What Do Butchers and Meat Cutters Do?
As a butcher or meat cutter, you will be cutting meat for customers. You may cut meat directly based on customer orders or to display in a butcher case. You also are responsible for packing the meat and ordering the cuts that you need. It is your job to ensure that meat is cut properly and trimmed so it is its most enticing to customers. The job outlook for butchers and meat cutters is conservative because companies are using more technology to cut down on the need for more laborers. However, due to the physical demands of the job, the turnover is rather good, so openings are still expected to be decent.
Butchers and Meat Cutters Skills and Abilities
As a butcher or meat cutter, you need to be skilled in identifying the different cuts of different types of meat products. You must also be knowledgeable about safety when using meat cutting tools. It’s important that you are aware of quality control, too. You must know how to recognize signs that meat is bad or otherwise unfit for consumption. You will work with the public, so you need customer service skills and the ability to sell your products. You need to be able to put together good displays and make the meat look appealing to customers.
Butchers and Meat Cutters Duties
Your main duty is to cut meat. You’ll likely work with a range of meats, from beef and pork to deer and buffalo. Depending on where you work, you may handle a range of wild game for hunters to prepare it to eat. As you cut the meat, you must trim it and remove bones and fat as needed. You’ll also ground, smoke, cure and tenderize meat and prepare specialty items, like stuffed chicken breasts. You may supervise employees and train new butchers or meat cutters.After cutting the preparing the meat, you must package it and set it up in a display or deliver it to the customer. You’ll have to inspect meat deliveries to ensure you receive what you ordered and that the meat is in good condition. You’ll need to keep proper records of both sales and deliveries for inventory purposes.
Butchers and Meat Cutters Tools and Technology
The basic tools you will work with are those that you use to cut meats. These include knives, saws, mincing machines, choppers, hooks, grinders and presses. These things can be very dangerous, so you must be careful as you work. In addition to the meat cutting tools, you will need to work with computers to manage inventory and sales.
Education and Training for Butchers and Meat Cutters
Generally, there is no required education for this profession. You’ll most likely learn on the job as an apprentice under a skilled butcher. The length of training can vary. You won’t likely work on your own until your supervisor feels you have successful mastered all the needed skills. Training generally starts with handling the easiest tasks and working with simple tools, like knives. Training gradually gets more difficult as it moves onto harder tasks. You likely will have to complete some safety training, and in some cases, religious training may be needed if you are working in a kosher shop.
Butchers and Meat Cutters Salary
The median salary for butchers and meat cutters is $28,700 with a median hourly wage of $13.78. The lowest 10% earns around $18,700 a year. This is likely representative of entry level workers with little to no training. As you advance in your career, you have more earning potential. The highest 10% earns around $45,900.
Butchers and Meat Cutters Jobs by Geography
The states employing the highest numbers of butchers and meat cutters are California and Texas. However, the best job opportunities are found in Iowa and Montana where competition for jobs is a bit lower making it easier to find a job opening.