Butcher Shop Meat Photography

I was recently asked to do some butcher shop meat photography. The Applestone Meat Company wanted pretty much all of their cuts of meat documented. The challenge was to come up with an attractive way to photograph this glorious meat in its raw form. We wanted appetite appeal, and that can be a tough ask from a raw piece of meat. We brainstormed. They suggested white. I suggested marble. We decided to show the raw meat in the very early stages of cooking. The higher end cuts were dressed up in only salt and pepper. Some of the other cuts were given marinades and dry spice rubs.

This butcher shop also produces a lot of sausages – andouille, bratwurst, hot Italian, chorizo, Parmesan and broccoli rabe and many more… well over a dozen different blends. We wanted to show these, but we didn’t want to show them raw with raw ingredients around them. So, we cooked the sausages in a way that reflected their particular characters. One of the butchers at the shop happens to be a trained chef. He and the Applestone team came up with recipes, and he cooked them for the camera.

Look for these images rolling out on the Applestone Meat Company’s website and social media channels in the near future.

Butcher Shop Meat Photography NYC

Butcher Shop Meat Photography NYC

Butcher Shop Meat Photography sausage

Butcher Shop Meat Photography Jennifer May

The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat

I am excited to announce the publication of The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat (Clarkson Potter). Written by Alexandra Zissu and Josh & Jessica Applestone of Fleisher’s Grass-fed & Organic Meats in Kingston, NY – and featuring 125 color and black & white photographs by me – the book is part guide, memoir, manifesto, reference and cookbook. The official publication date is June 6, 2011, but here are some previews from my advance copy:

The cover.

A selection of fats.

Joshua Applestone, Fleisher's Grassfed Meat, Cookbook, butcher, photos by Jennifer May

Dry rub on a chicken

Pastured steer on a farm in the Hudson Valley.

Joshua Applestone, Fleisher's Grassfed Meat, Cookbook, butcher, photos by Jennifer May

A pastured pig on a small farm in the Hudson Valley.

Joshua Applestone, Fleisher's Grassfed Meat, Cookbook, butcher, photos by Jennifer May

Josh in the Fleisher’s meat locker.

Joshua Applestone, Fleisher's Grassfed Meat, Cookbook, butcher, photos by Jennifer May

Detail of a two page graph showing the best ways to cook offal.

 

Bizarre Foods @ Joe Beef w/Fleisher’s

For the 2011 Butcher Blackout, Josh Applestone and the Fleisher’s crew traveled to the Joe Beef restaurant in Montreal, and they asked me to go along with them. Before the 12-course meal Fred Morin prepared, we had a six-hour picnic in sub-zero weather. Snacks included champagne and oysters on the half shell served from a snow bank and foie gras lobster poutine. Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods showed up with his film crew, so look for that on the upcoming Montreal special. Here are a few photos, and for more, visit this slide-show.

A rotisserie grill & spit as only the mind of Fred Morin could conceive
Butchers & bone-in rib eye steaks: Joshua Applestone (left) & Tom Mylan (right)
A little grinding, a little welding, Fred Morin modifies the grill
Fred Morin, Bryan Mayer & Josh Applestone
Bizarre Foods & crew
Andrew Zimmern, the host of Bizarre Foods, extols on the foie gras double down he just sampled

Fleisher’s Cookbook

Been spending time in the meat locker and crawling around the cutting room floor at Fleisher’s, working on pictures for their upcoming book, to be published by Clarkson Potter.

Fleisher's grass-fed and organic meats cookbook
Sausage grinding plates

Elephant Wine & Tapas Bar

The Elephant Wine & Tapas Bar, in Kingston, NY, is located directly across the street from Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats. This is convenient as that is where chef Rich Reeve sources much of the meat on his menu. He buys the inexpensive cuts and turns them into adventurous tapas dishes. The menu changes regularly, but one night’s offering included beef heart tacos, lamb sliders, “porchetta” roulade, Basque style bbq lamb ribs, and crispy blood sausage. I spent an evening speaking to and photographing chef Reeve and will make a complete post later, but for now, one of my favorite dishes of the evening, bone marrow:

bone marrow as cooked at the Elephant Wine and Tapas Bar in Kingston NY

Pig to Pork

In April 2010 Fleisher’s Grass-fed & Organic Meats hosted a full-day class in butchery. Students observed master butcher Hans Sebold slaughter a locally-raised heritage pig at a family-owned farm in Stone Ridge, NY. Back at the shop, Joshua Applestone and Thomas Schneller, master butcher and CIA instructor, led demonstrations in pig butchery, sausage-making, and curing charcuterie.

I am not including the more graphic of my photos, but if you are sensitive you may want to skip this one.

Cupcakes in the theme of the day await the diners after the last butchery class

Butcher Blackout

In March, 2010, Joshua Applestone of Fleisher’s Grass-fed & Organic Meats in Kingston, NY and Tom Mylan of The Meat Hook in Brooklyn, took a group of butchers and friends-of-butchers on a late-night tour through Williamsburg. The annual event is known as the Butcher Blackout.

Butchers Joshua Applestone and Tom Mylan
Food stories in New York's Hudson Valley and beyond from photographer Jennifer May