How You Butcher Meat is Just as Important as How You Cook it

Geneva, Ohio seam butcher Na*Kyrsie Meats' fresh charcuterie board

When you bite into a juicy piece of meat, you might not think much about where it came from or how it was prepared.

But those two things matter greatly in the quality and taste of your meat.

That’s why at Na*Kyrsie, in addition to using locally raised animals that are treated with great care, we use a special method of butchery called seam butchery to produce high-quality, great- tasting meat.

Seam butchery is a traditional European technique that preserves individual muscles or muscle groups of the animals rather than just randomly chopping it up. This produces a better quality cut of meat and wastes very little of the animal because meat is removed right up to the bone.

Pigs can be seam butchered. A ribeye steak, on the other hand, is not seamed; it has multiple muscle groups in it.

Seam butchery contributes to a better taste because different muscles cook at different temperatures and a seam-butchered piece of meat is gristle-free. Gristle is fascia, the tough, inedible tissue in meat.

Many people confuse gristle with a tough texture. I prefer a little texture to my steak because I think it has far more flavor. A tenderloin to me is very bland and the texture is somewhat mealy but it is popular with many meat lovers because it’s very tender.

I routinely seam butcher the meats I sell at Na*Kyrsie. It’s a long, tedious process that takes me about six hours. I taught myself how to seam butcher with the great help of Adam Danforth’s book, Butchering Beef. This detailed book with lots of graphic photographs documents the process of turning pasture-raised animals into food. I consider it my butcher bible.

For me, a pig is the simplest animal to butcher and usually isn’t seamed other than a few cuts in the shoulder and the hind leg. Beef is more complex.

Much of the beef is bones and also meat that is made into ground beef. Choice cuts of steak make up a small proportion of the animal. I wanted to use more of the animal, for both practical and ethical reasons, so I learned how to butcher it more carefully and methodically.

The cuts of meat that result from seam butchery don’t always meet customer expectations since seam butchery results in a greater diversity of cuts. Sometimes, I have to create names for unique cuts. And I have to continue to educate people about the different flavors and cuts this method produces.

Fortunately, we have a lot of believers and seam-butchered meat lovers.

Our seam-butchered meats are served at Crosswinds Grille in Geneva, where I am also the chef, and at our retail location nearby at 100 Austin Rd, Geneva, OH.

Nate Fagnilli is owner and head butcher at Na*Kyrsie Meats in Geneva.

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