Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Beef about Beef

I am a committed carnivore. Some people may believe that meat is murder, but as far as I’m concerned they are missing out on the finest foodstuffs that this country produces. Quorn just doesn’t cut it, and a student diet of lentils has put me off the stuff for life (apart from a proper dahl).

For health reasons, I don’t eat as much red meat as I used to, but I still insist on the proper belt and buckles roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. The best cut for roasting is a double rib of beef on the bone. It cooks to a meltingly unctuous tenderness, and should be eaten slightly pink. Truly gorgeous stuff. The Frenchies may mock us by calling us ‘les rostbifs’, but we have the last laugh in having as our national dish one of the finest meals in the world.

There is a major problem though. The drive to produce cheap food has led the supermarkets to sell beef which hasn’t been properly matured. The meat follows a course of Monday: abattoir; Tuesday: delivery truck; Wednesday: supermarket shelf.

I regard this as nothing short of a national scandal. As far as I am concerned, there should be a law that beef has to be matured for 28 days before it can be sold to the public. When beef matures the enzymes in the meat tenderise and enhance flavour.

British, and particularly Scottish, beef is regarded as the best in the world. If the French had a product like this they would revere it, and take action to ensure that standards of production were maintained. We treat it with contempt, just more fuel to shovel into ourselves cheaply. It is a disgrace.

If you can find a good traditional butcher who hangs his meat, you should buy from him. It will cost more, but quality never comes cheap.

I buy my beef from the internet butcher Donald Russell. They supply the best hotels in the country, and chefs rave about the quality of their beef. It is expensive, but in my opinion worth every penny.


S.I.D. said...

My my that site is good, but as you said it is pricey.Might splash out at Christmas though.

Tesco's here are now selling Brazilian beef and the farmers have been picketing the stores. I tried it once, traitor that I am,but whatever they feed their cattle on, it tastes disgusting.Never again.

garfer said...

Argentian beef is ok. I have an account with Bookers, and sometimes buy a whole fillet of beef. It's interesting watching the hoteliers buying beef from Botswana. It's a third cheaper than Scottish beef.
They then advertise it on their menus as 'prime Aberdeen angus'. That should be banned as well.

suburban wonder said...

Mmmmmm. There's an ad campaign here with the slogan "Beef: it's what's for dinner." I can so get behind that campaign.

I adore roast beef. Miss Peanut would eat it 7 days a week with mashed potatoes & peas if given the chance. So would I, come to think of it.

I bought Nigella Lawson's What to Eat and it has the proper sequence for producing the English Sunday Lunch, which is, of course, roast beef.

garfer said...

The 'rib of beef' is called 'prime rib' in North America. I think you guys eat it as steak.
Can't be beat, whatever way you cook it.
I fancy a holiday in Argentina for a full carnivore blow out.

Jane said...

28 days! M&S were boasting about one of their value added dishes having matured for a whole 21 days.

Piggy and Tazzy said...

I was veggie for a while, until I met Tazzy - he tied me to the bed, hands and feet, stripped me naked and.... oh, erm, wrong topic... tied me down and force fed me a pork pie, the sadistic bastard.

Beef, I have to say, has never been a fave of mine. Don't know why, but I always preferred lamb in the past and now once again.

Like you say though, the process from slaughterhouse to table is indeed scandalous. Sadly, I think its a reflection of the way the British are becoming though - they care not a jot about anything anymore other than price and want it now, now, now.

blogscot said...

"British, and particularly Scottish, beef is regarded as the best in the world." I normally don't eat much red meat, but when I was in Argentina I was astounded by how good it is.

Piggy and Tazzy said...

... and fuck me (not literally) twenty quid for a couple of slices of black pudding?

S.I.D. said...

If you want quality black pudding head to Clonakilty in Cork. Its butcher has the best in Ireland!

garfer said...

Stornoway black pudding is regarded as the best in Scotland.
As long as you can reconcile yourself with the fact that it's made from congealed pigs blood it is most palatable.

Rainypete said...

Beef needs to be in its own food group.

I actually have taken to dry aging mine in the refrigerator for a few days to help it along. Take patience, but yields solid results.

garfer said...

Top tip. I'll give it a try.

Rowan said...

hmmm, shame I don't actually like red meat, so I don't eat any, but sounds delicious the way you go on.

MHN for short said...

We have Black Angus here in Texas. I've tried other cows, but the Angus has a better flavour to me. I do agree that if you let your beef mature it does taste better.

Sniffy said...

Ahem, Bury for black puddings.


Costco do the whole range of beef from Aberdeen Angus, to some American stuff. It's OK.

I agree that rib of beef is the most devine thing that could possibly hit a person's plate (and palate). Truly the most succulent and tasty, it used to be a real treat, then it was BANNED (the agony!) and now it's having a glorious revival. Absolutely fuckin' delish!