Podcast #352: A Famous Butcher Dishes on All Things Meat

While meat makes up a big portion of Americans’ diet, few people know very much about how meat is sourced and butchered for consumption. Today on the show, I talk to a world-renowned third-generation butcher, Pat LaFrieda, about all things meat, including his new book, Meat: Everything You Need to Know. We begin our conversation talking about his family business in New York City and how it became one of the premier meatpackers in America. Pat then walks us through how that steak you’re grilling got there and all the factors that determine the price of meat. 

We then shift from the macro to the micro of meat by discussing the tools Pat recommends every backyard chef should own, how to tell if meat is bad, and what dry aging does to beef. He then shares what his favorite cuts of beef, lamb, and pork are, how to cook them, and why he thinks you should be leery when a restaurant boasts about their delicious sirloin steaks. 

Show Highlights

  • How Pat got into butchering at a very young age
  • How Pat’s company survived a downturn in the industry in the 90s
  • The difference between cow and steer
  • The business life of a butcher, and how prices get set
  • What tools should every backyard chef have on hand?
  • Why should people avoid frozen meat?
  • Why Pat ages meat, and what happens in the cut during aging
  • Can people age steak at home?
  • How do you know when meat has gone bad?
  • What’s the most underrated cut of beef?
  • And the most overrated?
  • What’s with NYC steakhouses serving thick slabs of bacon with their steak?
  • The best pork cut

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Meat has become a family favorite here in the McKay household. My kids like looking at the cross sections of the butchered animals so they can see what part of an animal is the source of the meat they eat. It’s also filled with fantastic recipes.

Connect With Pat

Pat on Twitter

Pat’s website

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