Master Butcher!

Some of you may remember that it was recently Ian’s birthday, and one of his presents from Becksie was 2 tickets to a butchery masterclass at Millets Farm.

butcher 2Ian was uber excited. He has had a go at the odd bit of butchery, the odd deer, pheasant, pigeon and rabbit, and has picked up the bare bones (!) of butchery. That said, the meat always had a slightly hacked appearance, and although we all know the important thing is really how it tastes, not looks, it would be nice if he had a bit more of a clue exactly what he was doing and how to do it a bit quicker (the last deer took a combined total of about 6 hours).

butcher 1So off we went for a masterclass demonstration in how to butcher a lamb and a pig! The speed and skill of the proper butchers (with 70 years experience between them) was very impressive, and in no time at all the hung carcasses were turned into a fine display of meat ready for sale in the shop. Handy hints were garnered about how and where to cut and how to prepare various cuts of meat, how to de-bone and how to properly sharpen a knife!

butcher 3The butchers take a whole carcass, make joints and chops, and trim all of the rest of the meat off to use in sausages and burgers, no waste whatsoever! Even the bones get collected by a rescue centre for their dogs, amazing! No waste is what Team Pugh like.

Having taken on a variety of animals Ian has flirted with the idea of buying a whole pig to butcher up himself, the advice on doing this from the people in the know? Don’t bother! Apparently it is not worth the hassle and you are paying for the head, bones and gristle that will just go to waste, and that it is almost as good value to buy it straight from the butcher. Now whether this is just a ploy to get people to buy their meat who knows, and having watched it being done properly Ian is even more tempted to give it a go…..

What was really interesting was that throughout the 2 hour course the topic of supermarket meat came up several times and………. both butchers said they would not buy supermarket meat…….. intersting!


5 thoughts on “Master Butcher!

  1. What a brilliant skill to have. I think its worth buying a whole beast to butcher even if you don’t save much. It’d be good to have the experience and every penny saved helps doesn’t it?

  2. It would be interesting as to why they wouldn’t buy their meat fom a supermarket even a high end one. However for most people they h ave no option as we have no local butchers. When I moved here 34 years ago upon marriage I had within 5 minutes walk the following: two chemists, two fruit/veg, one hardware store, a pet shop, a car spares,two bakers, three butchers, two newsagents,a cafe, two hairdressers,two independent stores. A wool shop.
    Now despite using them all I have four hairdressers, two nail salons, a sun salon,a bookies, a curtain shop, a chemist,a Chinese, a card shop, two newsagents, two independent,an estate agent, a cafe, one empty shop,a weight loss jiggly machine shop. Oh and a huge lidl just down the road.
    I would add though that all the useful shops ie butchers, went long before Lidl arrived! And I very rarely, probably twice a year use lidl.

  3. Good on you Ian. Not only do you learn the cutting skills but also about the different cuts of meat and how long they need cooking. May be Becksie will enrol you on a cooking school next?

  4. I never buy meat from a supermarket because of the quality. I now only buy from selected butchers that have reared their animals or know the origin of the meat they are selling.

  5. I would really recommend that Ian has a go with the whole pig thing. Especially if you can buy from a source you trust. Don’t think of anything as waste, the head and trotters make wonderful brawn, looked down on here but a delicacy in French charcuteries. Bones and any fatty gristly bits should be slowly roasted then allowed to cool, remove lard for pastry and the brown concentrated stock is awesome on hot toast and can be frozen as ice cubes for use in gravy and soup. Finally check out Hugh F-W ‘s River Cottage Cookbook for further ideas. Hope you do give it a try, and you must arrange to make sausages.

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