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Butchering Techniques for Whole Animals

Hone this ancient (and impressive) culinary craft to make the most of an animal and elevate your cooking repertoire. 

Course Preview

Course Details

Tutorials in this course: 10
Total viewing time: 2 hours and 18 minutes
Total course time (including prep and cooking): 3 hours and 55 minutes*

*This calculation is not indicative of the actual time necessary to complete this course. Many of the tutorials do not have listed prep times, as the time required for butchering may vary based on individual experience.

Butchery is one of the oldest culinary crafts, dating back to the domestication of livestock. While the specific techniques have been refined over the years, the art of butchery remains equally, if not more, impressive. The process necessitates the thoughtful treatment of an ingredient from start to finish, and facilitates a unique, intimate connection between cook and cooked. Still, many home cooks are intimidated by the process, and simply opt for the convenience of buying pre-cut meat instead.

This course will remove the mystery of butchering, and teach you how to cut, trim, and portion whole animals with confidence. Gain an understanding of different cuts of meat and how they are related to each other. Whether you’re breaking down a lobster or a goat, all it takes is a little practice and an adventurous spirit to butcher like a pro.

Chef Instructors

Chef Josh Drew

Josh Drew is a James Beard Award “Rising Star Chef” nominee, has worked at the world-famous French Laundry, and is the head chef at Peruvian cantina, Picca, in Los Angeles. His inventive cuisine has garnered rave reviews from local and national press and earned him a spot on Zagat’s list of “30 under 30” food service professionals.

Chef Scott Snyder

Chef Scott Snyder is the executive chef and owner of French-Arabesque restaurant, Levant in Portland. Levant has been called “one of 2013’s most auspicious openings” by Eater Portland. Before opening Levant, Chef Scott honed his culinary skills at popular San Francisco restaurants, Jardiniere and Postiro.

Chef Bryon Freeze

Chef Bryon Freeze is the executive chef at Tar and Roses in Los Angeles. Chef Bryon burst into the culinary spotlight when he won "Chef Wanted," a chef competition show on the Food Network.

Chef Brandon Boudet

Chef Brandon Boudet is the co-owner and Executive Chef of Dominicks and Little Dom's, both located in Los Angeles. Born and raised in New Orleans, Chef Brandon comes from a large Italian family, a trait reflected in his passion for using quality ingredients and creating superior recipes.

Chef Bruce Kalman

Chef Bruce Kalman is the head chef at Union in Old Town Pasadena. Driven by a “hands on” philosophy towards cooking, Chef Bruce can be found hand-rolling pastas, making his own butter, packaging pickles, and butchering his own meat.

Chef Vartan Abgaryan

Chef Vartan Abgarayan is the executive chef at Cliff's Edge in Los Angeles. With a thoughtful approach to Mediterranean flavors and a masterful touch with seafood, Chef Vartan has wowed visitors of Cliff's Edge since 2012.

Chef Ori Menashe

Chef Ori Menashe is the executive chef of Bestia, one of the top restaurants in Los Angeles. What sets Chef Ori apart is a detail oriented, "from scratch" approach that permeates everything on his menus, from housemade charcuterie to handmade pasta.

Chef Isaac Toups

Isaac Toups is the head chef and co-owner of Toups’ Meatery in New Orleans where he serves up the hearty, Cajun-style food he loves most. Chef Isaac was recently named as a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef in the South.

Chef Carlo Lamagna

Chef Carlo Lamagna serves as the executive chef at Portland's diverse European style tavern, Clyde Common, which Zagat called a "hipster paradise attached to Portland's Ace Hotel" and was named one of 50 Best Bars in America by Food & Wine. At Clyde Common, Chef Carlo has revamped the menu, adding several popular sharable plates that encourage a more communal dining experience.

What You Need


- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Boning knife
- Filet knife
- Cleaver
- Large pot
- Sheet tray
- Parchment paper lined tray
- Large container
- Kitchen towels
- Scissors 
- Kitchen scale
- Aluminum foil 
- Champagne or wine cork 


- Ingredients are listed within each respective tutorial.


How to Fabricate Poultry

Bryon Freeze

Make the most of your poultry purchase by learning how to break down the whole bird.

Watch Tutorial

How to Carve a Turkey

Brandon Boudet

“You want to enjoy yourself. Open up a bottle of wine and carve this bad boy.”

Watch Tutorial

How to Butcher a Duck

Bruce Kalman

With a little practice, this seemingly daunting task becomes very simple.

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How to Break Down an Octopus

Vartan Abgaryan

"This is a great technique to use to cook octopus if you've never done it before."

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How to Cook and Break Down a Lobster

Vartan Abgaryan

Learn a simple technique for cooking and breaking down a fresh lobster.

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How to Break Down a Dungeness Crab

Scott Snyder

Learn how to break down fresh Dungeness crab, just in time for grilling season.

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How to Butcher a Lamb

Ori Menashe

Butchering a lamb may look intimidating, but once you learn how to do it, you open yourself up to a whole new realm of recipes.

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How to Break Down a Whole Goat

Isaac Toups

Mastering this technique will provide essential insight into goat as an underrated but versatile protein.

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How to Butcher a Whole Hog

Carlo Lamagna

Learn the basic anatomy of a hog, how to break it down, and which cooking methods are best suited to each cut.

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