Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dear Butchers of America... An Open Letter Regarding the Labeling of Meat

Dear Butchers of America,

I am writing with a question that has perplexed me for quite some time now.  It is regarding beef cuts, so I am hoping that you can help me.

I am a home cook; I've not been formally trained in any way in identifying parts of meat.  And while I like to experiment with recipe creation, I generally use recipes from my cookbooks and warped and spattered Bon Appetit magazines to cook my meals.  

When I am reading recipes to create my shopping lists, I see cuts of meat listed such as "flank steak," "brisket," "rib roast," etc.  But when I get to the grocery store, I see labels like this:

"Boneless Beef Chuck Steak Grillers???" What the HELL are those??? 

Chuck, okay—I get that part.  But "chuck steak grillers???" Do you guys, just for shits and giggles, sit in the back and come up with made-up beef part names to confuse us home cooks? You know we are looking for "2-3 lb. chuck roast."  Do you guys put hidden cameras in the cases so you can laugh hysterically at our confused, perplexed faces as we pour over the meat selections and wonder what the hell half of them are?

And it seems that this is further affected by national region.  Out here in Boston, everyone talks about "steak tips."  Never heard of them before in my life, but apparently "marinated steak tips" are just the shit.  But when I ask anyone what exact cut of beef they are, no one seems to know! It's just "beef."

My dear butchers, I have a request to make: how about a universal chart that all U.S. butchers use to label their meat, so no matter what state I travel to, no matter what store I shop in, all meat is labeled with real beef cut names that match up with my recipes.  If you want to have some fun because your job hacking up animals has gotten to be too much, maybe make a "mystery meat" case? Put the hidden cameras there?

That would be AWESOME.

Thank you so much for your concern and assistance,


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