Since it’s National Butchers Week we thought we’d shine a spotlight on local butchers and the things they offer that you can’t get from anywhere else. Once upon a time, everyone would get their meat from the man in his striped apron on the high street and since many supermarkets are losing their butchers counters, it’s time to embrace this trend again.
Here’s why local butchers are the best:
Direct from the farm
Long and complicated supply chains mean that we don’t always know where our meat is coming from and the recent horsemeat scandal threw up all sorts of unappetising questions. Your local butcher gets his meat more directly, meaning you can have peace of mind that it’s what you think it is – yay!
Supermarket counters tend to offer the same things all the time and while consistency can be a good thing, it can also mean we all get stuck in a rut cooking the same old meals. Your local butcher will have more different cuts on offer and can let you know how to prepare them if you feel a bit out of your depth with pork skirt or beef shin.
If you’re thinking about cooking something new, then turn to the OptiGrill, because its special design features will take away the stress. For example, the thickness sensor will help you get it just right, depending on whether you like it rare, well-done or anything in between.
Prepped for you
When you buy meat all sealed up in a vacuum pack it comes as it comes, but at your local butchers you can select the piece you want and exactly the right quantity. Your butcher will also be able to prep it for you, so you can see it being minced right before your eyes or watch as your joint is expertly tied up for roasting.
More than just meat
While meat is the main event at any butchers, there’s loads of other things you can get there too that will help make your meal extra tasty. Bone marrow, for example, adds an extra richness to sauces, while caul fat is great for making sausage casings, because you’ll get loads of extra flavour in your bangers.
Independent butchers to seek out
Up and down the country there are butchers doing it a bit differently. Some are sticking to tradition and have been serving communities for nearly a century, while others are so achingly hip you won’t want to get your chorizo from anywhere else.
Archer’s in Norwich have been in business since 1929, so they must be doing something right. Now in the third generation of the same family, Jamie Archer and his team sell everything from beef and pork to haggis, game and sausages. If you can’t decide what to choose then opt for one of their meat boxes and you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Gateshead’s Block and Bottle is as hipster as Archer’s is traditional and does what it says on the tin. Pick up your 30-day dry-aged beef or free-range duck for dinner at the same time as a growler of beer from your favourite craft brewery. Block and Bottle even makes its own chorizo, but it’s so popular there’s usually a waiting list.
JT Beedham & Sons in Sherwood is a winning combination of a butchers with plenty of history that isn’t afraid to innovate. The business dates back to 1884 and is now run by butcher-to-the-stars Johnny Pusztai, who sources meat from two farms within 20 miles of the shop. Sausage lovers won’t want to miss this butchers, which makes no fewer than 70 different types of bangers.