options when butchering a calf
June 23, 2012 5:44 PM   Subscribe

My dear friend has purchased a calf and has sourced her butcher. What does she tell her butcher in order to optimize her enjoyment of this bounty, given her culinary preferences?

The stats:

It is estimated that the calf will weigh 325 pounds, from which they say she will get about 150 pounds of packaged meats. Locker service has been contracted as well.

The dominant cuisine is Italian. Dishes include osso bucco, vitello tonnato, scallopini, veal marsala. Bone-in meats to be done on the grill are to be preferred over cuts that would optimize stews and roasts.

Also wondering about what part of the beast is required for "escapoles" and what the veal equivalent of a flank steak would be.

She already knows she wants pretty much all of the, um, other things. Tongue, organs, etc. We're taking them, but might want recipes for what to do.

So to summarize: what do we tell the butcher in order for my friend to get the greatest culinary pleasure out of this custom meat order?
posted by yesster to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Does her butcher offer a cut list? That is, a sheet where she can check off her choices?
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:50 PM on June 23, 2012

Great question. In my experience, the butcher's cut sheet doesn't tell you clearly what the trade-offs are -- like, with a pig, if you get tenderloin, you get smaller chops, or if you get all chops you don't get any baby back ribs (I think this is correct but don't hold me to it).

MonkeyToes, have you had a different experience? If you have any examples that do this better, I'd love to see 'em, if you can share. (I'll soon be working on an app -- probably a web app -- to generate a pork cut sheet that includes all this logic. Beef comes next.)

Anyway, yesster, does your friend have the book The Silver Spoon? It's awesome (though I can't find any mention of "escapoles").
posted by librarina at 8:59 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Beef tongue is high on my list of deliciousness.

From my own tradition, I highly recommend Tacos de Lengua. Here's a recipe . I glanced over it and it looks ok. The chile verde is a necessary part of the experience, do not substitute chile rojo.

From the fiancee's tradition, I recommend Gyutan. The linked recipe is for pan fried, but proper gyutan is grilled at the table on a miniature gas or charcoal grill, and eaten immediately. This is a good option if you want to grill up some tongue outside.

I've also had a beef tongue salad, with spinach leaves and beets, and a slightly horserasishy dressing that was utterly fantastic.

In general, beef tongue should be cooked very tender, and combines well with slightly sour or slightly spicy flavors.


For beef stomach, the Mexican option is Menudo (wiki). It's very much a love it or hate it dish. I am not a fan, and have very little to say on this subject, and don't know where you would find a "good" recipe.


Beef liver is tasty, but I don't remember any specifics on how it's prepared, sorry. I'm pretty sure it can just be grilled or panfried with stuff. Like all liver, it's strongly flavored. Personally, I think it combines best with mild flavors. People who do not like liver so much prefer the opposite, obviously.

I understand the veal and beef livers have very different flavors, with veal being much more mild, but I haven't tested this myself.


I don't know if you're getting any testicles, but Spanish (of Spain) cuisine is the way to go there, if you are. Again, it was a long time ago, and I don't remember how they were cooked.
posted by yeolcoatl at 9:24 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think she means 'escalopes' (paillard/scallop).
posted by Ms. Next at 9:27 PM on June 23, 2012

Here is a recipe for Fegato alla Veneziana, which is a preparation of calves liver.
posted by Muttoneer at 2:16 AM on June 24, 2012

There was a question about a cow quarters previously, and some of the recipes for the nasty bits (said with love and affection) will probably translate.

I stick by my previous answer: Make some Phở.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:30 AM on June 24, 2012

Ack, the previous askme.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:30 AM on June 24, 2012

Ribeye Cap. Can't be beat. If they're willing, you can have the muscle cut without the rest of the Ribeye. It'll be around the size of a Tenderloin, but the taste is so much better. So much.
posted by jwells at 6:23 PM on June 24, 2012

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