I always feel clueless when it comes to steak… Porterhouse, Strip Steak, Chateaubriand… I have no idea the difference…. Potentially even more embarrassing is the fact I would also insist on it being “well done” (don’t worry, I got past that one a few years ago although I’ll never be a rare girl…).
I’d booked a butchery class for Jake for Christmas at the Ginger Pig (I also recommend for dads, brothers and grandada for some major brownie points) and I was going along, to start to learn the difference between the strip and the sirloin…
We stared with an introduction to the Ginger Pig butchery shop itself. Starting small 20 years ago, the Ginger Pig grew up, sourcing some of the cities best restaurants with their meat (alas, not anymore…). Now the Ginger Pig boasts 7 shops, a cookery book and it’s famous butchery classes….
It was now time to get into the meat of it (I know, terrible joke…) and talk about beef. The first thing we learnt was how beef is dry aged. I was pretty shocked to hear that premium 100 day dry aged beef is literally a lump of beef left to mould in a controlled environment. They then hack off the rotten bits, cook it and serve it up. Mmmm….
The vast majority is around 30 days and I soon forgot to be totally grossed out as we sampled some freshly cooked fillet.
Belly over brain, always….
It was time to start hacking away a carcus. Not quite “if you can’t kill it don’t eat it” but a fairly vivid learning curve. With a quarter of a cow we sawed, cut and pieced apart the different cuts. Once we’d taken it apart we put it back together. Bit like a jigsaw puzzle… kinda. I was surprised how it wasn’t as squeamish as I potentially imagined.
It was now time to prepare our own côte de boeuf joint (under some expert guidance). Ribs were cleaned (surprisingly hard work FYI) and butchers knots tied.
Having wrapped, and weighed up our pieces off beef it was time to hang up our aprons and get back to doing what I do best. EATING.
I was even lucky enough to suck the strings (apparently that is a thing, and I’m totally on board- they suck up all the yummy juices).
I can’t tell you how excited I was when they placed this beauty in front of us….
Served up with salad and the most amazing garlicy potato dauphinois I had one of my rare moments of silence, bar declarations of love for beef, cream and potatoes. Served with a glass of red wine, can life get any sweeter?
We left full, bags of meat in hand, and armed with the secret knowledge of beef. I felt like we’d learnt some secret handshake- we now knew what cuts to ask for from what parts. Feel free to buy me steak and I’ll share the secret….
And one of my favourite parts? Having so much beef meant we had a great excuse to invite friends and family round Sunday, and polish it off all over again.
Verdict: Not one for Vegans, but great for those meat lovers in your life.
The Ginger Pig has several stores across London. Find out more about the shop & their classes here: https://www.thegingerpig.co.uk