5 Things Every Butcher Needs (Besides the Knives)
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
We all know that butchers need knives, but what are some other lesser-known items that are great to have? Keep reading to find out!
Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, these five items have helped me tremendously throughout my career. AND, make sure you read until the very bottom, because I have a BONUS TOOL to share with you.
Okay, the first tool is: A MEAT HOOK. I’ve had this meat hook since the very beginning, and I’ve used it in so many different ways. It’s most helpful during carcass breakdowns, whether you're trying to cleanly remove a blade bone, or trying to remove the tongue from a pig’s head to get a clean cut. It can also be really helpful when you’re just trying to move large sections of beef that are hard to grip, whether you’re using a rail system or just table breaking. This meat hook will save you during those long days.
Onto number 2! A HAND SAW. Now this is a great tool to have if you either don’t have power for an electric saw, or if the blade on your bandsaw is dull or broken. I take this with me everywhere I go because it’s so easy to travel with. I particularly like that it’s on the smaller side because it can be used to break down anything from a goat to a beef carcass. The blade removes easily, making it easy to clean and replace, and the blade can be flipped upside down when traveling to keep the sharp edges from accidentally cutting anyone.
Next up, our 3rd item is MINERAL OIL. A little bit of this item will go a long way! I use mineral oil for all types of stuff, like lubricating exposed gears on a stuffer or grinder, or keeping the sliding shaft on my deli slicer moving nice and smooth. I also keep mineral oil around for when I'm sharpening my knives with my tri-stone sharpener. Mineral oil can also be used around the house to fix a squeaky door hinge, or to polish off exposed metal that might be rusting. I've gone though gallons of this stuff throughout my career, it's a must have!
Annnddddd...number 4 is A KNIFE BAG. This one may seem pretty obvious, but a lot of the butchers I’ve worked with just have a tool box they throw all of their knives into. Keeping your knives in a bag like this one is going to prevent them from getting chipped or broken, and is great for traveling around to different jobs since it has a strap you can just throw over your shoulder.
Finally, number 5: BUTCHER’S TWINE. Now, butcher’s twine is the duct tape of the butcher’s world. The amount of things I’ve done with butcher’s twine is mind-blowing. To name a few projects:
Tying a roast for even cooking
Tying a salami for even drying
Hanging a calendar
Tying chorizo chubs nice and tight
Attaching a pen to your clipboard
Kitchen lights hanging low? Use butcher’s twine!
Need something to film the birds eating seed out of your feeder? Use butcher’s twine to attach your phone to a garden pole!
How could you not have butcher’s twine on you at all times? It’s the BEES KNEES, it’s the CAT’S MEOW, it’s the ZEBRA’S EYEBROWS BABY!
Okay, so we’ve gone through five material items that have helped me immensely throughout my career. But, remember, I promised you a BONUS TOOL. Well, here it is:
Looking back at the last 10 years of my butchery career, and comparing the first five years, to the last five years, it has been completely different all because of social media platforms. There used to be almost nothing online except for a few individuals, and eventually I’d like to make a blog or video dedicated to them.
The education I get on a daily basis following and connecting with some of the best in the business is incredible, and it’s FREE! I can’t express how important it is to make a social media network. I’ve made so many farmer, butcher and cook friends from all over the country, and I’ve gotten so many jobs and contracts just from those connections alone. It’s almost the most valuable tool that I’ve had (well, besides the knives).
Alright, there you have it: 5 TOOLS + 1 BONUS TOOL. Let me know if you have any questions, and you’ll find all the items I talked about linked here.
Happy Butchering, Matt the Butcher.