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Sep 3, 2014 11:23 AM


In one of my crazier conversations with a friend the other day, we were discussing purchasing a lamb and finding a shochet to do the honors of schecting. Anyone know if this is a possibility in the NY area? What about a butcher or someone to dress the animal afterwards?

Or is this just a pipedream.

This came from a conversation about an easier version of Grow and Behold.

The next step will be figuring out how to empty out my freezer.


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  1. Can't speak for NY, but in New Haven I have a retired shochet that I've been using for about 15 years to slaughter locally raised animals. He does treiber. I divide the animal and have a non-Jewish neighbor who takes hindquarters. He is experienced in skinning and removing head, hooves, etc. as he grew up on a farm where his family raised, slaughtered and dressed all their own meat.
    I break down the forequarters and dress them myself. Calves, lambs, turkeys, ducks, geese from area farms are often in my freezer.

    You would do best to inquire in the Chassidic community, as they still do some local slaughter, especially in Sullivan county

    1. Check with Rabbi Avidan Elkin of Bisra Kosher Although Rabbi Elkin is Rav of the Sephardi minyan on Manhattan's UWS, his abattoir is in New Jersey. He has enabled individuals to bring in animals to be shechted by prior arrangement (he had an arrangement to pass animals that were perfectly healthy but deemed not kosher on to a non-kosher meat handling business) Bisra Kosher is expanding presently, so I cannot be certain that he is still offering that service.

      1. Call Rabbi Rafael Berdugo of the Chicago Rabbinical Council. I hear he shechts somewhere between 500 - 1000 lamb once a week. i've also heard he's done geese for foie gras.

        1. I'm curious, how is buying a live lamb and hiring a shochet easier than Grow and Behold?

          4 Replies
          1. re: avitrek

            Grow and behold sells only certain cuts and in their weight choice. No liver for example. They ship frozen product (I prefer fresh and to package and freeze my own in the right amount per package for my family (Mrs. B and oldest don't eat lamb or veal).

            If I want lamb shanks, I can't buy them from G&B as they are out of stock. If I buy the lamb and have it schect the shanks are mine.

            G&B is more than $20 per pound plus shipping. Locally, I can buy lambs for about $4.75 lb on the hoof. I pay the shochet for his time, not by the animal, I typically will make a gift of a forequarter of a lamb or calf if he is schecting 6 or more animals for me.

            Since I have a non-Jewish neighbor who skins and quarters the animal and takes the hindquarters and non-koshered parts and the shochet traibers. I don't mind soaking and salting. I grew up in the years when most kosher homes did their own soaking and salting. I get to cut the chops, etc to my desired thickness.

            It's NOT about easier, placing an on-line order is easier. It's about getting the fresh meat I desire from local farmers and having it in the form and weights I want.

            I'm 60. I grew up in a city of 150,000 people with 30,000 Jews and 20 Kosher butchers, and plenty of local kosher slaughter operations. I liked the way it was before the Agriprocessors of the world ruined the kosher meat business. Today there's one butcher (and he really doesn't know meat that well). I'm not interested in buying packaged kosher meat in the supermarket that looks bad, may be old and has a sickly appearance. I want something geschmacht. I miss the days when you could call the butcher Monday and say that on Thursday please deliver a 6 lb pickled rolled and netted veal shoulder roast to make for Shabbos. So I make sure I can have what I want, even if I do more work.

            As long as my chosen animal can be bought, slaughtered and processed without crossing the state line, I don't have to deal with the USDA.

            1. re: avitrek

              I appreciate Bagelman's well-thought out answer. My personal answer is I haven't gotten all the details yet, so I don't know. I'll keep you posted if we go through with this.

              1. re: craigcep

                I was lucky. I was good friends with a wholesale butcher/meat packer in West Haven, CT since I was a child. Back thru the 1980s he supplied the fresh kosher meat to most of the kosher butchers in the southern half of Connecticut from Stamford to Norwich. When he retired from business about 1990 I was president of his shul. He still would buy from local farmers and have the semi-retired shochet process enough animals for some regular clientele in the shul (who has always been able to buy direct from him, He still had band saws, etc in his basement at home and walk-in cooler and freezer. I continue to this day using the same Shochet now in his mid 80s (which is why he does only young animals and poultry). I bought the band saw and a commercial Globe slicing machine from the butcher's widow She is still. a good friend and asks me to get her certain cuts of meat she misses that are unavailable in the current days of boxed beef. I'm happy to accommodate her.

                Working with local farmers lets me get what I want. To me a roasting chicken should be 7 or 8 pounds. Sorry, Empire, that 3.5 pound bird is a broiler, labeling it a young roasting chicken doesn't make it so. It is too immature to impart the koaches a roasting chicken should have. A local farmer, unlike a factory farm can let a chicken age and grow before slaughtering. I want goose for Chanukkah, made in my Pesach kitchen so I can render schmaltz and freeze for Pesach use. Go ask you kosher butcher for an 'inside skirt' steak or a hanging tenderloin...the kosher store with all the prepacked meat ion the self serve cases won't usually have a clue what you are asking for.

                When I was a child my mother woukd never buy the chop meat that was already ground at the butcher. She chose a piece of meat to have ground or did it herself. I like to make my own mix, varying the cuts and fat content depending on the dish to be cooked.

                It's more work, but I enjoy the results, as do my family and guests.

                Do you research and go for it. It won't be easy. Local rabbinic authorities may fight you; and if you use the Sephardi Rav that Adina mentioned earlier some of your friends may no longer want to eat at your home. Politics stinks.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  I think its a great idea, and I'd be willing to participate if anyone is interested.

                  I would periodically schlep to Glatt Mart in Brooklyn, and buy the front of lamb, which ended up being around 22 pounds of meat. Worked for the family.

            2. In my community on LI, there are a group of men who decided, as part of their deeper Torah learning, to become certified Schochets. They might be willing to help you out. Please reply if you would like to be put in touch with them.

              8 Replies
              1. re: mggn

                If this is in Great Neck, I know one of the wives in that group, and I've been in touch with her.

                Right now, the state of affairs with my friend is (1) where do we obtain an animal and (2) how do we empty our freezers.

                1. re: craigcep

                  If you want Lamb you had better move fast. They are born in the spring and by fall they are maturing into animals that yield mutton, not lamb.

                  Contact Banbury Cross Farms, a Goshen.NY operation that sell live lamb and other livestock.


                  As to emptying your freezer: back in the 70s I used to host an eat the Chometz party two Saturday nights before Pesach. We'd cook up everything in the freezer, invite lots of college students and have a blast. You could host a similar party to empty your freezer.

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Bagel - thanks for the reference. How do you get the animal to your shochet?

                    1. re: craigcep

                      I was using this as an example in NY. I buy from local farmers I know here in CT. I usually drive the shochet to the farm and he slaughters in their killing shed. No crossing state line, no USDA requirement. The farm in NY I linked is USDA inspected. Call them, tell them pf your kosher requiorement. They may allow a shochet to slaughter on premise (using his own knives) then they can relieve you of the hindquarters (as they sell the product anyway) and may be able to skin the animal and remove head and hooves.
                      Although.....I've never had p'tcha from lamb, but if calf works, trying lamb sounds interesting.

                      I used to take poultry to the shochet and he'd slaughter in his yard. Now in his 80s he's moved into an apartment where this is not possible. So I can take him to the poultry farm 45 minutes from New Haven, or if I only want chickens, we have Hispanic markets selling live birds in New Haven, and they will let him shecht in their abbatoir. They allow Halal slaughter as well.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Keep the's a shame that things like head cheese (think p'tcha but with beef cheek and tongue) are a thing of the past. For me, the past year was a year of kosher bacon experiments. This upcoming year I want to play with head cheese!

                        1. re: gotcholent

                          Head cheese doesn't appeal to me. I love tongue. If you loved playing with lamb belly bacon use cheeks to make a non pork version of guanciale.

                  2. re: craigcep

                    You're investing a significant amount of money in this project. If you like it and continue, then you are likely to need more freezer space anyway. Maybe you should consider investing in a new freezer.

                    1. re: follick

                      Lambs don't take a lot of space, especially if you only get the forequarters.

                      You can get a 5.0 Cu Ft freezer from Sears for $180.