Is your butcher keeping a secret from you

Is your butcher keeping a secret from you?

If your local butcher is anything like mine, they might have a big secret…

Is your butcher keeping a secret from you

Since I moved out of Sydney last year, I've struggled to find a good butcher. I used to have an amazing organic butcher just a short walk from my house. My butcher would make me up paleo sausages to my exact requirements (pork and apple were my favourites), order fresh turkey for me (something I find surprisingly difficult to find in Australia) and always had super cheap grass-fed bones I could use for making bone broths.

I've not seen words like “grass-fed”, “pasture-raised” or even “gluten-free” at all in my new local shops. It’s not really practical to buy meat in the city and travel back home with it – and I don’t yet have a big enough freezer to buy half a cow from a local farmer. So what’s girl to do?

I'm ashamed to say I've been walking past my local butcher for quite a few months without stopping. I glanced at the display and made a lot of assumptions.

Well yesterday, I stopped.

I've taken to roasting a piece of pork rind in the oven and filling the tray with veggies to roast in the delicious fat (try it!). Pork rind is really cheap (in keeping with my $50 budget challenge) and using good quality pork it’s a great fat source. Anyway, I couldn't find any pork rind, so stopped to have a chat with the butcher.

I asked her if they ever get in any grass-fed meat, or can order some – she told me that all of their meat is grass-fed! She pointed to an old black and white photo behind the counter, and explained that her grandfather was in the photo – and that they've been buying all their meat from the same local farm for the last three generations. It’s all naturally raised. Could she make me some gluten-free sausages? All of her sausages are gluten-free – she just never uses words like gluten-free or grass-fed because she’s found those words put people off!

What a revelation!

I bought two giant pieces of pork rind for just $3 and am so pleased to finally have a local butcher again.

So if you've not found anywhere locally, my advice is this – speak to your butcher. Chances are they too don’t realise how much of a good marketing feature their naturally raised, organic, grass-fed meat is!

Would love to know if you've had a similar experience with your butcher too?

How To Make Perfect Pork Crackling rind scratchings recipe-min

Recipe: How To Make Perfect Pork Crackling

I love Pork Crackling (which you may know as Pork Rinds or Pork Scratchings, depending on where you’re from). But it’s often a disappointment, either soft and underdone, or burn and completely wasted! But when it’s crunch and crackly, it is so good.

Pork crackling is obviously mainly fat, which makes it the perfect Paleo snack. Just a small amount is extremely satiating, so you can easily cook enough to last for many servings. Whilst you can buy them, one look at the ingredients (not to mention the uncertainty about the quality of the pork used) will probably tell you to get in the kitchen and make your own!

I’ve been trying to work out the best way to get perfect Pork crackling, which I’ll share with you below.
Firstly with Pork, perhaps more so than any other meat, quality really counts. I always go for Pasture Raised* pork and am careful to buy the best quality I can. If I could only buy one type of meat organic and pasture raised, without doubt I would choose pork.

You can use a few different cuts, blade or a roasting joint work well, but my favourite is Pork belly.
How To Make Perfect Pork Crackling rind scratchings recipe-min

How To Make Perfect Pork Crackling:

Dry the skin thoroughly (use a paper towel).

With a sharp knife, score the skin, leaving the cuts about a finger width apart. Go for either diagonal stripes, or make a diamond pattern. Make sure you score through the skin, but not through to the meat.

This might sound odd, but pour boiling water over the skin – and don’t panic about the fact it doesn’t make it look good.

Dry the skin thoroughly once more, then rub sea salt into it (I tend to use Himalayan or Celtic sea salt). Make sure the salt gets right through, into the cracks. Some people add oil here, but I’ve had great results without, so don’t.

If you can, leave the salted pork in the fridge overnight.

When ready to cook, add more salt to the skin and cook in a very hot oven for about 15 minutes per kilo. I start at 180C, the in the last 15 minutes of cooking, turn the oven up to about 240C.

Please share your tips below, I know almost everyone seems to have a slightly technique.

*Pigs will tend to eat lots of different foods – not just grass, which is why grass-fed isn’t a term used to refer to pork and other pig related products. “Pasture raised” means they’ve been raised to eat their natural diet, which may include whatever they find as they roam about the pasture – grass, bugs, corn, fruit, veggies, weeds etc.