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Marbled beef


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A question for eGulleteers on beef.

1) Which breed or cross of beef PRODUCED IN THE UK OR IRELAND do you think produces the most marbled beef? Some contenders: Angus, Shorthorn, Dexter, Longhorn, Red Poll, White Park. As far as I know Wagyu isn't produced here.

2) Which producers/retailers in your opinion sell the best tasting meat? Some options: Jack O' Shea, Darragh O' Shea, Huntsham Farm, Quenby Hall, Deer n' Dexter, Well Hung Meat, etc.

A final question, do any farmers here grain-finish their cattle?

I am trying to source the best tasting, but also most marbled beef possible locally.

Cheers

Nick

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Blumenthal devoted an entire episode of his 'In search of perfection' series to steak, however I haven't seen it, just bought the book. He lists Longhorn as the best tasting British breed with 'Pedigree Meats' as the preferred supplier. You'd have to either read the book or watch the episode to gauge the specific characteristics that he classifies as 'perfect', as the fat/marbling is hardly the main factor.

You can find isolated clips from the series on YouTube, but a very basic search failed to reveal full episodes of the steak one. But it sounds like it will be worth your effort to find it (just buy it on DVD), as his team has obviously spent months researching the same questions.

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Yeah, I have the book too and I did see the programme when it was on. Nevertheless even Heston can't try every producer and breed in the UK. So curious for more opinions from eGulleters.

I've had several boxes of Richard Vaughan's Longhorn from Huntsham Farm in Herefordshire, which I think is the same company as Pedigree Meats. It's certainly very tasty. But it's not heavily marbled and that is what I am looking for (as well as great tasting).

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Marbling-wise, the most marbled beef I've ever seen in these shores were a couple of rib-eye steaks from Angus cows, here's a pic, pretty impressive marbling eh? Well aged too, these steaks were bought four years ago from a little butcher in Solihull. It's a tiny shop that shares floor space with a grocers and a fishmonger. They just buy their stuff in and don't actually do much butchery so I wouldn't think they'd know whether it'd been grain finished. The White Park beef that I've come across certainly has some impressive marbling too, if you want to know more about that then call Traditional Farmstead Meats in Berkswell.

Tastewise, hands down the best beef I've ever eaten in this country has to be Dexter from Deer n Dexter. I eulogised in the Thick Steak thread here. Pretty decent marbling too if that's your prime criterion. If you're interested maybe we should chip-in on big order.

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Aha, good stuff. Those steaks look legendary, I don't think I've seen Angus with such marbling before. Is that typical from the Solihull butcher or a one-off? They look like they could be USDA Prime or something?

I definitely want to check out the Berkswell shop soon and try their offerings.

Yeah, let's get some Dexter!

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Nick

Most of my meat comes from Mansergh Hall who, in beef terms, sell mainly Galloway. I also buy Dexter and Welsh Black from suppliers at my local farmers market. I'm quite attached to my fairly longterm relationship with Mansergh (mainly for their lamb and pork) but I think I'd give the taste/marbling vote to the Dexters.

John

Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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Best beef I've ever bought was a Longhorn rump steak from these people : http://www.carnedward.co.uk/

Didn't seem particularly marbled but the taste was a leap above anything I'd ever eaten, and melt in the mouth tender.

Mrs Sheepish had "Johnny Morris" rump steak at the Hardwick in Abergavenny, which was possibly even better. Couldn't tell you how marbled it was, and stupidly didn't ask what breed it was.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Much as marbling may be somewhat affected by breed I think you'll find that the feed/drugs that they have been fed is as big if not bigger influence. My favourite beef is Dexter or White Park, I've had them vary from decent marbling through to virtually no marbling at all.

I think that in a lot of instances marbling is a much overrated factor and some of my favourite pieces of meat have demonstrated limited marbling, conversely some of the most marbled pieces of meat I have bought have been very disappointing from a flavour persepctive.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Yes, good point - marbling does not assure great taste. Much US meat is a great example of that!

But a good breed, raised well, with lots of marbling is likely to taste pretty damn good.

I have a specific need in mind which is to make proper NYC pastrami - where I want to combine good beef flavour with plenty of fat to keep the end result moist.

I've just taken delivery of some Shorthorn from East London Steak Company and the marbling looks excellent.

I am going to try some White Park and Dexter as Prawncrackers is going to show me a local supplier (Berkswell Traditional Meats)

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Strangely enough I am just about to try and make proper Pastrami as well, to be honest I hadn't ever considered looking at the marbling on a cut like brisket I would have thought it would have stayed fairly moist from the steaming anyhow?

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Yes, good point - marbling does not assure great taste. Much US meat is a great example of that!

But a good breed, raised well, with lots of marbling is likely to taste pretty damn good.

I have a specific need in mind which is to make proper NYC pastrami - where I want to combine good beef flavour with plenty of fat to keep the end result moist.

I've just taken delivery of some Shorthorn from East London Steak Company and the marbling looks excellent.

I am going to try some White Park and Dexter as Prawncrackers is going to show me a local supplier (Berkswell Traditional Meats)

Interesting, i made some ny style pastrami before Christmas (standing outside in the snow, tending the BBQ was good fun!). Turned out very well but I was only able to get brisket rather than the navel plate they use at places like Katz's. What cut did you get from your supplier? Be interested to know how it turns out.

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Matthew Grant -- I also thought that steaming was the secret to a moist pastrami but it's not the whole story. Tough collagen will convert to moist gelatin at high temps, and this happens in the presence of water, hence the need to braise, steam or wrap in foil and put in an oven (to auto-steam).

This is part of the story but the great NYC deli sandwiches like Katz's made the meat even more tender by selecting cuts with large amounts of fat. I just took delivery of a brisket from Schwartz's deli and I would say it was >50% fat.

&roid - I got Shorthorn brisket, which was very flat and with a decent layer of fat on both sides, plus decent marbling within. This seems quite different from the US navel cut which I have struggled to find. I've seen suggestions that short ribs also work well for pastrami. I'll post a picture.

I need to spend some time talking with a knowledgeable butcher to try and figure out how US cuts translate to British cuts when it comes to brisket/flank/plate/navel.

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I took delivery of a mix of shorthorn cuts from East London Steak Company yesterday, a 1kg Porterhouse, double ribeye on the bone, and some fillet. The marbling on the porterhouse looks good, not as good on the ribeye. I'm a big fan of the Longhorn that they favour at Hawksmoor,and Galloway which I've had elsewhere. I'll be cooking everything tomorrow night so will post on the results, doing some sous vide and then flashed on the bbq.

meat.jpg

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Porterhouse and ribeye were £18.50 per KG (on the bone). I can't remember how much the fillet was, maybe £34. I also got 2 kg of marrow bones (£6)> Prices are better than the Ginger Pig, probably about average for London, not sure how it compares to outside London but better than other online deliveries (Well Hung etc). In all it came to £59, but it is a bit of a treat.

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  • 4 months later...

Thanks for the tip about TELSC. http://eastlondonsteak.co.uk/index.php/the-cuts.html/

Porterhouse yesterday from Highland, not the best marbling I've ever seen but still very tasty. I'll definitely order again

when they are butchering a different breed.

tbonev.jpg

Bone in Rib later in the week unless the cholesterol police get me.

Edited by antdad (log)
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For what its worth, I don't think you find reliably marbled beef in London, at least nothing like the USDA Prime you have stateside.

As people have said, there isn't a particular breed thats bang on for guaranteed marbling. Even wagyu - I've been at a butchers and seen local beef with better marbling that the 150 quid a kilo wagyu next to it on the counter.

The key factors I would consider would be: Breed, feed (grain rather than grass), time of year.

I think the most reliable place for well marbled beef is Jack O'Shea's, particularly round Christmastime. But not always. I've had wonderfully marbled beef from the Waitrose meat counter, and even occasionally in vac-packed rib-eyes from M&S or Sainsburys/Jamie Oliver. It's pot luck really (one good thing about supermarket vac-pack steaks is you can go through the whole pile and check which one is precisely the most marbled. Other people have had great marbling from Northfield Farm in Borough Market.

As I said its sort of pot luck.

One worthwhile tip though - Moens in Clapham sometimes stock Wagyu rump which is wonderfully marbled and a damn sight cheaper than rib-eye. They used to sell it for high-twenty quid a kilo, but last time the price had gone up to more like forty. Still cheaper than rib-eye where GBP150+ is the going rate.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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