Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Meat Cutter, A Dying Breed

Working with as many small suppliers as we have is a constant challenge. This morning, I was on the phone with my game supplier discussing the last batch of buffalo flat-iron steaks that we bought from him. Clearly whoever did the meatcutting hadn't a clue about cutting flat-irons. My supplier mentioned that his supplier is a very small ranch that has just set up its own butcher shop and the owner was eager to learn how these steaks should be cut.

This conversation reminded me of the early days of working with our lamb supplier. Their butcher clearly had never worked with racks before. We would get in racks that were not well frenched (to french a rack is to clean off the rib bone tips for presentation—this is the standard rack you're used to seeing) and the chine bones would still be intact, preventing us from cutting the racks into chops. With much persistence, our lamb supplier got that corrected.

These two instances remind me just how difficult it is to find anyone who knows how to cut meat anymore. It's a sad state of affairs when I know more about it than the people cutting meat for me. In an interesting coincidence, just after I got off the phone with my game supplier this morning, someone from a brand new butcher shop came by the restaurant and left some business cards. Wouldn't it be nice to think that they know what they're doing? The cynic in me says it would be naïve to think that. We'll see.

If you have a local butcher shop, do your best to support it, before nobody understands how to cut meat any longer.

1 comment:

  1. Growing up in Toms Brook, we always went to Crabill's My aunt went to school with Mr. Crabill and the family had been there for years. It used be a cinder block building right next to Mr. Crabill's house. The only thing pre-packaged was the sausage and burger. If you wanted steaks or any other cut, they walked into the meat locker, brought out a huge hunk of meat, and cut it for you right there on the spot. I can still here the whine of the band saw when they would cut off T-bones. I dont know where they get their meats, but they sure know how to carve. If you want a real butcher, check these guys out. They make excellent spicy sausage as well.