I first heard about The Grrls Meat Camp (now known as Good Meat Camp for Women) a few years back on social media. It is a group of all women who operate in the field of animal butchery. Some of them are FarmHers. Others are chefs. And some simply like food. But they are unique in that they are all women. Operating in a field typically reserved for men. Through the group I became connected to Catherine Manterola.
A Butcher and RanchHer
Catherine grew up on a Texas ranch that has been handed down through her mother’s family. Catherine’s father, who is from Mexico also has a family history of ranching. And together they have raised their children in and around ranching.
I caught up with Catherine and her family as they were hosting a Texas-sized Grrls Meat Camp Rendezvous. Women from around the country came together for a week of learning about butchery, charcuterie, and ranching from experts.
Experts in the Butchery Field
Kate Hill, the founder of the Grrls and a chef who lives and works in France had made the trip to the U.S. to headline the event and work with the Grrls on the finer skills of charcuterie and butchery.
I arrived towards the end of their full conference, just in time for an absolutely delicious dinner. After talking by the warm fire pit, I went to bed early so I could be at em early the next morning. I was in for a Manterola family cattle day.
What Happens on a Ranch?
The family met at the ranch early the next morning, greeted by a warm, golden sunrise. They worked together to saddle up the horses and get them ready from the pasture. A group of cowboys showed up, ready to work. The cattle were into the pens and being worked. Sallie Mae worked the closes with the cowboys, vaccinating the cattle, while the others worked to castrate and brand the young animals. The group of Grrls watched, listed and took in the efficient work of the day.
Following the cattle work, we went back into town, to Jake’s Saloon where the Grrls Rendezvous was taking place. I watched in amazement as a young woman skillfully and efficiently cut down a side of beef into a neat pile of steaks and other cuts, being careful not to waste a shred of the meat. The other Grrls watched, learned and jumped in to help. They cut and prepped and used the sharp knives with skill, working until all of the meat was processed and ready to cook or store.
Watching, learning and enjoying the hard work and skill that these unique women have was a pleasure. Getting to experience it on a generational family ranch in Texas with three very strong women at the helm was a joy. I always knew girls can do anything they set their mind to and seeing is believing after experiencing the Manterola women and their extended Grrls family. Strong women – may we know them, raise them and be them.”