ABOUT BEEF

It may seem an anomaly to eat animals that are classed as critically endangered, but in fact, it helps to do so. Not all animals, particularly males, can be kept for breeding and the income from meat sales helps to keep the breeding herd going.

Greenoak Shetland beef is a gourmet product. Not only does it have the well-marbled texture and beautiful flavour of the breed but also, I believe, benefits from the variety of forage found on the sites grazed. This variety is in my view, both healthy and produces a finer flavour, but I can make no claims that this is a fact as proving such an assertion scientifically is well beyond my means. Certainly Shetland beef bears little resemblance to the cheap cut-price meat, often found in cheap retail outlets.

Good food is not cheap to produce and beef is no exception, but it is very possible to eat good beef cheaply by using the cheaper cuts, though it is unrealistic to expect to cook these cuts in the same way as the prime roasting or grilling cuts.

Much of the skill in producing good beef comes post slaughter. Hanging or ageing beef for three to four weeks is considered essential. During hanging, which takes pace in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, natural enzymes in the meat act on the muscle fibres, making them softer and the meat more tender. Moisture is also lost, not a disadvantage as might be imagined, because too much moisture in meat expands when heated, escaping from the meat during cooking and so wet, fresh beef can end up drier when cooked.

To follow

DIAGRAMS OF CARCASE –description of what cuts are used for- a few recipes