Discover the Best Butchery Classes in NYC
Butchery is the practice of selecting, slaughtering, deboning, cutting, and preparing meat. One of the oldest trades still performed today, butchery is a detail-oriented craft that has been refined over thousands of years. A practice that relies on a combination of finely-honed skills and high-quality tools, butchery emphasizes getting the best cuts from the finest meats and stands in contrast to the mass-produced meat products of industrial society.
Dating back over 400,000 years with the earliest documented butchery site in Kent, England, butchery is now considered an art form. Independent butcher shops have seen a rise in popularity as individuals become more intentional about their sourcing and consuming habits.
Whether you’re looking to improve your homemade meals or support sustainable farming, a butchery course can be a great way to perfect your skills so that you can create truly memorable farm-to-table food experiences, for both loved ones and customers. There’s so much to be gained from practicing this ancient set of skills.
Why You Should Learn Butchery in NYC
A well-respected trade, butchery can provide many benefits to those with a passion and interest. Being a knowledgeable butcher allows you to hand-select and personally slice your own cuts of meat, elevating your dishes with an artisanal flair.
Are you passionate about environmentalism? Butchers can locally source their meat from sustainable and humane farms and minimize waste by ensuring every usable part of the animal is properly harvested. Becoming a master butcher helps you develop a deeper connection to your food and the environment so that your dishes can be healthy, wholesome, and earth-friendly.
Is the rising cost of groceries causing you stress? Purchasing large portions of meat directly from a local farm and butchering it into prime cuts can save you money in the long run. You can stock up on meat for one or more seasons, and handling the processing and packaging on your own can help limit your financial waste, as well.
Looking to invest in your community and make friends? Local butcher shops are often central to the day-to-day lives of those that live nearby, with expert butchers forming bonds based on trust and respect with neighbors and local businesses.
With the cultural shift away from factory farming towards less harmful, more sustainable ways to source food, butchery can be an exciting new career. A quality butcher shop can be an essential business in any community, connecting ranchers to consumers, and making farm-to-table practices more accessible.
In-Person Butchery Classes & Schools in NYC
Butcher shops are an intimate staple in nearly every neighborhood in New York. In fact, the oldest butcher shop in New York is Staubitz Market, which was established in 1917 and is still operating today. In the early 1900s, there were butcher shops on nearly every street corner and, while many of these original shops have closed over the years, countless butcher shops are still thriving.
It’s not surprising, then, that this city known for its bodegas and corner stores, with dozens of unique and beloved neighborhoods centered around locally-owned businesses, has plenty of butchery classes for you to choose from.
Breaking Beef: An In-Depth Tour of the Steer is a butchery-focused class held in Chelsea, NY. Hosted by Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, the butchers leading this demo class will walk you through breaking down a whole side of beef, from neck to tail. They’ll cover all the cuts that come off of a steer and will discuss livestock agriculture practices. You’ll learn how to properly shop for the best meat and how best to cook each cut Plus, there are samples!
Dickinson’s Farmstands Meats also offers Whole Hog Butchery where expert butchers will break down a whole hog and walk you through the different butchering techniques. This class will also cover techniques used in charcuterie and preserving meats like salting, brining, dry-curing, fermenting, and smoking. Students will get hands-on experience preparing different items in various cures. (Special note: A sweater is recommended for all classes at Dickinson’s as they are held in their 60-degree cutting room.)
The Brooklyn Kitchen hosts Pig Butchery, this demo class is led by Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest, known as “the butcher girls.” Nakamura and Guest will break down a pig into familiar cuts and divulge the musculature secrets behind cooking pork. Each participant will get to take home between four and six pounds of varied cuts.
Butchery: Chicken, Fish, and Rabbit is also hosted by The Brooklyn Kitchen and will focus on small animal butchering. Considered a gateway butchery class, participants will get hands-on experience breaking down these smaller animals and learn the essential methods for preparing each cut. Dinner is served during class and each student will take home all their proteins.
Knife Skills 2: Butchery is held at The Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. An intermediate-level class, students will hone their fish and poultry fabrication skills by learning how to debone a chicken and filet a flounder. Knife Skills 1 is a recommended prerequisite for this course. As an added bonus, wine is provided during class.
Abigail’s Kitchen offers a course called Advanced Knife Skills: Introduction to Butchery at Home. Students will master how to filet a fish, debone a chicken, and French a rack of lamb. You’ll also discuss the different types of knives and what tools you really need. Dinner will be served, as will local wine and beer. Located in charming Greenwich Village, Abigail’s Kitchen offers a unique learning experience in a working restaurant kitchen.
Virtual Butchery Classes & Schools
Looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of New York and spend a cozy evening at home? Online butchery classes boast the flexibility to attend from wherever you want and, with on-demand classes, whenever you want. Learning in your favorite pajamas can make the experience even more enjoyable. There’s also no need to sit in traffic, tackle public transit, or struggle to find parking.
Students are generally required to source their own supplies and tools, but a list of ingredients will be provided after registration. Plus, online butchery classes still have the benefit of an expert instructor and the hands-on experience that in-person classes offer.
Virtual Building Blocks: Chicken Butchery and Cookery is an informative online class held by The Chopping Block Lincoln Square. This two-hour class is held over Zoom and will teach students how to select quality poultry that they will then properly butcher and prepare. It will also cover several different cooking techniques like braising, roasting, and sauteing. Students will be provided with a recipe packet, equipment list, and class syllabus upon registering.
Similarly, The Chopping Block Lincoln Square also hosts Virtual Building Blocks: Fish Butchery and Cookery. This class teaches how to select fish, identify flat and round fish, techniques for breaking down a whole fish, and various cooking methods. Also hosted via Zoom, a moderator will make sure that all your questions are answered by the chef either during or after class.
If you’re looking to master how to cook your hand-selected cuts, Class in the Kitchen offers Date Night: Steak for Two. Grab your partner, light a candle or two, and enjoy a romantic and informative evening at home. Led by Chef Grazia, this class teaches how to properly season and get a signature sear on your steaks, every time. Students will create a mushroom and wine reduction and roasted potatoes to compliment their mouth-watering steaks.