• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

FaustianBargain

Book on Butchering/Meats

44 posts in this topic

Costs add up quickly in a kitchen when you buy pre cut pieces from the butcher. I do know how to recognise individual parts of the hooved creatures and our training only included 'trimming' them(rack of lambs, deboning shoulder/leg etc). Fish and fowl, I can dismantle with my eyes closed. I am looking for some kind of book that explains how to break down an entire animal. Slaughter techniques are not what I am looking for, but I suppose they'd be part of butchery? I found this upon googling. Anyone familiar with this one? Any other books out there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Meat Buyers Guide by the north american meat processors association takes you through:

skeletal chart

primal cuts

foodservice cuts

for beef, lamb, veal, and pork.

It is a pictoral illustration of the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications and includes pictures of each cut. For beef, that's about 100 different items from the carcass of a cow.

While it doesn't show how and where to cut, it does tell you where one piece begins and where another ends. For example, "Item 103, beef rib primal. The primal rib is that portion of the forequarter remaining after excluding the cross-cut chuck and short plate and shall contain seven ribs (6th to 12th inclusive)... ...The loin end shall follow the natural curvature of the 12th rib..."

I noticed the link you provided is for amazon UK. If that's where you are located, you might want to find something local as the butchers from these two areas tend to cut meat differently from each other.


Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the NAMP book is great, as is Ubaldi's meat book, but I would love to hear about actual butchering books. The one mentioned by FaustianBargain sounds good. Are you in the UK, then? That might also make a difference in terms of what is applicable to you.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck. There are good books on meat/charcuterie, but good books on butchering itself are scarce. (I don't know anything about the one FB linked to.) We don't have any in our library, and the librarian has been looking for some time. In fact, if anyone has a suggestion, I'd like to know too.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, all.

Yes, I am in the UK. But I am interested in knowing about the different cuts...French, American and British.

Wondering if there is such a thing as 'butchery certification'? some such thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There probably IS certification by a meat-cutters' union. Here in the U.S., such a union might be part of the Teamsters, who seem to have locals in many different parts of the grocery business. Certification might only be done through apprenticeship and practical examination. Whether or not there is a text available, though, I don't know. But that's the source I would look to here, and also in the U.K.

Edited to add: I'm also very interested in this, because such a book would be helpful to me in my work, if I am ever lucky enough to do another "translation." For now, the most I've found is only Frances Bissell's The Book of Food, which discusses American/English/French cuts. But to find a source with both descriptions AND pictures, now that would be great!


Edited by Suzanne F (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Costs add up quickly in a kitchen when you buy pre cut pieces from the butcher. I do know how to recognise individual parts of the hooved creatures and our training only included 'trimming' them(rack of lambs, deboning shoulder/leg etc). Fish and fowl, I can dismantle with my eyes closed. I am looking for some kind of book that explains how to break down an entire animal. Slaughter techniques are not what I am looking for, but I suppose they'd be part of butchery? I found this upon googling. Anyone familiar with this one? Any other books out there?

Are you trying to cut costs in a commercial kitchen or a home kitchen?


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I asked my dad about this today. He grew up on a farm in Nebraska -- they had cattle, pigs and chickens.

He grew up butchering and cutting up whole animals. He said that while a book might be good, he learned far more by actually cutting up the cow. He did say that when he started out, there were books available showing the anatomy of these animals, but until you get your hands and knives in there, they are merely guides.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I asked my dad about this today.  He grew up on a farm in Nebraska -- they had cattle, pigs and chickens.

He grew up butchering and cutting up whole animals.  He said that while a book might be good, he learned far more by actually cutting up the cow.  He did say that when he started out, there were books available showing the anatomy of these animals, but until you get your hands and knives in there, they are merely guides.

Thanks for bringing this up. My sugestion would be to apprentice with a butcher for those who really want to learn the techniques. I grew up butchering whole animals. But as a professional chef it's not a skill that was ever necessary.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.chipsbooks.com/meatbuy.htm This might not be definitive,but it might help a lot.

chef zadi said "Thanks for bringing this up. My sugestion would be to apprentice with a butcher for those who really want to learn the techniques I grew up butchering whole animals. But as a professional chef it's not a skill that was ever necessary."

Im seriously contemplating just this.There is a farm not far from my house that sells whole carcasses broken down for those with the freezer space,Could be a good experience for the 3-4 months till the restaurant opens again

Dave s


"Food is our common ground,a universal experience"

James Beard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://www.chipsbooks.com/meatbuy.htm This might not be definitive,but it might help a lot.

chef zadi said "Thanks for bringing this up. My sugestion would be to apprentice with a butcher for those who really want to learn the techniques I grew up butchering whole animals. But as a professional chef it's not a skill that was ever necessary."

Im seriously contemplating just this.There is a farm not far from my house that sells whole carcasses broken down for those with the freezer space,Could be a good experience for the 3-4 months till the restaurant opens again

                  Dave s

Dave, my brother it's good to see you here. If you have the chance to apprentice with a butcher by all means do it. A great chef/cook has a firm grasp of the artistry and bloodiness of food.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i am thinking of a commerical kitchen.

Costs add up quickly in a kitchen when you buy pre cut pieces from the butcher. I do know how to recognise individual parts of the hooved creatures and our training only included 'trimming' them(rack of lambs, deboning shoulder/leg etc). Fish and fowl, I can dismantle with my eyes closed. I am looking for some kind of book that explains how to break down an entire animal. Slaughter techniques are not what I am looking for, but I suppose they'd be part of butchery? I found this upon googling. Anyone familiar with this one? Any other books out there?

Are you trying to cut costs in a commercial kitchen or a home kitchen?


Edited by FaustianBargain (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I asked my dad about this today.  He grew up on a farm in Nebraska -- they had cattle, pigs and chickens.

He grew up butchering and cutting up whole animals.  He said that while a book might be good, he learned far more by actually cutting up the cow.  He did say that when he started out, there were books available showing the anatomy of these animals, but until you get your hands and knives in there, they are merely guides.

snowangel, i completely agree with your dad. but when you dont have a large supply of your own livestock to test your skills, books can reduce costly mistakes and the time it takes to get it right. they are only a guide, but i like to think of them as very useful guides. i also feel that watching someone do it expertly will help. whole sides of animals can be expensive to try one's learning skills.

teaching aids made of artificial material can help too...like in medical anatomy classes..but even then the blood and gore aspect will be missing...but it can be useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i am thinking of a commerical kitchen.
Costs add up quickly in a kitchen when you buy pre cut pieces from the butcher. I do know how to recognise individual parts of the hooved creatures and our training only included 'trimming' them(rack of lambs, deboning shoulder/leg etc). Fish and fowl, I can dismantle with my eyes closed. I am looking for some kind of book that explains how to break down an entire animal. Slaughter techniques are not what I am looking for, but I suppose they'd be part of butchery? I found this upon googling. Anyone familiar with this one? Any other books out there?

Are you trying to cut costs in a commercial kitchen or a home kitchen?

I figured it was for a commercial kitchen, but I wanted a confirmation before I put in my tuppence.

First of all, it's a good thing that you are already thinking about costs. As I mentioned butchering was not a skill that I ever used as a cook/chef but my knowledge of cuts did come in handy when I was working in South Korea. I had to explain to the local butcher how to do French cuts. I've also worked in France, The U.K and the States. You never know where your career trajectory will take you.

I don't think that butchering your own meat is an efficient way of cutting costs in a commercial kitchen. It takes up too much precious kitchen and storage space. Even if you just get a portion of the carcass it's still a very labor and time intensive process. Even if you are lucky enough to have a huge commercial kitchen with ample cold storage, in all likelyhood you will have parts of the animal that sell out quickly and other parts that no one ever wants. There are also possible health code issues that need to be considered.

There are other ways to lower costs and raise profit margins. Which I would be more than happy to explain in further detail if anyone is interested.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we did a dinner party, we got a price list from the school's meat suppliers(Allan's of Mayfair, iirc..hmm..or maybe it was someone else). There was way too much cash to be lost. Also, when you get a side of animal, you get all the other 'non premium'/less tender bits/bones attached. They can be used for other dishes. I simply cannot accept that buying piece rate from the butcher while running a restaurant can be even 'sorta/kinda' preferable. Also, I am not willing to wait around, peer from behind someone and watch to learn. Being knowledgeable and having practical experience is a marketable skill, as far *I* am concerned. If there were some sort of butchery certification course, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

I am always interested in knowing about ways to lower costs and raise profit margins. Please do tell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When we did a dinner party, we got a price list from the school's meat suppliers(Allan's of Mayfair, iirc..hmm..or maybe it was someone else). There was way too much cash to be lost. Also, when you get a side of animal, you get all the other 'non premium'/less tender bits/bones attached. They can be used for other dishes. I simply cannot accept that buying piece rate from the butcher while running a restaurant can be even 'sorta/kinda' preferable. Also, I am not willing to wait around, peer from behind someone and watch to learn. Being knowledgeable and having practical experience is a marketable skill, as far *I* am concerned. If there were some sort of butchery certification course, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

I am always interested in knowing about ways to lower costs and raise profit margins. Please do tell.

Before I answer I should ask you what type of restaurant you are interested in working in or opening. Fine dining? Casual? What type of cuisine?

Also most people consider being knowledgeable and having pratical experience to be marketable.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Before I answer I should ask you what type of restaurant you are interested in working in or opening. Fine dining? Casual? What type of cuisine?

i am looking for general principles of cutting costs and raising profit margins.

edited to add: if it is not about butchery, then I think we should take it up a fresh topic elsewhere?


Edited by FaustianBargain (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Books, feh.

What are the best butchery websites?


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Before I answer I should ask you what type of restaurant you are interested in working in or opening. Fine dining? Casual? What type of cuisine?

i am looking for general principles of cutting costs and raising profit margins.

edited to add: if it is not about butchery, then I think we should take it up a fresh topic elsewhere?

You should learn the general principles in school. Without a specific type of restaurant in mind my answers would be too broad. hence redundent.

As for butchery. In closing I'd like to mention

Carcass pluss the cost of in house labor and storage equals the finished cost of product.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should learn the general principles in school. Without a specific type of restaurant in mind my answers would be too broad. hence redundent.

Yes. No problem, though. Just wanted to hear your side of it because you offered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Butchery books are hard to find. Good ones are even harder - we despair of finding worthwhile ones - we'd love to hear of any good ones.

The Larousse Gastronomique 4th Ed has good diagrams for French, US & UK cuts - look under beef, veal, lamb etc

The Mettler book is a US publication (the author is ex US Army) - aimed at the basic home butcher/hunter - its ok for breaking down a carcass but doesn't have detailed diagrams etc

The best butchery instructions we've seen recently are in Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's books - River Cottage Cookbook (amazing detail on what to do on slaughter day etc) and The River Cottage Meat Cookbook

The Time Life Good Cook Vols: Beef & Veal; Lamb; Offal; Pork; Poultry all have good diagrams & basic trimming instructions with good photos.

Doesn't the CIA do a butchery video (probably expensive)?

There is an Australian Home Butchery book again fairly basic - aimed at the small farm butcher. Also our trade schools do videos (PAL - not dvds or NTSC) which teach basic british & european butchery


"The purpose of a cookery book is one & unmistakable. Its object can conceivably be no other than to increase the happiness of mankind - Joseph Conrad"

www.booksforcooks.com.au

new & old books about wine, food & the culinary arts bought & sold

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best butchery instructions we've seen recently are in Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's books - River Cottage Cookbook (amazing detail on what to do on slaughter day etc) and The River Cottage Meat Cookbook

Thanks. I will look it up at the bookstore tomorrow.

The Time Life Good Cook Vols: Beef & Veal; Lamb; Offal; Pork; Poultry all have good diagrams & basic trimming instructions with good photos.

The old 70s Time Life series? They are wonderful! Quaint, but wonderful and *very* useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking for a book with really instructive and helpful photos.. Wide range of animals.. Tieing and stuffing help would be a plus..

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basic book is "Cutting up in the Kitchen", Merle Ellis. Out of print but available. Less than $10 usually.


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice, just added it to my Amazon Cart.. 89 cents.. Are there any photos? I would like a few more books for order.. Would love more help..


Edited by Daniel (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By CanadianSportsman
      Greetings,

      I've cooked several recipes from Keller's "Bouchon" the last couple of weeks, and have loved them all! At the moment (as in right this minute) I'm making the boeuf Bourguignon, and am a little confused about the red wine reduction. After reducing the wine, herbs, and veg for nearly an hour now, I'm nowhere near the consistancy of a glaze that Keller specifies. In fact, it looks mostly like the veg is on the receiving end of most of it. Is this how the recipe is meant to be? Can anybody tell me what kind of yield is expected? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you, kindly. 
    • By Paul Fink
      This unfortunately titled book changed my life. I always enjoyed cooking and idealized Julia Child &
      Jacque Pepin. But I was a typical home cook. I would see a recipe and try to duplicate it little understanding about what I was doing.
       
      Cooking the Nouvelle Cuisine in America talked about a philosophy of cooking. It showed me that there is more depth to cooking. A history. A philosophy.
      The recipes are very approachable and you can make them on a budget from grocery store ingredients. I read it as a grad student in Oregon, in the late 80's I had access to lots of fresh ingredients. And some very nice wines, cheap! I was suppose to be studying physics but I end up learning more about wine & cooking.
    • By Smokeydoke
      Here is the discussion thread.
      Here is the Amazon link.
      My first recipe was Mushroom Mapo Tofu p. 132  I was blown away by how good this tasted. Very spicy! Very authentic. I didn't miss the meat at all. I told Mr. Smokey I'd add ground pork next time and he said it didn't need it. Mr. Smokey refused pork? Ha!
      Definitely a keeper and maybe a regular rotation spot.
      If I had anything negative to say, it would be the dish wasn't very filling. The recipe is suppose to serve four but the two of us finished it off, no problem, and Mister wasn't full afterwards. A soup, or an appetizer could be paired with the dish to make a heartier meal.
      Note: I did receive a complimentary copy of the book to review, but all opinions of the book and recipes are mine.


    • By JoNorvelleWalker
      Started in on Rob's book tonight.  Nice pictures, interesting philosophy.  The bit about grapevines reminded me ever so much about my balcony.  My grapevine has been growing ten or twenty years, planted by the birds.  Never a grape, ever.  Only recently did I learn that unlike European grapes, the native grapevines are sexual.  This one is undoubtedly a boy.  He provides lovely leaves and shade, and something for the tomatoes to hang onto.
       
    • By Bon Appetit Cookbooks
      This topic was hijacked from the Vancouver Board.
      What cookbooks do you love to cook out of at home?
      Is there a specific recipe that is your favorite?
      Or is there a book you just can't live without?
      If you have pictures, even better! Lets see how it turns out!
      Some of my favorites to cook out of:
      The Balthazar Cookbook - The Beef Tartar is amazing! As is the Chicken Liver Mousse
      The Babbo Cookbook - The Strawberries & Peaches with Balsamic Zabaglione
      Barefoot in Paris - The Blue Cheese Souffle looks JUST LIKE THE PICTURE!
      The Bouchon Cookbook - The Roast Chicken will seriously change your life
      Gordon Ramsey Makes it Easy - The Chocolate Pots are the easiest dessert in the world and tastes so good....especially with the Amedei #7
      There are lots more. Hopefully I can take pictures and show you.
      Hopefully this post can be an ongoing thing.
      I think we are all interested in what eachother cooks!
      Happy Cooking

      J
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.