The Butcher’s Guide An Insider’s View to Buy the Best Meat and Save Money
Jimmy Kerstein is an “Insider to the Meat Business”. What makes him an insider? Forty years of working in the meat industry where he managed local meat markets, big volume retail chain stores and then got involved in the corporate side of the business. If you want to know about meat - how to buy it, how to handle it, how to store it and how to cook it - Jimmy’s new book, The Butcher's Guide - An Insider's View to Buy the Best Meat and Save Money is a great place to start.
What’s In The Butcher’s Guide
I love learning how markets work especially if they have something to do with food and the ingredients I’m buying, cooking and feeding to my family. I like to know how everything works and why things are called this and cost that. I not only want to know the difference between a Flat Iron Steak and Skirt Steak, I want to know exactly where these cuts come from on the cow and how they should be prepared. Throw in a recipe and I’m even more happy.
This is what you’ll find in Mr. Kerstein’s Butcher’s Guide plus much, much more. He starts his book with A Brief Overview of the Meat Business where you’ll learn about “boxed beef”, “subprimals”, “sell-by-dates”, “shrink” and a whole lot more. What does it mean when a grocery store offers a great sale and offers its meat at “markdown” prices? Should you be buying or avoiding?
Cooking Tips & Methods
Not only does Mr. Kerstein describe various methods for cooking meat, he offers gems like “Rubbing the meat with a thin layer of oil will help seasoning stick to the meat.” Then he talks about Seasoning Meats and offers some different herbs and spices that work well with meats and how to use them.
Buying the Best Meat
Here’s where the book really peaks my interest. Besides all the various cuts you can buy, there are different grades of beef, branded beef, grass-fed beef, organic beef, dry-aged beef and the list goes on. You’ll learn how you can save money by buying quarters of beef and butchering it yourself plus how to package it for the freezer so you’re not throwing it out a couple of months later.
Who doesn’t like a nice beef roast? Do you want to buy it from the round or from the chuck? And then what are the best beef cuts to buy for soups and stews? The most popular beef of all is ground beef, but do you really know what you’re buying? And why is that ground beef can be nice and red on the outside but brown on the inside?
The Other White Meat
The Butcher’s Guide includes a lot of information about beef but it doesn’t stop there. Mr. Kerstein gets into pork, lamb, veal, and poultry including chicken and turkey. Did you know, “When shopping for whole fryers or chicken parts choose the largest chickens available. The bone structure of all of the chickens is a similar size. The meat-to-bone ratio is higher in the larger birds. There is better value in buying larger chickens and chicken parts. The larger chickens are just as tender as the smaller ones.”
Then There Are the Recipes
Besides being loaded with useful information about buying, handling and cooking different meats, Mr. Kerstein includes dozens of recipes that I can’t wait to try out. We’re talking about classic recipes like Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Fried Steak, Pot Roast, Buttermilk Panko Rib Pork Chops, Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb, Veal Marsala and Roast Chicken with Lemon.
I haven’t tried any of these recipes but they all look very accessible for home cooks. These are meals you can throw together on a weeknight for the family with little or no fuss. There’s even a recipe for Mary’s Famous Potato Salad that looks delightful, but as Mr. Kerstin says, “Every family seems to have someone who makes the best potato salad.”
Jimmy Kerstein’s The Butcher’s Guide is very accessible. It’s written for the home cook who’s inquisitive and interested in learning more about the meat products they are cooking and serving their families. The information is from an “insider,” someone who knows the business and isn’t afraid to tell you like it is. I like this and would have liked to have seen more insider’s tips, not so much on what to buy but what to stay away from.
I get frustrated when I search the Internet for information on buying meat and am overwhelmed with some of the terms and language thrown at me. Mr. Kerstein recognizes this and dumbs it down so it is easier to understand but is still informative. In general, there’s a lot of information in this book but not so much that you will feel overwhelmed.
The Butcher's Guide - An Insider's View to Buy the Best Meat and Save Money Book Giveaway - CLOSED - Thanks For Your Comments
How to Enter - To have a chance to win a copy of Jimmy Kerstein's new book, The Butcher’s Guide, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite cut of beef, pork or chicken. If you don't eat meat, tell me your favorite vegetable. It’s that easy. Open to US readers only. Giveaway is open through Monday, February 10, 2014 at 3pm, EST. At that time, I'll choose a winner using Random.org. Please make sure you provide a valid email address with your comment so I can contact you. Inkwater Press will be sending you your new cookbook! Winner has 48 hours to get in touch or I will draw an alternate winner.
If you eat meat, I know you'll enjoy Jimmy's new book and learn some interesting facts so please leave a comment and tell your friends to come over and leave a comment too.
Disclosure: Inkwater Press did provide me with a review copy of The Butcher's Guide - An Insider's View to Buy the Best Meat and Save Money
and offered to send a copy to one of my readers. Also, all links to The Butcher's Guide will take you to Amazon.com where I am part of their affiliate program.