A stab, on the other hand, registers instant shock and pain. The moment the tip of the knife went into my hand, in the tender area between the thumb and the rest of the hand, blood started gushing at the point of entry. It made my stomach turn to see the rate at which the blood was escaping from the wound.
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If you ask for a pork brisket at the meat department of a regular supermarket, you may get a funny look from the person working behind the counter. "Beef brisket?" they'll ask, assuming that you want cow. A real butcher will know exactly what you want. Though brisket is the term applied to the bottom half of the shoulder section of the cow (not including shank), the same muscular groups can be found on the pig as well as the lamb, for that matter.
"It takes four cuts to break down a side of pig," Josh Applestone told me. "I can teach you how to do it in two hours, tops." Josh made good on that promise on my third day at his butcher shop Fleisher's Meats when, toward closing time, we stood at the table with a half side of pig and started from the beginning.
As a newbie apprentice at Fleisher's Meats, I spend plenty of time at the shop cutting down meat for the chop bin. Whenever a rack of lamb is frenched, the meat in between each and every rib must be scraped or pulled off the bone. If a cut of pork shoulder or belly is being rolled and tied into a roast, we save the meat that's trimmed prior to tying the roast. In short, everything that's not displayed in the case must be turned to grind or used in stock in order for the shop to maintain its input/output calculus.
So I had some space issues this week. After my first few days as an apprentice at Fleisher's Meats in Kingston, New York, I returned to New York City laden with four garbage bags' worth of the finest meat around. But the crowning glory was the pig's head, molars and all.
During my visit to Fleisher's Grass-fed & Organic Meats in Kingston, New York, owner and butcher Joshua Applestone showed me how to break down a pig. In this first installment of The Butcher's Cuts, I focus on ham hocks and how to deep fry them.
Learn more about cooking ham hocks here. [Photograph: Chichi Wang]...
Two months ago I began an apprenticeship at Fleisher's Meat Shop in Kingston, New York, that started with a single premise: Could Joshua Applestone and his team of butchers teach me, your humble nasty bits columnist, to break down a pig in one week or less? It took me a week to learn how to butcher a pig, but what I couldn't have anticipated are the months I needed to recover from my time upstate.
Learn more about preparing brains here....
Irish or not, serious eaters need serious corned beef on St. Patty's Day. We've scoured the city for restaurants, delis, and butchers that are pickling and braising beef themselves. This is the serious beef you need.