What do you need to become a butcher?
Butchery is one of those trades that takes a lot more skill and training than many people seem to think, and partially for that reason, it’s not a career for everyone. But if you’re a people person with a passion for quality, and an interest in the quality, history and provenance of meat, a job as a butcher may be an extremely rewarding career path.
You’ll need more than just the expertise though – you’ll also need all the proper equipment, including butchers knives. So do you know your boning knives from your cimeter knives? Do you know your way around the butchers machinery? Here are the essential tips and tricks that’ll help you make the first steps into this industry.
Dress the part
As a butcher, you’ll find yourself constantly on your feet, with plenty of things to keep you busy throughout the day. Therefore, making sure you’re dressed correctly is extremely important, not only for looking presentable but also for safety and hygiene purposes.
Firstly, chainmail gloves are an absolute must-have for any aspiring butcher, as they play a huge role in keeping you safe across every stage of meat preparation. These gloves are particularly essential for protecting your hands from cuts and scratches and are also durable enough for you to keep a firm grip on your butchers knives, allowing you to produce beautiful cuts of meat without putting your hands in danger.
The butcher’s coat and apron are also essentials that we would also recommend getting your hands on as soon as possible. As an aspiring butcher you are entering into a trade backed with centuries of experience, so keeping a look that is both professional and traditional is crucial.
By acquiring and donning a butcher’s coat and apron, you not only tick this box but also, you’re protecting yourself and others from the spread of bacteria and protecting your clothing from stains.
The final piece of this ensemble is your headwear. A trilby hat with a mesh top is ideal for butchers, as reduces the risk of any hair falling, keeping everything hygienic.
The right gear
Okay, so now you look the part, you’ll now need to make sure you’ve got all the right butchers equipment to boot. We’ve run through the 5 butchers knives every butcher should own in a previous article but here is a quick reminder of them and their functionality:
Boning knife – as the name implies, a boning knife is needed to remove any bones from your product, be it meat, fish, or poultry. Of course, in some cases, you’ll want to keep the bone intact but in other cuts, small bones should be removed for safety. This variant of knife tends to be thinner than other knives which makes them ideal for removing bones without ruining the surrounding meat.
Slicing knife – one of the largest knives a butcher is likely to use regularly, the slicing knife is designed to slice meats and other ingredients with ease. Again, these knives are thinner than normal to give you more control over the size of each cut.
Fish filleting knife – a fish filleting knife is similar to the boning knife except it is used especially for fish. Usually more flexible than traditional boning knives, it allows more control over the movement when cutting into the fish.
Cimeter knife – a cimeter knife is a long and curved blade that a butcher uses to cut the carcass into smaller pieces. These are usually quite large knives that allow you to make these smaller pieces with ease.
Slaughter knife – this knife is what a butcher will use if they choose to slaughter their own meat. A slaughter knife is usually designed to slit an animal’s throat after it’s been stunned, allowing for a rapid death via blood loss. Making sure that you have a strong and sharp slaughter knife is essential for a more reliable and humane process.
Aside from butchers knives, having the correct butchers machinery is also important. Other than raw cuts of meat, customers may also want a variety of other products such as mincemeat, sausages, or burgers. Therefore, it’s highly advised that you acquire a range of machinery such as a meat mincer, a sausage filler and a burger press so that you can provide a diverse range of products to your customers.
With the right tools and appropriate gear, you’ll be making great steps in ensuring you’re a cut above the rest!
Whatever your own experience level, here at Butchers Equipment Warehouse, we take care to stock an extensive range of butchers knives, making us your one-stop shop to equip your kitchen or butcher’s shop. You can find exactly what you need right here on our site, or if you need any extra help or advice, feel free to give us a call on 01254 427 761 – we’re happy to help!