I am Jack Matusek and I am the Blogging Butcher of Raw Republic Meats.
Raised on a ranch in South Texas, I eventually wandered up to Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth for a fine education and some really fine college football. With a month until graduation, I turned down the conforming corporate lifestyle of Brooks Brothers suits and Gucci loafers in exchange for a butcher’s apron, knife and a honing steel. I’m a proud, 7th generation Texan, a loud and loyal TCU Horned Frog, and a die-hard carnivore. I love cooking, coffee, my black lab, Remi, and anything from the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX.
My culinary journey began in the small town of Hallettsville, Texas where I worked on a packing-house kill floor. From there I ventured to New York City to continue my education and apprenticed with Fleishers Craft Butchery. This intensive, hands-on course included breaking down beef, pork, lamb & poultry from full carcasses into retail cuts. It was here that I was introduced to creative sausage and jerky making, but it left me wanting to learn more. So I packed my bags and headed to France to learn from the culinary expat, Kate Hill. Her advanced charcuterie course, coupled with a HACCP certification by the world-renown Dr. Michele Pfannenstiel, gave me a solid footing in the knowledge of traditional French meat preservation.
To fulfill my personal butcher’s dream, I made my way to Panzano in Chianti, Italy where I staged for my idol, Dario Cecchini, arguably the world’s greatest butcher. There I was taught Italian methods of butchery and cooking as I worked in his meat processing facility, butcher shop, and famed restaurant, Officina Della Bistecca. From there I journeyed to France to master French Charcuterie under the tutelage of Dominic Chapolard. He and his family raise organic pigs in the Gascony region where they transform their pork carcasses into highly sought after Noix de Jambon, saucisson, saucisse sèche, and other staples of French charcuterie including pâté de tête, fricandeaux, and boudin noir.
Just as the grapes began to ripen before their annual harvest, I left France and road tripped to Copenhagen, Denmark to attend the first ever international butchers summit. Gathered by Michael Museth, of Folkets Madhus, 25 butchers from around the world came together to create a “Butchers Manifesto,” a pledge to quality and transparent meat, traditional methods of butchery, and the unification and expansion of the craft butcher collective. Enamored with a new culture, I stayed in Denmark at Folkets Madhus and dove into the Neo-Nordic cuisine. When I wasn’t curing meat and catering in Copenhagen, I was apprenticing at Steensgaard, a sustainable organic farm, slaughterhouse, and restaurant on a rural island in Denmark. This utopian farm brought my education full circle as I took animals from the pasture to harvest—all in the most ethical manner possible before breaking them down and turning the carcasses into retail cuts for the restaurant or curing them into various Danish charcuterie.
I am currently back in Europe completing my Master Butcher certification and researching ethical slaughter. This blog is my channel to build my “meat tribe.” My aim is to educate, satiate, and entertain on my carnivorous-discovery journey across the world. Here you will find stories from the chopping block as well my lifestyle of ethical eating.
Welcome to my life and my story. This is everything I’ve got — in the raw. I have BIG plans for the future; I hope y’all stick around to see what God has in store for this butcher.
Why Raw Republic Meats?
My 4th great-grandfather, William Bracken, arrived in Texas in 1832. He was the topic of my History thesis at TCU. Old Billy Bracken lost three fingers in a skirmish with the Mexicans in the War of Independence, but was eventually rewarded with prime land by the newly formed Republic of Texas. He and his family settled down in South Central Texas where he raised cattle, corn and cotton. A bill of sale documents one of his cattle transactions with the Republic of Texas Army.
And “Raw” because, well, it is.