Where do you buy your meat? Coles? Woolies? The local deli? These are all fine options, but nothing beats buying direct from the person who has carved – crafted even – each cut of meat themselves: the butcher.
Butchering is an ancient profession that’s been around since man first realised that animals are sooo much tastier than lettuce, which was pretty early on. For the best butchers, it involves far more than simply cutting up a beast; it is an art form that requires in-depth skill and knowledge.
So how do you choose the butcher from whom to buy the highest quality and nutrient-providing centrepiece to your meals? Here are a few things to look for:
Knowledge & Passion: First and foremost, you want a butcher who doesn’t just know the difference between sirloin and tenderloin; you want a bona fide meat connoisseur. You want someone who will not only tell you what the day’s specials are, but also which cuts are best for whatever is on your menu (or on your BBQ!) and how to get the most out of them.
Clean Environment: This one is a no-brainer; raw meat is a very effective incubator of all sorts of nasty bugs that you don’t want to be eating. So find a butcher who keeps his shop like Grandma keeps her house, as opposed to how your teenage son keeps his room.
A meat cleaver: All self-respecting butchers have a meat cleaver that looks like it belongs in a horror movie…though without all the blood and guts dripping off it.
Strong Forearms & Craftsman’s Fingers: Carving up a carcass is like surgery on a giant beast. As such, look for strong (and usually hairy) forearms as a sign of experience and smooth, clean cuts. Also look for nimble, delicate fingers for those hard-to-carve nooks and crannies.
A Plain White or Striped Apron: It’s the universal butcher’s uniform and an essential for any good butcher.
What do you think? What do you look for in a butcher and what do you love about your butcher. Leave your comments below.