Chelsea Green Publishing

The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat

Pages:336 pages
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603584685
Pub. Date January 31, 2014

The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat

How to Source it Ethically, Cut it Professionally, and Prepare it Properly (with CD)

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
January 31, 2014


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.


Library Journal-

"For old-world experience of the art of butchery, look no further than master butcher and lecturer Ward. His deep knowledge shines as he delves into nearly every aspect of butchery—from its role in ancient Egypt to profiles of individual farmers and shops to the controversy around ritual slaughter—before ever addressing how to carve up a carcass. While parts of this background are compelling, especially Ward’s personal story, those looking for practical instructions will have a 100-page wait. Once there, however, readers are greeted with detailed, well-organized information on choosing and processing the best beef, pork, lamb, and chicken. A CD is included for most of the carving instruction. Sensitive readers be warned: like a well-seasoned piece of meat, Ward’s language is mildly salty. ­VERDICT With artisan meat and home butchery growing in popularity among DIYers and urban homesteaders, this book is on trend. However, its detailed emphasis on theory and history make it better suited to the serious gourmet than to the casual foodie.” 


"Resolutely carnivorous, Ward amasses evidence confirming that humans have been meat eaters from early in their history. He passionately defends humane animal husbandry, maintaining that properly slaughtered and processed animals produce superior meat. Ward has little use for high-volume, big-business meat packers. Addressing beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, he inventories some of currently popular animal breeds whose flesh offers exceptional flavors. Ward explains how to break down an animal’s primal cuts to produce roasts, steaks, and chops, and he offers some unique recipes for sausages. A bibliography gives sources for further exploration, and a CD supplements the book with step-by-step instructional photos.”

“Cole Ward has done an extraordinary job of balancing the widely diverse components of meat production, marketing, and quality in this comprehensive and uniquely informative book. The author has taken every effort to present even the most contentious issues surrounding meat production from a balanced and accurate perspective.  His thorough treatment of these issues provides the reader the opportunity to make a well-informed decision as a matter of personal choice, unencumbered by emotion or innuendo.

However, the real value of the book is in the articulate way Ward connects the reader to both the science and the artisanship of gourmet butchering. His comfortable style and incomparable knowledge of gourmet butchering make this a valuable resource for quality meat aficionados and a must read for chefs, butchers, and meat-lovers everywhere.”--Mark Boggess, PhD, animal scientist and meat industry expert

"This comprehensive book is far more than a guide to cutting meat—it’s for anyone who wants a better understanding of meat (and we all should). Engaging, informative, and, yes, fun!"--Nicolette Hahn Niman, rancher and author, Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms

"Is there a bible of meat? There is one now. Cole Ward's book demystifies the whole process of how animals are raised, slaughtered, and eventually make it to your plate. From learning about breeds to cutting up your own side of beef, you will be a more empowered meat eater once you read this book."--Rebecca Thistlethwaite, author, Farms with a Future

“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


  • Winner - The Best Food Books of 2014 -Corby Kummer, The Atlantic - 2014


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 Crystal, Bernadette Peters, Perry Como, Edith Head, and Raymond Burr. He also did meat props and special set-ups for television sitcoms like Three’s Company.

In 1982, Cole returned to Vermont, where most of his large family lives. He worked in markets and supermarkets around the state, managed meat departments, and eventually began giving workshops and doing on-farm cutting. Now Cole mixes hands-on butchering with teaching; his encyclopedic knowledge of the meat sector makes him a sought-after lecturer and seminar leader at culinary academies, colleges, and agricultural and sustainable-living conferences. His full butchery course was recently released on the two DVD set The Gourmet Butcher. With the publication of this book, he is sharing the knowledge acquired over forty-five years of butchering. He is convinced that the more people know about where their meat comes from, the more control they will have over their own and their family’s health.

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 one-hour national PBS special Global Warming: The Signs and the Science.

She has been a keynote speaker at the Pacific Islands Environmental Conference, the US Fuel Ethanol Workshop, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, and the Caribbean Society of Trust and Estate Planning. 


The Gourmet Butcher's Website



Seven Days: Filet on Fire

Beef Forequarter: Primal Cuts

Beef Hindquarter: Primal Cuts

Lamb: Primal Cuts

Filet on Fire


Defending Beef

Defending Beef

By Nicolette Hahn Niman

For decades it has been nearly universal dogma among environmentalists and health advocates that cattle and beef are public enemy number one.

But is the matter really so clear cut? Hardly, argues environmental lawyer turned rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman in her new book, Defending Beef.

The public has long been led to believe that livestock, especially cattle, erode soils, pollute air and water, damage riparian areas, and decimate wildlife populations.

In Defending Beef, Hahn Niman argues that cattle are not inherently bad for either the Earth or our own nutritional health. In fact, properly managed livestock play an essential role in maintaining grassland ecosystems by functioning as surrogates for herds of wild ruminants that once covered the globe. Hahn Niman argues that dispersed, grass-fed, small-scale farms can and should become the basis for American food production, replacing the factory farms that harm animals and the environment.

The author—a longtime vegetarian—goes on to dispel popular myths about how eating beef is bad for our bodies. She methodically evaluates health claims made against beef, demonstrating that such claims have proven false.  She shows how foods from cattle—milk and meat, particularly when raised entirely on grass—are healthful, extremely nutritious, and an irreplaceable part of the world’s food system.

Grounded in empirical scientific data and with living examples from around the world, Defending Beef builds a comprehensive argument that cattle can help to build carbon-sequestering soils to mitigate climate change, enhance biodiversity, help prevent desertification, and provide invaluable nutrition.

Defending Beef is simultaneously a book about big ideas and the author’s own personal tale—she starts out as a skeptical vegetarian and eventually becomes an enthusiastic participant in environmentally sustainable ranching.

While no single book can definitively answer the thorny question of how to feed the Earth’s growing population, Defending Beef makes the case that, whatever the world’s future food system looks like, cattle and beef can and must be part of the solution.

Available in: Paperback

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Defending Beef

Nicolette Hahn Niman

Paperback $19.95

Asian Vegetables

Asian Vegetables

By Sally Cunningham

Asian Vegetables brings together a wealth of information on over 40 varieties of fruit, vegetables and spices that are grown on the Indian subcontinent and form a distinctive part of the unique cuisine in that part of the world.

Each plant comes together with details of what to look for when buying, the different varieties available, their nutritional value, comprehensive cultivation instructions, useful colour photographs and much more. Most can be grown almost anywhere, though some will grow best and thrive in the warmer, wetter parts of this country. The author Sally Cunningham has personally researched, grown, cooked and eaten every plant mentioned in this book.

With this unique guide both the experienced gardener and those new to growing will bring variety and a fresh, new dimension to the food on their plates and the plants in their garden.

Available in: Paperback

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Asian Vegetables

Sally Cunningham

Paperback $24.95

The New Cider Maker's Handbook

The New Cider Maker's Handbook

By Claude Jolicoeur

All around the world, the public’s taste for fermented cider has been growing more rapidly than at any time in the past 150 years. And with the growing interest in locally grown and artisanal foods, many new cideries are springing up all over North America, often started up by passionate amateurs who want to take their cider to the next level as small-scale craft producers.

To make the very best cider—whether for yourself, your family, and friends or for market—you first need a deep understanding of the processes involved, and the art and science behind them. Fortunately, The New Cider Maker’s Handbook is here to help. Author Claude Jolicoeur is an internationally known, award-winning cider maker with an inquiring, scientific mind. His book combines the best of traditional knowledge and techniques with up-to-date, scientifically based practices to provide today’s cider makers with all the tools they need to produce high-quality ciders.

The New Cider Maker’s Handbook is divided into five parts containing:

  • An accessible overview of the cider making process for beginners;
  • Recommendations for selecting and growing cider-appropriate apples;
  • Information on juice-extraction equipment and directions on how to build your own grater mill and cider press;
  • A discussion of the most important components of apple juice and how these may influence the quality of the cider;
  • An examination of the fermentation process and a description of methods used to produce either dry or naturally sweet cider, still or sparkling cider, and even ice cider.

This book will appeal to both serious amateurs and professional cider makers who want to increase their knowledge, as well as to orchardists who want to grow cider apples for local or regional producers. Novices will appreciate the overview of the cider-making process, and, as they develop skills and confidence, the more in-depth technical information will serve as an invaluable reference that will be consulted again and again. This book is sure to become the definitive modern work on cider making.

A mechanical engineer by profession, Claude Jolicoeur first developed his passion for apples and cider after acquiring a piece of land on which there were four rows of old abandoned apple trees. He started making cider in 1988 using a “no-compromise” approach, stubbornly searching for the highest possible quality. Since then, his ciders have earned many awards and medals at competitions, including a Best of Show at the prestigious Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP).

Claude actively participates in discussions on forums like the Cider Digest, and is regularly invited as a guest speaker to events such as the annual Cider Days festival in western Massachusetts. He lives in Quebec City.

Available in: Hardcover

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The New Cider Maker's Handbook

Claude Jolicoeur

Hardcover $44.95

Build Your Own Earth Oven

Build Your Own Earth Oven

By Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field

Earth ovens combine the utility of a wood-fired, retained-heat oven with the ease and timeless beauty of earthen construction. Building one will appeal to bakers, builders, and beginners of all kinds, from:

    •    the serious or aspiring baker who wants the best low-cost
bread oven, to
    •    gardeners who want a centerpiece for a beautiful
outdoor kitchen, to
    •    outdoor chefs, to
    •    creative people interested in low-cost materials and
simple technology, to
    •    teachers who want a multi-faceted, experiential project for students of all ages (the book has been successful  with
 everyone from third-graders to adults).

Build Your Own Earth Oven is fully illustrated with step-by-step directions, including how to tend the fire, and how to make perfect sourdough hearth loaves in the artisan tradition. The average do-it-yourselfer with a few tools and a scrap pile can build an oven for free, or close to it. Otherwise, $30 should cover all your materials--less than the price of a fancy "baking stone." Good building soil is often right in your back yard, under your feet. Build the simplest oven in a day! With a bit more time and imagination, you can make a permanent foundation and a fire-breathing dragon-oven or any other shape you can dream up.

Earth ovens are familiar to many that have seen a southwestern "horno" or a European "bee-hive" oven. The idea, pioneered by Egyptian bakers in the second millennium BCE, is simplicity itself: fill the oven with wood, light a fire, and let it burn down to ashes. The dense, 3- to 12-inch-thick earthen walls hold and store the heat of the fire, the baker sweeps the floor clean, and the hot oven walls radiate steady, intense heat for hours.

Home bakers who can't afford a fancy, steam-injected bread oven will be delighted to find that a simple earth oven can produce loaves to equal the fanciest "artisan" bakery. It also makes delicious roast meats, cakes, pies, pizzas, and other creations. Pizza cooks to perfection in three minutes or less. Vegetables, herbs, and potatoes drizzled with olive oil roast up in minutes for a simple, elegant, and delicious meal. Efficient cooks will find the residual heat useful for slow-baked dishes, and even for drying surplus produce, or incubating homemade yogurt.

Available in: Paperback

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Build Your Own Earth Oven

Alan Scott, Kiko Denzer, Hannah Field

Paperback $17.95