The art of butchery: 4 reasons why butchery is a fundamental culinary skill

Gone are the days when people say, “I don’t care where my meat comes from as long as it tastes good.” In the kitchen, culinary wonders may find themselves rooted in a deep appreciation for and the mastery of the art and techniques behind butchery.

But what exactly is butchery? 

Butchery is the art of selecting, slaughtering, deboning, cutting and preparing meat.

People generally think that meat parts in chicken, for example, consist only of thighs, breast, and legs. In reality, there is much more to a chicken that can be used in delicious dishes if only one knows how to expertly cut chicken. The same applies to other sources of meat.

Palate Sensations offers an intensive hands-on course to help you hone your butchery skills. We will teach you the principles and techniques to cut up meats such as veal, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and duck.

In this article, we’ll answer some of the questions you may have about butchery, and we’ll try to enlighten you as to why it’s a fundamental culinary skill. 

A delightful assortment of meats.

Question #1: I could just buy them readily cut and packed meat from the grocery store, why do I have to learn butchery?

We’re glad you asked! Buying pre-cut meat parts is a practical way to go as well, especially when supermarkets cut the meat according to certain dishes.

But what about speciality meats and speciality cuisine that may not be readily available off the shelf? You would have to have the expertise to order the meat part, indicating the cut yourself, to achieve the meat dish you desire to cook and the experience you want to share.

At Palate Sensations, we teach you the method to cut certain meat parts to match various recipes. After completing our Chef in Training — Butchery programme, you’ll be able to make wise choices for meat cuts that will give you the satisfying experience of serving an adequate meat dish and an amazing lip-smacking one!

Question #2: But butchery looks messy and hard work. What’s the point of doing all the tedious work?

Butchery is not tedious work. In fact, if you know how to do it right, you can easily slice and glide through meat cutting without sweat, blood, and tears. 

Butchery is a refined art. Acquiring butchery skills will set you apart as a culinary rockstar.

Here are reasons to give learning butchery a chance:

1. Butchery is an age-long craft and a well-respected trade. It has already stood the test of time! It’s as old as when people learned to hunt and make food for themselves. Since the ancient Roman Empire, butchers have been respected members of the community. 

An ancient Roman relief with a scene of a butcher shop. DEA/A. Dagli Orti/DeAgostini/Getty Images

2. Butchery improves the experience of home-cooked meals. Imagine your friends and family smiling in delight after a bite of the barbecued ribs and seared pork chops you made for them! They will always look forward to the meals you prepared for them. The right meat cuts and adopting the appropriate cooking methods make home-cooked meals impressive. 

3. Ethical butchery has the support of vegetarians and vegans! As a push-back against a wide practice of treating animals poorly before they are brought to the kitchen, event vegetarians turned to butchery to sell ethically butchered meats. When you learn the art of butchery, you don’t see animals as commodities, but as life, and in that sense, they must be respected and treated right before they are brought into the butcher’s shops or the slaughterhouse. 

The art of butchery entails paying respect to the animal from its birth to its death. One way is by making sure that no part of the animal is wasted. In one of our hands-on butchery training sessions, you will learn how to use the bones of the animal to make a delicious sauce to complement your meat dish. 

4. Butchery helps support sustainable livestock and farming. The art of butchery might have stayed in the shadows for a while after the rise of mechanisation in the meat industry in the early 20th century. But a return to slow, mindful living in recent years has seen a significant comeback of this traditional art and practice.  

Recent studies show that renewed interest in sustainable raising and locally produced meats and particular techniques of unusual meat cuts are becoming a trend among food enthusiasts. This involves a return to the methods that have defined the age-old profession of butchery.

Butchers help create unforgettable and excellent food experiences because they know the art of meat preparation. 

Impress your friends and family the next time you cook for them or simply satisfy the connoisseur in you!

Join us in the next Chef In Training Butchery class!

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