Monday, July 10, 2017

Artisan Butchery

  Artisan Butchery

“Artisan” used to simply mean, an expert in a craft or trade. But in recent years, the word has taken on a new meaning. In the food world, artisan products are conceived and created traditional technique rather than the modern mechanized process. Artisan butchers know where the meat come from and the condition they were raised in. So instead of wasteful, mechanized butchery techniques that leave huge parts of an animal on the cutting room floor, artisan butchers use traditional techniques to ensure that no part of the animal is wasted. The butchers master traditional butchering skills and work on smaller quantities of animals. Nose to tail restaurants rely on that versatility.

How artisan butchers do things differently ?

To act on their ideals, artisan butchers must master traditional butchering skills and work on a  Since they are working with smaller quantities of animals, butchers can show greater adaptability.Rather than cutting all beef or pork into uniform rectangular portions,the artisan butcher takes into account how each animal’s meat and skin will be used and sections it off accordingly. They sell cuts of meat thatare hard to find in large chain supermarkets, such as pork belly orhanger steaks, and unusual parts like skin to fry for cracklings,kidneys, pig’s ears and trotters. Nose-to-tail restaurants rely upon that versatility. relatively small scale.

History Of  Butchers

The history of butchers is certainly as old as the human civilization, as in primitive times the human race used to depend only on the natural foods which also included different types of animal meats. Although, initially they were unaware about the techniques of butchery, but with the invention of various stone and metal tools they gradually learned to cut the meat in smaller shapes before roasting them in fire. Depending on the timeline, we can divide the history in three major parts, earlier history, medieval history and  recent history.

Earlier History of Butchers

As mentioned before, several evidences have been discovered to justify the history of butchery in ancient time.Archaeologists recovered primitive tools like sharpened stake, which supposed to be used for hunting and butchering animals in pre-historic days.

Medieval History of Butchers

During the medieval time, the profession of butchery became a reputed one as they had the responsibility to prepare the proper cuts of meat in most hygienic way.During the meets in the Butcher’s Hall, they used to discuss on ways to improve their skills.

Recent History of Butchers

Off late, the profession of butchering has acquired much skills and techniques. A professional butcher has to study a lot To learn on this subject. Several associations of butchers have started to provide first class training and education in managing the meats.A new Butcher’s Hall was built in Bartholomew, which received renovations even in 1996. Nowadays, the butchers can have respectable positions at the supermarkets, meat markets, grocery stores or famous meat processing  companies.  To become a master butcher, one might require  going through apprenticeship for at least 3 years.

Knives :
  Scimitar : The scimitar steak knife features a long, sharp, slightly curved blade that can be used to cut different joints of meat close to the bone. The blade of the butchers steak knife is wide to which adds a greater cutting force. The blade also has a long and slightly curved which makes the knife perfect for slicing large cuts of meat and gives the user greater scope for movement. 

 Boning : A boning knife is a type of kitchen knife with a sharp point and a narrow blade. It is used in food preparation for removing the bones of poultry, meat, and fish. Generally 12 cm to 17 cm (5 to 6 ½ in) in length (although many brands, such as Samoan Cutlery, have been known to extend up to 9 ½ inches), it features a very narrow blade. 

  Meat cleaver : A cleaver is a large knife that varies in its shape but usually resembles a rectangular-bladed hatchet. It is largely used as a kitchen or butcher knife intended for hacking through bone. The knife's broad side can also be used for crushing in food preparation (such as garlic). 

Honing Steel : A honing steel, sometimes referred to as sharpening steel, sharpening stick, sharpening rod, butcher's steel, and chef's steel is a rod of steel, ceramic or diamond coated steel used to realign blade edges. They are flat, oval, or round in cross-section and up to one foot long (30 cm).
Sharpening Stone : Sharpening stones, water stones or whetstones are used to grind and hone the edges of steel tools and implements. Examples of items that may be sharpened with a sharpening stone include scissor, scythes, knives, razors and tools such as chisels, hand scrapers and plane blades.
Butcher’s Block : Butcher block, butcher's block is a style of assembled wood (often hard maple, teak, or walnut) used as heavy duty chopping blocks, table tops, and cutting boards. It was commonly used in butcher shops and meat processing plants but has now become popular in home use.[There are two basic styles of butcher block: end grain and edge grain.
Meat Hook : A meat hook is any hook normally used in butcheries to hang meat.    For example, a grip hook is a single hook with a    handle of some kind, to hold on to a carcass      while butchering.

Mallet : There are 2 types of mallets, one tenderizes the meats by using spikes, the other uses a flat surface to spread the cut of meat out making it thinner. The tenderizer breaks up the grain of the meat and makes it much easier to cut and chew.
Butcher’s Twine : Kitchen twine, also known as butcher's twine, is a thick cotton string often used for trussing or tying meat and other ingredients, such as stuffing, together. The meat may be wrapped with cheese to form a roll, for instance, or it may be sliced open and stuffed with a prepared filling. In order to keep the entire preparation together during the cooking process, a cook will often use lengths of twine to bind it.

Larding Needle : A larding needle or "larder" is the instrument traditionally used for larding. Larding is actually placing lard or other fat, or bacon, into the meat, laying it within the fibers of the meat in strips. There are two basic types of "needles" used to do this, depending on the size of the cut. Larding can add a lot of juiciness and flavor to an otherwise dry and bland piece of meat
Bone Saw : A bone saw resembles a hacksaw in that its most usual form is a band-type blade held in a hacksaw-type frame. A bone saw has larger, deeper, wider teeth that will cut easily and quickly through flesh and bone, producing smooth, splinter-free results without clogging up.

Meat Food Safety

Hygiene in the butcher shop should followed to prevent microbial growth. Inspection is guarantee of wholesomeness, not of quality or tenderness. Grading is quality designation.QUALITY grading is based on the texture, firmness and color of the  lean meat, the age or maturity of the animals , and the marbling. Butchers also have obligations under the Food Act particularly at the point of retail sale for food to be safe and suitable. As with any food businessbutchers are required to comply with food labeling standards. Where food is sold in packages or packaged in the presence of the customer, butchers must be able to inform customers of food safety information including:
  1. ingredients
  2. nutritional information
  3. presence of allergens 
  4. storage advice
  5. shelf life advice

Meat Grades

Aging of Meat Carcasses
The overall time for dry aging carcass meats is dictated by the quality
and performance of the refrigeration used, the overall condition and
handling of the carcass at the time of harvesting, and the hygiene
standards of the harvesting plant.
For example, while stored at 1°C (33°F), the following species would
take varying amounts of time to reach approximately 80% of
maximum tenderness:

Beef: 9 to 14 days
Lamb: 7 to 14 days
Pork: 4 to 10 days

Note: Wet-aged (vacuum-packaged)  beef can be aged much longer (up to 30 days). Lamb and pork can also be stored longer  as a wet aged product but not quite as long as beef.

Toughness and Age

Background toughness: More cross links are found in older animals, making the meat tougher. Cross links refer to elastin and collagen rings that hold muscle fibers in place. As animals age, more elastin rings are formed. Also, the more exercised muscles of the animal, such as shanks and shoulders, have more elastin rings regardless of age.

Actomyosin or myofibril toughness: This toughness is caused by the overlap of thick and thin muscle filaments.

Less popular artisanal cuts of livestock

Scrapple :
As with so many delicious meats, scrapple's existence came out of necessity: to use up every bit of meat, including the leftover broth from butchering and cooking a whole pig. If you wanted to re-brand scrapple as "bone-broth loaf," you could.
Grains — traditionally buckwheat and cornmeal — are added to both extend the meat and thicken up the gruel, which, after hours and hours of stovetop cooking, is poured into loaf pans, refrigerated, and then sliced and fried for crispy (but also mushy) delicious eating. Yes, there's offal involved, but not exclusively  

Livermush  : 
Livermush is all pork, with cornmeal as the only grain — which seems suitably Southern. Needless to say, the inclusion of pork liver is mandatory, whereas scrapple may or may not have it, and in no particular quantity.
There's also liver pudding, which, depending who you ask, is either totally different from livermush or exactly the same, except for where it's served (livermush in Western North Carolina, liver pudding to the east. But if you're close to South Carolina, you're gonna get rice instead of cornmeal).
Paradoxically, liver pudding might be mushier, whereas liver mush is more likely to be sliced and fried crisp like its northern and mid western cousins.


Goetta traces its roots to a different set of German immigrants — who settled in Ohio — and sets itself apart from scapple in two ways: pinhead oats (more commonly known as steel-cut), and the possible inclusion of beef.
It is most commonly found in the breakfast sausage-style roll made by Glier's
Goetta (the official goetta of the Cincinnati Bengals), but the principle is the same (cut off a slice and fry up crisp), and most smaller butchers around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky make it loaf-style.
Glier's uses pork hearts and pork skin, both of which provide taste and texture, but many smaller butchers don’t bother with offal at all, making it with 100 percent pork shoulder and beef chuck. 

Chitterlings :

Chitterlings are cleaned, prepared and cooked pigs' intestines.
The intestines are turned inside out, scraped and cleaned, then cut into lengths or braided. They are then sometimes brined overnight.
The intestines are then cooked in boiling salted water for 30 minutes (giving off a very pronounced, pungent smell.)
Chitterlings can be sold by the length braided, or sold by weight, or made into slabs in a jelly of the liquid from their cooking. Sometimes weight or slab options will include some pig stomach (maw.)

The ready-to-sell product will be off-white to grey to pink, and be ready to eat.You can eat cold with mustard or vinegar on them. They can be boiled or fried. Heat them by frying in grease, or by simmering.They can also be stuffed.
Pigs' intestines can be used as sausage skins.Chitterlings are popular in the southern United States, where they were traditionally a food for poor whites and blacks.In France, they are fried and served with vinegar and parsley.

Cretons :

In Quebec cuisine, cretons (sometimes gorton or corton, especially among New Englanders of French-Canadian origin) is  pork spread  containing onions and spices.
Due to its fatty texture and taste, it resembles French rillettes. Cretons are usually served on toast as part of a traditional Quebec breakfast. Not to be confused with "fromage de tête" (tête fromagée in Quebec) or head cheese.
Recipes vary, but traditional preparation involves covering one to three pounds of ground pork shoulder in milk or water in a large pot, then seasoning with onions and a mix of spices. The blend of spices varies from recipe to recipe, but nearly all include ground cloves.
Other spices often used include cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and bay leaf. Some recipes include minced garlic.

 Rocky Mountain oysters : 

They are also known as prairie oysters, Montana tendergroins, cowboy caviar, swinging beef, and calf fries – are true Western delicacies. They are that part of the bull that is removed in his youth so that he may thereby be more tractable, grow meatier, and behave less masculine.  When the calves are branded, the testicles are cut off and thrown in a bucket of water.  They are then peeled, washed, rolled in flour and pepper, and fried in a pan.
They are considered to be quite a delicacy.  Like other organ meats, testicles may be cooked in a variety of ways – deep-fried whole, cut into broad, thin slices, or marinated.  At roundups in the old West, cowboys and ranch hands tossed the meat on a hot iron stove. 

Haggis :

The national dish of Scotland is Haggis. Haggis is made using sheep pluck (the bits nowadays often discarded; lungs, hearts, liver). The cooked minced offal is mixed with suet, oatmeal, seasoning and encased in the sheep stomach. stomach.
Once stitched up, the stuffed stomach is boiled for up to three hours. Once steamed and cooked through the Haggis is popular in many ways, the most popular either on a full Scottish breakfast or with heart Tatties and Neeps (Tatties are Scottish for potatoes, and Neeps are turnips).

'Nduja :
'Nduja is a spicy, fatty, spreadable sausage from Calabria, made from pork belly, pork shoulder, tripe, roasted red peppers, and a variety of spices depending on the butcher making it. The red peppers give ‘nduja a bright crimson color and fiery taste that make it both delicious and visually appealing when served with toast or as a condiment to add a blast of flavor to another dish.

 Brawn :

Brawn is the slightly more appealing name for the much-maligned classic known as head cheese. It’s a time-tested way to stretch out every ounce of meat you have at your disposal. There are as many variations on it as there are different culinary traditions, but most of them follow a few basic rules.
The head of a pig or sheep is boiled to separate the meat from the bone, typically with the eyes, brain, and ears removed (no one wants their dinner staring back at them). Once the meat is separated, the bones and any inedible parts are removed from the pot.
  Due to the natural gelatin content of animal skulls, the stock will congeal when it’s cooled —  this process has been supplemented in recent times by using aspic or gelatin, but traditionally   the  stock is simply reduced until it has a high enough gelatin content to set. It’s usually eaten cold as a luncheon meat, and it may be considered the original artisan mystery meat.

Black Pudding:

A mainstay of British and Irish breakfasts, black pudding gets its unique flavor and color from a healthy helping of blood. It’s made from beef or pork fat, pork blood, and oatmeal, oats, barley, or some other hearty grain.The sausage is fully cooked before it’s sold, so it can be eaten cold — but most people bake, broil, or fry it. Black pudding is a core part of the traditional Irish breakfast, along with bacon, eggs, potato, grilled tomatoes, and Irish soda breadBlack pudding is among the most accessible of the blood sausages — the high grain content cuts the rich, iron-y taste of the pork blood and adds a delicious, crunchy texture.

Guanciale :

Guanciale is sort of like brawn’s classy, well-behaved cousin. Its name comes from the Italian word “guancia,” which means “cheek.” Instead of leaving the rich, fatty jowls on the skull and boiling them, artisan butchers cut out the cheek meat and rub it down with salt, sugar, and a variety of spices. It’s left to cure for about 3 weeks, and typically loses about ⅓ of its original weight as water evaporates. Guanciale might be considered a more flavorful version Italian pork belly products like pancetta — because of the slightly different fat and muscle composition of jowl meat as compared to pork belly, the fat in guanciale tends to melt faster. The longer curing time also means more concentrated pork-y flavor.

Mortadella :

Mortadella is a traditional Italian sausage made from finely ground and heat-cured pork — sounds pretty straightforward, right? But it’s the small cubes of pork neck fat that catapult mortadella into the artisan mystery meats pantheon.In a lot of ways, it’s like a more interesting and flavorful version of bologna, but the delicate flavor and texture showcases the unique spices that make mortadella special, like myrtle berries and pistachio.

Weckewerk :

 Another blood sausage custom-made to stretch ingredients as far as they’ll go, weckewerk is a delicious way to add some artisan mystery meat to your dishes. Its name comes from the stale bread used as a filler — “wecke” is the traditional German word for “roll.” The main ingredients are cooked brawn and finely minced pork or veal, along with blood and tripe. Most versions of weckewerk are seasoned with onions, pepper, salt, and marjoram, and some regional variations also have caraway, allspice, or garlic. All the ingredients are ground together to provide a uniform texture, and it can be served either in a natural pork casing or scooped out of a jar.

Gallinejas :

Gallinejas are a delicacy from Madrid — chefs use a careful technique to clean and prepare sheep intestines, then deep fry them. When done correctly, the intestines spiral into small, crunchy buttons which are served with potato crisps fried in the same fat. The dish originated in the 1950s when frugal Madrid restaurateurs from high end restaurants would share their offal with smaller establishments, who cooked it up into gallinejas that the common people could afford.


Butchery is a traditional line of work. In the industrialized world,slaughterhouses use butchers to slaughter the animals, performing one or a few of the steps repeatedly as specialists on a semi automated disassembly line. In the past, to be an artisan simply meant that you were a person.skilled in your trade or craft. Today, however, the term indicates a traditional, non-mechanized means of making a product or preparing food or drink. Artisan butchers therefore eschew the practices of factory farming and mass production, generally sourcing organic meat from local farmers and committing to using every possible part of an animal. Some artisan butchers and others interested in conscientiously raising and slaughtering animals have formed organizations to educate the public and advocate for their ideals.

  1. Barnraiser :
  2. Escoffier School of Arts :
  3. Google Images
  4. Notes By Chef Pawan Ailawadi (Culinary Academy Of India)