If you have any questions or would rather book by phone, give us a call
Please note that tables of up to four people will be reserved for two hours and tables of five or more will be reserved for two and a half hours.
“Without meat, barbecue’s just a bonfire.” So says Barbecoa’s sous chef, Jeff Marris. Not that we’ve got anything against bonfires, but we’re not here to chat kindling. We’re here to pick Jeff’s brains on what to ask your butcher to make sure you get the very best meat for your money
Always ask where it’s from. A butcher should know what’s coming through the door and know that it has lived well. Ask if they’ve been to the farm. If they have, it’s a good sign of their commitment to selling top-quality meat.
It may cost more, but free-range is definitely worth it. The animals have lived better lives and, as a result, the meat has a much better taste. Butchers – especially at supermarkets – like to play with language. “Outdoor-reared” could simply mean a concrete shed outside: it doesn’t mean that it’s free-range. Speaking to your butcher will help you get to the bottom of it.
They should know too what the animal has been fed. Our supplier’s feed is a mix of soya and grass for pigs and lambs. Cows will also graze on grain. It’s natural, and the oils from the grain help with the intramuscular fat of the animal, which is what produces marbling, a sign of tender red meat.
Another thing to ask about is the animal’s breed. Breed has massive implications for meat’s taste and texture. Take cows, for example. At Barbecoa, we source a Longhorn breed because the cows don’t put on too much fat when they don’t need it, nor do they wander around too much and get too lean.
Age at slaughter is another thing you need to check, to ensure their ‘ripeness’. The pigs and lambs we choose at Barbecoa are up to six months old and cows are around two-and-a-half years old.
With any luck, your butcher will be able to answer your questions and if they answer them well, you’ll be on to a proper feast. All that’s left to do is cook it to perfection!