To take some of the strain off last year’s Christmas shopping, my brother and I both decided that we’d buy each other an evening butchery class at the Ginger Pig in Marylebone as our Christmas presents. I’d been looking forward to it since we made the booking in November, and Last Friday was the day of reckoning. They do four different classes at the shop, pork, lamb, sausage making, and our class of choice, beef.
On arriving at the shop we were cheerily welcomed by Borut and Perry who were to be our guides on planet beef for the evening. After they’d kitted us all out in butchers whites, our hosts started off by explaining about the type of cattle that they rear on their farm in North Yorkshire (Longhorns), the difference between free range and organic, and how they actually go about preparing the beef for consumption once it’s slaughtered.
It was good to learn a bit more about the ageing process, and the rather underhand tactics that supermarkets employ when talking about their aged beef. The Ginger Pig, and most other quality butchers, dry age their beef. This means hanging the carcasses in cool ventilated rooms so that blood and moisture can leave the meat, thereby intensifying the flavour (the meat can be hung for up to 100 days, but the guys at the shop reckoned around the 35-40 day mark was perfect).