It’s pretty simple. If you want kosher meat, you go to a kosher butcher that carries a trustworthy rabbinical certification, or find some packaged kosher meat in your supermarket’s freezer section, and make sure not to mix it with anything dairy.

But what is kosher meat?


Mammals: Only those that chew their cud and have cloven hoofs. Beef, venison, mutton and chevon (goat) are examples of meat that make the cut. Swine, horse, and rabbit do not.

Carp became the gefilte fish of choice, but catfish is not found on a kosher table

Poultry: The Torah lists species of fowl that may not be eaten—but the identity of many of the birds on the list is unclear. Therefore, only birds regarding which there is a tradition that they are kosher, such as dove and chicken, are okay.

Aquatic Creatures: Only fish that possess fins and scales. Hence, carp becomes the gefilte fish of choice, but catfish is not found on a kosher table. Shellfish and all amphibians are also out.


Birds or mammals must be killed in a specially prescribed manner. A trained practitioner severs the major vessels at the neck with a perfectly honed knife, in a painless procedure known as shechitah.

The Best of Health

Only fit and healthy animals are kosher. Kosher meat must pass a rigorous post-mortem examination to ensure that the animal was healthy. Animals that pass the test with an A+ are known as "glatt kosher."

Cut that Out!

Blood isn't kosher. For this reason, kosher meat and poultry is salted and rinsed to rid it of all traces of blood. The Torah also forbids us to eat the sciatic nerve and certain fats. Because of the difficulty involved in removing the nerve and fats, kosher cuts from the animal's hindquarters are rarely found.