Kurts post from today http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2011/4/5/wild-vs-grass-vs-grain-fed-ruminants.html#comments made me thinking. It reminds me of a lot of conversations I've had with butchers and other sellers of meat. Whenever i ask for some tallow, extra fatty cut of meats or for my wish not to trim the fat (roast beef is mediocre without fat) i get strange looks. Mostly they tell me, that their animals don't have much fat and are mostly lean. Yeah right! The more organic and the more grassfed the butcher is, the more they market their meat as the leaner, low sat fat and low cholesterol meat. The same for sellers of game meat at the market. I really wanted to make some soups and stocks from it, so i asked for marbled cuts but i get the same bullshit answer. They may be scared that they wreck the world view of super lean organic meats of other potential customers. Who knows?! In my country most butcher don't really sell meat, but the processed forms like sausages and cold cuts. For this they need a lot of fat, so probably they just need the fat for processing meat, which they can sell at a higher price. This makes sense, capitalism 1 x 1, it's their right to do so. But still, they shouldn't lie to me!!
Sounds like you need a new butcher. I love my butcher. He's absolutely fantastic. He knows what I'm looking for in my meat and delivers every single time- and then some! He even hooked me up with 4 live roosters at the last trip.
I think the key is to finding a good butcher and building a relationship. That'll get you a long way.
Huh? There is absolutely more fat on a domestic carcass than can be sold to retail shoppers. Your butchers are looking at you crazy because you're asking to pay more for less. I haven't worked at a meat shop, but I'd be surprised if there was ever a butcher that didn't have more fat than he could sell, even after mixing it into ground and making sausage -- on ground meats, the fat content has to be stated (at least in the US) and always, the higher the fat percentage, the lower the price. You are in effect saying give me the 15% fat ground beef, but I'll pay the 5% fat price. I'd look at you crazy too. :-)
Probably if you asked the butcher nicely he'd give you as much trim fat as you wanted for free. I know I go to a local butcher every so often and ask for a couple pounds of the extra lamb fat after they've made the ground lamb all the ground that they are going to sell. I've never been charged. Normally it goes into a big 30 gallon waste container which they dump out back to have hauled off like garbage to a rendering facility.
When a butcher receives an animal side, he or she most likely trims the fat as much as possible from the entire side before fabricating it into the smaller cuts. It's easier to trim the fat from the entire animal than off each individual steak, especially if the majority of your customers are asking for as little fat as possible.
I am very fortunate - my butcher raises, processes and sells their own bison, and processes animals (steers and hogs) from local farmers only. They are quite used to requests for tallow, lard, bones and offal and package/sell it quite willingly. We have purchased two whole pastured hogs in the last year, and have just taken possession of our second side of grass-finished beef - they process our animals any way we ask!
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