This week's cover feature, "The Beefbreaker," dives into the growing Bay Area scene of artisan butchers who are retrieving the lost art of whole animal butchery in the United States. Sure, there's the leaders in the local scene foodies will already know -- Tia Harrison, Tyler Boetticher, Ryan Farr, the Butcher's Guild -- but we profile a master butcher you likely have not yet heard of: Oscar Yedra.
While the United States was consolidating its meat industry in the 1960's and 70's and moving beef-breaking away from the corner butcher and into slaughterhouses, Yedra was honing his skills in his father's butcher shop in his native Mexico City.
After immigrating to San Francisco, Yedra became the head butcher on Niman
Ranch's Oakland cutting floor for years, and now cuts meat for sustainably raised meat-hero Bill Niman's
newest company, B.N. Ranch. He also works the meat counter at Canyon
Market in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood.
While Yedra has mostly worked behind the scenes, missing out on
the cult-like fame of some other meat carvers in the so-called rock-star
butcher movement, many of his colleagues say Yedra's skills are the
best they've seen. Exhibit number one: Yedra's three-time running
championship in the beef butchery contest at Oakland's Eat Real Fest.
Team Yedra Brothers carved up a
200-pound steer hindquarter into market-ready cuts in 34 minutes flat.
Oscar is the one to make the first cut, handing off the primals to his
nephew, Renato Yedra, and Rian Rinn - both butchers at Golden Gate Meat
For the record: the fan who gives Yedra a victory
smooch at the end is his wife, Elisa Magidoff. Even rock-star butchers
don't get the babes that easily.