Before trying to open the UK’s best steak restaurant we travelled the world in search of the perfect steak, from Kobe in Japan to Argentina’s Pampas by way of Italy, Australia and Texas. And our verdict? That the best steaks come from carefully reared native cattle breeds right here in Britain.
Until recently Britain was renowned for its beef. The animals that produce the best beef in America and Argentina originate from British cattle, even the Japanese crossed their famed Wagyu with British breeds in the nineteenth century to improve flavour.
It’s a crying shame, but most British beef now comes from modern cross-breeds rapidly fattened on grain instead of grass. They’re often kept in close confinement and fed additives and growth-promoters so they can be slaughtered at a young age. Their meat is then either not aged or ‘wet-aged’ in vac-packs to minimize weight loss. All to make the process as quick and cheap as possible. It’s no surprise that British meat is often a pale imitation of what it once was, but thankfully there are still a few people out there using traditional methods producing beef that tastes better than anywhere else in the world.
We get our beef from Tim Wilson at Ginger Pig, a native cattle breeder in Yorkshire. Main breeds include British Longhorn, Shorthorn, Abeerdeen Angus and Hereford. The cows are grass-fed and bred in spacious conditions, while the slaughter takes places after 36 months (while commercial breeding force-feeds cows to be ready to be slaughtered at as little as 12-18 months of age) and the meat is dry-aged for 35 days (with an exception of 55-days aged rump), losing on weight, but improving the flavour and tenderness.