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The 10 Commandments Of Modern Butchering, No 1

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Posted by Don, Dueling Bubbas on April 01, 2014 at 18:10:34:

Good read, little long, will have to do multiple posts to include it all.

from :
The 10 Commandments Of Modern Butchering
Chicago chef-butcher Rob Levitt lays it out
By Jason Kessler
Picture a butcher. Are you thinking of a guy in flannel shirts and suspenders? Stop that. You're thinking of a lumberjack. When most people picture a butcher (especially a Chicago butcher), they think of a thick-fingered galoot with a blood-stained apron and a gruff attitude. That is most certainly not Rob Levitt, owner of the revered Chicago meat shop The Butcher & Larder. Mild-mannered as he may seem, this man — who's also a chef — knows his way around a hog. And a cow and a chicken and pretty much everything that lived near Charlotte and her web. As part of Food Republic's ongoing Charcuterie and Butchering series, we asked Levitt for the rules he follows while running a modern butcher shop.

1. There is no ‘I’ in sausage making
You absolutely loved the pâté grande mer and just had to tell me! My response? Jimmy made it. The Varmlandskorpf sausages were divine? Just like Grandma used to make? I'm flattered...and Erin made them. Just can't get enough of our bacon? You want to buy it by the truckload so you never run out? Your kids won't even touch supermarket bacon anymore?! Thanks, Chris made it. If I was responsible for everything we sold at the store, I would never sleep or see my family. I have an amazing staff, they work really hard and are really great at working as a team to come up with fun ideas that keep the shop in the press and all over social media. They deserve as much respect and credit as I do.

2. Designer burger blends are complete bull***stuff***
Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Hubert Keller all have a "custom burger blend" for their fancy-pants burgers and I'm calling shenanigans. If you don't know where your beef is coming from and want a good, juicy burger, you can mix brisket, short rib and whatever else to get a good mix of fat and texture. Mostly, though, it's the fat and the fact that these are tougher cuts that naturally have more flavor in the muscle than sirloin or round. Often these restaurants are doing such volume that the meat is being ground for them, vacuum-sealed and stored (possibly frozen) for days. If you want a good burger, THE CUT OF BEEF DOESN'T MATTER! You need three things: 1. Quality beef. 2. Lots of fat, 20-30% 3. Freshly ground. I will stand by that in the face of any chef in the world. Burgers are humble.

3. Vegans are not Enemy Number One
Truth is, we have a lot more in common with them than people might think. We [butchers] are very careful to only source animals that are treated kindly both in life and in death. I hate the guy who only ever wants ribeye and feels the need to eat a pound and a half in a sitting. I hate the people who want lean short ribs. I hate the people that feel like eating meat is a right and not a privilege. On the other hand, I hate when vegetarians come into the store to buy meat for someone else and act disgusted and put off. They act like they are being forced to tolerate us. If you think we are barbarians, miscreants with blood-stained hands and icy hearts, then don't come in. We have had several former vegetarians and vegans come to us ready to return meat to their diet and we feel proud that they chose our store as a place to start. [See our 2011 profile on Levitt, Chicago's Most Ethical Butcher Shop.]

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