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Confessions of a Butcher-eat steak on a hamburger budget and save$$$ Paperback – December 31, 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Usually the best information is found on the inside. From people who work with an item on a daily basis and really know the facts. That's definitely true of Confessions of a Butcher by John Smith. Not only does John know meat, he knows how you can save money without giving up taste or quality. If you want to save and still eat well, Confessions of a Butcher is a must read…my favorite butcher." --Gary, The Dollar Stretcher.com

When John's book came along, I was a very frugal meat shopper already, but I was surprised at what I didn't know. The part about roasting chickens being bigger frying chickens, made me feel like an idiot... I'd been duped (again!) by the system, so I really studied the book. I can tell you that it's saved me many, many dollars over the last few years. --Pat Veretto, Guide to Frugal Living at About.com

Confessions of a Butcher is a handy book written by an experienced butcher. The author, John Smith, shares inside secrets from the butcher shop as he shows the consumer how to find great meat deals. Learn how to find the best deals on beef, turkeys, pork, and other meats. Meat purchases generally add greatly to the average family s grocery bill. This book, Confessions of a Butcher, includes many money-saving tips that add variety to the dinner menu. John Smith writes with the experience of over thirty years in the meat industry. His book is not only informative, but his humorous comments add extra interest. --Carolyn Carlisle, Allstarreview.com

About the Author

After three years of slaving over hot grills and giant steam-jacketed kettles as a cook in the United States Marine Corps, author John Smith took a job in a small butcher shop. With broad shoulders and not a lot else going for him, he applied himself to the trade. The first few years, John worked in custom locker plants and small meatpacking houses learning to take the beef out in the pasture and get it ready for the skillet. Now, after some 31 years in the meat industry, he s done it all, from wholesale to retail and everything in between. Also, somewhere along the way, John began to release a suppressed urge to express himself with the written word. John and his wife Vickie published a nationally distributed newsletter called Ark Essentials, dedicated to emergency preparedness and provident living. It is this appreciation of provident living that has inspired John to share with any who will listen how to make a dollar stretch to its fullest when purchasing meat. Another motivating factor in John s commitment to frugality is that he is the proud father of ten children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 107 pages
  • Publisher: Ark Essentials Publishing; 3rd edition (December 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966928016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966928013
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,536,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick W. Crabtree VINE VOICE on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
If someone were to offer you several hundred dollars for your 10-dollar bill, and you were absolutely certain that it wasn't a scam, would you take it? Of course you would and when you pick up a copy of John Smith's fine little book, that's essentially what you'll be doing!

This is a very worthy consumer advocate work. Smith entered his 30-year vocation as a professional butcher subsequent to his military service as a Gyrene cook in earlier days. His credibility in sharing his knowledge of the various cuts of meats and also how to save a great deal of money on them at the grocery is unassailable. Another fundamental purpose of this book is to empower the consumer with the knowledge on how and when to make "substitutions" of cheaper cuts of meat for more expensive ones with either the same or better results in the ultimate flavor of the final dish.

I review lots and lots of culinary books and this diminutive document (in physical dimension, at 107 pages) rolls in impressively at the top five percent of them all. I'm a scratch cook, I do all the grocery shopping for my family, I've managed restaurants, and hundreds of my recipes are posted online -- I also grew up helping local farmers near my home in the Appalachian foothills to butcher their beef, swine, and poultry, so I'm in a good position to evaluate Smith's beneficial assertions.

This book is incredibly timely, considering the economically tough era which we have entered as of the fall of 2008. Consumers will quickly discover that Smith's tips will easily parallel or even exceed the money which one can save, for example, by shopping with coupons. He tells us where the meat merchandisers are getting the best of us and exactly how to counter their shrewd marketing techniques.
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Format: Paperback
This whole book could have been a single 2 sided piece of paper, it is nothing more than a reference to carry when grocery shopping. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I was hoping for more insider stories, a sort of behind-the-scenes look at a butcher shop. Instead it was just a lot of "If cut X is expensive, try cut Y". I'd say it's useful (especially if you cook for a large family), but not an interesting read.
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Format: Paperback
This book was geared toward purchasing substitute "lesser cost" meats. While informative, it wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted a more detailed explanation of the various cuts of meat and how to "cut them out". The book accomplished what the author wanted, it just wasn't what I wanted.
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Format: Paperback
Years ago, in what seems a past life now, I was a co-manager for one of the nations largest grocery chains. It was my job to inspect meat departments, and honestly during the training program, I spent a lot of time in a meat department. I have ground meat, I have cut meat, and I have packaged up meat to the grocery store's advantage. Grocery stores aren't out there to get you, or deceive you, but they are there to make a profit. Knowing a little bit about the meat, helps you save money.

I like how John really goes through the meat case cut by cut telling you about the cut, how to cook it, and what the alternatives are for the different cuts of meat. This is critical to help you save money. I also like that he has the names for different regional cuts of meats, we don't call the same cut of beef the same across areas of the country.

The book spends a lot of time going through what to buy on sale, and how to take those cuts of meat at home and how to with a little elbow grease you can make these into more expensive cuts of meat. His suggestions extend through beef, pork, veal, and even chicken. Looking to save a few dollars at the meat counter, this book could easily save you its purchase price within a couple of weeks at the grocery store.
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