Thursday, December 2, 2010

Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game, John Mettler

Two thumbs way up.

Mettler's guide is well organized, well written, and very helpfully illustrated. He begins with a chapter on "Tools, Equipment, and Methods" which lists and pictures various knives, saws, lifting equipment, and other kinds of equipment that the home butcher needs to make the work smooth. He outlines some general guidelines on best temperatures hanging/aging and meat preparation as well as advice on keeping the meat clean.

Then follow chapters on various kinds of meat: Ch. 2 Beef; 3 Hogs; 4 Veal; 5 Lamb; 6 Venison; 7 Poultry; 8 Rabbits and Small Game; 9 Less Popular Meats (like goats, horses, and bison).

Each of these chapters is very well illustrated both with respect to planning the cuts and making the cuts. Elayne Sears drew the illustrations, and the book is worth looking through just for her drawings alone.

Chapter 10 focuses on Meat Inspection. Ch. 11 covers Processing and Preserving; the causes and prevention of spoilage; how to freeze meat; dry cures and pickling; smoking meat; corned beef and tongue; sausage; and other preserved meats.

Chapter 12 consists of 37 recipes for items from short ribs to Pheasant Piccata.

There is a good glossary, a chart of weights and measures, and a very good index (by Eileen M. Clawson).

This book was edited by Dianne Cutillo. The art was directed by Cynthia N. McFarland, and the book design is by Jennifer Jepson Smith.

The book was revised and updated in 2003 by Martin Marchello.

The author, John J Mettler passed away in 2001. He was a veterinarian in upstate New York for more that 30 years.

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