Ask the butcher

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by butchasteve, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    Someone mentioned they had a question or two to ask me as a butcher.. May as well throw the forum open to any queries for better methods etc. I am also a bit of an expert at ham/bacon curing, although most places require me to use nitrates.

    First rule:

    VERY sharp knives required.. buy quality knives and a quality steel, and steel your knife regularly (every couple of minutes or so when working).

    Protect your equipment, get a block or a knife bag, any bumps ruins your edge..
     
  2. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    I can only get bacon treated with nitrates or the organic option is done in a brine which results in a very salty finished product surely there is a better way?
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    How do I find a local butcher that actually butchers whole animals? It seems to me that there are a limited number of cuts of meat available from my local friendly butcher, and not all that many options of animals. I keep asking about goat to be told either no or frozen mince.
    I like the approach that you should use all of the beast, but short of growing my own beast and butchering it myself (or inviting Steve over for a BBQ and a beer....) I can't achieve this in the 'burbs.
    And what actually is in that bacon and ham that I love so much?
     
  4. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    lets face it, nitrates are crappy for you, i am sure of that. look for dry cured bacon, hard to find and expensive, but thats the way it is traditionally meant to be done

    kill/buy your own pork then cure it yourself.

    firstly, if you prefer streaky bacon, it'll be much cheaper. Ask your butcher for a boneless pork belly. if not a whole boneless pork loin with the tail (belly) should weigh around 7kg or so, costing about $100 - $200 depending on price/quality.

    mix cooking/pickling salt and sugar, layer it thickly, a good coverage on the bottom of a tray big enough and deep enough to lay the pork belly flat (skin down), pack even more (i mean loads) on top.. pack it down hard, very hard, and layer again with another belly if needed..

    leave that in the fridge covered, checking, packing down more and adding more salt/sugar mix as needed at least every 2 days for about a week..

    for the smoking, well thats up to you. there are several purchasable home smokers you can attach to your bbq etc. Or take it back to your butcher (providing he has a smokehouse).. Your butcher shouldnt charge you much more than 6 to 10 dollars per kg for the smoking process..

    It won't be cheap. But the quality is something else, although the grey sometimes greenish tinge to the finished product is somewhat offputting when you are used to nitrate treated stuff, and it will be a lot drier (makes for crispier bacon).. When you get all that down, try mixing mustard powders, etc into the salt/sugar mix.. it can get fun..
     
  5. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    Eco4560, essentially its supply and demand. not many places bone all their own beef these days. In fact most places won't butcher body beef at all..

    I agree we should be more connected but here are the reasons why. A retail butcher is (should be, there are some crappy ones out there) able to bone any beast he comes across, but time/money restricts him to the fact that paying his butchers to bone a body of beef costs more than it is worth. All the best boners are employed and paid as such by abattoirs, who process the meat in the strictest of conditions (mostly). It ends up being far more cost effective for everyone involved.. Also, a lot of butchers have uneven sales of particular cuts, so it is impossible to balance the fact you need to sell at least a tonne of sausages a week to warrant getting body beef and you will still run out of prime cuts.

    Your butcher will be doing all his own pigs and lambs though, although they are cleaned etc before they get there. Goat is hard to get, and unless you order the whole goat the butcher is going to have to throw most of it away so he will most likely tell you to bugger off..

    With roo, your butcher isn't allowed to receive anything other than frozen packs due to strict health laws..

    Nitrates or Nitrites to be exact are what makes your ham and bacon pink, it also creates a unique flavour but is mainly there to prevent botulism or other bacterial growth that can sometimes occur with dry curing. Dry curing is almost totally illegal now unfortunately, and there is uproar in the EU because a lot of traditional regional methods are being banned for sale etc.. It sucks.

    I do enjoy the odd homekill.. havn't done beef yet but have done a pig and a lamb, oh and obviously plenty of chooks.. I do work for beer though :D
     
  6. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    The germans say the only part of a pig you can't eat is the squeel. lol
     
  7. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    Thanks Steve as I expected I am getting closer to committing to getting my own animals.
     
  8. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    i'd probably leave the lungs and brain.. everything else is good though..

    heres a tip.

    tempura pig intestine. cut into 1-2 cm pcs and dip in a very light tempura batter (or any other, or none at all, perhaps even marinate in garlic and pepper)

    drop it in the deep fryer.. and whalla!! some of the best beer snacks you will ever taste...

    obviously you need to clean them thoroughly and soak in salt water for a few days, changing the water daily.. this is probably best for the offcuts that cant be used as a sausage casing though.. seems a waste otherwise..
     
  9. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Thanks Steve. The clue in there is to ask for a whole goat. I reckon I could fit one in the chest freezer in the garage.... It is nice meat - I spent a holiday on a goat farm once and loved the food.
    Also had slow cooked organic pork belly at a Chinese restaurant last month - mmm - melt in your mouth... I could never go vegan!
    So what becomes of all the other bits - there only seem to be a small number of cuts on offer these days and there must be large sections of the carcass that are just being tossed. Or is that what ends up in the mince and the sausages?
     
  10. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    hi butcha

    first question.. we'll be starting out with chooks then progressing to sheep.. what sort of knives would you suggest, where do butchers get their knives and how much do they pay?
    exactly what types of knives? we only have a set of reasonably good kitchen knives.

    thanks
     
  11. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    we get our knives through drygoods suppliers but they are available from king of knives etc.

    Try Lesnies or Vadals (off wynnum rd tingalpa)

    Brands, well its personal choice depending on the softness/hardness of the steel you want. each has its benefits.. I usually go for middle range hardness, that being the brand F-dick, your other options are Victorinox, a softer steel, requires sharpening more often but easier to sharpen. Or Swibo which is very hard inflexible, harder to sharpen but stays sharp longer.

    I use 5 inch boning knives for just about everything except slicing. For that i use a scalloped 12 in F-dick scimitar, very light and glides through the meat due to the scallops which reduce suction.. you can get scalloped boning knives, i like them, but my last one died (too much maintainence required..)

    Essential kit I set up for my bro.

    Knife bag (home made from thick calicoish material)
    5in boner F-dick
    12in chefs knife Victorinox (wood handle)
    Dickeron Medium grain Steel (expensive but should last a lifetime)

    The chefs knife can double as a slicer, but without your own cows you won't have much need for a slicer anyway.

    I'd add to that a waterstone, a large one.. but if you are not experienced with it be prepared to ruin a knife or two (i have ruined hundreds over the years).. Of course all knives are sharpenable/repairable but it just takes time, which i never had in a work environment.

    Add to that a skinning knife, about 7inches they are with a backwards curved bullnose.. you'll need that.

    If you want tips on sharpening steeling your knives at a later date i could do a video demo I suppose, a bit hard to explain by text..
     
  12. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    hey thanks for that, I'll go looking.
     
  13. drrdave27

    drrdave27 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the good info Steve. I tried your meat pattie recipes and they were wonderful

    Q: I am looking to start producing organic grass fed beef on my property and want to know about direct marketing to potential customers. What would be required in terms of inspection of the products? Where would / could the meat be butchered?

    At the moment I am considering sending the cattle to an abattoir where they process and inspect the meat (for a fee) and have customers pick it up from there.
    Do abattoirs do this?

    Ideally I would like the cattle butchered on my property, although I am not sure of the legalities of this as far as sale to the general public. Can I contract a mobile butcher to do it and have the meat inspected on site and stored in my own cooling / storage facilities?

    Sorry for all the questions but I cant seem to find any info online about this kind of stuff, do you know where I might find it?

    Thanks Dave.
     
  14. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Leftovers would go in things like pet food most probably. And processed sausages of various sorts.
     
  15. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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  16. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    butchasteve .. for a home butchering environment.. would you consider a steel knife rather than stainless steel? if yes, any suggestions? I know my grandfather had steel knives.. they can rust, but don't they gain and keep a good edge?
     
  17. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    butchasteve

    are you still around on the forum?
    We have progressed somewhat. We now have a nice little flock of 9 sheep, 1 ram, 3 ewes, 2 ewe lamb (all unrelated to the ram) and 3 wethers.
    I need to slaughter and butcher the three wethers around july, I think.

    Would you consider helping out (ie being my roaming butcher) for these first few. I helped to butcher 6 lambs over christmas, but haven't helped with the killing and skinning of a sheep for more than 10 years and firstly wasn't 100%interested at the time and I also want to do it right. If you're up for it, I'd say there might be one or two others from a local group I'm part of who might also be keen to learn?
     
  18. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    They are right, some of it maybe offal, but I agree, it is all useable and tasty!
     
  19. Shaun

    Shaun New Member

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    Shaun the butcher/wannabe entrepreneur

    Hello I am wanting some advice from a butcher who owns and manages their own shop. I have been in the butchering trade for 7 years and over the last year I have been seriously considering buying a shop, I would like to know how you got started in business and how I would get more training and mentoring advice to help answer some of the many questions I have from how many hours I would need to work to make my business successful, to being able to answer every question a customer has, to what qualities and characteristics I must look for in a good quality lamb/beef/pork carcass. I have a very vivid idea of how I would like to run my fictitious butcher shop but I still need lots of help and advice from someone who knows exactly what they are doing and has lots of experience. Ps I've enrolled myself next year in cert. 4 in Small Business Management/Ownership
     
  20. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day shaun,

    i would imagine you might need to do a management course 1st, to cover the ins and outs of bookkeeping and profit and loss, for taxation purposes, you may find that aspect takes more effort than butchering. finding a suitably located shop is next can mean doing some research (companies out there do this) find out local demand for what you offer. you have all sorts of regulators looking over your shoulder. then you may need to offer something different to other butchers who maybe near by ie.,. no product that has chemical use in its rearing eg.,. anti-biotics, grass fed proper free ranged meats.

    as for quality in butchers can't see they have much choice but buy from a regular supplier, and the meat industry standard product is what most sell, so quality doesn't count much where customers are indoctrinated into feed lot anti-biotic induced product.

    we have butcher out of many in town, too many maybe he sells grass fed beef from his own paddocks. when cooked right tastes great, modern kitchen cooks not interested in cooking meat right, that is what meat industry derived standard promotes.

    so for now market research is needed do people want what you are going to sell.

    good luck

    len
     

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