Do-it-Yourself Butchery: A Growing Trend in Sustainable Eating

Butchers were once a staple of the American community. Nowadays, neighborhood butchers have all but disappeared from the American landscape, but a new trend is rising out of the sustainable eating movement: do-it-yourself butchery.  The thought of cutting up an entire animal can definitely be a little intimidating, even for experienced cooks. But as of recently, many butcher shops and farmers are now offering classes in butchery where students can learn the appropriate techniques, knives, and cuts for getting great pieces of meat without having to buy mysterious, plastic-wrapped cuts from the supermarket.

DIY butchery presents an opportunity to de-mystify your food. You get to know where your meat comes from and become part of the process of taking it from the farm to the dinner table. Not only does it promote an awareness about ethical eating, home butchery also teaches the importance of using the entire animal and avoiding wastefulness.

While small, artisan butchers like the Meat Hook in Brooklyn deliver their knowledge and expertise to customers, DIY butchery actually puts that expertise directly into the hands of the eaters. You can purchase a sustainably-farmed pig from a local farm, bring it home, cut it to your needs and specifications, and cook up delicious pork chops and ribs for weeks without ever having to make another trip to the store.

Want to try your hand at some DIY butchery? These butchers and farmers around the country offer courses to learn!

Taylor's Market 2900 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA, 95818 Danny Johnson, owner of Taylor's Market in Sacramento, offers his Butcher's 101 classes to students who want to learn anything from the basic cuts of meatto sausage-making.

Fleisher's 307 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401 Fleisher's Meats offers a variety of classes in butchery, including an intensive, 5-day Butchery 101 course. They also offer demonstrations and one-on-one classes for butchers in their Butcher Training Program.

Have you tried a DIY butchery class?