James Smith, aka the Tattooed Butcher, has over a decade of experience as an award-winning butcher and passionate foodie. Here he shares some sharp staples for food preparation, his go-to meals to really impress, and plenty more meaty treats… Interview Josie Steenhart
Haha this is a good one, I've got both arms completely covered, both hands, one of my legs, my whole chest and ribs... with more to come. My first was actually my left shoulder when I was 16, which is now covered up.
Yeah so the NZ Sharp Blacks are our national butchery team, we compete every two years against countries from all over the world. There are currently 16 countries competing and the next competition is held in Sacramento in October. I’ve been a member of the team since 2019 but sadly due to covid I haven't got to travel or compete so I am really looking forward to this year.
As far as the selection process, they decide based on experience, competition history and how well you will fit the team. I myself have a really good track record with comps, competing in over 16 competitions around New Zealand and Australia and have been crowned Upper North Butcher of the Year three times, NZ Butcher of the Year in 2020 and placed third in the international Butcher Wars in Sydney the last two years with a field of 30 butchers from 10 different countries, along with a wide range of product awards.
I'm a big fan of low and slow BBQ but also like using the more unknown cuts. For me pork is a great protein with just the right amount of fat and flavour and I usually tend to cook over coals or wood to add that extra bit of flavour.
I always tend to go for a smoked brisket or reverse seared wagyu tomahawk.
I think lamb necks, they are slowly becoming more popular now but they make amazing pulled lamb when cooked for long periods of time.
Good marbling throughout your beef and lamb and in your pork, good fat coverage!
Letting your red meat and pork come to room temperature before cooking, and not ensuring you rest your meat before slicing and serving.
Big fan of Provenance lamb from Otago, best lamb in the country in my mind! Along with Whitehart Kurobuta pork, that stuff is amazing.
This year I’ll be putting on a sausage masterclass! I'll be teaching you the best cuts to make sausages with, teaching you the process, ingredients and making everything on stage so come down and check it all out.
See James Smith at The Christchurch Food Show, August 19-21, Christchurch Arena.