my meat was coming from and how these animals were treated and slaughtered I could feel comfortable eating meat again. Jessica: I wanted to start eating meat again--just not the stuff that supermarkets were selling, and it was too much for me to buy a side of beef. Farmer’s Markets were only open in the summer so it was out of my own desires that we opened Fleisher’s so that I could get one perfect fresh lamb chop and the butcher could tell me how to cook it. Favorite cut of meat?
Josh: Faux Hanger/Sirloin Flap Jessica: Lamb Sirloin Most under-rated cut?
Josh: Teres Major Jessica: Lamb neck Favorite preparation:
Josh: Raw Jessica: Cooked Favorite recipe in the book:
Josh: Pig Cheeks Jessica: The Perfect Steak What is your favorite type of customer/reader?
Joshua: a smart one Jessica: an intrepid cook A knife should...
Josh: Cut, hold an edge and be easy to sharpen with a hand steel and be comfortable in your hand in a number of different positions. Jessica: Not be too expensive and NEVER be put in the dishwasher. Favorite ingredient aside from meat:
Josh: Salt Jessica: Garlic Favorite side dish:
Josh: Potatoes any style as long as there’s salt involved Jessica: Noodles--pasta any type, any kind, any ethnicity--Obviously we are both carb freaks though we usually eat salad as a side dish. Best offal:
Josh: Heart Jessica: Sweetbreads The best part of a pig is...
Josh: the cheeks Jessica: the belly A hamburger should...
Josh: be fatty and rare Jessica: and covered in cheese (Jessica) You can never have too many...
Josh: loyal customers Jessica: Turkeys at Thanksgiving The thing most people don’t realize is...
Josh: The amount of hanger steak per animal is only one. Jessica: that dry-aging is a form of controlled rot and that even “natural” nitrites like sea salt and celery juice are still nitrites.
“By learning about meat and where it comes from, we become more competent and responsible cooks and carnivores. In this tribute to farmers and animals, the Applestones and Ms. Zissu have put together a compelling guide to local and sustainable meat and poultry. In an honest, irreverent, and funny primer, we learn which are the best cuts for a given dish, how to cook (and serve) a perfect steak, and what to expect when buying a turkey. This charming and informative reference is sure to influence irreversibly the way we buy, prepare, and appreciate meat.”
--James Peterson, author of Meat and Cooking
“If you like eating meat but want to eat ethically, this is the book for you. From the hard-headed, clear-eyed, and sympathetic perspective of butchers who care deeply about the animals whose parts they sell, the customers who buy their meats, and the pleasures of eating, this book has much to teach. It’s an instant classic, making it clear why meat is part of the food revolution. I see it as the new Bible of meat aficionados and worth reading by all food lovers, meat-eating and not.”
--Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, NYU, and author of What to Eat
--Bruce Aidells, author of The Complete Meat Cookbook
“…clear, useful instruction on dealing with cuts of beef, lamb, pork, and poultry, interesting meditations on sustainable dining, and a dozen or so recipes thrown in for good measure.”
“The new bible for conscious carnivores.” – Bon Appétit
Top Customer Reviews
Although 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.Read more ›
Although the information on sourcing well-raised animals might be important primarily to the butchers themselves, I learned an awful lot as a consumer. Hands-on information makes it much easier to understand why it can be important to buy good-quality meats. I really like knowing the practical, factual information on how the various practices of animal raising affect both the quality of the meat and the quality of life for the animal. All of that is included in here, in very concrete terms. Some of the information provided can make it easier for you to recognize good quality meats at the store or butcher's shop, and the Applestones are happy to tell you what questions to ask your butcher as well. There's even an explanation of various terms you'll find on labels, and what they mean--or DON'T mean.
Each type of meat gets its own section--beef, lamb, pork, poultry.Read more ›
Written by Joshua and Jessica Applestone, proprietors of Fleisher's Grass-Fed and Organic Meats (a butcher shop in Kingston, NY), with help from Alexandra Zissu, the book itself is divided into several sections, including a memoir-ish opening, a butchering and agriculture background section. Following is a section each on aspects of raising and butchering lamb, pork, beef, and poultry. Each of these sections has some basic info on the animal including cute pictures and nice descriptions of heritage breeds, what to think about when buying it and how one might go about cutting it up. The book winds down with sections on sourcing meat and listings of resources. Each of these sections had enough information for me, more than a brief introduction but not so exhaustive that I felt overwhelmed.
Reading the book, there are lots of things to like, including an easy-reading style, ample humor, consistent vitriolic condemnation of factory-farming techniques, and good illustrations and photography. Beyond this, the book addresses several themes, including the history and current state of traditional agriculture, the (lost) art and science of butchery, and sustainable agriculture emphasizing meat production but also the place for humans in the food chain, e.g. sustainable jobs. All this is approached from the very practical position of butcher shop owners trying to make a living.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Once armed with the information in this book, one is left with choices that border on the parallel of religion:
-Is it my responsibility as a human(? Read more
May be a bit too much for casual cooks, but for a fairly serious home chef, this is a fabulous reference. Read morePublished 14 months ago by UrbanMonique
Yes it was a big help trying to be a butcher I need all the help I can getPublished 20 months ago by Sylvia Stanley
tons of great information from the Applestones who have every intention of spreading their knowledge and experiences bringing a long lost tradition back to the U.S.Published 20 months ago by redone
One of the best books that I have read on butchers and what to look for in quality meats. The book is both entertaining and informative which is difficult to find in a self help... Read morePublished on June 26, 2014 by giles davis
this is the first book I am reading about butchery and meat, and really glad I dld. if you want to know better what you are eating, how to pick better meat, how to cook, how to... Read morePublished on May 4, 2014 by what