Monthly Archives: March 2010

Barnsley chop history

As I trained in Leeds to be a butcher and my dad being from Leeds, I have a soft spot for Yorkshire. It’s a great county which offers great meat due to its lush pasture and rolling moors.
But it is home to many great foods like the forced Yorkshire rhubarb, parkin cake, Wensleydale cheese and the famous Barnsley Chop …. and it is the Barnsley Chop which you can guess I’m particularly interested in.
It is a unique cut taken across the loin of lamb giving you a double lamb loin chop. Having traveled around a little and visited many butchers shops, the Barnsley chop is a rare cut and never seen in supermarkets – this gives it that special place in the butchers window and it’s a cut I’m always pleased to see and it brings a smile to my face.
But the history of the cut is a little grey. I’ve found a couple of stories with one being that a chef at the Brooklands Hotel in Barnsley first served the chop and does still serve it to this day as the “House Special”. So if you are ever peckish on the M1 motorway pop in, it’s on my list of things to do next time I visit Elland Road.
But my friend Matthew Fort did some research on the matter in the later part of last year and did mange to find this gold piece of information about the chop and it reads.

Quoting the Ferret of the Barnsley Chronicle, wrote, “The dish is thought to have originated at the King’s Head Hotel on Market Hill in 1849. On market day, farmers were served a ‘very large chop’ known as the Barnsley chop. When Barnsley Town Hall was opened in 1933, the then Prince of Wales and other guests were served Barnsley chops. The weight of each chop was 1lb 6oz, and just two chops came from each animal. A civic review in 1949 said the chop comprised the first three ribs after the shoulder, and only two such chops can be  obtained from a sheep. It was then dressed and hung for about 10 days, before being cooked by a special process to ensure tenderness. It’s usually served with chips and Barnsley-brewed beer.”

So there we have it the history of my favourite Barnsley Chop. Ask your local butcher and spread the love of the “Barnsley Chop”.

Charlie the Butcher.


Spring lamb

With Easter around the corner and chocolate eggs filling the shelves of shops it is time to explain the traditional “spring lamb” story. Easter brings the first of the highly prized spring lamb in Britain. It’s a huge part of the meat calendar each year with dead weight prices rocketing up.

I get excited about it, as it brings tender meat with clean white fat meaning tasty and tender cuts. The flavour and texture can range a little based on a number of factors such as the  breed, quality of the pasture and age at slaughter. The term lamb is used for either sex born and sold within the first year of its life and which wouldn’t yet have developed its full set of teeth. But spring lamb is usually 3-5 months old having been born around September to December and has just finished weaning from its mother, hence the pale meat colour.

It does carry a mild flavour compared to hogget (over a year old) and is best cooked rare to let its mild flavour shine.

If the mild flavour of spring lamb is not your cup of tea the price of hogget drops at Easter. Hogget carries more fat and is bursting with lamby flavour as it has a lived a life on open pasture for most of its life and it is a cheaper option.

After all you can’t beat a shoulder cooked slowly with rosemary, garlic and anchovy. But please support your local butcher as only 18% of the lamb eaten in the UK is purchased from butchers’ shops.

If you need a reminder about lamb cuts go to the CUTS section on the front page or just click here for a full page version of the lamb cuts diagram.

It is a busy period in the butchers’ calendar and let’s all get together and buy from your local butcher ….  and after all they will give you the best advice about and knowledge of their products.

Charlie the Butcher.

National butchers week 2010

If you are not already aware of this special week it is “National Butchers Week 2010”. It is a great week which aims to promote all things butchery and is now in its third year. It is great that the small high street butchers shops are able to celebrate and be proud to be butchers. At the Market we are making a special “Butchers Boozey Banger” …. made with Sam Smiths ale, mustard and pork. I started the week by waking up with a huge Meantime Beer hangover but it is only butchers week once a year. If you are not aware of your local butchers shop check out

Keep your eyes peeled for special events in your local butchers and from my heart “Happy Butchers Week”.

Charlie the Butcher.

Goat meat

Goat – Any of numerous agile, hollow-horned ruminants of the genus Capra, of the family Bovidae, closely related to the sheep, found native in rocky and mountainous regions of the Old World, and widely distributed in domesticated varieties.

Most butchers up and down the country will sell the usual beef, pork, lamb and poultry. A little game if you are lucky. But goat ……… ?

I was talking to a friend the other day over a beer about my travels in Melbourne. I then remembered the amazing curried goat I’d had there. This got me thinking about goat.

I’ve butchered goat a couple of times and it always flies off the block. It’s becoming a popular meat in the London restaurant scene with my favourite restaurant Magdalen using it and it is also not unheard of at St John’s. I’ve done my research about goat and it is believed to make up 80% of the total meat consumption in the world. Well, they are the oldest domesticated species, and can be used for meat, diary (cheese, milk and butter) and wool. A great dual purpose animal. Its flavour, carcase size and shape is commonly compared to lamb and mutton.

I find the flavour full and strong and dark in colour. It’s cheap and makes a wicked curry or stew. It was not easy to track down, I racked my food head and decided to head down to Deptford High Street as it has a wicked range of Caribbean/Asian butchers, fishmongers and veg shops. I picked up my diced leg on the bone from Lobo Butchers in Deptford High Street, London. It cost me £5.25 a kilo, bargain of the week.

So then it was back home and recipe testing a decent curried goat dish. I wanted to make it with common ingredients available in decent food shops and easy way to make, so I came up with this bad boy curry.


  • Cumin seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground coriander
  • Cardamon pods
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cinnamon
  • 1kg diced goat
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 diced sweet potato
  • 1 small egg plant
  • Corriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 scotch bonnet chillies
  • Water

Serves 3 – 4.

Step 1
Get all the ingredients togther. I used 1 teaspoon of each of the spices. Dry fry the cumin seeds and then put all of the spices in a bowl.

Step 2
Season the goat, add the lime juice and half of the spice mix. Leave in the fridge all day.

Step 3
Heat some oil in a pan and brown the goat off.

Step 4
Put all of the browned goat into a curry pot and add all the other ingredients and cover with water.

Step 5
Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 2 hours. Keep a close eye on the pot, more water might be needed.

Step 6
Serve with some rice and enjoy.

Charlie the Butcher.