The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional's Guide to Butchering and Merchandising by Kari Underly
Wiley, 2011, 232 pages, no recipes, spiral bound hardback, numerous color photos.
The best teachers can address the novice and still educate the expert, and that is exactly what Kari Underly does in this fine guide. Aimed at protein pros, this book belongs on the shelves of any serious carnivore.
Underly is a third generation butcher and consultant to numerous merchants, universities, chefs, farmers, and trade associations, among them the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
This is the book that will settle those barroom arguments such as "what is the difference between a T-bone and a porterhouse?" Answer: Both have two muscles, the toploin, and the tenderloin, and on the porterhouse, the tenderloin must be at least 1.25" diameter. If the tenderloin is smaller, it is a T-bone.
Worth the price of admission for the beautiful carefully retouched photographs of the different bovine cuts, and step by step pix of how they are carved out of the larger primals. The invisible retouching helps the reader clearly understand the different muscles and subsections.
There is a lot of inside baseball talk here aimed at chefs and butchers, including a chapter called "Cutting for Profit" where you can see how a butcher can calculate the resale price and profit margin of a large hunk. There is even a complete table of all the professional meat cutter's product names and descriptions with the names of the component muscles. This may seem superfluous for a backard cook, but this is knowledge that can help keep you from being fooled when cash is at stake when you are buying steak. The sections on knives, sharpening, safety, and cutting techniques are unique and useful to all.
Spiral bound so it lays flat, there are no recipes, just some generic cooking tips, but this is not a cookbook, it is a buyer's guide for buyers of all sort.