Stock your meat case with unusual cuts. Treat your farm like a business.
“Bacon is easy. I want to say that loud and clear. Bacon is easy.”
There are certain trades that are historically thought of as being a man’s job.
Kari Underly, a master butcher, traced a thin, sharp blade along the length of a loin, pulling it free with her bare hands.
In today’s episode of Pawn Chick Radio, Kari tells all about her incredible journey into the male dominated world of beef!
Kari Underly was born to be a butcher; both sets of grandparents were butchers, her father was a butcher, so it made sense that when she needed a job to pay for college she could go into butchering.
It’s just a very big idea that will require a lot of capital for building and equipment. I’ve been at this my whole life, I’ve been all over the country and I think [the concept] scares people.
People want me to play small. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback like, “Kari, you need to think smaller. Start with a butcher shop and do classes on the weekends.” But that’s the problem not the solution.
For now, I’m going to continue to think big and have the passion and vision it needs. It’s going to happen.
“Hang on: I’m gonna come over and feel your rump.” So spake Master Butcher Kari Underly at last Monday’s Grrls Beef Camp (she meant a rump roast, I might add), a one-day, hands-on educational event for women in the meat business in and around the NYC metro area. I am neither (a) in the meat business nor (b) in the NYC metro area, but I am a woman with a keen interest in meat-cutting and willing to travel, so I was allowed to take part (thank you New York Beef Industry Council, Northeast Loves Beef, and the South Dakota Beef Industry Council for letting me crash this meaty party!).
Kari Underly is a woman at the forefront of her craft and a force to be reckoned with. She is a pioneer in the meat industry, known for developing new cuts of meat such as the Flat Iron Steak and the Denver Cut.
(most of these cuts will be featured in your grocery store)
Meet five top butchers from across the country who are reinventing the art of butchery.
Click here to watch Kari Underly break a whole ribeye down into ribeye cap, perfectly portioned ribeye filets, and more.
Kari Underly, an Indiana native and Chicago resident, is known nationally for her mastery of meat cutting. Her skill at butchery led her in 2002 to start Range, a consulting firm based in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood that provides education and training, research and development, merchandising, and creative services for the fresh meat and perishable food industries.
In March, I had the pleasure of attending the first annual New England Meat Conference in Concord, New Hampshire. A brainchild of a few Vermont movers and shakers — development of an impressive renewed interest in the regional meat industry.
“I’ve found in my journey that women have more finesse with their hands so they do a lot of finishing cuts. Sometimes I’ve noticed my male counterparts are more about about production and getting things done and women are about making sure it looks nice.”
Meeting the protein needs of the expanding Hispanic and Asian shopper segments is crucial for meat merchandising success.
The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional’s Guide to Butchering and Merchandising by Kari Underly is a beautifully mastered book with over 450 photos. The Art of Beef Cutting has been nominated for a James Beard award. Kari is one of the country’s foremost female butchers.
“What are we gonna do with the head?” asked Chicago butcher Kari Underly. “Does anybody have some things they want to do with the head? I know you mentioned some head bacon?”
So, she’s aiming to start a one- or two-year butcher school in the city of Chicago, a place where culinary students could come and learn a hard skill that’s increasingly needed in the food world today.
Climbing to the Top in Meat Cutting.