Beef forequarter from Deborah Krasner's "Good Meat"

1. Top blade; 2. Shoulder tender; 3. Chuck tender; 4. Whole brisket; 5. Rolled beef navel; 6. Shoulder pot roast; 7. Short ribs; 8. Royal short ribs; 9. Chuck roll; 10. Rib primal. Image by Martin Nilsson courtesy of “Good Meat” by Deborah Krasner.

Ever wonder where to get a whole fresh lamb? If you had one how would you cut it up? Other than grilling the chops, how would you cook the rest of it? This book has everything you need to know about meat, whether you’re raising a pair of bleating babies in your own yard, bringing a cut sheet to the slaughterhouse, or buying meat at the grocery store. It teaches you how to find sustainable meat and how to dry-age steaks. There’s a sidebar about emotional hazards of naming animals destined for the table, and a section on the economics of raising backyard lambs, as well a couple hundred recipes to cook every part of the animal.

The recipes are comforting or exotic, salty or sweet: beef stews and roasted guinea fowl, rabbit sausage and bacon maple syrup popcorn. The culinary range is American, which is to say there’s a bit of everything. Some recipes are Italian, others Moroccan. There are Chinese ingredients as well as French, and others just sound delicious but are geographically un-placeable.

The animals the book covers are beef, lamb, pork, rabbit, poultry and eggs. It is comprehensive. You’ll learn how to choose cuts and keep meat. There’s a recipe for every single part of each animal — steaks, sweetbreads and every bit between and beyond.

Cover of "Good Meat" by Deborah Krasner. Published by stewart tabori & chang.

Cover for “Good Meat” by Deborah Krasner. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010.

The book is about cooking good meat better, and what you learn will help you appreciate each bite more.

Cured Meat, Kaufmann Mercantile
Hot Smoking, Kaumfann Mercantile
Butcher Block, Kaufmann Mercantile

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  1. Clara
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    A hot dog (grass fed, etc) with kim chee on toasted wheat bread with a little mayonnaise. It was AMAZING.


  2. Posted March 2, 2011 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

    Do chocolate/bacon chip cookies count?

    Seriously, outside the occasional lamb or goat, I haven't been very adventurous in my meat eating, despite being a devout BBQ chef. My wife was a vegetarian while we dated and the first ten years of our marriage, so it never made sense to spend the money on fine meats because I was the only one eating them.

    Then, she got pregnant and her first official craving was for (and I quote), "corned beef on rye with mustard … does that sound weird?" It was all downhill from there. We now have a side of local, grass-fed beef chilling in the basement in our brand-new chest freezer. My baby boy saved dinner!!

    So, even though we haven't been adventurous yet, we are all about forging a new path and this book looks like a great guide!

  3. Posted March 2, 2011 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

    I've always been a sucker for short ribs but didn't really know how much I loved them until I had some 48-hour sous vide short ribs at Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc in Yountville. The experience was so profound that I started researching how to cook sous vide at home. This was about four years ago, and since then I've gone through two immersion circulators, two vacuum sealer machines and introduced friends and relatives to the awesomeness of perfect, medium-rare (128F) short ribs, flank steaks, and even fried chicken (I sous vide chicken for about an hour before dredging it and frying it).

  4. Chris
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 5:11 AM | Permalink

    It'd probably have to be a tie between the fried sweetbread & egg sandwich, or the antelope, rabbit & pork sausage on a bun I got at Franks in Austin

  5. Posted March 2, 2011 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    @Arnold, that sounds fantastic. Maybe I'll turn my wife onto the immersion circulator. Mind pointing us toward a good site for info?

  6. Matt
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

    Growing up I worked on a chicken farm that also had a small 'Hog Parlor'. One particular pig, a large stout male, we named Dog, because he liked to follow us around the farm as we did our chores. He had a lot of personality, Jules Winfield be damned. After the rest of the hogs left for slaughter we held on to Dog for that reason. The county farmer's association BBQ was approaching and the farmer I worked for was asked to contribute a hog… only he forgot to hold an extra from slaughter. So, begrudgingly we gave up Dog, but were committed to stay with him until serving time. He was placed in a large coal pit, covered with dirt and cooked for hours and we never left his side. I ate 2 plates with a humble mustard/ketchup/cola sauce and it was the best BBQ I ever had. True Story.

  7. sarah
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    I'm not so fancy but I want to be! I had a camel burger once and it wasn't so delicious. does that count?

  8. Gemma
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    Wild boar barbecue in a cozy restaurant in a picturesque small town in the Philippines. Was it the ambiance or the chewy, naturally delicious flavor of pork meat from a forest-roaming animal? Whichever it was, it was memorable.

  9. Posted March 2, 2011 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Most recently, it was the roasted beef bone marrow at Craft & Commerce in San Diego. Am itching to attempt this at home, but haven't found an accommodating butcher who will cut the marrow bones lengthwise. Contemplating purchase of a band saw. Need help.

  10. Chris
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    It’d probably have to be a tie between the fried sweetbread & egg sandwich, or the antelope, rabbit & pork sausage on a bun I got at Franks in Austin

  11. Pablito V Araneta
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    Lately, I have taken a liking to "lechon" (roast pig) a dish normally served during town or village fiestas and parties in the Philippines. The dish is readily available all over the country in restaurants serving native Philippine dishes. Each province seem to have its own 'secret' recipe and special ingredients. The best parts are the skin and stomach. But while it is succulent and delicious, one should watch one's blood pressure.

  12. Laura
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    Colorado Springs is not a bastion of fine or creative cookery, although I have had nice elk here. I am newly preparing meat and have begun raising chickens. Most recently, I have roasted up a delicious organic and pastured hen, sourced from my CSA. It was really impressive and simple. Right now, I am searching for true spring lamb (Icelandic lamb is raised here in Colorado) and suckling pigs.

  13. Posted March 3, 2011 at 1:36 AM | Permalink

    The most unusual meat that I have put in my belly is pigs feet. This day in age it is not unusual but when you are 9 years old, it is very odd to find a pot bubbling on the stove, full of feet. My Basque great-grand mother was making this traditional Spanish Basque dish one evening. I remember it well, in fact it is my first food memory. The feet were bubbling away in a thick, tomato based sauce that was slightly spicy; full of tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers and the feet. It really smelled amazing. When we sat down to eat, we could not be picky and refuse, we ate what was in front of us. That first, gooey, slightly gelatinous bite, with tender pieces of rich porky flesh, gripped me and pulled me in. I have never forgotten it. Now I am hungry ….

  14. Y&N
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

    We went to a ranch in British Columbia Canada for my husband's 30th birthday. There was an experienced hunter staying there that just got back from a 2 week hunting trip for Mountain goat. Needless to say we had roasted Mountain goat for dinner and it made me appreciate the effort it takes when you actually need to hunt, prepare and cook your own meat instead of just going to the market and picking up something prepared!

  15. Kara
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 4:01 AM | Permalink

    I grew up in Texas, but I always knew that I was a fish out of water in that place. My father, on the other hand, grew up living off the land and still to this day is an avid fisherman, hunter and farmer there. I respect his love of game hunting even though it is not something that I ever particularly enjoyed (and Lord knows he tried to persuade me). That said, 4:00am fishing trips were as exciting to me as Christmas morning, but the same pre-dawn hunting excursions were painful. There was one occasion, however, that I will never forget. It was the one and only time I went deer hunting. I will never do it again, but I am glad that I did it once. I could never pull the trigger myself, but I sat next to my father and watched him do it. He would tell me that it was "population control," and that he had to do it. We were both visibly shaken watching the buck fall. I was surprised to see how much respect my father had for his kill – he loved that animal as much as I did. He really did. That evening we ate grilled venison fillet wrapped in home cured bacon with fresh jalapenos. It was delicious, and it was profound. I am not a vegetarian – I never have been, but I think most people pretend sometimes that they don't know how the meat arrives on their plate. This book looks like it gives the recognition and praise to meat that it so richly deserves.

  16. helena martinez
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    Brazilian BBQ is simply amazing. When you go to a Brazilian Churrascaria (BBQ Restaurants) and you can eat meat of all kinds it is a feast of meat like no other.They call "rodizio" because it is all you can eat, and they rotate the type of meat anof course plenty of salads and side dishes all inclusive. They bring you non stop huge skewers (A long shaft or thin rod inserted through pieces of meat to hold several pieces together while cooking over a grill or roasting over a fire) of all kinds of meat prepared the way you like it, including cow, chicken, duck, lamb, brazilian wild animals and aldo sea food. They simply prepared them with rock salt and nothing else and it is the best tasting meat you can have.. when you walk out of the churrascaria after ours of savoring meat the feeling os satisfaction is just incredible! My mouth is watering as I write this comment..

  17. maya rose
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    I grew up in a solar powered sustainable farm in the volcanic mountains of Tucson, Arizona. We ate our own chickens (feet make the best broth) but the most memorable and strange meat I have ever consumed is my mother's Javelina mole. Javelina, also known as peccary, are wild creatures that dine on cactus, relatives to pigs and hippopotamus. The mole sauce was comprised of ground pepitas, several types of chile, garlic, peanut paste, sesame seeds, mesquite bean broth, and chocolate to create a deep and robust flavor with hints of smoke and sweetness. The Javelina meat was slowly braised in the mole sauce for 12 hours in an outdoor solar oven at a low temperature, which allowed the often tough and stringy meat to soften. Eaten over rice, topped with a tangy tomatillo and roasted chile salsa with lime and cilantro, we wiped the last juices from our plates with fresh corn tortillas. I wish I could share this meal again one day with my family.

  18. Kimberly McKittrick
    Posted March 8, 2011 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    On my 18th birthday, a friend took me out for lunch at a fancy little French bistro. The special that day was calves' brains, poached in court bullion, then sauteed in brown butter with capers. It seemed like a good day to try something different, so I ordered them. The creamy, custardy texture was amazing.

    I hadn't thought of that lunch in quite a while. I'd love to try cooking brains; I wonder whether the butcher who cuts my side of grass-fed beef each year would provide me with the brain.

  19. Posted March 9, 2011 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

    My favourite meat dish isn't as unusual as some, but it was one particular moose roast from a moose my Dad hunted. Roasted with lots of garlic and root vegetables, it was homey and comforting and delicious!

  20. Joanne
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 6:16 AM | Permalink

    Grilled New York strip from a grass fed steer grown by a friend in Heath, MA A bit of heaven for me because we grew all of our own meat growing up and nothing tastes as good.

  21. Tanya
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

    We have been eating elk this year, that my husband bagged, and it is so delicious. The backstrap sauteed in butter with salt and pepper has been my favorite.

  22. Karen Stoneking
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

    Rattlesnake and dare I say it tasted like chicken:)

  23. M.
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    Co-sign with Pablito. The Filipino roast pig, Lechon, was an epiphany for me. I was turning 7 during a family trip there and my relatives decided to throw a party (with the pig being the centerpiece). I was lucky enough to take part in the whole process/ceremony (butchering, etc.). Not one part of him was wasted. To have my relatives give up one of their pigs and feed basically the rest of the village (on my account no less) has taught me to appreciate and respect my food to this day.

  24. K
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    Black bear, grilled lightly and salted. Surprisingly tender and amazingly flavorful.

  25. Zack
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

    The best meat i ever had was from a pair of 400 lbs pigs being cooked for a hawaiian wedding. We arrived at the farm right after the farmer had slaughtered the pigs, we prepared the emu (a traditional hawaiian oven) prepared the pigs, buried the pigs, came back the next day dug up the pigs and put them in two huge stainless steel pans, we then attacked the pigs with tongs to pull out all the bones (which came out erffortlessly)

    We then proceeded to have the absolute best meat meal ever… even the vegetarians among us partook

  26. Posted March 10, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Thanks everyone for your wonderful stories! I don't eat too much meat myself, so when I do I want it to be special and delicious, which all of these things seem to be (and I want to eat them all). I'm impressed how unusual they are, I've never heard of @maya rose's Javelina, @helena's BBQ-ed Brazilian wild animals (more questions than answers there). And I've never looked at black teddy bears and thought: dinner!

    Also, happy to hear some respect going out to the animal itself. Like @Matt I had a pet pig growing up, a giant sow named Betty. I still remember the ten frantic minutes I spent asking everyone where she was, and especially the moment when I walked into our house and saw a crowd of people eating hungrily. I was not able to eat that meal, but my long-digested friend is always a reminder that every bite of meat I eat is a sacrifice.

    Thanks so much! We're sending the book out to @Kimberly McKittrick for being so bold as to eat brain at 18, but if I had my way I'd send copy to everybody.

  27. Chef Doogie
    Posted July 30, 2012 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    The most delicious meat I can recall is not an easy thing for me as I was exposed to many ethnic foods where I grew up in the N.Y.C. greater area. It was 1959-60, I was in 5th. grade I think, and there was an odd little combination college book/luncheonette store on my way to school. This was located across the street from Queens college, on Kissena Blvd. in Flushing N.Y. My school (P.S. 201) was providing lunch for 25 cents, 2 cents for milk. My dad was a cook/chef working for an Brazilian air carrier at JFK., so I always had a bagged lunch with me. It was a rare treat to have "school lunch". Anyhow, one day I stopped in to this bookstore/restaurant and surveyed the fare. It was always populated with college kids and local street workers eating, my God, huge, incredibly delicious smelling/looking "hero" sandwiches on lovely Italian breads not unlike small baguettes. I asked the man behind the glass what was in the pan I was looking at and he said "Pastrami" in his, I now believe, Greek accent. I purchased one of these beauties, watching him with his machine-like movements, slice the bread, ladle the thinly sliced, aromatic, dripping with juices meat on to the breads. If memory serves right, it was 75 cents and 10 cents more for an Orange soda. I had saved up my allowance (25 cents p/week.) for this experience. To this day I have been relentlessly chasing the explosions of flavors that occurred in my young mouth; the crunchy bread and the juicy, just right consistency of lean and fat with complicated exotic flavors! It will always be a culinary benchmark so to speak. As I write this story, I have two uncommon, to most, cut roasts of Beef curing for the pursuit of my past. I have since learned of the original use of Navel Beef from the lower plate by the Romanian Jews migrating to NY in the late 19th. century. I use a 5 step method. Cure, Dry, Season, Smoke, Steam. I will be having this delicacy in about 24 hr.s from now, it is in the drying stage. Your page here is wonderful, thank you, Chef Doogie in Ca.

  28. chris
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    Are you kidda me? Kaufmann-mercantile? What a great name! Catholic ? Anyway , just reading about your info on cured and smoked meats. My top interest. Last week it was artisan bread lol. Thankyou so much for your studies shared. Truly, Chris.

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