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


Good Spirits

Good Spirits

By Gene Logsdon

Here we go. Gene "The Contrary Farmer" Logsdon has taken on some controversial subjects in his time, but this time he has bitten off ("sipped on" doesn't sound right) a topic bound to raise strong feelings on both sides of society's moral boundary lines. His subject is alcohol and its traditional role on the family homestead. Not surprisingly, Gene speaks the bare-naked truth, and finds a lot more good than bad to say about booze.

Alcohol has historically played a significant role in agricultural life. In colonial times it was the most "liquid" alternative to hard currency as a means of exchange. Alcohol was the most reliable, safest, and most convenient way to store the grain harvest, and was an integral commodity on nearly every farmstead. Because it was so valued--does this surprise us?--the government muscled in, looking for its own piece of the action. George Washington was the first of many politicians to regulate alcohol as a means to generate revenues and gain political control.

Good Spirits is a rare and brave revisionist view of history. Logsdon is a master at exposing the absurdity of the commonplace. Does it really make sense that the government can make it illegal for us to combine common substances (grain, water, and yeast) on our own property? Can it be true that every war effort in the nation's history has been fueled literally and figuratively by alcohol and the tax revenues it produces? Why must the farmer fund the government that oppresses him?

In between good-natured tirades, Logsdon makes sure the reader learns some valuable lessons. He tells us how to make beer; he teaches the rudiments of distilling; he interviews Booker Noe (patron of America's First Family of bourbon) to tell us how to sip and tell; and he adds lively tales from alcohol's quasi-legitimate past. This is vintage Contrary Farmer: 100-proof, single-barrel select. Good Spirits is outrageous, entertaining, enlightening, and an eye-poppingly interesting, natural and holistic look at the role of alcohol. You will savor this book like a snifter of Calvados, the double-distilled apple brandy of Normandy that evaporates on the tongue like a heavenly ambrosia. Heady stuff, but delicious when consumed in moderation.

Available in: Paperback

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Good Spirits

Gene Logsdon

Paperback $24.95

This Organic Life

This Organic Life

By Joan Dye Gussow

Joan Dye Gussow is an extraordinarily ordinary woman. She lives in a home not unlike the average home in a neighborhood that is, more or less, typically suburban. What sets her apart from the rest of us is that she thinks more deeply--and in more eloquent detail--about food. In sharing her ponderings, she sets a delightful example for those of us who seek the healthiest, most pleasurable lifestyle within an environment determined to propel us in the opposite direction. Joan is a suburbanite with a green thumb, with a feisty, defiant spirit and a relentlessly positive outlook.

At the heart of This Organic Life is the premise that locally grown food eaten in season makes sense economically, ecologically, and gastronomically. Transporting produce to New York from California--not to mention Central and South America, Australia, or Europe--consumes more energy in transit than it yields in calories. (It costs 435 fossil fuel calories to fly a 5-calorie strawberry from California to New York.) Add in the deleterious effects of agribusiness, such as the endless cycle of pesticide, herbicide, and chemical fertilizers; the loss of topsoil from erosion of over-tilled croplands; depleted aquifers and soil salinization from over-irrigation; and the arguments in favor of "this organic life" become overwhelmingly convincing.

Joan's story is funny and fiery as she points out the absurdities we have unthinkingly come to accept. You won't find an electric can opener in this woman's house. In fact, you probably won't find many cans, as Joan has discovered ways to nourish herself, literally and spiritually, from her own backyard. If you are looking for a tale of courage and independence in a setting that is entirely familiar, read her story.

Available in: Paperback

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This Organic Life

Joan Dye Gussow

Paperback $19.95

The Keep Your Bones Healthy Cookbook

The Keep Your Bones Healthy Cookbook

By Laura Kelly and Helen Kelly

Drugs that claim to prevent or redress bone loss can actually cause bones to crumble and break. Calcium supplements, fortified processed food, and pasteurized dairy don't work because the calcium in them doesn't reach our bones. More than 60 percent of American women take calcium supplements (for which they paid $180 million last year), and the 2014 osteoporosis-related fracture-treatment bill was approximately $19 billion.

It’s a grim picture, but The Keep Your Bones Healthy Cookbook can help. Coauthors Dr. Laura Kelly and Helen Kelly have a firm grasp on the disciplines concerned with bone health, and they show readers a natural, effective, and safe approach to conserve bone mass and build healthy bones by eating the right foods in the right combinations. Helen and Laura are mother and daughter. When Helen Kelly was diagnosed with osteoporosis, Laura dug into the research on bone metabolism and digestion. She created a unique diet-based approach to building bone health that emphasizes the importance of choosing, preparing, and combining foods properly so that the body can absorb the nutrients they contain. Helen has been following the plan for two years and has stopped her bone loss completely—without taking any pharmaceuticals.

The book begins with a primer on bone metabolism and the many factors that can help build strong bones—or lead to bone loss. Laura Kelly helps readers understand the roles of individual vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in bone metabolism, providing a framework so readers can work with their doctors to create personalized plans for skeletal health. The book includes more than 100 bone health recipes ranging from sauces and small plates to soups, salads, and main dishes, plus drinks and desserts. Recipes and meals include and feature bone broths, fermented foods, bone-strengthening herbs, and raw dairy. The authors also explain how to make (or grow) your own base ingredients such as ghee, shitake mushrooms, and everyday sourdough bread. Readers can count on their nutrient plan and these recipes to provide food that helps calcium reach, and potentially strengthen, their bones.

Available in: Paperback

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The Keep Your Bones Healthy Cookbook

Laura Kelly, Helen Kelly

Paperback $29.95



By Andrew Moore

The largest edible fruit native to the United States tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango. It grows wild in twenty-six states, gracing Eastern forests each fall with sweet-smelling, tropical-flavored abundance. Historically, it fed and sustained Native Americans and European explorers, presidents, and enslaved African Americans, inspiring folk songs, poetry, and scores of place names from Georgia to Illinois. Its trees are an organic grower’s dream, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to thrive, and containing compounds that are among the most potent anticancer agents yet discovered.

So why have so few people heard of the pawpaw, much less tasted one? 

In Pawpaw, author Andrew Moore explores the past, present, and future of this unique fruit, traveling from the Ozarks to Monticello; canoeing the lower Mississippi in search of wild fruit; drinking pawpaw beer in Durham, North Carolina; tracking down lost cultivars in Appalachian hollers; and helping out during harvest season in a Maryland orchard. Along the way, he gathers pawpaw lore and knowledge not only from the plant breeders and horticulturists working to bring pawpaws into the mainstream (including Neal Peterson, known in pawpaw circles as the fruit’s own “Johnny Pawpawseed”), but also regular folks who remember eating them in the woods as kids, but haven’t had one in over fifty years.

As much as Pawpaw is a compendium of pawpaw knowledge, it also plumbs deeper questions about American foodways—how economic, biologic, and cultural forces combine, leading us to eat what we eat, and sometimes to ignore the incredible, delicious food growing all around us. If you haven’t yet eaten a pawpaw, this book won’t let you rest until you do. 

Available in: Hardcover

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Andrew Moore, Michael W. Twitty

Hardcover $26.00