For our fifth wedding anniversary, my awesome wife surprised the shit out of me with a butchery class and tour at the Mosner family meat processing plant in Hunt’s Point in the Bronx.
The business has been around for nearly six decades, starting with meat deliveries from the back of a station wagon until the brand slowly built up to become a well known, high-end meat distributor for some of the area’s finest steakhouses and meat purveyors.
Three grandchildren of the original Mosner start-up (Seth, Jessica, and Ben) run the incredibly informative tour and butchery class on Saturdays. The first thing you’ll do is suit up in a butcher’s coat and some gloves. Just a word of advice – bundle up if you do this. Inside it is just about freezing.
It starts out with introductions and some information from Jessica about the company, what they do, the history, etc. Then comes an awesome, testosterone building meat chant in call-and-response format. MEAT MEAT MEAT! This is a shot of Ben pulling us in for the huddle just before the chanting began.
Once inside, the learning begins. Seth and Ben informed us about the lamb and veal they deal in, including how it is treated at the farm (they enjoy a stress free and healthy life, which makes for better flavors), how it is slaughtered (with the utmost standards of humaneness), and how it is processed (skilled artists and craftsmen butchers).
Check out some of the other beautiful decor here:
Next up, Jessica runs through some of the important (and often times confusing to those not in the know) labels that the meat industry applies to various products.
“Antibiotic Free” vs “No Antibiotics,” for example (“No Antibiotics” means NO ANTIBIOTICS have ever been in the animal. “Antibiotic Free” means that there were no traces of antibiotics in the animal at the time of slaughter, but that doesn’t mean the animal never had any antibiotics in its lifetime). Here’s a nice little print-out that they gave the class: not everything we learned is on here, but this is a great start.
After this, we watched Chris, AKA “Da Butcher,” perform a lightning fast demo of his amazing butchery skills as he broke down the roast and rib ends of a pig in what had to be under 3 minutes WITH pauses in place to show us and explain what he was doing.
Then we had an opportunity to buy some high end meat at super wholesale prices. I’m talking PRIME beef for $9.99/lb. They even had an entire trailer full of game meats, with lots of harder to find stuff like elk, duck, venison, kangaroo, gator, snake, ostrich, pheasant, squab and others. Are you FUCKING serious?!?? I was in heaven! We decided to get some rarities like duck sausage and confit duck legs, but I could have easily blown the mortgage on this delicious shit.
Now for the hands-on stuff. I had to put my camera down, so there are no “action” photos, but we all got to do what “Da Butcher” did in his demo: namely, slice up the roast and rib of the pig.
We were instructed on everything from the best way to hold the knife, to how to properly get the meat off the bone without nicking or slicing up the good bits. Afterwards, we took all our cuts over to the vaccum sealer and put them into boxes that were pre-labeled with our names on them. That’s right – you get to bring home all that delicious piggy meat that you just butchered!!!
I watched as the staff expertly portioned and wrapped the prime stuff that other classmates had purchased.