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.