1. Food

Primal Instincts

By September 15, 2010

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 Photo In a few weeks, I'm headed up to the wine country to attend an event called Primal Napa, which is billed as an outdoor celebration of culinary art appreciation for wood-fired cooking, butchery arts, heritage breeds, and whole animal utilization. I'm certainly interested in all those things, but to be honest, it was seeing something on the itinerary called, "The Bacon Hall of Fame Tasting Bar," that really had me rushing to RSVP.

All kidding aside, I'm into any event that promotes the art of butchery, and the trend of using the entire animal. Chefs buying whole hogs, or other large, primal cuts directly from sustainable farms was almost unheard of a few years ago, but it's now becoming more and more common.

 Photo Not only does this practice help support the smaller, more earth-friendly producers, it also keeps costs down, and makes for some incredibly creative and diverse menus. While the focus of Primal Napa is more on the professional chef, many of these concepts can be adapted to the home cook.

I'm planning a short series of articles on some basic butchering you can easily do at home, as well as how and where to buy larger, primal cuts of meat to portion yourself. Not only will you save money, and get a better product, you will find yourself trying recipes and techniques you've never considered using before. Stay tuned!

Photos (c) ProteinU


September 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm
(1) brady says:

John thanks so much for the posting.

Primal is all about fire cooking and butchering. What a lot of people dont know is how important whole animal appreciation and purchasing is the local “hard working” farmer. Those chefs, butchers and home-cooks that commit to whole animal purchasing (larger primals cuts too) free up the farmer to keep focused on his herd and not so much the sales. In a consumer world demanding prize cuts (ribs, bacon, chops) small farms are left trying to sell the secondary, lesser known (usually more flavorful cuts) and surplus inventory tying up dollars and time needed to raise animals responsibly.

This event promotes the growth of the small players and by attending, you are sending the right message to chefs and butchers around the country that we want to keep small farms on the plate. Its inspiring to see everyone come together and share the same mandate. The reward, well, that is for you to cook.

John, i cant wait to see the at home series. All check out http://www.proteinu.com (Top 20 page) for some videos as well.

September 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm
(2) John says:

Brady, thanks for chiming in, and for the extra info. Very much looking forward to the event!

September 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm
(3) lena tabori says:

I just saw your blog about Brady’s event. We are working with him to come to the South Street Seaport in New York during National Butcher’s Week on November 6 to do something similar in coordination with our publishing Marissa Guggiana’s Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers (she runs SOnoma Direct, by the way). The great thing about your interest and ours is that there is a growing movement, supported by edible magazines, slow conviviums, books, and bloggers to move consumers towards a healthier way of eating. Local and sustainable, free-range, grass-fed, organic — all good words supporting what has to happen or we are going to be in even worse trouble than we are already in.

Keep blogging and keep informing.

Brady, if you are listening…I wish I were with you on the 28th.

Lena Tabori, Publisher, Welcome Books

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