Edu Hanekom, host of Slagmeester

Edu Hanekom, the owner of The Boer & Butcher, goes in search of an apprentice for his butchery.

Join Edu Hanekom and explore the world of micro meat farms and discover what it takes to become a true boss butcher, in Slagmeester on VIA (DStv channel 147) and streaming live on DStv Now Mondays at 17:30 - with repeats on Wednesdays at 22:00 & Sundays at 15:00

Who will have what it takes? Young meat fundi’s endure exhilarating challenges in the hope of impressing Edu and earning an apprenticeship at his highly esteemed company, Boer and Butcher in Durbanville.

VIA chatted with Edu with the hopes of discovering what exactly it takes to be a world-class butcher:

Do you prefer working with free-range meat?

Yes, I do. I love animals and I feel like they should be treated and reared humanely. I feel like your practice should be professional and environmentally friendly, from start to finish. One also takes pride in products that have received love and proper attention.  I would hate to make money from animals that have lived miserable lives. It’s plainly unethical.

What is the difference in quality of meat that comes from an animal that has had a natural, free-range life?

An animal that has had space to play with during its life would’ve naturally enjoyed more time and freedom to move. Movement stimulates blood flow. This results in tender, tasty meat. The more exposure to oxygen the meat receives, the better.

Why do people fear pork? Is it really potentially hazardous meat?

I think this is a myth that has been cultivated and spread amongst people over the years. Years ago legislation regarding pork wasn’t half as strict. This could’ve resulted in pork becoming less hygienic meat to consume? Times have changed. Pigs and their diets are carefully monitored. In their natural state, pigs usually consume loads of plant roots and shrubs.

 Which meats would you suggest to use on a tight budget?

Beef chuck is a very versatile, tasty and affordable option. A well-aged steak can often contain more flavor than a rib eye. Pork neck is also a very good option, best used in stews.

Which challenges did the contestants find most daunting

It was crazy to see just how far the contestants were forced to go out of their comfort zones. They weren’t prepared to actually deal with the animals. This is in fact a major part of solid butchery. One needs to fully engage with the product.

Name three aspects that the winner would have to embody.

I think that passion is first and foremost the one aspect that every contestant will need to embody. Technique and knowledge is the basis on which your understanding of the product will blossom. I think that each and every contestant must be driven enough to be able to handle the workload. This industry rides on high demand of good quality products. There is no time for mistakes.

 Where did your love of food and meat sprout from?

My grandmother and her kitchen is where is all started. She lived in the Kouebokkeveld outside Ceres. She made her own sausages and managed to slaughter the animals as well. She made her own soap from leftover fats and butter. She was such an inspiration. There was nothing that she couldn’t do. I found myself in her meat room. This is where I got to respect the product. I wish that she was here to appreciate my work.

How long have you been working with meat?

I started working with meat before going to primary school. The opportunity was always there. I must have been four years old when I first started processing meat.

Do you enjoy good relationships with your clients at Boer & Butcher?

Yes! It is such a pleasure to work with the people that support my passion and livelihood. I have made so many friends and believe me if I could spend all my time on the floor socializing, I would. 

Do you compete with macro meat suppliers?

Our focus is on the micro processing and production of quality products. We enjoy direct contact with our clients. There is no lying or pretence, clients see us and experience the products we produce, these elements create our social credibility. 

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