Learning the Art of the Abattoir – An Afternoon at Echo & Rig

I had learned of this demonstration of the butcher’s art several weeks before and was surprised to find out that this is a regular presentation by Echo & Rig. I was very happy to be able to attend this one and to cover it for my readers.

I had planned to videotape the entire event only to discover that the SD card wasn’t in the camera. So much for photographic memory. I had no film.

However, I had the next best thing: my iPhone 5. Although it’s not exactly a professional level video camera, it would have to do. I was happy that it was available even though the battery wasn’t completely charged. Oh Chef-Sam-Marvin-1well.

Before the demonstration I had some time to interview Bob the Butcher, which is his trademarked title!

Bob’s history is interesting – he began working in a butcher shop at the age of 13 and learned everything about the art of the butcher at his father’s knee – figuratively speaking.

He’s been in Las Vegas for seven years and is married to chef (Chef Tina!) who recently earned her Certified Sommelier certification. He’s currently doing sales, promotions, and demonstrations in the Arizona, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Denver areas.

Sam Marvin, owner and chef of Echo & Rig, walked us through the entire process. He told us how E&R uses every part of the animal that they receive, including the different types of fat. Anything that is Echo beef demounsuitable or impractical for human use is generally donated, not discarded. In today’s PC environment which doesn’t like to recognize where our meat comes from, I found this particularly refreshing.

Chef Sam was very patient with answering questions, explaining how each part of the animal is used in both traditional and modern cuisine, and how anyone can grill, roast, sear, sauté, braise, or stew great pieces of meat. All of their animals are sourced from free-range, sustainable ranches. Do you pay more the quality? Yes indeed. How’s the taste? If the dried eye of round that was passed on a tray is any indication, the taste is pretty damn good!

This particular demonstration utilized the left rear hindquarter of an Angus cattle. If you are a easily unsettled, you may not want to watch the demo.  If you are curious and are really interested in how we acquire food, then you may find this very interesting.  Because I have dressed animals in the past and have grown my own vegetables, I know where food comes from and appreciate the hard work of the sustainable farmer and that of the rancher.

It’s good to be the omnivore.

I would have preferred to have videotaped the entire demonstration which lasted about 30 minutes, but I was rapidly running out of battery life so I did what I could!  I did pretty well with my iPhone and am quite pleased with the results. If I need to use it again, I’m good with that!

Next month’s demonstration may be a lamb, followed shortly thereafter by a wooly pig.

Echo & Rig is located in Tivoli Village on Rampart inLas Vegas.

 

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