Jessica Applestone, co-owner of Fleisher’s Grass-Fed and Organic Meats in New York, recently sent me a copy of the new book that her and her husband, Joshua Applestone, came recently came out with. It’s called The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat and you all should run out and get a copy. It’s one of the most sincere, un-showy, very smart butchery books I’ve seen and it’s an excellent book for people to buy if they are interested in doing a lot of their own butchery at home. Not only are there great hand-drawn diagrams telling readers where the primals and subprimals of lambs, pigs, and steers/cows can be found, there are diagrams showing us which part of the animal is best for searing, which for grinding, which for braising and which parts for roasting. Where most books rely on photo diagrams or illustrated pictures to indicate how to break an animal down, the Applestones have written incredibly articulate and explicit directions that, I think, are very clear. There are recipes for DIY bresaola and quick lamb meatballs, meditations on the nature of e.coli and the best way to grind the perfect burger meat. You’ll learn that dry-aging porterhouse steak in your fridge at home is a really bad idea. If you want to throw a pig roast and have no idea how to do it, there’s a few pages on that as well. I’m most impressed by the “Sourcing” chapter at the back of the book, which really lays out all the meat-buying options consumers face. One section preps people for the conversation they’ll inevitably have to have with a meat processor if they are buying whole animals directly from farmers and don’t want to butcher it themselves. And just about all of the recipes I’ve tried so far have been excellent.
This is a well-thought out, honest, humble, incredibly smart book written with love and I highly recommend it to those of you who find yourselves on this website, at our classes, or hanging out at home all day because you have a bunch of trotters you need to turn into a terrine and pork shoulder to grind for sausages. But it’s also a good book for those of you who are just starting to think about where their meat comes from, and how you can make decisions about the meat you eat in a more informed manner. Go buy this book now!