Don’t be shy -- it never hurts to ask!
According to Ray Venezia (A.K.A. Ray the Butcher), no question is too big or too small for your butcher!
"Being a supermarket butcher is all about service," Ray, author of "The Everyday Meat Guide," says.
"We’ll impart our wisdom endlessly if you open that door," he continues. "We can’t help ourselves."
So naturally, when he visited our studio, Ray did just that, revealing the four key questions you need to start asking your butcher right now.
Better late than never, right?
Tip No. 1: Ask for Advice on Seasoning and Rubs
Because butchers are experts on specific cuts of meat, they know the best seasoning and rubs to pair them with -- so don’t be afraid to ask for advice!
For instance, Ray says that London broils and spare ribs work best with dry rubs.
Watch the video above to see Ray whip up a COFFEE RUB (yum!) and show you how to massage it into a steak properly (don’t forget the fat!).
Pro tip from Rach: You can keep your own dry rub in an airtight container for several weeks or up to a couple of months.
Tip No. 2: Ask for Exact Number of Pieces Your Family Needs (It’ll Save You Money!)
Sure, pre-packaged meat makes it easy to pick up and go when you’re in a rush. But if you have a certain number of pieces you need, ask the butcher for that exact number!
Plus, if you’re looking for a family pack of meat that will last for longer than one meal, don’t just opt for the largest pre-packaged amount you find.
For instance, if you have five family members, don’t settle for the convenience of a pre-packaged pack of 8 chops. Ask the butcher for 10 pieces instead (and still pay the family pack price!), so you definitely have enough for two meals. Thinking ahead will save you money in the long-run!
TRY THIS: Orange-Glazed Pork Chops
Tip No. 3: Ask Your Butcher to Freezer-Wrap Your Meat
Yes, there’s a right way to wrap your meat before putting it into the freezer. And yes, oftentimes, your butcher will do the work for you!
"[The] packages you find generally in the supermarket are not freezer-ready," Ray advises.
Watch Ray freezer-wrap thin-sliced pork chops properly in the video above!
And when you get home with your freezer-wrapped meat, don’t forget to put it into a plastic freezer bag and label it with the contents and the date before stowing it away.
Pro tip from Ray: If you freeze your meat RIGHT AWAY while it’s fresh, you can keep it for about 6 to 8 months. (Rach’s personal max is 6 months.)
Tip No. 4: Ask Your Butcher to Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives
Though Ray admits that not all butchers will do this for you, some may sharpen your kitchen knives for you with a sharpening stone -- so again, just ask!
Pro tip from Ray: "A steel does not sharpen a knife," Ray explains. "It only straightens the edge."
Watch the video above to see Ray use a steel properly. (Ray says you should be doing this between every couple of cuts!)