Initially you might think that this show would belong on the Food Network since anything that has anything to do with something that’s considered food is naturally going to show up on the FOOD network. But this time it’s a little different since not only is the food not being cooked or even placed near a grill, it’s simply being carved up and judged based on how well the butchers are able to take the carcass they’re given and present the cuts that they’re after. Plus, they’re using tools that old-time butchers were using, meaning that they aren’t bringing their own carving tools with them, which adds to the difficulty since a lot of people know if you’re not using the tools you’re familiar with it all comes down to skill and knowledge of the craft. Andy Dehnart from Reality Blurred gives us a little better idea of what we’re in for upon watching this show given that it’s not exactly like a cooking show but it’s definitely in the same format.
There are three rounds to this show just like a lot of other competitive programs and the prize money is even the same, $10,000 to the winner. The big difference here though is that you’re not there to listen to the history of the knives and tools being used or watch them be forged, and you’re definitely not there to watch as the hunks of meat that are carved off get grilled up with various spices. This is a show that’s all about the artistry and skill that goes into butchering an animal and how talented each butcher is at what they do. They’re even given different animals to cut apart that some of them, if not all of them, have never worked with before. Giant snakes, alligators, pigs, sides of beef, you name it and it will probably be hanging on the hook ready for them when they come in. A lot of people might not be able to watch this despite the fact that the animals are already dead, skinned, and prepared for cutting. Well, most of them are. But those that can watch will no doubt get a hefty education in what it takes to crack through bone and define a well-made cut as the butchers go toe to toe in this competition in an attempt to prove that they’re the best at what they do.
What’s amazing, as Mandy Bierly of TV Insider has noted, is that throughout three different rounds in which the number of butchers is taken from four to two to the winner, there’s never been a single blade-related injury. In fact it sounds like all that’s happened thus far is that one woman cut herself on an alligator tooth. That’s pretty amazing considering how fast these people are working and how close their fingers are to the blades they’re working with as well. But it’s also a testament to how skilled they’ve become throughout the years of practice each of them must have and the confidence they bring to the competition. Too many folks might think that being a butcher just involves cutting meat and presenting it to prospective customers, but there is an art to this that some don’t seem to see, or don’t choose to see. Barring those that don’t eat meat and think that this might be animal cruelty, the art of being a butcher is that you learn how to measure one cut versus another when you’re breaking down a body and might even learn how to gauge thickness and weight by sight alone. Of course most places are going to want to use a scale at this point and time, but the overall skill of a butcher is something interesting to think about since a lot of them spend a good deal of their time breaking down an entire animal or at least parts of it on a continual basis.
To be honest a good butcher has for a long time been what stands between the consumers and the kind of meat that might very well cause sickness or death in some cases. They’re taught how to look for various diseases, issues with the meat, or even infection that could compromise an entire carcass and, if fed to human beings, be dangerous or even fatal. This show is something special in how it presents the trade and it definitely shows a great deal of respect to those that take it up as their profession. And, if anyone was wondering, the meat that is cut is donated after the show to two different animal sanctuaries in California, though it’s been believed that cast and crew members manage to finagle a steak or two out the door at times. After all there’s no use letting anything go to waste when it’s been carved so nicely.