Protein Primer

Rediscovering the definition of the "rock star butcher"

We can't be sure of the exact moment in time when butchers were aligned with musical bad boys. But somehow the term "rock star butcher" stuck, and it has been overused to exhaustion.

As we read the new book from butchering power couple Joshua and Jessica Applestone, however, the term seemed apropos: The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat is at once a political manifesto on the agricultural climate, a memoir and an instructional how-to with lessons on tying roasts and breaking down lambs. Theirs is the philosophy that has spawned a movement of imitators.

At Fleisher's Meats in New York's Hudson Valley, the Applestones were among the first in the country to feature exclusively grass-fed proteins, broken down to utilize every part of the animal. The choice was hardly a move driven by trend: Joshua Applestone's great-grandfather Wolf ran the first incarnation of Fleisher's in Brooklyn, and the lost craft of butchering was in his blood.

The book is a worthwhile read, providing context for the many practices that have now become ubiquitous phrases on menus; here, such terms as primals and nose-to-tail are explained (and encouraged) through useful recipes and tips.

In addition, the Applestones are hardly resting on their laurels. This fall, they plan to open their second shop--in Brooklyn.

After a long tour, the rock stars are coming home.


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