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Fairly good way to learn butchering

  • Mar 24, 2011
The Gourmet Butcher DVD set teaches you how to cut beef, lamb, and pork carcasses into primal and retail cuts and how to cook these cuts. They included general cooking advice and several recipes. The DVDs also included a short section introducing the presenters and a brief section on what tools you'll need to do the butchering yourself.

The DVDs started with the animal already dead, gutted, skinned, and otherwise ready to be cut into smaller sizes of meat. The DVD on Beef Hindquarter and Beef Forequarter was very well done. The camera work was excellent and allowed a good view of what Cole was doing. Cole worked fairly slowly and gave enough instruction that I felt I understood why he was cutting where he was and what to look for.

On the DVD on Pork and Lamb, Cole worked very quickly. I felt like I could probably reproduce his cuts if I had the DVD going (and used the pause function) as I worked on the meat, but I didn't feel like I really understood the process. The camera work was also not as high quality. Several times the camera would focus on the Cole's face while he was demonstrating something with his hands, so we never got to see it demonstrated. Also, a couple of times Cole showed his co-host how to do something instead of the camera (though often he caught himself and showed us, too). This Pork/Lamb DVD would be useful for someone needing a refresher on what to do, but less so for a beginner learning solely from the DVD.

At the end of the Pork and Lamb primal cuts sections, Cole reassembled the animal and pointed out what cuts of meat had been taken from where and in what order. It looked much like those "cuts of meat" charts. Cole didn't really reassemble the beef primal cuts at the end, but he did point out those cuts in order again.

In the primal cuts section, Cole demonstrated how to make the main cuts in taking the meat apart. In the gourmet cuts section, Cole demonstrated how to cut those primal cuts into retail or "table-ready" cuts. Cole and Courtney also discussed how to best cook these cuts (by roasting, grilling, skillet, etc.). In the Beef Hindquarter Gourmet Cuts section, the presenters talked some about aging the meat. In the Recipe section, they demonstrated--like in a cooking show--how to do a recipe.

One thing lacking was that they didn't discuss sanitary measures. For example, it was disconcerting to see a primal cut fall on the floor and Cole never mentioned (or showed) what to do if that happens.

Overall, though, if you want to learn to butcher beef, need a refresher on butchering beef, lamb, or pork, or are interested in where the various cuts come from and want tips on how to best cook them, then this DVD would be useful.

Disk 1
Started with a quarter of carcass minus hooves, tail, and hide.

Beef Primal Cuts: 24 min 53 sec.

Beef Gourmet Cuts: 45 min 28 sec
1. Top Butt - triangle-tip roast, ball-tipped roast, (boneless) sirloin steaks
2. Bone-In Strip - boneless New York strip steak
3. Tender Loin - fillets or whole
4. Flank - Butterflied flank steak
5. "Flap" Meat - "sirloin tip" cut
6. Knuckle or Sirloin Tip - sirloin tip steak, sirloin tip roasts
7. Top Round - round steak, rouladen, top round roasts
8. Eye of the Round - minute/sandwich steaks, eye of the round roast
9. Bottom Round - cut into rump, center cut, and bottom round for pot roast
10. Shank - beef shanks

Beef Recipes:
1. Pig in a Flanket: 6 min 47 sec
2. Peposo Notturno: 3 min 20 sec
3. Cheddar Bacon Burgers: 3 min 46 sec (also showed how to make ground beef and form into burger patties)
4. Pickle & Cheese Stuffed Burgers: 4 min 2 sec

Started with a quarter of carcass minus hooves, head, and hide.

Beef Primal Cuts: 17 min 39 sec
(Included making retail cuts of skirt steaks; plate short ribs and further processing of the plate; rack of beef spare ribs, boneless rib eye steaks, and rib eye roast.)

Beef Gourmet Cuts: 28 min 10 sec
1. Brisket - brisket
2. Shoulder - short ribs, arm pot roast, shoulder "London Royal" steak, stew squares
3. Short Ribs & Beef Shank - shoulder short ribs, beef shanks
4. Bone-In Chuck - chuck steaks, chuck roasts

Beef Recipes:
1. Grilled Steak au Poivre: 7 min 7 sec

Disk 2

Started with a half of carcass minus hooves, tail, and hide.

Pork Primal Cuts: 14 min 47 sec

Pork Gourmet Cuts: 32 minutes 48 seconds
1. Ham Hocks & Head - "head cheese" cut
2. Picnic Shoulder & Boston Butt - roasts, chops
3. The Ham - butt half, center cut slice, Top Round into cutlets plus squares for kabab, Eye of the Round into thin "medallions", and Bottom Round into steaks
4. The Ribs & Pork Belly - ribs, bacon
5. The Ribs End, Center Cut, & Sirloin End - Rib End into baby back ribs & boneless country style ribs, Center Cut into pork chops & French roast, and Sirloin End into tenderloin & sirloin cutlets or sirloin steaks

Pork recipes:
1. Braised Pork Belly: 4 min 24 sec
2. Orange Marinade: 1 min 32 sec
3. Maple Breakfast Sausage: 6 min 40 sec (showed how to grind meat and form into sausage patties)

Started with whole carcass minus head, hooves, and hide.

Lamb Primal Cuts: 6 min 37 sec

Lamb Gourmet Cuts: 38 min 2 sec
1. Leg & Rear Shanks - Rear Shank into lamb shank and Leg into boneless leg roast (showed two methods to remove bone)
2. Breast & Front Shanks - Breast into riblets or make a pocket in for stuffing, Front Shanks into lamb shank, Brisket trimmed for use as ground lamb or in stew, and Neck trimed for stew
3. Rack of Lamb & Lamb Loin - Rack of Lamb was Frenched/Crowned or cut into rib lamb chops and Lamb Loin cut into loin lamb chops or butterflied lamb loin

Lamb Recipes:
1. Stuffed Lamb Loin: 3 min 50 sec
2. Lemon Herb Butterflied Leg of Lamb: 2 min 14 sec
3. Cranberry Apricot Ginger Lamb Sausage: 9 min 24 sec, (showed how to grind meat and fill sausage casing)

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July 11, 2011
This sounds like a practical food preparation primer.
March 25, 2011
Wow! Great overview of the set (and glad they arrived well!). I also thought that you'd really need to have these playing (with quick access to a pause button) while trying to make the cuts... of course, I've never actually butchered my own meat, either (unless cleaning fish many years ago counts).
March 26, 2011
Thanks. I really enjoyed watching them. In fact, my parents are now watching them as well. They also live on this farm and have butchered chickens before. Chickens are definitely easier: skin it, gut it, and basically cut the meat at the joints. But now we're playing with the idea of how we could butcher a steer ourselves (with the help of the neighbors, who get the other half). Our usual butcher closed his doors, so, who knows... If we ever do, I'll update the review with how useful the DVDs were in a real situation. :)
March 25, 2011
Whoa, I think I need this! I've been buying hunks of meat lately, but then being unsure of how to cut them properly, and I'm positive that I've been doing it wrong. By the way, I read your comment about how you raise your own cattle, that is too cool, so it's very neat to hear your perspective give your experience with this. Thanks for sharing!
March 26, 2011
Devora, you're a part of their target audience, then, since your situation is mentioned on the DVD . This DVD will definitely help you to cut hunks of meat into the cuts you see at the grocery store. Just to tell you, though, I'm not sure there is a "wrong" way to cut meat...just more tasty ways versus not as tasty. The objective in butchering larger animals (beef, pork, lamb) appears to be to get the tougher meat cut off together to be made into ground meat or a roast or otherwise tenderized and the more tender and/or flavorful meats cut into steaks. These DVDs help you know which is which (among other things). :)
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About the reviewer
Debbie White ()
Ranked #119
I review books, do organic gardening (vegetables, fruit trees, etc.), mentor a young lady, and work with inmates at the local jail and state prison units. I live in a passive solar house (with an active … more
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