Meat is a staple part of a complete and nutritious diet. Meat is fundamental. It is a necessary component needed to sustain a healthy life. It offers complete proteins for our well being that are simply not found in plant-based proteins.
On top of all of that, meat is delicious! Whether it is cooked to perfection in a complex recipe or quickly grilled on the braai, there is nothing that can compare to a great tasting piece of meat at the end of a long day. Butcher’s supply our meat in the stores.
Without them, we would not have the convenience of selection we have come to enjoy when planning for our evening supper. We trust our butchers with the health and happiness of our family. We trust our butchers to keep the meat safe and to offer up quality portions of our favourite meats.
But what makes a great butcher? Are there traits to look for in a quality butcher? Is this important, after all, we are only in the store to shop for tasty meat, do we need to know the butcher and his habits as well?
The traits of a butcher are very important and can mean the difference between a great piece of meat and a contaminated one. It can also mean the difference between choosing the right portion of the right recipe.
In essence, a butcher can make or break your meal depending on his knowledge and competence in his profession. When buying meat it is important to know the butcher and the quality of meat you are buying. Here are a few traits of an efficient butcher you can trust.
This is important. Not necessarily in personal hygiene, though poor personal hygiene is a real turn off, but rather the cleanliness of his display’s and visible equipment. Does his work area look clean and sterile? Does it look like his knives are clean?
Are there any visible signs of blood anywhere that could carry disease or contamination? Displays should be kept clean and organized. Meats should be kept like meats to avoid cross-contamination. Packaging should be closed and airtight.
Meats should be kept cold and chilled to avoid bad bacteria from growing that can cause illness. Packaging should not drip to get into the customer’s hands. It should also be free from holes and tears that expose the meat to the outside air.
This is a key component to a great butcher. How well does he communicate with his customers? Does he take the time to discuss recipes and offer advice to the customers? Is he personable and allow for questions about the meat he is offering?
Butcher’s should have great people skills. They should be courteous and willing to help when it is needed. A great butcher may even know his regular customers by name.
A fantastic butcher is one that knows his meats. Experienced butchers can give inside tips on cooking methods and know what cut would best serve his customer’s needs.
Should you use a shoulder cut or loin portion in your stew? What are neck bones used for? What is the difference in taste between a lamb chop and a mutton chop?
An experienced butcher will know and will be able to offer you the cut that would best fit your recipe and family.
Trustworthiness is an important trait that we all want in our butcher. We need to be able to trust his practices with the health and well-being of our family. We must have a lot of faith in our butcher.
We must trust that they cut the portions correctly, weighing the portions right and that those cuts are contaminate-free. That is a lot of trusts to put into the hands of a butcher that is sloppy with dubious practices.
Do your butcher’s cuts look the same as the offerings in other stores? Are they clean and is the scale set at “0” before the meat is weighed? These are a few things to look for when trying to decide if you can trust your butcher or not.
Finding a great butcher is extremely important when buying meat. A butcher worth his knives will have all the above traits and more. With these traits, you will know what to look for in choosing the butcher that is right for you.