A hundred years ago almost every small town had a butcher shop. Today that’s not the case. You usually can’t find a butcher shop in every town, and sadly our trade is not growing like it once did. Training is not a priority for many in the industry today. Here at Joe’s Butcher Shop, we take pride in our trade and it shows not only in our product but also in our training program.
Being great butchers means that we also conduct training for our younger staff. Tom Gunnel, one of the Senior Butchers on staff, works alongside Robert Walden, our Master Butcher. Robert developed a training program that together he and Tom use to teach the young meat cutters of today the art butchery.
Responsibilities vary from day to day, so training is actually an ongoing process. Our staff is expected to make cuts to fill the case, and custom cut and fill special orders for customers. For Tom and Robert, fitting in the training is dependent upon the type of orders they receive per week. Just recently, they received an order that allowed them to train one of the newest butchers, Jordan, on “how to identify and separate each muscle group”. It’s great training in general because what we learn can apply to most of the meats we work with!
Here you have Ian (left) and Jordan (right) breaking down a hog’s hind quarter/leg, which is also very similar to a steers or lambs.
Why is it so important to train young meat cutters? For Tom, the training is a “future investment. I’m passing my knowledge off to a younger generation”. At Joe’s we are expected to know how to cut a quality product. Building knowledge and skill with handling knives and cuts comes with continual training. A big part of our training experience is learning how to cut how to cut safely. Practicing those skills builds that experience for young meat cutters. Practice really does make perfect!
The Industry v. Joe’s
Our training process is unique to the industry. Today, for many other butcher shops, cutting meat requires much less skill than it once did. Big processing plants can make individual cuts on a large scale, which then in turn means there are less “small town” butcher shops with that expertise. Joe’s Butcher Shop uses our training to provide quality that butcher shops can’t provide. Robert and Tom add to the tradition that we are building as an open, family-oriented company that knows its craft.
If you have any questions about our training process and how we cut your meat, come into the store and ask us about it! You never know we might even be going through a training program that day. We are more than happy to answer any questions you might have.