butcher

Applestone Meat Company  

by Anne Maxfield on September 9, 2019

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember Horn & Hardart and the Automat. It was a place in New York where you could pick your meal, plate by plate from a wall of vending machines. As a kid, putting a nickel in the slot and getting a piece of pie never got old.

Applestone Meat Company has taken the Automat concept and brought it into the 21st century. In their new Hudson NY store, gleaming rows of vending machines offer an incredible array of meats. There are literally hundreds of cuts to choose from, ranging from beef—fresh or dry-aged, to chicken, pork, lamb and even a whole case dedicated to sausages.

Besides the incredible variety, there’s the convenience factor – both the new Hudson location as well as the original Stone Ridge store are open 24/7. And “all of the meat we source is from animals raised without added hormones or antibiotics, and they’ve all been raised by farmers who are truly committed to their well-being.”

Now you’re probably thinking two things, why would I need a 24-hour butcher and isn’t this going to be expensive? I can’t really answer the 24 hour thing except to say that there have been times when I’ve thought that I’d really like to make _____ but the butcher is closed (and call me a snob, but I don’t buy meat from a supermarket). And maybe you have a job where you’re not out and about during normal business hours. Now you have options.

If you’re used to getting your meat from a butcher or farmers’ market, you’ll find their prices are pretty reasonable. If you’re used to big box prices, well…

I was invited by Applestone to see the new Hudson location and pick up a “care package.” Since my friend Janet has been raving about the quality of the meat for ages, I jumped at the chance. The new store is just off the beaten path of all the action on Warren Street.  From 11-6 there’s a service window where you can place special orders (online also), choose from their frozen inventory, or pick up special orders and the staff is happy to show you around the space and explain how the vending machines work.

The machines are stocked daily and everything is vacuum packed, which is great because it extends the amount of time it can sit in your fridge and if you freeze it, prevents freezer burn. All the packages also have a use- or freeze-by date, so you won’t be wasting food.

My “care package” had a beautiful dry aged ribeye steak, a couple of lamb loin chops, some ground beef and a package of chorizo. My chance to test out the vending machines came when I discovered they also have merguez, so I bought a package.

We “grilled” the merguez and chorizo in the grill pan and they were both really tasty. If you worry about either of them being overly spicy, don’t. They both are well spiced, but not killer hot.

It took a while before we decided to treat ourselves to the ribeye, but finally the right night came and we cooked it to perfection in the cast iron pan. It was juicy and tender with great steak flavor. You got a hint of the aging process, but again, not overwhelming (which is more to my taste). That and a couple of ears of corn, and we had the perfect end-of-summer dinner.

Although Applestone’s new Hudson location is a little off my normal route, it’s great to know it’s there and open all the time. I’ll definitely stop by anytime I’m in the area. The meat was great, it’s reasonably priced and hey—there’s the fun factor of playing with the machines.

21 Green Street, Hudson NY 12534

845-626-4444

Or the original location at:

3607 Main Street, Stone Ridge NY 12484

 

 

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10 Reasons to Buy from a Butcher

by Anne Maxfield on April 30, 2018

Accidental Locavore Butcher Case If you bypass a butcher to just grab a couple of steaks or a chicken from the store, you might not be making the most of your meat-buying dollars.

Having a butcher you can depend on is the next best thing to buying a part of an animal from a local farm or meat CSA (and requires a lot less freezer space).

Why would you want to search out and befriend a butcher? Here are 10 reasons I love hanging out with people like Barb at Barb’s Butchery:

  1. If you have a dish at a restaurant with an interesting cut of meat, they can replicate it. Recently, I was reviewing a restaurant for Organic Hudson Valley Magazine and had a pork shank, something I wasn’t familiar with. I mentioned it to Barb and she was intrigued enough to start cutting some shanks from the pig she was breaking down.Accidental Locavore Butcher Pork Shank
  2. You know where your meat is coming from. They have relationships with farmers, so you’ll know how it was raised, finished and butchered.
  3. They can guide you to lesser known cuts (often known as butcher’s cuts) that are often less expensive and more flavorful. While cuts like short ribs and skirt steaks have gained popularity, flat-iron steaks are still flying under the radar and well worth checking out.Accidental Locavore Pig Butcher
  4. They can give you recipes and ideas. This is really useful if you want to try out some of the lesser-know parts of an animal. Often, if you have a recipe in mind, they can give you alternative meat ideas that might save you some money.
  5. They can teach you a lot of stuff. I learned how to test for doneness by just poking the meat. Here’s a link to the video I made; it’s much easier to see it in action.
  6. They can custom cut anything for you (although I always feel guilty about asking to have a chicken cut up—it’s so easy and I should practice my knife skills).
  7. They can grind it for you (important if you’re making something like steak tartare or have a special hamburger or meatloaf mix in mind).Accidental Locavore Butcher Sausage
  8. They can tell you about new stuff they’re working on and save you some. Barb recently made some Saucisse de Toulouse that were terrific!
  9. They may be making great sandwiches. Sometimes they’re posted and sometimes you just have to be in the know, but look for great brisket, Cubans, or Italian combos to be on the menu.
  10. You’re supporting a local business (and probably more than one, if they’re buying local meat).Accidental Locavore Barbs Butcher Bisket Sandwich

Did I miss anything? What do you like about shopping at a butcher?

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Barb the Butcher in Beacon

by Anne Maxfield on October 9, 2017

Accidental Locavore Barb the Butcher A butcher.

Not something you’d generally think–hmm, sounds interesting.

But never followed up with.

They say things happen for a reason.

Kismet.

Which is how, on a rare sunny day, I ended up in Beacon.

Ostensibly to try out a new burger joint –  Meyer’s Olde Dutch – and also to check out Barb’s Butchery shop.

As it turns out, my partner in HudsonValleyEATS.com sold Barb the store she has.

Accidental Locavore Barb the ButcherAnd a recent guest on the radio show, Jennifer Solow, the editor of edible hudson valley, had just featured Barb on the cover, striking a jaunty pose, a haunch of beef slung over her shoulder.

So now I had two good excuses/connections to meet Barb.

After burgers, we went down and met Barb and her team.

The shop is on a quiet corner in Beacon, lined with butcher cases filled with pristine looking meat.

Great looking sausages, perfectly cut steaks and short ribs, everything looks like something you’d be happy to cook and eat.

We watched them making a batch of what they call NAM North African Mint. It smelled wonderful and is their version of merguez—a little spicy, with pork replacing the traditional lamb. She set some aside for me to pick up a couple of days later and they quickly became a favorite.

You might want to keep an eye out for their monthly specials, especially if you have freezer space and/or are expecting a crowd. We got a great assortment of steaks, pork chops, a chicken etc. in ours and all the meat was delicious (and local).

My husband went down to pick it up (order in advance please) and discovered the lunch counter side of Barb’s.

He got what he considers to be one of the best brisket sandwiches ever—her own smoked brisket topped with slaw and her onion BBQ sauce—all made in-house and topped off with homemade potato chips, hot from the fryer!

Accidental Locavore Barbs Butcher Brisket SandwichIt was so good that after our second brunch at the Roundhouse, we went over so everyone could get one to take home for dinner (and they were yummy)!

While we like to support local businesses and especially women-owned ones, it’s great to want to go to Barb’s. Hang out, watch them making up batches of sausages, have a great sandwich and take some great local meats home with you.

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Accidental Locavore PigThis year, not only was there a pig, but also a lamb…

This is a re-run of my post after the event last year in case anyone wants to attend week 2. We talk about nose-to-tail eating, but how does it really work? Come and see what happens when two chefs take on all the parts of a whole pig.

We’ll be focusing on using all the parts of the pig–smoking ribs and bacon, making a variety of sausages and stuffing the head to make headcheese (one of my favorites from last year!).

There’s still time support Slow Food Hudson Valley and get tickets for the second part on Saturday, March 25 from 10-4.

Saturday, the Accidental Locavore and about a dozen people watched three chefs tackle a pig. It was part of a two-day program Slow Food Hudson Valley put on to promote snout-to-tail eating (which reminds me–what happened to the pig’s tail?) or “butchering, preserving and sausage making a heritage pig.

Accidental Locavore Tom and Half PigWe were in a freezing cold farmstand on Kesike Farms in Red Hook NY, watching Chef Tom work his way through half of a hundred-pound pig. He did it with very few tools, and the ones that he’d chosen were all easily acquired, if not already in your arsenal. For the whole pig all he used were two boning knives, two hand saws and a sharpening steel. One of the hand saws, a Japanese, flexible bladed one, was a recent purchase from Lowes. In case you’re interested in breaking down any sort of animal (bigger than a chicken), remember knife first, then saw.

As he went through the pig he used a technique he referred to as “seam butchering” or finding the seams between the bones or muscles and using them as reference points. Between American and various European methods, there are a lot of ways to butcher a pig—choices you get to make as you cruise along.

Once Chef Tom got through cutting the pig into his basic cuts, he went back section by section, boning almost everything except the baby back ribs. He showed up his way of tying up various hams and roasts. While he was working, there was a lively discussion of the best ways to use each of the parts. Neck bones (which I forgot to ask for) are supposed to make your regular tomato sauce just amazing! Cumin, for some reason, played a major role in almost everything—it was simply the joke of the day.

After Tom was finished with his business, Chef Dan whisked away a lot of pork for stew and got to work, with help from some CIA students, on our lunch, a southwestern pork stew/chile, which was great and might actually have had some cumin in it…

Accidental Locavore John and TomThen Chef John stepped up to demo how to prep the various pork products for bacon, sausages and headcheese (yes, you use the whole head). He made a brine, using some for a loin and injected another piece with brine, explaining when you would inject versus when you would submerge. The liquid injected, should be 10% of the weight of the meat you’re using. The head and feet also went into the brine. We’ll see what happens to them next week.

Accidental Locavore Injecting BrineAfter the brining, John showed us how to do a bacon cure. It’s essentially a dry rub with salt, sugar, and whatever spices you want to add to the mix. You coat the bacon with the cure, cover it (or put it in a Ziploc) and refrigerate. Every other day, you need to flip the meat so it gets cured evenly. Another thing to look forward to next Saturday!

Accidental Locavore John Making SausagesFrom there we went on to making sausages. When you make sausages, it’s really important to cook and taste the meat before you stuff it. I always thought you just made a mini patty and fried it. No, no, no. Chef John said it’s not a good way to see how the finished product will actually taste and the texture is completely different. His way? Make a sausage-sized log, wrap it tightly in Saran Wrap, and poach it until it’s done. Then taste and adjust the seasonings. We ended the day, tasting his sweet Italian sausages and a southwestern green chile sausage. Both were really great and even better? We got to take some home.
Accidental Locavore Testing SausageI can’t wait for next Saturday! Lots of smoking going on next week. And we’ll get to try our bacon, make some tasso, have some ribs, even some headcheese. Sound tempting? There are spots available so come join us–Slow Food Hudson Valley has all the info.

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