There was a time when if you needed to buy meat, you would just head down to your local butcher and see what he had freshly cut up. The man in the white apron could tell you about the local farm where the animal was raised and make a recommendation for what you wanted to prepare. But then the traditional butcher took a hit when more people started opting for mass-market convenience over quality, locally raised food. In the process, we became less aware of the food on our plates.
But today the local butcher is on the rise again, and to celebrate their return we’ve created new versions of our beef and pork prints, inspired by an old-fashioned butcher’s chart. Two of our best selling letterpress prints have been our original beef and pork charts, but some of you requested larger, more conceptual art for your walls. So we’ve increased the size (12×18), hand-sketched a fresh design and screen-printed versions in both brown and navy ink.
To mark the occasion, we thought we’d circle back around to Chris Carter, co-owner at Porter Road Butcher in Nashville, who first reminded us that knowing the different cuts of pork and beef can help determine the best selection for a dish, cooking method or flavor profile.
Why do you think there are more authentic butchers opening up shops lately?
“A lot of it has to do with knowledge and education. The documentaries and movies that have come out are helping people be more aware of what they are eating and where their food comes from. For us, this is the only way to give people the meats they wanted. Even going to some farmers markets, you’re still getting meat that’s been frozen. Some of it is trendy, which is unfortunate in some ways, but if it’s getting people to do the right thing, that’s great.”
Why is it important for us to know the parts of an animal?
“As butchers, what we do is go out, meet the farmers first-hand and see the animals alive. We buy the entire animal since we have the ability to bring the whole animal in the shop. It’s not being dropped off at a processor. We are capable of slowing that process down and focusing on some of those special cuts that are harder to get.
“Most people only know about the filet, tenderloin, strip and the rib eye, but it’s good for customers to know about other cuts – there are so many other parts of the animal that are fantastic to cook.”
What do you wish everyone knew about the different cuts of meat?
“Everyone doesn’t need an 8-ounce sirloin for dinner. A big part of what we do is education, so you don’t need to know everything – ask your butcher and have a conversation with them. We like it when people say, “What should I do for dinner tonight?” Try a chuck roast, round eye, short ribs, braise a pork shoulder.
“Better eating will come from understanding the whole animal. Most people have never seen a whole animal. Go beyond just those main cuts that you’re familiar with. It’s good to know other options and discover parts that also have a lot to offer.”
The new beef and pork prints are 12×18 and screen-printed by Mama’s Sauce in Orlando, Florida, on French recycled white, 100# cover, slightly toothy acid-free paper.