Cook the Book: 'The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat'

Joshua and Jessica Applestone—the husband-and-wife proprietors of Fleisher's Grass-Fed and Organic Meats, with locations in Kingston and Brooklyn, New York—are real butchers who came to the craft in a roundabout sort of way. Coming from vegetarian and even vegan backgrounds, the Applestones found their way back into a family legacy of butchering, taking over Josh's grandfather's Hudson Valley shop in 2004. From day one, Fleisher's was set on only offering locally and humanely raised, grass-fed animals butchered on the premises.

This commitment to an old-school style of butchery made for a butcher shop with an air of times gone by. It was the kind of shop where the aproned men and women behind the counter knew their product inside and out—where it came from, who raised it, what it tastes like, and perhaps most importantly, how to best do justice to these lovingly hand-raised and hand-butchered animals in the kitchen.

If the name Fleisher's sounds familiar it might be because of a certain memoir by Julie Powell of Julie & Julia fame or our own Chichi Wang who wrote about her own apprenticeship stint at Fleisher's for The Butcher's Cuts last spring.

Now Josh and Jessica Applestone have come out with The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meats, a must-have for the conscious and conscientious meat-eating set. The Butcher's Guide is beyond comprehensive. It's a book about truly understanding exactly where our meat comes from and how it makes its way to out plates. By walking readers through all steps of butchery, from primals to popular cuts, offal, fat, storage, curing, cutting, label decoding, and so much more, The Butcher's Guide calls itself the definitive guide to eating great meat, and we concur wholeheartedly.

Since this column is called Cook the Book and not Butcher the Book, this week we're going to be focusing on what happens after you bring your locally sourced, sustainably raised cuts home, i.e. cooking them. We'll be braising lamb shoulder for a Warm Salad of Lamb and Pomegranate, grinding our own Sweet Italian Sausage, and taming the most daunting muscle for Bite-Your-Tongue-Tacos.

Win 'The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat'

Thanks to the generous folks over at Clarkson Potter, we are giving away five (5) copies of The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat this week.

All you have to do is tell us about what well-raised meat means to you in the comments section below.

The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.