Learn the Story of British Beef and how to use it
29th April 2016
National Beef Association introduces major consumer showcase to Beef Expo 2016
British beef is the best in the world, with farmers producing high-welfare, high-quality meat that is fully traceable.
But as consumers, we’re not making the most of this fantastic food. Shoppers tend to stick to what they know, and in the UK, mince is the most popular cut of beef.
Figures show that in 2014, we bought 141.9 thousand tonnes of minced beef in the UK – more than three times as much as steaks (44.8 tonnes). The second most popular beef was joints for roasting, with 54.8 thousand tonnes sold, followed by 52.6 thousand tonnes of burgers and grills and just 31.7 thousand tonnes of stewing beef.*
But while cottage pie, spaghetti bolognaise and chilli are all great meals, there is so much more you can do with beef – and it’s probably not as expensive as you think.
The National Beef Association (NBA), which represents British beef farmers, will be telling the Story of British Beef from farm to fork at its annual Expo. This major industry event at Bakewell in Derbyshire on Friday May 20, is a real festival of British beef and this year as a stand alone free exhibition out with the main expo, it will be examining where our beef comes from and the different stages it goes through to reach the table. In a dedicated area adjacent to Bakewell Agricultural Centre, visitors will also be able to find out about the different cuts of beef and the best way to use them, with recipes from chefs who will be cooking up some delicious beef dishes.
NBA chief executive, Chris Mallon, said: “British beef is renowned throughout the world and offers real diversity for cooks.”
“But here in the UK, we’re missing out on everything beef can offer, largely due to a lack of education. We’re aiming to change that with the Story of British Beef, which will take shoppers through the entire chain from farm to fork, and introduce them to cuts of beef they have perhaps never come across before.”
The Story of British Beef brings together beef producers, local butchers and the University of Derby to tell the tale of this fantastic British product. The story starts of course on the farm, where beef cattle are carefully reared in the best welfare conditions with full traceability.
Visitors will be able to see examples of a beef cow and calf, a store animal ready to go to market and a full matured animal, and learn about how they are cared for.
The next stage is butchering to get the most out of each animal. The art of butchery demonstrations will be carried out by multi award-winning Derbyshire butcher, John Mettrick. John, who is one of only 10 Master Butchers in the UK, has also been named Britain's Best Butcher, Britain's Top Shop National Winner and Best Online Butcher, so he certainly knows his beef.
His shop sources its meat from farms within the Peak District, the North West and Midlands, and has its own small abattoir in Glossop. None of the animals it butchers have travelled further than 35 miles from the farm.
John, who will be holding four demos during the day, said: “There are some fantastic cuts of beef that are less well-known that I’ll be highlighting.
“Increasingly, people want to know where their food is coming from, and that’s a welcome development. In my demonstrations, I’ll be cutting through some of the myths around butchery and breaking up a beef forequarter, to show people where the different cuts come from.
“I’ll be discussing some of the more unusual cuts, the kind of things you should be asking your butcher, and taking questions from the audience about how to use the different types of beef.”
Among the less well-known cuts of beef that John will be showcasing are feather steak, flat iron steak, pave rump, central rump and the various types of skirt steak.
He said: “There are six different types of beef skirt - goose skirt, heart skirt, rump skirt, flank skirt(x20) and the diaphragm skirt –understandably, people are often confused about which one to ask for and how to cook it.
“I’ll be explaining how we butcher each cut and the best way to use them.”
The meat that John has prepared will then be cooked by chefs, supported by students from Derby University, and there will be the opportunity to taste the different cuts of beef in the delicious recipes. The cookery demonstrations will also provide extra information and recipe cards, to inspire people to try something different in their own kitchens.
The NBA’s Chris Mallon said: “The Story of British Beef is a new element for Beef Expo in 2016.
“This is the biggest beef event in Britain and it’s only right that we use opportunities like this to give consumers information about where their beef comes from, and the skills and dedication of all those involved in its delivery to consumers including farmers, butchers and chefs.
“We’re looking forward to sharing this knowledge with as many people as possible on May 20th in Bakewell. British Beef has a worldwide reputation for its quality and taste and we just want to spread the word to a wider audience.”
The Story of British Beef takes place outside of the main Expo events and is free to attend for members of the public.
*Stats from http://www.statista.com/statistics/295248/beef-retail-purchase-volume-by-type-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/