Kyrle Probus Club
   of Ross-on-Wye


Butchery and Artistry

‘BUTCHERY’ and ‘artistry,’ one might think, should not easily belong in the same sentence. But Drybrook butcher Kevin Vale clearly disproved this when he demonstrated the art of preparing meat for display and sale, during an entertaining talk to Kyrle Probus Club.

With some expert flicks of his steel-sharpened knives, Kevin drew admiration from his audience, as he first expertly jointed a chicken and then moved on to prepare a piece of topside beef that, when finished, looked a perfect advert for the meat itself and the butcher’s trade.

Kevin said he started in the trade at the age 14 and his first job was delivering meat to customers on a bike with a basket on the front. ‘Meat has never been as good as it is now and the meat industry has never been so good. In this country we get the best meat and the most hygienic meat,’ he said.

One of the reasons for this is that the meat is hung for up to three weeks and also access to some rare breeds for the meat. When the meat is hung, it loses between 25lbs and 30lbs of waste, he said. The trouble is, the majority of beef comes from continental breeds of cattle bred for the leanness of the meat, but which does not have much flavour.

‘You do get flavour from the meat that is hung, but you have to pay for it,’ he said.. Yet overall, the meat is cheaper now than it has ever been. He said the best thing for him as a butcher is meeting people. ‘You learn so much by talking to your customers,’ he said.



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