A Rant about a Butcher Rip Off

Like in UK as @Harters described, it is also the practice in France. For both meat and fish.

Last time with the good butcher for rib roast, he weighed and after started trimming the bones, I was having the same feeling, why not weighed after the trimming! Although in France, they will leave most or some of the fat depending which meat.

I always thought that a “Frenched” rack left enough fat on the rack to allow it to crisp up and protect the meat a bit as it cooks. I score mine to let the fat render a little.

I avoid over trimmed racks as I like a bit of fat, but equally don’t like one that is untrimmed as it is too fatty and its tricky to render the fat to crisp it up without overcooking the meat.

And poultry. I used to like the way the poultry butter would as if i wanted all the giblets and neck when they dressed the bird I had selected.

Here in Australia its a similar story in the Asian butchers where I buy pork belly. They trim the belly from the ribs and then give both the lean rib and belly - very useful to act as a trivet when roasting the belly.

Does anyone honestly think the butcher or fishmonger would charge the same price by weight for untrimmed product? I’d think they’d have to charge based on what they pay for the product or it’s likely every customer would be charged on the high end of a trim waste estimate which has to vary widely. But where I shop it’s not an issue. I don’t think I’ve ever shopped where I had the product trimmed from ‘full’ cuts.

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I don’t think they ever do. Pre cut/packed meats are a good example. A whole chicken is far cheaper per Kg than a pack of tenderloins, a shoulder of lamb is cheaper per Kg than a boned and rolled shoulder. The butcher is charging for the bones and fat you don’t get in the higher price per kg.

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That’s exactly my point. I suppose, as a customer, I’d be in favor of a butcher chafing x for the meat and y for anything he trims off. If I want more fat on my steak I’d pay more to get it, but not as much as for the meat portion. That seems to be what is at the heart of the objections voiced here… paying for what you don’t want. But… the butcher has to pay his supplier for mass product without knowing very much about exactly how much of it is “waste”.

Interesting post. Cut and trimmed meats, poultry and fish come at a price. Restaurants, for example, often buy these products whole for trimming in the kitchen. It saves money. As for your local butcher, just let them know how you want it in advance…

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Yes, I usually do. Was definitely off my game!

My impression is that they use all the trimmed fat and such themselves anyway for other purposes.

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There are two ways of looking at this - the first is that the meat you get at the meat counter should be trimmed and butchered to a level where no further processing is necessary. It is then weighed and sold at a higher price that takes into account the labor and cost of trimming the meat for you.

The flipside is that butchers can put out incompletely trimmed meat with the expectation that you do the rest of the trimming at home. Now the trimming becomes either a value added service or something the butcher can charge for.

Either way I don’t think it’s necessarily a rip off. Just a matter of how they choose to do business. It’s like if you go to Costco, you can get an untrimmed tenderloin for like 9 bucks/lb, or a fully trimmed one for 15.

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I guess we go to different butchers. When I visit my local grocery based butchers in Houston, (Central Market, HEB, Fiesta, etc.), the meat is already trimmed and priced accordingly. Likewise the specialty butchers like Pete’s Fine Meats. Of course, they will trim further on request. But as noted above, I want everything I’m paying for. If necessary, I’ll trim and render that fat, or make stock with those bones.

What I hate is when they so artfully disguise an oversized fat cap on a prepackaged pork roast or mis-cut pork chops under the “pretty” ones.

That’s just plain deceitful!

Edited to add: Fish is a different subject of course.

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The price should be for what you see. If the meat is not trimmed, the price should be lower than if it is trimmed.

When a butcher trims a piece of meat, the price shouldn’t go down because it becomes smaller. It should go up because there’s labor involved (that you could optionally do at home).

It sounds like you were more annoyed with the way the butcher trimmed the meat, rather than the fact that they weighed before trimming.

That makes sense

Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear. Of course the cost per pound is higher for the trimmed. That’s what I meant by “priced accordingly”.

I never select a piece of meat and then have the butcher wander off with it and then bring me back something only barely resembling my original purchase.

Never.

What I complained about is when they trim the top of a roast, package it on a flat and hide a giant fat cap underneath so you can’t see it until you get it unpacked. Or hide some oddly cut and shaped pork chops under a few beautiful ones.

And that whole comment was mostly tongue in cheek. (No pun intended.)

And as I indicated, fish is different. There I do select a fish and have it filleted leaving the detritus behind for him to deal with. Gleefully.

A whole fish I can understand. But a block or steak of fish I’m very happy to take home and remove skin and blood lines myself lest the monger remove too much.

No Butcher or Fishmonger will charge the same priced for “deboned” meat , on a consistent basis , they may do it on a temporary manner to attract or steal business , otherwise no ,it is simple business practice , the reason is very simple whether it is Human or mechanically done it cost money to do so , doing it for free will put them out off business .
Have you ever known someone to work for free ? absolutely no one not even Monks as they pay for food or clothing donation and thank you for it .

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Hi Joel - welcome back!

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:-} likewize

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Not butcher, but today I asked a fishmonger for a branzino, cleaned and boned. It initially weighed, and I was charged for, a little over a pound. Cleaned, head removed, it weighed under half a pound.

This is much more than the usual loss after cleaning, for the other fish I commonly get, mackerel. Maybe the flesh of the mackerel is denser, so less weight is lost.

I am trying to understand here. If the fish had no bones and head why didn’t you just get fillets? I am probably missing something.