Ask Your Butcher


When I worked at a cheese shop, I loved when people would ask me questions about how to serve or cook with cheese, but it happened less often than you’d think. Since then, I’ve made a point to cozy up to my local butcher, wine shop owner and even pasta maker. Perhaps the place I’ve learned the most, though, is the butcher shop. Here are a few pointers I’ve picked up along the way.

  • The most important thing you can do when cooking meat is…nothing. From the moment you get home, let the meat come to room temperature. Make a cocktail, change your laundry, read a book. When it’s time to cook, don’t fidget with the meat. Let is sear! For a steak, I like four minutes per side with ONE FLIP. Finally, let your meat rest for at least 15 minutes after cooking. There’s magic happening inside that steak, and if you cut into it too soon terrible things will happen!!
  • Use more salt than you think you need. Really make it rain.
  • Cast iron is your best friend. Get your pan ripping hot, until the oil is shiny and almost smoking, then you’re ready.
  • Carving knives are the key to perfect slices of steak, but don’t use them for anything else. It dulls the blade.
  • Make thoughtful choices. Good quality meat from animals that were treated well isn’t cheap, nor should it be. Find a place that takes this seriously and get to know the butcher. They’ll let you know which less expensive cuts are the most flavorful, like the bavette steak I picked up from my favorite local spot yesterday. The butcher described it as flank steak, but more buttery. I concur.

A few of my favorite spots in NYC: Dickson’s, Fleisher’s, Foster’s Sundry and Eataly.

First photo via @caranicoletti, butcher at the wonderful Foster’s Sundry


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