Meet Josh Ruboy from The Butcherie. A member of the family who owns this Brookline institution, Josh has worked at the Harvard Street shop for 20 years. He’s a chef, overseeing the full-service catering arm of the business, with a hand in the prepared foods, the deli, and even the meat butchering in the back room. We chatted with Josh about Passover, the busiest time of year for The Butcherie.
Passover’s not here yet, but you’ve been surrounded by it for almost two months now. Are you sick of Passover before the holiday even happens?
You get used to it. We live it for seven weeks because we have to start producing matzah balls and knishes—we make everything by hand in our kitchens, and we need to supply everybody who comes to buy. It’s not just a quick in and out for us. We really start 10 to 12 weeks out with all of the foods coming in. We have to place our orders in December and January, and we start taking product in eight to 10 weeks prior to the holiday.
These days you can get many Passover products elsewhere, but the Butcherie is still pretty much the only place you can go for a shank bone. How many shank bones do you sell in the course of one Passover season?
We go through thousands and thousands of shank bones each year. We used to be able to get the lamb shank bones; when the lamb came in, we’d cut them off and save them. We can’t get the shank bones anymore. The meat suppliers sell them to us now. So what we’ve done is gone to turkey necks and chicken necks. We’ll buy 500 to 600 pounds of chicken necks, individually wrap them and freeze them, and then take them out as we need to use them.
What’s the craziest new Passover food on the market this year? Is there anything that just makes you scratch your head?
We went through that phase 10 to 12 years ago, when there was a massive explosion with almost a hundred new items from every manufacturer. But the thing that caught my eye this year was Passover “toasting bread.”
How do you celebrate the end of Passover?
A big shot of tequila! You don’t have time to, to be honest with you. Because when Passover’s over, our customers expect us to have the store up and running literally the next day. It takes us about two to six weeks to get all of our products in properly from the manufacturers because it takes them time to start putting the product out and making the product again. Therefore, two to six weeks later we can start to relax, but then it’s Shavuot and then it’s summertime. That’s when we really can kick back a little bit and start to enjoy life.
As a bonus, here’s a video of Josh discussing what kind of wines he’ll be serving at his family’s seder. Did you know the Butcherie has the largest selection of kosher varietal wines east of the Mississippi?