Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Butcher's Wife

There's a lot going on all at once around here, but a moment of clarity reminded me that I need to be thinking ahead to Christmas dinner. 
After buying a new front door, door handles, and a doorbell, we went to our local chain grocery, Food City and asked the counter man for a small end 3 rib beef roast.
 The butcher was out to lunch, so we did our shopping and waited for his return. It became obvious to Dave that the returning butcher was more like a clerk and didn't understand or know how to find what we required. Dave followed him into the cutting room and proceeded to cut and trim our roast for him. It was a flash from the past and the meat man was in awe. Dave felt like a big shot, of course.

 At home I salted the roast and placed it unwrapped in the fridge. We let it sit for the whole week unwrapped and it dry cures, getting darker and smaller and totally awful looking. Then an hour before roasting, Dave will slice thin layers off the flesh and it is again bright red and white. The dogs love the dried dark meat, and stand at full attention as Dave trims the roast. This process results in extra flavor, tenderness and more character to the taste. Even a day or two of dry ageing can make a significant difference in taste. Take it from the Butcher's wife.
The other day I noticed some kids gathering in the bushes at the side yard and sent Dave out with the dogs to investigate. The kids follow a path behind our house to walk home from school, reminding me of my own childhood. They were a mass of giggles as the dogs wiggled up to them for pets. Then they asked for a drink of water and followed Dave into the house, all seven of them! I took this photo but one boy was hidden behind the girls and the boy in the turquoise shirt. All of them are in some way related; some have the same dad or mom and are from Guatemala or Mexico. The hidden boy is shy because he is the most recently here and doesn't quite speak English yet. 
They were so polite and friendly and asked lots of questions all at once. I had the best time, enjoying their enthusiasm. All that long black hair!


  1. Boy am I glad to know the butcher's wife!!!! It is now my crown to do the Christmas rib roast but it never comes out how I remember the childhood roasts. I am going to try your way.... and now wish I had not waited to pick up the meat... two days will have to do this year. Sign me: blog reader of the butcher's wife.

  2. I bought a quarter of a cow once that had already been dry aged. I had no idea you could do it yourself with meat from the grocery store. Thanks for the info.

  3. How fun with the kids!!!! enjoy!!! Merry Christmas you two!!
    <3 j

  4. I was cool that the meat clerk let Dave, the butcher, behind the counter. Sounds like Food City could use someone to train their personnel! Those kids are so sweet! It is good to make friends with all the locals.
    I just got a new front door about two months ago and I just noticed I don't seem to have that musty smell in the crawl space under the door landing anymore. The old door was a rotting mess so I am hoping my musty problem is gone.

  5. Obviously the new house is a complete success with such adorable neighbors! Merry Christmas.

  6. I'm curious whether you do the low/slow roast technique for the rib roast?

  7. We dry-aged a rib roast one year. I agonized about it spoiling every day for two weeks and swore I'd never do that again, but in the end it was absolutely wonderful. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  8. I have dry aged before but hated cutting away the outer dried part; I've just bought 2 prime rib roasts, shall I send the off cuts to you for the doggers? As for storage, you do what you have to do!

  9. We are doing the same salt cure on a chicken. That is funny that Dave was allowed back to cut his own roast!
    Cute kids and dogs, they go together.