How to Care For Different Kitchen Knives

How to Care For Different Kitchen Knives

How to Care For Different Kitchen Knives

When it comes to meat, no tool is more important to a butcher than his set of knives. Each one serves a specific purpose and have a different look and feel, but all must be carefully and properly maintained to keep them in top notch condition. 

Whether you are a butcher or a home cook, the same goes for you. That is, unless, you are fine with accidentally ruining a good piece of meat because of a dull knife, causing a bit of food poisoning due to a rusty knife, or generally just making your kitchen accident prone

We’ll let you in on some facts about the different types of knives and how to take care of them. 

The Different Types of Knives and How to Take Care of Them


Types of Kitchen Knives

These are some of the most common knives that you should have in your kitchen for just about whatever cutting and slicing you have to do, from bread, to vegetables, to meat.

  • Bread Knives- these are long, serrated blades with an offset handle used to cut through crispy crusts without crumbling the bread into pieces
  • Chef Knives- these are perhaps the most common knives found in every kitchen, have wide, tapering blades, and can be used for most tasks such as cutting, slicing, chopping, and mincing
  • Boning Knives- these are available in many different options, from long to short, and flexible to stiff, and are all designed to cleanly separate meat from the bone
  • Butcher Knives- these are slightly curvy knives with granton edges to break down meat into different cuts and even trim fat and silverskin
  • Cleavers- these are big, long, knives with wide and thin blades, that, despite the intimidating appearance, are mostly used to chop and slice meat, and also cut up vegetables
  • Paring Knives- these are short bladed knives designed for delicate tasks such as peeling vegetables, chopping fruits, deveining shrimp, and cutting cheese
  • Slicing Knives- these ones feature long, straight blades with curved ends, and are designed especially for cooked meats such as hams, turkeys, and steaks
  • Utility Knives- these are slightly longer than paring knives and have scalloped edges perfect for slicing fruits and vegetables

Aside from these common kitchen knives, there are also a lot of specialty knives for various purposes such as slicing cheese, preparing sushi and sashimi, shucking oysters, and so on, but most are for butchery. 

There are breaking knives and cimeter knives for breaking large meat into smaller pieces as well as trimming off fat, while flank and shoulder knives are specially designed to cut precise flank steaks. Meat carving knives are also available to handle cooked meats. 

Taking Care of Your Knives


A knife is basically a piece of stainless steel blade with a handle that is made out of either wood, plastic, or steel. It is important to ensure that these two are always intact, and that the blade is always sharp. 

To preserve the structural integrity of your knives, the best practice is to use them for the purpose they were designed to be used. Not doing so can not only ruin your food prep, but break the blade, or make it come loose from its handle. 

That said, knives should be washed regularly (by hand, not through the dishwasher) with warm, soapy water, then dried thoroughly and air dried to avoid rusting. 

When it comes to storing your knives, try to avoid using a knife block. That’s just a bad recipe for moisture, dirt, and mold buildup. Even though your knife may not be showing signs of rust, the insides of the handle can be slowly decaying and you are none the wiser. Magnetic knife holders or knife racks are better for safe storage. 

It should also be sharpened regularly with a good quality sharpening stone or knife sharpener. Remember, a sharp knife is safer and works better than a dull one, and makes your food better, too.

Got a Meaty Question?

Got a Meaty Question?

Got a Meaty Question?


Why and how you should talk to your butcher for all your meat related concerns.

You shouldn’t settle for standard pre-packaged meat from the freezer section of the supermarket. Sure, it can be intimidating to talk to strangers, so you let your phone do the work for you whenever you have a question about meat- whether it’s finding the right cut, how to prepare it, how much of it you will need, and so on- but don’t let that stop you from fully enjoying the wonderful flavors and textures that different meats can offer.

There’s no one better to answer all your questions than your local butcher- they’ve been handling meat for a very long time, know everything there is to know about choosing, cutting, preparing, and cooking meat, and love meat more than you ever will.


           Got a Meaty Question?


If you really want to make the most of your trip to the local butcher, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your butcher is more than happy to answer them. See, when you buy from a local butcher, you are not only paying for the meat, but for the entire service.

Really, they are more approachable, knowledgeable, and helpful than you may think. Here’s why:

They can help you find what you’re looking for.

Don’t be afraid to ask your butcher for a meat cuts 101, or let them know what you have in mind so they can suggest the perfect meat for you. Try this guide on how to narrow down your options:  

  • The type of meat you want (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, wild game)
  • Bone-in or boneless?
  • Preferred cooking method (grill, roast, bake, pan sear, broil, etc)
  • Desired flavor (mild or deep) and tenderness (tough or tender)

From there, you can take your pick, or go all out and experiment until you find your favorite. Don’t shy away from the lesser known cuts that may be just as tender and juicy as the ones you are used to, and are even cheaper and meatier. As long as you keep an open mind, the sky’s the limit. 

Your butcher can even help you with the size, weight, thickness, and amount of meat that you should get, so it’s really a custom, personalized experience just for you.

They can cut it just the way you want it.


Think of it this way- you’re going to the local butcher because you don’t want to settle with standard, pre-packaged meat. So, don’t shy away from requesting exactly what you want with the meat cut you’re ordering. 

Your butcher is happy to do way more than cutting the meat into different retail cuts. You can ask them to prepare the meat, such as by deboning, cubing, trimming, trussing, tying, or de-fatting it. More often than not, these services don’t cost extra (there’s no harm, of course, in tipping, especially if your butcher went above and beyond for you).

One thing to remember, however, is that butchers may have a couple of rules or do’s and don’ts, and may steer you away from certain things you want done with your meat- and for good reason. No, they are not being stiff and uncooperating. They know what’s best and what will keep the meat viable and what will preserve its tenderness, flavor, and so on.

They can guide you on your meat filled journey.

Your butcher’s awesome service doesn’t end once you choose what meat to buy. They can offer helpful tips and valuable information on things such as:  

  • Where your meat comes from, like whether it is locally sourced, humanely raised, fed with a natural diet, is antibiotic and hormone free, and so on
  • How to check the meat quality and freshness, such as by looking at the color and vibrance, texture and juices, marbling, and other factors
  • The best ways to prepare and process the meat (if you want to make some sausages, smoked meats, or snacks) or to cook and serve it, as well as what ingredients, garnishes, and spices would go well in bringing out the meat’s wonderful flavors
  • How to properly and safely store meat and for what periods of time, so you can have a steady supply of delicious meat that is safe to eat at any given time

Really, anything you need to know about meat, your butcher has all the answers you can possibly need!



Amazing Facts About Butchers

Amazing Facts About Butchers

Amazing Facts About Butchers

Butchers have existed around the same time humankind discovered the art of raising livestock, and will continue to exist for as long as there is a demand for meat, which is, well, until the end of time. 

However, with big supermarkets taking over our daily lives and addressing our grocery needs, we encounter butchers less and less. Often, we settle with pre-packaged meat that we grab straight from the freezer section, and with all the self check-out counters and online shops popping around, there really isn’t much human interaction anymore when we purchase our meat. 

So, perhaps it’s time to familiarize ourselves with just what it is butchers do, and why we need them in our lives.

Amazing Facts About Butchers


Butchers cut, prepare, and sell meat products.

This sounds a tad obvious, but bear with us. After all, a lot of people seem to think that butchers are only responsible for chopping up a slice of meat into small cubes and that’s that.

The stuff we get from supermarkets most likely come from industrial meat processors, which basically means the meat is largely processed by machines under minimal human supervision.

Local butchers, on the other hand, are very hands on in what happens to the meat, from the moment it arrives as a whole animal, until the point of sale where you get bite sized cubed meats and processed sausages.



Here’s how they do it: first, the carcass is cleaned up, the hair, skin, head, and feet are removed, then the body is cut up into large chunks called primals. Then, it is further cut up into retail sized pieces, which is what you see on meat counters. Butchers also do all the extra steps required, such as de-boning, trimming fat, and grinding.



And, that’s just on preparing the meat. Butchers also often process meat products into delicious smoked hams, fatty burgers, chunky sausages, cured meats, and so on. These are freshly made in house, and from quality ingredients.


Sale and management

Furthermore, butchers are also in charge with the weighing, labelling, and pricing each meat product. When it comes to product management, they take the time to look for trustworthy suppliers from local farmers and producers, as well as take orders for meat processing services, like in the case of hunters looking for a butcher to handle his wild game.



After all of that, they are also the ones who will sell these meat products to you, all while happily entertaining any questions you may have about meat. Your local butcher is ready to educate you on the many different meat cuts and what you can do with each one, how to handle meat safely, what kind of dishes you can prepare, how to best cook the meat, and so on.

 While there is no formal education for butchery and meat processing, all the years of hands on experience that butchers have make them extremely knowledgeable on all things meat. Well, you would be too if you deal with it day in and out.


Butchers are highly skilled professionals.

Since a butcher’s job is multifaceted, it goes to say that a butcher is highly skilled in various areas. Dealing with meat alone requires them to be physically fit and able, in order to lift whole animals, operate machinery, cleanly slice through muscle and bone, stand for long periods of time, and work under cold environments to preserve the meat.

 The attention to detail, precision, and patience required when performing certain meat cuts and preparing the meat into sumptuous processed products is really quite unparalleled. They also have to be able to identify exactly which is what and where it came from, and keep things clean and separate from each other at all times, all to avoid cross contamination and maintain the same quality throughout.

And, even though butchers work with dead animals for hours on end, they are also some of the most people oriented individuals you can ever come across. Since butchers handle the sale and management of their own products, they interact with a lot of suppliers and customers on a daily basis, and have developed superb customer service skills.

This is so they can understand their customers’ needs, educate the customer on what’s best for them, and entice them to buy meat from the butcher shop.

Need Help With Wild Game Processing?

Need Help With Wild Game Processing?

Need Help With Wild Game Processing?

Why you are better off with an expert butcher

Picture this scenario: you are craving for the exotic and exciting flavors and textures of wild game, so you go out to do a bit of hunting, and after several hours of patiently waiting and a bit of trial and error, you finally get rewarded with the sweaty, exhausting task of hauling your prize back home. But, there’s still the daunting task of preparing, storing, and cooking the meat…

Sure, you can try to process your prized hunt on your own, but, unless your slaughter skills are as good as your hunting instincts, perhaps it’s best to leave the aftercare to the professionals. After all, what you get from your wild game greatly depends on the care it gets after you hunt and kill it.

Need Help With Wild Game Processing


The most obvious reason for bringing your wild game to a butcher shop is, of course, they have the know how and the tools to give you the most out of your meat. No, your steak knife simply won’t do in cutting through bones, thick muscles and fat, and stubborn tendons and cartilages.

And, unless you’ve been cutting your own meat for a really long time, your local butcher is guaranteed to know more in terms of the best cuts and the right methods, so you always end up with nicely textured, amazingly flavored meat.

If you’re not yet convinced, keep on reading!

Don’t worry- you get the exact meat you bring in.


One common apprehension of hunters when partnering with a butcher to cut and process their hunt is that they are scared they will be cheated out of meat, or what they get will be mixed with someone else’s game (or worse, mixed with meat from a different kind of animal).

Well, here’s the thing. While it is common practice to do a bit of co-mingling (or mixing of game from the same species) for processed meat products such as sausages, burgers, and pepperonis, and sometimes for small orders, that’s really not the case for fresh meat. 

It’s cost effective and less labor intensive to process meat in big batches rather than per single animal, but the opposite is typically true when you’re just preparing and butchering meat into retail cuts. In this case, mixing game entails inconsistency, a lot of unnecessary labor, and overall hassle. 

Of course, if you really want to be sure, it never hurts to ask. Your local butcher will be more than happy to explain to you the ins and outs of processing wild game meat. It’s also important that you find out whether there is a minimum weight requirement if you want an assurance that you don’t end up with mixed meat.


You’re safe- the meat will be meticulously cleaned before processing.

Any hunter knows that you don’t just chop off wild game into steak sized pieces right after you bring it home. A great deal of cleaning up has to be done before the meat can even be processed, much less cut into serving size pieces.

This process, of course, is a shared responsibility between you and your butcher, but you can rest knowing that your butcher is always there to pick up your slack in order to ensure that you get clean, safe, quality meat.

There are certain steps that you must do yourself right after bringing home the hunt, especially since it’s quite unrealistic to just drive straight to the butcher. This can include washing off dirt and blood, covering or wrapping up the game in plastic or cloth bags, and severing the head and feet.

It’s best to find out what your butcher requires you to do before bringing in the meat, so you can prepare accordingly. Typically, those mentioned above- and including field dressing or removing the skin, cleaning off the hair, and air drying- are the things that need to be taken care of, so be sure to ask who will do them.

You can be sure that your local butcher knows how to be meticulous and careful in going through these steps properly, so that the meat will not be damaged, or have unpleasant tastes and textures.

Why Does My Meat Turn Colors?

Why Does My Meat Turn Colors?

Why Does My Meat Turn Colors?

Myths and facts on the color of meat and poultry


When buying meat, one of the things we check is its color. We want something that looks bright and vibrant, because we believe that this indicates freshness. But, there may be more to meat colors than meet the eye.

Meat and poultry often have different colors depending on the source, freshness, and other factors, and these colors change as time passes after the meat is purchased, stored, and cooked.

We’ll explain to you below some of the most common misconceptions of consumers when it comes to meat colors, and the truth behind each one.

Myth: there is one specific meat color per source animal

While it’s true that the type of animal affects the meat color (such as white for poultry, and red for beef), other factors such as the animal’s age, sex, diet, and exercise also influence the color of its meat.

This is also why different parts of the same animal can have different colors. Leg muscles are worked harder than the loin area, which makes them darker and tougher. When it comes to age, older animals have more myoglobin, making their meat darker or more purplish.


Myth: red or pink meat means it is fresh

When buying meat at grocery stores or wet market, we often see the same type of meat in different colors, and always opt for the reddest beef and lamb, or the pinkest pork and veal, thinking that these are the freshest batch.

Aside from the explanation on the first myth, another reason why meat can have different colors is exposure to air. Vacuum sealed meat, especially those that are wet aged, often appear purplish, while meat that is constantly exposed to air, moisture, and light can appear red or brown.

This is also why meat is often more vibrant on the surface and duller on the insides, which is especially obvious in pre-packed ground meat, which looks red but is actually a dull brown in the center.


Myth: when the meat changes color, it means it’s spoiled

There are many reasons for meat changing colors that have nothing to do with spoilage. While spoiled meat is often darker or not as vibrant as a fresh one, more reliable ways of checking the meat’s freshness have to do with its texture, odor, and the presence of foreign substances like slime and fungus.

One common reason why meat changes its color is because it gets exposed to air, moisture, and different temperatures. This is especially true when you store meat in the freezer, which alters its color, texture, and tenderness, and can cause shrinkage and freezer burn.

Myth: the meat releases blood while cooking

The red liquid you see oozing from the meat and poultry when you buy it, and especially while cooking the meat, is actually not blood. Although there may be some residual blood from the meat, especially when it is freshly butchered, more often than not, this red liquid is actually oxymyoglobin.

This comes from the meat’s muscle tissues, which contains a protein called myoglobin- a purplish substance that becomes bright red once it reacts with oxygen, meaning, when the meat is exposed to air.

This also does not mean that the meat is not yet fully cooked. Pinkish centers simply mean that air and heat have reached the center of the meat, and reacted with the myoglobin.


Why Does My Beef Weigh Less

Why Does My Beef Weigh Less

Why Does My Beef Weigh Less

The answer to meat carcass yield and losses

Many local meat producers and processors sell meat by the quarter, half, or whole, to consumers who want a steady supply from their freezers, and to those in the food industry who always need large quantities of meat for their daily operations.

If you are a local producer who wants to partner with a local meat processor to cut, process, or sell your meat, or if you are an average consumer looking to purchase huge quantities of meat for your “freezer beef”, then it is important to understand exactly what you are paying for, and what you will get out of it.

When you go to a meat processor for their butchering services or to buy whole meat, you are paying for the live weight of a single animal where your meat will come from. Here is where the confusion starts, as the weight of the meat you get is considerably less than the one you were told when the animal was weighed.

The thing is, your butcher is not cheating you out of meat. Weight loss is a natural thing that happens from live weighing of an animal, to the delivery of retail (ready to cook) meat. Here’s why:


Dressing the animal carcass, which happens during slaughter, results in an average of 37% weight loss, which is further affected by other factors such as whether the animal is a dairy breed, an immature female, fatty, or poorly muscled.

So, for example, if you purchase whole beef with a live weight of 1200 lbs, after dressing, you will get roughly 650 to 750 lb carcass weight.

Bone in vs. boneless

The second factor affecting the actual weight of the meat you will end up with is whether you want your cuts bone in or boneless. Bones on a whole beef accounts for around 15% of the total live weight of the animal.

This means that, after dressing where you end up with 750 lb, around 140 to 190 lb of that comes from the bones, so you will end up with much less weight for boneless cuts- but the same amount of meat, which is what’s important (unless of course, you are making bone broth, in which case you need the bones).

External, internal, and muscle fats

Animals have fat in multiple places- their external covers (beneath the skin surface), their internal organs, and their muscles. Normally, you wouldn’t want most of this fat, so the common practice is for butchers and meat processors to trim these fats from the meat, which is muscle.

Fats also weigh lighter than muscle, so if you happen to purchase an animal carcass with a large fat percentage, you will end up with both a lighter live weight and actual yield.

Primal and retail cuts

Finally, there is the issue of what kinds of cut you want. First of all, butchering the carcass into these primal cuts result in some weight loss due to reasons mostly explained above, not to mention discarding undesirable, unsaleable, and unusable parts, such as, for example, the head, tail, and organs.

Then, it must be noted that different primal and sub primal cuts account for different percentages of the meat’s total weight, which is an important factor, especially when you are not purchasing the whole beef. Given that, cutting these primals into retail cuts can also result in some minimal weight loss.




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