The London reporter waves the flag for ‘Generation Y’ and learns a thing or two about beef cuts.
Do you know some of the lesser known cuts of meat including skirt and feather? If you do, then well done you! But if not, don’t worry - you are far from alone!
Asda have recently revealed that those born in the 1980s-1990s (including the London Reporter) are pretty clueless compared to their parents when it comes to knowing about meat cuts. Armed with this knowledge they decided to challenge and educate three food bloggers to ‘fess up’ and learn a thing or two about different cuts of meat. We were to be apprentice butchers for the night!
Now some of you might already be, dare I say it, a little sceptical about eating meat from supermarkets. I know Maggie(Mum) who co-writes the blog, has very specific places she will visit for different cuts of meat and is particularly discerning. So it was a good opportunity for me to tell her what I had learnt.
Asda took over a butcher’s shop in London and Jim McPhie, the butcher and his assistant Matt, warmed us up with a talk about the different cuts.
I learnt that cuts from the top of a cows body are leaner because the muscles aren't being worked as much, and yes, you guessed it, the lower part of the body is tougher because that's where the animal would use it's muscles most.
We then went into the basement to our own work areas to start the more practical element of the class. I put on an apron as well as a chain mail glove which is a stainless steel mesh and protects the hand from the sharp knife blade. We had a knife specifically to cut into the meat and another one to cut around the bone. Apart from cutting up some of the more well known cuts like sirloin, we tackled a short rib - also called a ‘Jacob's Ladder’. It was a beautiful cut of meat and the skill is keeping the knife close to the bone. This kind of cut would be best cooked slowly for around 2 hours. The amount of skill in using the knives is unbelievable and I found it to be a a real art form. I was definitely hot under the collar from the concentration and physical effort.
We then went out into the street and barbecued the cuts under the canopy of the shop. I think the locals thought a new hipster butchers had just opened up which amused me!
We then chatted a little more about the production of meat. Elwyn Pugh, Agricultural & Sustainability Manager at ABP Food Group is a supplier of beef to Asda. He was passionate and adamant that the beef Asda sell will be just as good as that found in your local butchers. He said the only difference really is that a supermarket has millions of people to feed versus a local butcher with a smaller client base, so the customer experience is different. He also said the skill involved in supplying supermarkets with meat is just the same as that of a local butcher - it’s a process which will always have to be done by hand because of the skill involved. And what’s more all the Aberdeen Angus steaks are matured for 28 days.
When all is said and done...
Having been an apprentice and listened to Asda, I can see that they are really proud of what they offer. I’m also going to try and be more adventurous with the cuts of meat I purchase and not get hung up on just a few I typically order by habit, but instead start to widen my repertoire. I’ll probably save money and be more creative in the long run and not have to trade off taste either.
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Thanks to all the team and the passion they showed.
To find out more visit Asda for a number of beef recipes and put your knowledge to the test!
Disclaimer: We were guests of Asda but all thoughts were our own.