The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised MeatThe Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat

How to buy, cut, and cook great beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and more

For fans of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and anyone concerned about commercial meat, here is the ultimate guide to buying, butchering, and cooking meat they can feel good about eating, from the owners of Fleisher’s Grass-Fed and Organic Meats. Fighting the evils of industrial meat, butchers have become the newest, hottest food celebrities. Nobody knows this better than husband-and-wife team Joshua and Jessica Applestone, trailblazers in the industry, who set extremely high standards for the quality and provenance of the meat they sell.

Joshua, a third-generation butcher and former vegan, and Jessica, a former vegetarian, are advocates for humanely and ecologically raised local meat and promote these issues and their craft through wildly popular seminars. The Applestones have been featured in The New York Times, Food & Wine (“one of the country’s best butchers”), Gourmet, GQ, Martha Stewart Living (“tastemakers” issue, April 2010), Forbes, and The New Yorker. They taught butchery to bestselling Julie & Julia author Julie Powell and feature prominently in her book Cleaving. Joshua has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show and as a judge on Iron Chef.

The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat—written with Alexandra Zissu—is a compendium of their firsthand knowledge. This book shares everything a carnivore needs to know about meat, including why pastured meats are so much better than conventional ones and how to butcher and cook meat perfectly at home. Readers will learn how veal is a necessary byproduct of sustainable dairy farming, which steak cut to look for as an alternative to the popular hanger (of which each steer has only one), and why the neck is the Applestones’ favorite cut of lamb. Their decoding of misleading industry terminology and practices will help consumers make smart purchases that can also help change what’s wrong with meat in America today.

With photographs emphasizing technique, line drawings, and recipes, The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat will be the ultimate guide to good meat.

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“Don’t let the ‘butcher’ throw you: the Applestones have written a guide to buying, eating, and preparing well-raised meat for just about everyone out there—the gourmand, the environmentalist, the home cook, the chef. There’s a story and a recipe for anyone who cares what’s on his or her plate. A thoughtful, timely, and important book.”
Dan Barber, chef-owner of Blue Hill

“By learning about meat and where it comes from, we become more competent and responsible cooks and carnivores. In this tribute to farmers and animals, the Applestones and Ms. Zissu have put together a compelling guide to local and sustainable meat and poultry. In an honest, irreverent, and funny primer, we learn which are the best cuts for a given dish, how to cook (and serve) a perfect steak, and what to expect when buying a turkey. This charming and informative reference is sure to influence irreversibly the way we buy, prepare, and appreciate meat.”
James Peterson, author of Meat and Cooking

“If you like eating meat but want to eat ethically, this is the book for you. From the hard-headed, clear-eyed, and sympathetic perspective of butchers who care deeply about the animals whose parts they sell, the customers who buy their meats, and the pleasures of eating, this book has much to teach. It’s an instant classic, making it clear why meat is part of the food revolution. I see it as the new Bible of meat aficionados and worth reading by all food lovers, meat-eating and not.”
Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, NYU, and author of What to Eat

“I love the way The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat explains the world of meat in straightforward, no-nonsense language by folks who learned from trial and error. It is great to see a perspective from butchers selling meat raised in a non-industrial manner. It is clear that the Applestones are folks who care about how the animals are raised for the meat they sell and are willing to explain why doing so is very important to them. There are hard-to-find recipes for making your own prosciutto, bacon, and bresaola.”
Bruce Aidells, author of The Complete Meat Cookbook

“…[the] book provides clear, useful instruction on dealing with cuts of beef, lamb, pork, and poultry, interesting meditations on sustainable dining, and a dozen or so recipes thrown in for good measure. The literature of butchery is hard to resist, and the Applestones with Zissu (The Conscious Kitchen) manage to wield both a skillful pen and clever cleaver.”

Publishers Weekly

“…the book is much more than a manual. Simultaneously irreverent, uproarious and informative, it presents jaw-dropping truths about modern meat, laugh-out-loud explanations of offal, and, yes, stuff-your-mouth recipes for dishes like tongue tacos.”

–Edible Manhattan

“As we read the new book from butchering power couple Joshua and Jessica Applestone, however, the term [rock star butcher] seemed apropos: The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat is at once a political manifesto on the agricultural climate, a memoir and an instructional how-to with lessons on tying roasts and breaking down lambs. Theirs is the philosophy that has spawned a movement of imitators….The book is a worthwhile read, providing context for the many practices that have now become ubiquitous phrases on menus; here, such terms as primals and nose-to-tail are explained (and encouraged) through useful recipes and tips.”


“The new bible for conscious carnivores.”

–Bon Appetit

Selected Resources From The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat

Check back for resources after the book’s release.