“First make friends with your butcher.” may have first been said by Isabella Beeton and if so, almost a century and a half ago, but it could hardly be more apt today.
I say, “The knowledge, garnered by conversation with your butcher is invaluable, from cooking times to flavour pairing to confidence in full farm traceability. Butchers are simply a cook’s best friend.”
Ask a farmer if you want a forthright opinion: John Penny, Yorkshire Farmer and Meat Wholesaler, explains,
“We all flock to the butcher at Christmas especially because we want the best we can buy for our family. However, visiting a good butcher shouldn’t be a once a year occasion, it should be a once a week routine.”
One of my all-time favourite TV chefs Brian Turner adds his support to the argument;
“Your local butcher values your custom, and takes pleasure in providing you with exceptional tasting, quality meat to be enjoyed by the whole family. They source traceable meat from reputable farms, and have a wealth of knowledge on cooking various cuts that they are only too happy to share to ensure you have a roast to remember.”
Regrettably many now favour the convenience of the supermarket to buy all their food in one place, but in doing so they are missing out on making friends with their butcher and getting the tastiest and best quality produce available. We know that the prospect of cooking a Sunday roast or a Christmas feast can be stressful, but a butcher can support you in preparing your meat and giving cooking guidance to ensure that you have a delicious and stress-free dinner.
Here are 12 reasons to visit your Butcher.
- Full Traceability – a good butcher will know where his meat comes from and have a relationship with the farmer who supplies it.
- Something special - a butcher can offer you something bespoke. Not keen on turkey? He can prepare a stunning rib roast instead. He’s not preparing for a mass market, he’s there to serve you.
- Made to order - He’ll prepare cuts of meats to your requirements and mince meat to the quantity you specify.
- Just for you - He will order special things, given a bit of notice; game in season, an ox tongue, a goose, pig’s trotters or organic meat.
- Sausages - a good butcher makes a variety of his own sausages, from chipolatas, pigs in blankets to Cumberland, Lincolnshire, or Irish Breakfast. Often produced to well-guarded family recipe, and using quality ingredients, butchers sausages beat supermarket sausages hands down – and your butcher can tell you exactly what has gone into them.
- A good butcher makes a selection of the following (or stocks examples made by local artisan producers) - bacon, black pudding, faggots, pork pies and pasties, pates.
- Cooking tips - forget Delia, a good butcher will know how long to cook any roast or bird he sells.
- Advice - he will advise you on the right cuts for particular dishes, and point you to where cheap cuts shine.
- A warm welcome - a butcher will chat with you about your day, you won’t get that in the meat aisle of the supermarket.
- Questions are welcome - butchers are there to cut meat and offer a service. Butchers love to talk shop.
- Regular customers do get special treatment - pop in often and you’ll get to know about special offers and different deliveries, including seasonal products like game.
- The butcher needs your custom