Pizzuco in the doorway
Owner and butcher Benny Pizzuco in the doorway of Florence Prime Meats.
Florence Prime Meats
The West Village butcher shop has been here since 1936.
This is old school.
No springs—honest weight
The shop still uses old Toledo scales. If it ain't broke....
This decades-old brass stamp is used to pound cutlets.
The tin ceiling dates back decades.
The shell, T-bone, porterhouse, and rib steaks are all dry aged at the shop.
This is an old school butcher—no plastic wrap.
Dry aged primals
Left to right: short loin, rib, and strip loin.
Steakcraft in action
The butchers work their way up through the shop, starting off with a broom and then on to deliveries before they ever handle a knife.
The meat locker
Pizzuco emerges from the locker with an aged rib.
Dry aged rib
This rib was aged for 35 days. The meat is generally aged from 28 to 35 days depending on what the butchers think it needs.
Florence only uses prime beef.
Cutting strip steaks
With a strip steak.
Removing the crust
The first order of business is to remove the hard exterior crust that has resulted from the dry aging.
The abundant marbling is evident.
While there is a band saw in the back, the use of the hack saw reflects old world traditions.
Finish with the knife
After the hack saw has been used to cut the bone, a knife is used to remove the rest of the face.
Scraping the primal
Pizzuco scrapes the bone fragments off the primal before putting it away.
We can now see the inner flesh. This is the sirloin end of the primal—note that the tenderloin is large and round. It has tapered off completely at the other end of the primal.
With the aged exterior removed, Pizzuco begins cutting the steaks.
Note the copious amount of kidney fat, also known as suet.
Using the knife's edge, Pizzuco scrapes away the shavings left from the saw blade.
Pizzuco makes short work of the porterhouse.
Pizzuco notes the high quality of the kidney fat—it is pure white and flaky. This type of fat, aslso known as suet, is excellent for rendering as it retains 95% of its weight.
A band of fat is left on the exterior of the porterhouse to protect the meat during cooking.
The finished Porterhouse
Note that the "tails" are left on here.