March 4 through 10 is National Butchers’ Week. There are many good reasons to get to know your butcher as we get more news about the European horse meat crisis.
At the butcher shop, the man behind the counter will come through for you every time. He knows his meat, his cuts and his prices. His intent is to give you exactly what you require for your dinners and parties. And that is probably very different from the experience you have at the grocery’s meat counter.
Peter Speaight, Tunbridge Wells butcher, operates a second generation butcher shop. Says Speaight, “For supermarkets, whose main concerns are yields and profit margins, a butcher’s counter is a waste of space. They want to sell you the same old cuts wrapped up neatly in little boxes
“Now, customers are saying, ‘I was never that thrilled with supermarket meat, but now I’m even less impressed.’ Can a supermarket butcher bone and roll a shoulder of lamb in front of you in a matter of minutes and do it well? The recent scare has exposed the lack of real butchering skills behind the supermarket counters, and that plays right into my hands.”
“A proper butcher can say exactly where his meat came from because he probably unloaded the lorry carrying it. He will know how every single muscle on an animal works and how best to recover and prepare it for sale. He can advise about various cuts, their different cooking methods, what to serve with them and possibly which wine best accompanies them.”
People must understand that high quality meat costs more money than the meat at most supermarkets. From the butcher, you can expect personalized service. Importantly, the meat will have been hung and aged properly and your order is cut better.
For most butchers in the UK and other European countries, business is brisk since the horse meat scandal broke early this year.
Butchers are our means to honest, prime and reliable-quality meat.