Learn the Butcher’s Art with Pat LaFrieda’s Big App for Meat

Pat Lafrieda’s Big App For Meat is an App Store Best of 2012, and for good reason. Pat is a legend amongst foodies and chefs in the United States. The third-generation owner of LaFrieda Meat Purveyors supplies meat to 1,000 restaurants as well as consumers. Famous chefs go to him for menu consulting and to create custom burger blends. The man has a passion for meat and he wants to share it with the world.

Add Zero Point Zero Production, Inc., the folks behind the Emmy award winning TV show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, and you’ve got the ingredients for a killer food app. If you love meat and want to learn more about meat from the grocery store to the kitchen to the restaurant menu, you need to keep reading.

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Getting Started

Launch the app and you’re greeted by a short video in which Pat introduces himself and the app concept. Pat encourages you to “get to know your meat” and aims to help by teaching you simple butcher techniques and giving you tips to help you select the best meat. A funky guitar riff and Pat’s smiling, laughing face sets the tone for an app that’s fun and educational.

After the intro video the Main screen is a slideshow of options encouraging you to dive into the app. Here Pat stands in his prized Dry Aging Room for beef.

After the intro video the Main screen is a slideshow of options encouraging you to dive into the app. Here Pat stands in his prized Dry Aging Room for beef.

After the intro video the Main screen is a slideshow of options encouraging you to dive into a few highlights from the app, like the Learn About Dry Aging Beef video or A History of LaFrieda Meats timeline. The slides contain mouth-watering images of steak and attractively designed graphics that pull you in. You can also tap the Menu button on the bottom right corner to see all Pat LaFrieda’s Big App For Meat has to offer. It’s a big app and there is a lot to explore.

The Meat of the App

They call him the Magician of Meat, and the Meat Guide is truly an awe-inspiring feat of design and useful information. Tap on an area to learn more than you ever wanted to know about Pork, Beef, Lamb, Veal or Poultry in an easy-to-digest format.

Tap on a type of meat to learn where it comes from and explore all the different cuts available.

Tap on a type of meat to learn where it comes from and explore all the different cuts available.

Once inside the Beef section, cuts of meat fall down into place like steaks raining down from heaven. Swipe left and right to view all 50, and tap on an image to learn more. An Introduction to Beef is an article on the history of beef, how the meat is raised, classifications and general tips for selecting and cooking beef cuts. The information is thorough, so both home cooks and serious meat aficionados will learn something new from the meat master.

Explore all the cuts of beef by tapping on each one for more information. Try Introduction to Beef for the full story and Where It Comes From for an interactive diagram of where each cut is found on the animal.

Explore all the cuts of beef by tapping on each one for more information. Try Introduction to Beef for the full story and Where It Comes From for an interactive diagram of where each cut is found on the animal.

For an interactive diagram of the animal labeled by primal cuts, tap Where It Comes From. Here you can geek out on meat to your heart’s content, tapping on a region of the animal to see all the Individual Cuts found there. Select an individual cut, like Porterhouse Steak, and get to know it intimately.

Selecting the Porterhouse Steak reveals a lot of cool features, like handwritten tips from Pat, video instructions on how to butcher the meat and an interactive 360-degree view of the cut.

Selecting the Porterhouse Steak reveals a lot of cool features, like handwritten tips from Pat, video instructions on how to butcher the meat and an interactive 360-degree view of the cut.

Handwritten notes from Pat share the tips you would get standing at the meat counter in times gone by. To the bottom right are several options for learning more about the cut, but these options are not consistent throughout the app. Every cut has a You Might Also Like suggestion of similar cuts, and you can upload your own photos through the Gallery. Some cuts have even more cool options in that bottom right corner, like Cut Location, 360-degree interactive views of the cut and a video of Pat butchering the cut. Tap the star icon in the top right corner to favorite any cut of meat.

Techniques

If the Meat Guide is the main course, Tips & Techniques are your knife and fork — you can’t eat without them. The three-column layout with big bold titles almost feels like an old-timey newspaper (which has a fun nostalgic feel on the iPad). Scroll through each column by swiping up and down. This page is a random collection, including a couple of recipes, an overview of beef aging and meat grading, and video lessons for knife sharpening and meat grinding at home.

The Tips & Techniques page is a mecca of meat knowledge. Scroll up and down through the videos, recipes and articles.

The Tips & Techniques page is a mecca of meat knowledge. Scroll up and down through the videos, recipes and articles.

The professional video quality is fantastic – sleek and well edited. Pat is a natural in front of the camera, and each video communicates his mastery of meat in a short and punchy style. The Steakhouse Secrets video delivers a guest appearance from Chef Michael Lomonaco (of New York City’s Porter House), who divulges the methods chefs use to cook great steaks in their restaurants. In Steaks 101, Pat breaks down the steakhouse menu so you can be a smarter diner. If all this talk about meat makes you hungry, just tap the Shop icon at the top right corner to order products from LaFrieda Meat Purveyors.

Find Your Meat with a Smart Search Tool

Find Your Meat on the Tips & Techniques page is a good tool that could be great with a little more development. This tool works in two ways: you’ve got a recipe but aren’t sure what cut of meat to buy or you’ve got a cooking method in mind (grilling, roasting, etc.) and you’re looking for the right cut. For example, type in Chili and the app suggests a whole load of options: chopped beef, beef chuck, beef cheek, pork butt, lamb shoulder, chicken thigh and chopped chicken. The feature works fine, but doesn’t seem to have a broad range of search possibilities.

Test Your Meat Mastery

All that learning would be no fun without a test, right? The Great Meat 101 Quiz asks you questions about how to cook each cut and challenges you to identify cuts from pictures.

Test your meat mastery with The Great Meat 101 Quiz. Questions are challenging and involve identifying cuts of meat from pictures and demonstrating knowledge of cooking techniques.

Test your meat mastery with The Great Meat 101 Quiz. Questions are challenging and involve identifying cuts of meat from pictures and demonstrating knowledge of cooking techniques.

To keep things interesting, questions must be answered in 10 seconds and you can sign in to Apple’s Game Center and compete with others. Take the test as many times as you want, questions keep changing and you can keep track of your scores.

Conclusion

Pat LaFrieda’s Big App For Meat is awesome. That being said, at 739 MB the app is huge, requires a lot of time to download and takes up quite a bit of space on your iPad. It’s nice to be able to access the content without an Internet connection, though. Some apps do a great job on design but give you poor video quality, while other apps feature celebrity chefs with content that’s all fluff and no substance. Pat LaFrieda and the folks at Zero Point Zero Production, Inc. have created an app that’s beautifully designed, fun to use and full of valuable information. With Pat’s guidance, not only will you be a better cook, you’ll be a more informed consumer and a savvy diner.


Summary

Everything you ever wanted to know about meat in a beautifully designed app by the legendary butcher, Pat LaFrieda.

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