Buying Top quality meat ? why so hard ?

Hampton

Member
Location
Shropshire
Why is this SO hard ?

One of the positives of this awful lockdown year for me so far is that I have had time to do something I have wanted for a long time ............. learn to cook

I spent some money saved from a canceled ski holiday on a fancy smoker BBQ (Big Green Egg) back in March and have cooked almost daily on it ever since, surprising myself with what I am actually capable of cooking and as a bonus, no one has died yet !

So as you get into these things, join Facebook groups, forums, watch youtube etc you start to get more ambitious and want to try more unusual things, it becomes more than just food, its a new hobby at this point and as a result what you become prepared to spend raises accordingly.

I'm not alone, there is a big scene of other middle-aged twits like me all into this, mostly with money to spend - I can't help but feel the UK livestock industry is missing out here

YET (and here is the point of this thread) Top quality meat, particularly the unusual (expensive) cuts are very hard to get? why is this? I read constantly on here that British grass fed beef is "better" but where is it when I come to try to buy it ?

The first stop was the village butcher in a village a few miles away (my village has no shops anymore sadly) It's all very traditional looking and surely worth a premium over the supermarkets ? ............. but no, I've come to learn the meat is nothing special, no real provenance and pre-cut from wholesalers just being retailed. Ther first time I asked for a Picanha for example they hadn't got a clue what I was on about, I had to google it for them and what I got, in the end, wasn't really done properly.

I tried another local butcher (a bit further away but of BIG local reputation, I ordered Brisket and it turned up rolled ! I asked for "packer cut" they had no idea what I was on about despite the internet and a million youtube video's about cooking such cuts

Jacobs ladder, beef short rib, 4 rib, Tomahawks etc all command premium prices but are really hard to get until you discover the gems that do butcher their own carcasses like Tori nad Bens Fram shop etc Grass-fed Longhorn with quality and provenance worth paying for proving that these places do exist and do know how to provide what customers like me want and reap the premium price rewards to match, why are they so "hidden" though? why not the normal rather than the exception ?


One place I have found you can get the unusual and better cuts is Costco ..................... but it's more often than not USDA and imported! I don't want to buy that but have done as it's so much easier


My question is why is this rare? what are not more livestock farms not butchering retailing direct? surely the internet has made it easier than ever before to cut out the middlemen who from what I see are doing a very poor job of butchering and retailing your products?
I would say the best local butcher near you would be Nigel Coles at Armitage, followed by Peter Coates at Alrewas.
Pop in and see Nigel and tell him exactly what you want.
 

delilah

Member
What I'm posting is Why is this quality so much the exception vs the normal though? Bad meat will surely only push people away from meat?

Because you all decided. All of you. To go to Tesco. The infrastructure has gone. You have dismantled it over a generation. And now you want it back in an instant.

edit: It's worse than that. You are wanting to go to Tesco for all your cheap stuff. And still wanting the infrastructure to be there for whenever you want to do a fancy meal. It doesn't work like that. You can't, to coin a phrase, be a little bit pregnant.
(nothing personal, applies to most on here).
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
I would say the best local butcher near you would be Nigel Coles at Armitage, followed by Peter Coates at Alrewas.
Pop in and see Nigel and tell him exactly what you want.


Tried it, not impressed, not a patch on the Farm Shop butchery I mentioned
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Says he who starts a thread looking for quality meat?

Quality meat does not need much doing to it.


it often doesn't but it does need cooking right - for example, I cooked a brisket this weekend - only basic seasoning but 22hrs at low temperature plus 4 hrs resting before served, smoke over olive lump wood with some hickory does add to the flavor but takes nothing away for the beef

I've done similar with not so great meat and it's not as good


Only meat I would disagree and say does need marinades or heavy seasoning is chicken which is quite a bland meat left alone


Good seasoning and cooking can make good meat even better - if this wasn't true there would be no such things as a Michelin started chef - Mcdonalds would be as good as it gets !
 

Qman

Member
Location
Near Derby
Why is this SO hard ?

One of the positives of this awful lockdown year for me so far is that I have had time to do something I have wanted for a long time ............. learn to cook

I spent some money saved from a canceled ski holiday on a fancy smoker BBQ (Big Green Egg) back in March and have cooked almost daily on it ever since, surprising myself with what I am actually capable of cooking and as a bonus, no one has died yet !

So as you get into these things, join Facebook groups, forums, watch youtube etc you start to get more ambitious and want to try more unusual things, it becomes more than just food, its a new hobby at this point and as a result what you become prepared to spend raises accordingly.

I'm not alone, there is a big scene of other middle-aged twits like me all into this, mostly with money to spend - I can't help but feel the UK livestock industry is missing out here

YET (and here is the point of this thread) Top quality meat, particularly the unusual (expensive) cuts are very hard to get? why is this? I read constantly on here that British grass fed beef is "better" but where is it when I come to try to buy it ?

The first stop was the village butcher in a village a few miles away (my village has no shops anymore sadly) It's all very traditional looking and surely worth a premium over the supermarkets ? ............. but no, I've come to learn the meat is nothing special, no real provenance and pre-cut from wholesalers just being retailed. Ther first time I asked for a Picanha for example they hadn't got a clue what I was on about, I had to google it for them and what I got, in the end, wasn't really done properly.

I tried another local butcher (a bit further away but of BIG local reputation, I ordered Brisket and it turned up rolled ! I asked for "packer cut" they had no idea what I was on about despite the internet and a million youtube video's about cooking such cuts

Jacobs ladder, beef short rib, 4 rib, Tomahawks etc all command premium prices but are really hard to get until you discover the gems that do butcher their own carcasses like Tori nad Bens Fram shop etc Grass-fed Longhorn with quality and provenance worth paying for proving that these places do exist and do know how to provide what customers like me want and reap the premium price rewards to match, why are they so "hidden" though? why not the normal rather than the exception ?


One place I have found you can get the unusual and better cuts is Costco ..................... but it's more often than not USDA and imported! I don't want to buy that but have done as it's so much easier


My question is why is this rare? what are not more livestock farms not butchering retailing direct? surely the internet has made it easier than ever before to cut out the middlemen who from what I see are doing a very poor job of butchering and retailing your products?


Clive have you tried Paul Shum butchers near Yoxall? He buys British breeds and I've found his meat fabulous. Please try it, I don't think you will be disappointed.

 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Clive have you tried Paul Shum butchers near Yoxall? He buys British breeds and I've found his meat fabulous. Please try it, I don't think you will be disappointed.


no not been there, will add to my list - do they butcher carcasses though or just retail from wholesale ? this seem to be the thing that determines a big difference in quality?
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
it often doesn't but it does need cooking right - for example, I cooked a brisket this weekend - only basic seasoning but 22hrs at low temperature plus 4 hrs resting before served, smoke over olive lump wood with some hickory does add to the flavor but takes nothing away for the beef

I've done similar with not so great meat and it's not as good


Only meat I would disagree and say does need marinades or heavy seasoning is chicken which is quite a bland meat left alone


Good seasoning and cooking can make good meat even better - if this wasn't true there would be no such things as a Michelin started chef - Mcdonalds would be as good as it gets !
I disagree, fresh garden peas, asparagus, runner beans, new potatoes need nothing added to them.
Brisket in a slow cooker in it's own juices is just as good.
As you say you can flavour meat all you like but you can not make a silk purse out of a sow ear!

Fresh slow grown chicken needs no sauces, just some of it's own gravy.

McDonald's uses cuts from fast grown animals. No taste, needs flavour it's a bland carrier.

I have sold beef to people who's kids would not eat supermarket beef, Grass fed organically reared and they couldn't get enough of it!
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
Next day delivery is available from most good suppliers now. But slots since announcement of lock down have filled very fast!
 

Qman

Member
Location
Near Derby
no not been there, will add to my list - do they butcher carcasses though or just retail from wholesale ? this seem to be the thing that determines a big difference in quality?

Paul buys cattle from local farmers, has them killed at H P Westwood and has the whole carcasses which he will cut up in front of you. He does Longhorn, Belties, Angus, Hereford, Dexter and Highland. His shop has just been extended as he was doing so well, get there early if you don't want to queue. He sells lovely sausages and marinated food ready for your fancy barbeque!

If you aren't thrilled with his meat you are a very hard man to please. Tell him Philip sent you for a small discount!
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
I disagree, fresh garden peas, asparagus, runner beans, new potatoes need nothing added to them.
Brisket in a slow cooker in it's own juices is just as good.
As you say you can flavour meat all you like but you can not make a silk purse out of a sow ear!

Fresh slow grown chicken needs no sauces, just some of it's own gravy.

McDonald's uses cuts from fast grown animals. No taste, needs flavour it's a bland carrier.

I have sold beef to people who's kids would not eat supermarket beef, Grass fed organically reared and they couldn't get enough of it!


taste is a matter of opinion - the fact people will pay big money for top chefs and pitmasters all around the globe to cook and prepare meat suggests to me there is more to it than "making it hot"

even those fresh peas and asparagus can be made better (IMO) with a little sea salt and a knob of butter, they can also be easily cooked badly and ruined as a result
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Only meat I would disagree and say does need marinades or heavy seasoning is chicken which is quite a bland meat left alone
Then you are using the wrong chicken. Proper slow grown chicken on a diverse natural diet has a wonderful flavour. Good luck finding it though because the market is all for the meat you describe, bland and pumped full of water to make it cheap then smothered in a chemical sauce (often, ironically for this thread, a "smoky" one).

Red meat quality is all about the life the animal has led, stress free slaughter and respectful treatment of the carcass. This country does not value either.
 

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