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Mar 5, 2008 01:46 PM

Recommendation for book on butchery?


I'm currently in cooking school and would love to practice my butchery skills at home (before I'm put to the test at school!)...does anyone know of a great butchery book with detailed pictures? I did a quick search and didn't come up with much of anything promising....


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  1. "Cutting up in the kitchen" was written for home cooks by a butcher. Very good info regarding different cuts & their best uses. Also has good instructions for breaking down a bird, etc. I have loaned it to butchers I know, who in turn bought it as required reading for their trainees. Not going to help as much for butchering an entire carcass of beef! This is an oldie but goodie, came out in inflationary times when beef prices were going out the roof. Wow, deja vu...
    If you want info about butchering from start to finish a search for back-to-the-land type books from the '70's should yield a lot of possibilities. This magazine provides that type info.
    It is hard to find a good manual on this topic. Perhaps a cooperative extension service might have one?

    1 Reply
    1. re: meatn3

      I have a book called "Butchering, Processing and Preservation of Meat, A Manual for the Home and Farm," by F. Ashbrook, which came out in the 1950s. It's a very interesting read and covers butchering techniques for a wide range of meat/poultry/fish. As an amateur home cook, I'm not really in the position to know if it's a "great" book, but it's been useful to me.

      They have a number of copies on

    2. You might want to look at "Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques". I know he covers quite a bit in there. I was a journeyman butcher in my youth, and to my mind seeing someone do it is the best way to learn. With that in mind, have you searched Youtube? Sounds like a funny thing to look for but I've seen everything from dough to sautee techniques on there.

      Just remember to always have a very sharp knife. Go slow, once you get a feel for it, the meat will let you know how it wants to be cut. I know that sounds stupid but you'll understand what I'm trying to say once you start.

      Good luck


      1. Might I add both of these sites to your internet list. You'll get a kick out of these two sites from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. There are quite a few fabrication videos and detailed anatomy with 3D rotating images that are quite entertaining and insightful. You can spend hours researching these sites.

        2 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            I just found this on youtube:


            A bit more advanced than you might want, but damned informative!

        1. The best book you can get for a student is the National Associiaton of Meat Purveyors Guide. it is full color and covers beef, pork and lamb. This book shows all the standardized cuts of meat in thr US and the ordering numbers for the different cuts. It is used by many culinary schools. It can be difficult to find and is not cheap, try for a copy.