At the butcher

7,675
842
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Why does my butcher always ask me if I want the bones cracked?  He asks me every time I buy a piece of meat no matter what it is, chicken, pork, lamb, beef.  Today I bough some pork butt for a roast and he asked me if I wanted him to crack the bone.  What is bone cracking for?
 
7,675
842
Joined Apr 3, 2008
It can be difficult to maneuver a butcher buy. Especially if you're new to cooking or new to butchers. I still find them confusing and difficult to have a conversation with but maybe that's because the butchers in my area are all Greek, serve mostly Greek clientele and are chauvinists. Sometimes it feels as if they are patronizing me when I ask for something outside their comfort zone.

One when I first started cooking I went to buy a pork loin. Didn't really know what to ask for and how to ask for it, it was my first time cooking pork loin. The butcher left the bone in and took the liberty of partically slicing about 10 portions. Cooking it was a disaster. I tried to tie it up as best I could but I didn't do a good job of cooking it. It was dry and carving it was a nightmare since the steaks were already predetermined but still attached to the bone. Not my most elegant dinner party. Took me years before I built up the confidence to make one of those again. What is the purpose of this? I don't understand why butchers do these things.

On the other hand when I do ask for something they fight me on it. If I want a sparchocked chicken they'll tell me it's better cooked whole. If I point to one piece they'll try to get me to buy another. Butcher bullies is what they are. And don't get me started about lack of skill. Does anyone have a butcher that is fully capable of deboning?
 
2,183
656
Joined Oct 31, 2012
     You should find a new butcher obviously. The supermarkets all have meat departments now and should do what you want.

I see you're in NYC. I'm up in the Capital District. We have quite a few good butchers here who know what they are doing and will give you what you ask for. I don't' know how many are Greek. I realize it's a bit of a travel just for a pork roast. lol

     On a related note, what we do have plenty of here are Greek diner owners. They can't cook. They know how to run diners but the "Greek" food is second rate and the rest of the food is bland and pedestrian, nothing to complain about but in no way noteworthy. They all are members of the same buying group to get better prices but that means the food is the same at all of them. 

     When I lived in Seattle a friend suggested dining out at a Greek restaurant. I was extremely reluctant because all I had ever experienced of Greek food was what they serve around here. He talked me in to going and I'm glad he did. It was one of the best meals I've ever had. All the food was fresh and packed with flavor. Given that experience, I don't understand why the Greek diner owners around here serve what they do. It's embarrassing. 

If I find a Greek butcher around here, I'll be sure to place a special order to see what he says. 
 
360
90
Joined Jan 25, 2013
in the Raleigh/Durham area, finding a butcher or even a grocery store that still cuts it's own meat is getting harder and harder.  One large chain has moved all it's meat cutting to one central location.  All the folks in the meat department do now is keep the coolers full.  Wal-mart has been doing that for a long time.  the Hispanic and Oriental grocery stores here do cut their own meat.  they are also the only place I know to find meat other than beef and pork.
 
3,989
825
Joined Dec 18, 2010
It can be difficult to maneuver a butcher buy. Especially if you're new to cooking or new to butchers. I still find them confusing and difficult to have a conversation with but maybe that's because the butchers in my area are all Greek, serve mostly Greek clientele and are chauvinists. Sometimes it feels as if they are patronizing me when I ask for something outside their comfort zone.

One when I first started cooking I went to buy a pork loin. Didn't really know what to ask for and how to ask for it, it was my first time cooking pork loin. The butcher left the bone in and took the liberty of partically slicing about 10 portions. Cooking it was a disaster. I tried to tie it up as best I could but I didn't do a good job of cooking it. It was dry and carving it was a nightmare since the steaks were already predetermined but still attached to the bone. Not my most elegant dinner party. Took me years before I built up the confidence to make one of those again. What is the purpose of this? I don't understand why butchers do these things.

On the other hand when I do ask for something they fight me on it. If I want a sparchocked chicken they'll tell me it's better cooked whole. If I point to one piece they'll try to get me to buy another. Butcher bullies is what they are. And don't get me started about lack of skill. Does anyone have a butcher that is fully capable of deboning?
I understand you and feel your pain. I cook for my family but rarely get to do the buying. Sometimes I give my wife an explicit shopping list and she returns with something else... at the suggestion of some-person-in-the-store. I can't tell you how many times I've sent her back and told her to tell the person-in-the-store that if they don't have what I want/need than they should just say so. Sometimes their substitution works but too often it won't.  Meat is particular frustrating. I print pictures of the cut I want... especially after her first experience buying a pork loin for the Christmas dinner. Wife asked what that cut of meat will look like so I described it as "pork chops, but all in one piece. Apparently the meat guy at the market took that description literally; he used the band saw to cut a loin into chops and stacked them together. She was so proud of herself; he was so proud of himself; I was furious. The next day he ordered a center-cut loin for me and I asked for it to just be wrapped in paper. Aside specialty meat markets, I'm finding that markets, at best, have a meat cutter (which is VERY different from a butcher) and "meat men"... who seem best suited for stocking the shelves but not knowing too much about the product. I never thought of them as "butcher bullies" but more as "meat salesman who sometimes behave like used-car salesman"...
 
639
27
Joined Sep 18, 2010
By cracking the bones you make the bones smaller .

As a result you create a larger surface area and this releases  more flavor in a shorter cooking time.
 
Top Bottom