Answers to your Meat Questions

Hurray! answers to your meat questions will be posted here. If you have any additional questions not answered here please feel free to ask John any meat question you desire or even ask for help finding recipes or ideas on preparing a particular cut of meat.

Scott and Kathy from Ashton, ID ask: Why are spareribs called "spare"ribs?

John said this is probably because they don't have very much meat on them-they're spare or "sparse" when it comes to how much meat you get compared to bone.

Erik from writes: Do you have any instructions or equipment designs for smoking meat? I have an old fridge that one day I hope to convert into a hot smoker.

We really haven't tried smoking any meat before. We did receive some smoked sausages from some neighbors and I"ll call and see if they built or bought their smoker. Countryside magazine always had great articles on how to build stuff like that so I'll check out our back editions and also I checked out a book from the library and I'll report back if it's worth investigating.

I really like the little book I got from the library called "The Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking of Meat, Fish and Game" by Wilbur Eastman Jr. published in 1975 by Garden Way Publishing. Amazon had used ones starting at 40 cents- postage $3.99 They show an actual recycled fridge smoker like you want to make. The one my neighbors have is several generations old and I've been invited to come out and take pictures. Storey and/or Garden Way also has a bulletin on the same subject but I figure the book is a better deal. I'd check it out at your library if possible. Some of the older bulletins were most excellent but the newer ones contained less information. vs

PS Here is an update on smoking meats. I found this great site that is all about how to smoke meats!! So click here and go visit for advice from an expert !

Kelly from elementary-teacher-resources writes; Why should I trust you? What do you do? How do you know about meat?

Well let's start by taking these questions one at timeWhy should I trust you? Well let's see, I'm over 40 so I've been around the block. I'm married to a butcher who's been cutting meat for 30+ years. I also manage to feed our family of 10 for about $100 a week. John and I published a newsletter for 9 yrs called Ark Essentials-promoting provident living and preparedness and distributed it from coast to coast. And since I noticed you're a teacher you might like to know I've got my degree in Elementary Education from BSU( Boise State that is) and that I taught kindergarten before I got married.

What do you do? currently I work at home, I'm the president of and take care of my kids and husband, plus I do a little writing on the side and dabble in soap making, and a very eclectic variety of activities.

How do you know about meat?I married John over 20 years ago and rely on him as my expert on meat. I pump him for questions every time I get a chance and I even had him write a book so I could go to the store and buy meat without him sometimes (Confessions of a Butcher) I'm the expert in frugality so I'm always figuring out the best and cheapest way to do whatever I need to do. Whatever I've learned about meat I've learned from John and lots has rubbed off- I also quote from his book often and I'm a voracious reader of all sorts.