Thursday, June 21, 2007

My first two days on the job were quite interesting; the first was spent on beef, and the second almost entirely on lamb and mutton. My background as primarily a retail cutter prepared me for the portion control work we did - slicing steaks and trimming roasts to a uniform weight requirement - but boning an entire hindquarter on the rail is something I've had less practice at. Therefore, there's considerable room for improvement. The lion's share of the time is spent on beef, lamb, and pork (with, I'm told, a huge influx of venison during hunting season), but it's not unusual to see a moose, an elk, or even a bear. On Friday, they'll be slaughtering and processing emus. The hike up to New Hampshire from Boston isn't ideal - a long hour up and a shorter one back - but it seems to be quite worth it. I'm excited to learn more.

Friday, June 1, 2007

This entry marks my first into The Butcher Blog. I’m a professional meat cutter, and it’s my hope that this blog will become a resource for people who want to ask questions, share knowledge, or just talk about their experiences with meat and the craft of butchery – somewhat of a precursor to the website I am currently developing that will further examine technical and culinary aspects of meat fabrication and preparation.

Do you know why particular steaks are more suitable for braising than grilling or what the butcher’s favorite cuts are to take home? Are you a meat cutter with stories from the “old days” when meat rooms had carcasses on the rail and sawdust on the floor? Do you still cut meat at any level of the industry (retail, wholesale, restaurant) and are searching for a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for the trade? Have you recently eaten a particularly good piece of meat at a restaurant? Or, perhaps you’ve decided to raise your own animal(s) for food and want to learn how to bone a chuck or take off a flank…in any case, if you’re interested in meat, The Butcher Blog is the place to come.

I’m taking on a second job in the coming weeks at a small custom operation (a frozen locker) in New Hampshire, about an hour from my home in Boston. Farmers bring their animals there to be slaughtered and processed into steaks, roasts, chops, sausages, etc. Whereas I’ve worked at both the wholesale and retails levels before, this’ll be somewhat of a new experience for me because it combines elements of both.

I’ll let you know how my first day goes.