Monthly Archives: February 2010

Meat cuts

There are loads of different cuts on animals and it can often get confusing. I’m often asked “where is that cut from ?” and  …. “I had this cut in France but never see it in England ?”.

Well I thought it would be helpful to try to answer these questions and explain different cuts and where they come from.

Firstly I have searched for the clearest drawings that I could find.  I don’t think there is a copyright issue with them  but if there is make the most of them quickly before they are minced.

So here is a side of beef …..

Just click on the picture or click here for the full page version.

…. and here is a side of pork ….

Just click on the picture or click here for the full page version.

…. and finally a lamb carcase

Just click on the picture or click here for the full page version.

So now hopefully you will know the difference between a shank and a tenderloin.

Charlie the Butcher.

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Traditional homemade faggot recipe

I love the old school meat products that once upon a time would grace every butchers’ shop up and down the country. Ranging from homemade corned beef to saveloy, one of many of my favourites is the classic faggot which is also called, for some reason, “ducks” in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire. It’s rarely seen now which is such a shame has they are lovely, easy, cheap and quick to cook. You might spot the famous “Mr Brian’s Faggots” that are sometimes in the frozen section of supermarkets and I’m not altogether sure what goes into them. But faggots have now started to spring up on gastro pub menus, like the Stagg Inn in Herefordshire.  This is a good sign to see.

The published history of the faggot dates back to 1851 when it first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary.

I am often asked at work “what is a faggot?”.  Well, traditionally,  it is a mixture of pigs liver, fatty pork mince, fresh sage, fresh thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. I like to keep it simple and let the true flavour of the liver and mince shine. Pigs’ hearts have also been sometimes added along with breadcrumbs. It is then wrapped in caul fat which is a webb like meshing membrane from the pig’s abdomen. I compare them to almost a offal like meatball or a rustic French pâté. As faggots are hard to find I’ve put together my own simple  homemade faggot recipe thats easy and fun to make at home. They also freeze well so fill that freezer up with them.

Ingredients

  • 500g minced fresh pork liver
  • 1kg fatty course minced pork
  • 1 bunch of fresh sage and thyme
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 300g caul fat soaked in water

Step 1
Collect the herbs.

Step 2
Mix all the ingredients until it becomes sticky, this is a sign that the proteins are coming out and will help bind the mixture together.

Step 3
Drain the caul fat and place some of the mixture on the caul fat, the weight is up to you. I like 200g but you may want more or less.

Step 4
Step back and enjoy the masterpieces.

Step 5
Either wrap them up for the freezer or cook them. I like them slow cooked in the oven at 150C for about one hour and served with mash, mustard and the faggot juices over them. If I have any greens like cabbage or sprout top they also work well. It is tradition in the Black Country to serve them with peas and onion gravy.

Enjoy with a nice glass of English Ale.

Charlie the Butcher.

5000 Hits

With the cold weather and long winter nights I needed an excuse to celebrate something. This came in the form of the landmark 5,000 hits to butchershook.net. I would like to thank you all for your support over the past 5 months.

I’ve got lots of ideas so make sure you never miss out on new updates by subscribing to my site.

This is a picture the morning after the celebrations.

Thanks again.

Charlie the Butcher.