Buying Top quality meat ? why so hard ?

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta
And offal and off cuts are always good for bologna and hotdogs. Also pet food.

Greater demand for shoddy cuts than specialty ones, any day of the week.

I’m lucky enough I’m 40 minutes away from a college that teaches butchering. Can almost find anything you’d want there, or request it, and they’ll call when they’re learning about it. Within reason of course. Can’t get a cow brain or head because of BSE and they don’t have the equipment to get the brains out but they’ll sell whole pig heads. Just as an example.

Search for butcher courses/colleges there and see what you find.
 
Quality beef is down to personal choice of how people like their meat, in our house it has to be lean and not fat covered, talking of fancy cuts like the one Clive is on about would not be suited to us and our butcher would trim the fat in half to suit our taste. As some people have said here that the traditional butcher heifer is young and well covered with fat and 500kgs roughly and small cuts, a forward heifer is 600/650 kgs and not over fat cover and bigger cuts which we like and more mature, in France it is all nearly cow beef. Breed, feeding, age, weight and proper killing is big factors in the quality of beef, a taste test was conducted on different breeds and age etc and a Fr/ Holstein bullock came out on top in that test. A similar one was carried out in a different area and a Angus heifer won out in that taste test. As for butcher quality it is a skill set with the biggest factor being able to cut meat correctly. Worked in a meat factory which killed 600 a day with 4 boning halls going and a good boner was determined by how many knives he went through when boning.
The best beef I had recently was a 12 year old striploin out of the freezer off a red lim forward heifer, nothing wrong with freezer beef.
 

juke

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
DURHAM
@Clive its a pity you werent in county durham the butcher i use would know exactly what you were after except they would call it point rump an old british cut if you were really lucky he may have a beast in the shop from @Northeastfarmer. ive been fortunate enough to have this meat unreal ...
 

anzani

Member
Update!

I made a trip to the Ginger Pig today, got hold of a very reasonably priced wild mallard and when I asked if I could buy any bones for stock the butcher went in the back and came out with a groaning bag that he gave me for free. I'll definitely be returning. Their prices aren't cheap but by no means unreasonable, particularly for the stewing cuts.



This is a brilliant idea, and pretty much what I was imagining ought to exist somewhere. I'm pleased it does, though there's nothing near to me and everything seems to be local schemes for collection rather than national delivery. There's a community veg box scheme near me though, that I never would have known about, so I may well give that a go. Thanks for the tip!



Clive, for what it's worth, I've come to very much the opposite conclusion to you after reading through this thread. My approach to cooking and eating meat (and everything else for that matter) is not the norm. Eating is a necessity but cooking is not something everyone derives any pleasure from, and what you describe as dumbed down is often just the things that people can most quickly and easily convert into nutritious meals so they can get on with whatever else they have going on. People like you and I will always be a minority, and we'll go to great lengths to seek out what we're after. It's probably not worth it for a butcher to go the extra mile to accommodate us, as we'll beat a path to their door anyway.

I'm pleased to read that offal and other formerly unpopular cuts are selling quickly these days, and I think value-add options like pies and sausages are a brilliant idea - someone has to put in the work on processing but there's no reason why it has to be the end consumer if they'd rather spend money than time to get their hands on a pie (and a very fine-looking pie at that, Tim G). In a way it's the same thing as supermarkets selling both bread and flour. Plenty of people bake, but no one bakes because they NEED to.

My interest isn't a newfound lockdown-related thing - I've been very into my food for a very long time. The logistical difficulties for a livestock farmer to put themselves in a position to sell directly to me in London are huge, and there are several well-established competitors already out there. During a lockdown and recession strikes me as a very risky time to be forking out large sums on setting up a new business or seeking to integrate your supply chain with the people who are essentially your customers.

For my part, I'm now quite tempted by the prospect of buying a chest freezer and a whole lamb. I agree with Clive that I'd prefer fresh meat all the time, but something has to give somewhere and it might as well be me. I'd rather adjust to the way things are than yearn for the way I feel they ought to be.

Thanks all - it's been eye-opening.
Delighted to learn that you have made the 10-15mile trip I refered to in a previous post. Further points I think you might reflect upon. Buy whats available to suit your taste before you decide your menu. Perhaps when you find the item is available, you buy not just for today but perhaps a few for the freezer. Remember that to have an ox heart to sell, the butcher has to sell 1 complete carcass, or buy a 15kg. case from a wholesaler. Each animal comes with just one.
Supermarkets , certainly Morrisons, do sell offal, but not very much. I trawl my local store , often on a Tuesday (10am), to take advantage of the 'reduced to sell-short life' items unsold from the weekend. I often find offal, lambs hearts, ox kidney, liver and sometimes rump steaks, etc. These are typically dark, fatted and after a spell in the fridge on a plate (10 days beyond use-by date is best), really quite good.
 

welger

Member
Location
derbyshire
My point is though for you livestock producers - why are not more of you not butchering and retailing direct, online at a premium?


why are the good places the exception?
That’s like saying to you why don’t you make bread out of your wheat and sell it-to get people to be bothered to go elsewhere for there meat instead of one big shop at Tesco.you have got to be a lot cheaper for the meat.if you went to [email protected] Tori at Melbourne f**k me they would empty your wallet.if I was you ied buy a big chest freezer go and buy our own little heifer of someone have it slaughtered have it back and enjoy
 

Veryfruity

Member
A whole beast for the freezer can be a bit daunting.

I organisé a group buy, I choose a young bull from an excellent farmer, this year I paid €5,20 kg dw he’s then cut up to our specification. We do 10 box’s of meat (30kg) as there are 10 ‘cotes de boeuf’ and divide all the costs. It comes back at 11€/kg

For the best flavor older cows are best, but less tender, so we go for A young bull As a compromise.

They won’t let us hang the meat for very long in this part of France , and much over a fortnight they get very jumpy, As the French eat steak tartare raw.

Some families take more than one box, we have two as I have teenage boys in the house and they put it away.

The cotes de boeuf are tomahawk steaks without the handle, however you name them they eat well.

Buying the whole thing makes us cook the whole thing, and with care you get to eat some less known but excellent cuts.
AF1F3D55-D8DA-4840-A852-C70304AF722C.jpeg
 

onthehoof

Member
Location
Cambs
A whole beast for the freezer can be a bit daunting.

I organisé a group buy, I choose a young bull from an excellent farmer, this year I paid €5,20 kg dw he’s then cut up to our specification. We do 10 box’s of meat (30kg) as there are 10 ‘cotes de boeuf’ and divide all the costs. It comes back at 11€/kg

For the best flavor older cows are best, but less tender, so we go for A young bull As a compromise.

They won’t let us hang the meat for very long in this part of France , and much over a fortnight they get very jumpy, As the French eat steak tartare raw.

Some families take more than one box, we have two as I have teenage boys in the house and they put it away.

The cotes de boeuf are tomahawk steaks without the handle, however you name them they eat well.

Buying the whole thing makes us cook the whole thing, and with care you get to eat some less known but excellent cuts.View attachment 918685
I would rather have a steak that tasted great but I had to chew a bit (as long as it wasn't tough), than a tender steak with no flavour,
There was a program on BBC a while back with 2 top chefs travelling around the world to find the best restaurants, the best steak place was in Spain where they chose there own animals to kill and there animal of choice was a 4/5 year Holstein cow
 

andy_tee87

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Glamorgan
I would rather have a steak that tasted great but I had to chew a bit (as long as it wasn't tough), than a tender steak with no flavour,
There was a program on BBC a while back with 2 top chefs travelling around the world to find the best restaurants, the best steak place was in Spain where they chose there own animals to kill and there animal of choice was a 4/5 year Holstein cow

Yeh that was Remarkable Places to Eat, San Sebastian episode. Was good to see them heading to the farm to show and explain why they were picking the cows.

2" thick steaks "chuleton"/Cote d'boeuf or bone in rib-eye for us simple folk.

This place:

4cf75f2a-a717-4f04-98a6-d144f405df5b.jpg
 
technically no
i fatten and sell boxes of beef
if im not selling beef im selling walking meat
He actually has a point, we retail all our meat, as a farmer I can sell boxes, but to sell the cuts Clive wants then I need to become a butcher. I can sell box meat without an issue, if I start selling individual cuts then Ive the imbalance to deal with on top of the investment required to go from boxes to butchering. I sell high value top quality meat with minimal added costs, it fits my overall business and works well. Sorry Clive but maybe we livestock farmers are not the idiots you take us for.
 

Veryfruity

Member
I would rather have a steak that tasted great but I had to chew a bit (as long as it wasn't tough), than a tender steak with no flavour,

I agree, the best one I bought was an older suckler cow, Gascogne, but buying as a group we have to compromise. Other families and young children etc.

The French tend to eat either older animals as beef, or younger as veal.

I love food, and France is a good place for this. It’s just a pity I’ve only got one mouth to fit it all in !
 

Steevo

Member
Location
Gloucestershire
One product I would never buy from anywhere other than the butchers is bacon. It’s false economy buying it from a supermarket for sure! Thin and disappears in the pan.

Picked up some when out and about today, butchers had it on the counter in a vac pac and then freshly sliced it. I can only assume they buy it in vac packed like that which is rather sad. No provenance at all. I don’t even know that it’s British. They’d no doubt tell me it was if I asked though.

Gammon steaks are hard too - supermarket cuts are so thin (less than 1cm). To get a proper gammon steak similar to a beef steak is something that only a butcher can offer.
 
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Be grateful for what you have. "20+miles away" is still local. @davieh3350 had a 100+ mile trip to get his done, and I can't imagine what it would be like for those on the Orkneys.
I had a 150 mile round trip. Would be 220 if I wanted sheep done (may have been a bit less if I went south to have got them done)

not seen the rest of the thread, but I read somewhere that there was something like 64 ish slaughter houses in the uk that did private kills, one per million head of population. Not great.
 
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?
One thing that I always wanted to happen to me when I was farming was for someone to stop in and ask to buy a beast, never happened too often though.
I loved talking about the animals and found it easy to sell them, as in promoting how good they were and would quite often give away a pack of meat to the people I was talking to so they could try it (got to be able to back up your claims)

so... how about going for a tour one afternoon and looking over dykes (Stone ones, but maybe water ones too) and hedges and spotting some bullocks out at grass, then just dropping into the farmyard and ask about them, how they’re fed and medicated, moved about grazing. See if they’re passionate about them. If you get a good feeling about them, tell them that you’re looking for a source of good meat, ask to try some. If they eat it themselves they’ll have some in the freezer.

if it’s good you could get together with friends and buy a beast from them and get them to deliver to a slaughterhouse and sort the rest out from there yourselves.

if you don’t have a good feeling about them, leave, you have the right as a farmer to stop and blether to other farmers at will, no one will think you are strange for doing so.
 

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
One thing that I always wanted to happen to me when I was farming was for someone to stop in and ask to buy a beast, never happened too often though.
I loved talking about the animals and found it easy to sell them, as in promoting how good they were and would quite often give away a pack of meat to the people I was talking to so they could try it (got to be able to back up your claims)

so... how about going for a tour one afternoon and looking over dykes (Stone ones, but maybe water ones too) and hedges and spotting some bullocks out at grass, then just dropping into the farmyard and ask about them, how they’re fed and medicated, moved about grazing. See if they’re passionate about them. If you get a good feeling about them, tell them that you’re looking for a source of good meat, ask to try some. If they eat it themselves they’ll have some in the freezer.

if it’s good you could get together with friends and buy a beast from them and get them to deliver to a slaughterhouse and sort the rest out from there yourselves.

if you don’t have a good feeling about them, leave, you have the right as a farmer to stop and blether to other farmers at will, no one will think you are strange for doing so.
Unfortunately your plan won't work as Clive refuses to eat frozen meat, so would expect you to kill and cut one weekly so he has the choice to buy a couple of tomohawk steaks or picanha. What you do with the rest of the carcass is your problem.

I'm not having a go Clive, but I am trying to make you see that it isn't maybe a massive opportunity for farmers as you think it may be.
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Somerset
Unfortunately your plan won't work as Clive refuses to eat frozen meat, so would expect you to kill and cut one weekly so he has the choice to buy a couple of tomohawk steaks or picanha. What you do with the rest of the carcass is your problem.

I'm not having a go Clive, but I am trying to make you see that it isn't maybe a massive opportunity for farmers as you think it may be.
I really can't see why he is so against frozen meat, I would like to see him tell the difference in a taste test

Best thing we done was start eating our own meat particularly lamb/hogget, what other people do to it to make it so bad I have no idea but freezing don't hurt it
 
I really can't see why he is so against frozen meat, I would like to see him tell the difference in a taste test

Best thing we done was start eating our own meat particularly lamb/hogget, what other people do to it to make it so bad I have no idea but freezing don't hurt it
like i said earlier
its all about the defrosting

fridge for 24 hours then on the kitchen worktop for a few more
 

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
I really can't see why he is so against frozen meat, I would like to see him tell the difference in a taste test

Best thing we done was start eating our own meat particularly lamb/hogget, what other people do to it to make it so bad I have no idea but freezing don't hurt it
I know, if I didn't eat frozen meat I'm not sure what I'd eat.
I put my own lamb, Hogg and mutton in the freezer and buy half pig to freeze, when I have space. I don't eat a lot of beef but mainly because I don't usually have a lot of space in the freezer to get a box of local Hereford beef.
The beauty of getting a whole or half lamb/pork to freeze is you get a bit of everything, so you pick a joint/chop that you fancy straight out of the freezer. Shall I take hogget or pork out for tea🤔
 
I was nearly going to start a thread about this but thought best to put it here. Shocking level of service from our local garage the other day. I rocked up and entered the premises and tried my damned hardest to liase with the customer service assistant there to procure what I required but they couldn't understand a whit of it and so I left in disgust. Another missed sales opportunity no doubt. Hopefully more businesses in future will take care of a particularly poorly dressed bloke demanding a product no one has heard of and be able to sell it to me for a premium.

I was so shocked. I am sure I got the pronunciation exact but they were all baffled in the shop. I happened to hear about this product in Brazil and just can't find it anywhere in the UK. All I said was:

com licença, senhor, você tem 10 galões de gasolina sem chumbo contendo 25% de etanol?
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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