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Book Data

ISBN: 9781603584685
Year Added to Catalog: 2013
Book Format: Hardcover, PLC
Book Art: Full-Color Throughout
Dimensions: 8 x 10
Number of Pages: 336
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Web Product ID: 762

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The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat (with CD)

How to Source it Ethically, Cut it Professionally, and Prepare it Properly

by Cole Ward, Karen Coshof

"After nearly forty years of concentrating, industrializing, and deskilling the livestock and meat industries, a few global meat companies have separated the eater from the farmer, land, communities, and animals that we depend on for food. Cole Ward helps restore the lost craftsmanship of meat production by sharing critical knowledge about where meat comes from and how it's produced, processed, and marketed. His book takes the reader on an important journey from animal husbandry through the fading art of butchery to recipes for preparing a healthy meal, all interwoven with explanatory pictures, notes, and interesting trivia."

Mike Callicrate, owner, Callicrate Cattle Company and Ranch Foods Direct

Vermont-based master butcher Cole Ward delivers a comprehensive guide to whole-animal butchery that goes beyond conventional “do-it-yourself” books and takes readers inside the world of truly sustainable meat production. The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat demystifies the process of getting meat to the table, and its wide scope will be welcome to those who not only wish to learn the rudiments of butchery, but also want to understand how meat animals are raised, slaughtered, and marketed in a holistic system that honors both animals and consumers.

Written in Cole’s unique voice of humor and simplicity, the book celebrates the traditional art of culinary butchery, introducing readers to stand-out butchers in America and Europe as well as a diverse group of farmers committed to raising the very best animals with respect.

The many methods of raising and finishing meat animals are clearly and thoroughly explained and compared, and sensitive issues like hormone and antibiotic use in meat production are assessed. Readers will learn all the terminology associated with meat and butchery, as well as the complexities of meat grading, carcass yield, marbling scores, and issues with inspection.

Also included are recipes, a detailed glossary, and more information on:

  • The real definition, work, and role of a culinary butcher;
  • The history and tradition of butchery;
  • Meat: selecting your breed, grading and aging, tenderness, storing; and reheating;
  • How meat gets to the table: farmers, slaughtering methods, stress, and animal welfare, the role of meat inspectors, cut sheets, what’s legally allowed/not allowed when purchasing meat for further processing, keeping integrity in the local meat movement;
  • Understanding the commercial meat food chain and recognizing deceptive practices;
  • Processing your own meat: what you’ll need, tools, safety, prep;
  • Beef: domestication, terminology, how cows work, raising methods (grass, grain, etc.), meat-safety issues, hormone growth implants, antibiotics and feed additives, carcass yield and marbling scores, and a partial list of beef breeds;
  • Cutting up a beef forequarter and hindquarter;
  • Pork: domestication, terminology, raising methods, grading and inspection, and a partial list of pork breeds;
  • Cutting up a side of pork;
  • Sheep: domestication, terminology, raising methods, and a partial list of meat breeds;
  • Cutting up a whole lamb;
  • Chicken: domestication, terminology, how to cut up a whole chicken;
  • How to make sausages;
  • Value-added products: what they are and how they can help increase your bottom line;
  • Your own butcher shop: size, equipment, display, marketing;
  • A better way of thinking about meat: a holistic overview and some conclusions.


History buffs will delight in the chapter that traces the roots of butchery from pre-history to modern times, and meat shoppers will welcome Cole’s description of what goes on behind the scenes at meat markets large and small. And, of course, new or aspiring butchers will find a well-illustrated slideshow on CD (included in the back of the book) with over 800 images on cutting up a side of beef, a side of pork, and whole lamb and chicken in more detail than is offered in any other book on the subject. Sure to be the ultimate resource on the subject of gourmet butchery, this book will change the conversation and help bring back a traditional art that is in jeopardy, but increasingly important in the local-food and ecological-agriculture movement.


About the Authors

Cole Ward

Cole Ward grew up in the tiny Vermont town of Sheldon Springs. At the age of fourteen he began working part-time for a local butcher, washing meat trays and stuffing sausages for 20 cents a hour. At fifteen, he became an apprentice meat cutter at the local IGA, and in very few years was a master butcher specializing in whole-animal culinary butchery. In his early twenties, wanderlust took him out west to a job at LaFrieda Prime Meats at Los Angeles's celebrated farmers' market. The famous butcher shop was next to CBS studios, and Ward's celebrity clients soon included Billy ...

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Karen Coshof

Karen Coshof began her career as a commercial photographer, shooting campaigns for Air Canada, Sheraton, Clairol, and other clients, as well as fashion spreads and magazine covers. She then joined Stonehaven Productions, a communications company that produces television as well as specialized projects for the Canadian government and international corporations. At Stonehaven, Karen worked as a scriptwriter, proposal writer, print broker, director, producer, and executive producer.

While at Stonehaven, she conceived and produced The Great Warming, a three-hour Discovery climate-change series narrated by Keanu Reeves and Alanis Morissette that was broadcast in fifteen countries. She also co-executive produced the ...

View Karen's full profile page >





Price: $49.95
Format: Hardcover, PLC
Status: Available to Ship
Ships: Next day


Online for US Orders Only
International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email

Cole Ward's Upcoming Events

  • Cole Ward at The Inn at Weathersfield
    The Inn at Weathersfield, Perkinsville VT
    January 30, 2015, 12:00 pm

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