Category Archives: Beef

Meat Vs Meat, Real Vs Unreal ?

The news has brought two meaty stories that seem to coming from different perspectives … you be the judge.

In one story from this week it is reported that the world’s first hamburger made with a synthetic meat protein derived from bovine stem cells will be publicly consumed this October after being prepared by a celebrity chef, according to the inventor of the artificial mince.

Mmmmm .... looking good

Heston Blumenthal is the favourite to be asked to cook the £207,000 hamburger, which will be made from 3,000 strips of synthetic meat protein grown in fermentation vats. Dr Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, said the anonymous backer of his research project had not yet decided who would get to eat the world’s most expensive hamburger, which will unveiled at a ceremony in Maastricht.

Dr Post told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that a hamburger made from artificial beef protein was a milestone in the development of novel ways to meet the global demand for meat, which is expected to double by 2050.

“In October we’re going to provide a ‘proof of concept’ showing that with in vitro culture methods that are pretty classical we can make a product out of stem cells that looks like, and hopefully taste like, meat,” Dr Post said.

“The target goal is to make a hamburger and for that we need to grow 3,000 pieces of this muscle and a couple of hundred pieces of fat tissue. As long as it’s a patty the size of a regular hamburger, I’m happy with it,” he said.

A handful of researchers has been working for the past six years on the technical problem of extracting stem cells from bovine muscle, culturing them in the laboratory and turning them into strips of muscle fibres that can be minced together with synthetic fat cells into an edible product.

The technical challenges have included giving the meat a pinkish colour and the right texture for cooking and eating, as well as ensuring that it feels and tastes like real meat.

Dr Post admitted to being nervous about the final result. “I am a little worried, but seeing and tasting is believing,” he said.

At the same time, in another story, a prize bull called Fabio has set a world record at auction. The pedigree Limousin was expected to fetch £40,000 at the cattle market in Carlisle, Cumbria but went for £126,000 beating the previuos record by £21,000.


Glyn Vaughan who bred Fabio at his farm in Machynlleth, Powys, said “When it hit £80,000, I hoped it woud reach £100,00. I’m not sure I remember what happened after that. It was unreal.”

The winning bid by Alan Jenkinson of Penrith, set a world record for a Limousin and a British record for a Bull.

Agricultural experts say the new owner will quickly recoup the money for the 17 month old bull through breeding. Mr Vaughan said “He’s a big fellow but very docile.  I’m sorry to see him go, but delighted he made so much money.”

Charlie the butcher



Its been a while. I’ve been on a couple of little trips and as always I’ve snapped away.


The beautiful highland cattle.


A happy butcher.

France- Somewhere

I always love the range of butchers shop fronts in France. They seem very welcoming to me, I took lots of pictures but wont bore you with them all.

Horse Butcher.

Foie Gras Farm-France

Its been a little while since my last post but I’m back on the blog so keep your eyes open. Bacon Jam etc…….

Charlie the Butcher.

Bag of Meat

Well, meat is making the front cover of music albums. Yes it’s true. The Victorian English Gentlemens Club have released an album called “Bag of Meat”

I’ve not listened to the album but it has good reviews.  I hope it’s a chopping good album. Sorry it’s the best I could think of.

Charlie the Butcher.

Talking tripe

There’s not a lot going for tripe with its name being used to talk about nonsense. No more than a handful of restaurants ever serve it.

Various types of tripe

Beef tripe is usually made from only the first three chambers of a cow’s stomach: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripe).

Cow's stomachs

The reason is that it is a hugely misunderstood ingredient. Elsewhere in the world, tripe has retained its gastronomic dignity. The Chinese have a score of ways of cooking it, the Italians and Spanish adore it and the French have such classic dishes as tripe à la mode de Caen which is treated as a culinary masterpiece.

This is in contrast to the collapse of tripe eating in Britain. It was at its most popular from late Victorian times to the 1950s, when it was a tasty, cheap and nourishing source of animal protein.

The decline in the popularity of tripe coincided with growing economic prosperity from the mid-1950s onwards. As poverty declined an ingredient associated with poorer times was rejected.

This falling off in retail sales in the late 1950s and early 1960s, came at a time when there was no restaurant culture in Britain which might have been able to introduce it to new audiences or at least save it from near-extinction.

It sounds fanciful today, but 30 years ago there was a restaurant chain in the north of England which featured tripe almost as a signature dish. The romantically-named United Cattle Products (UCP) restaurants had cold tripe salads, tripe and onions and steak and cowheel pie permanently on the menu. Sadly, neither the company nor its restaurants survived.

Tripe has remained a popular ingredient with the older generation who enjoyed it in harder times, but for a younger audience tripe is a bit of a curiosity or simply a pet food.

Tripe dressing

One inevitable result of the decline of interest in tripe eating in the UK is the decimation of the tripe dressing industry, (dressing being the quaint term for the practice of boiling and preparing cattle stomachs for sale as tripe).


Most major towns used to have at least one tripe dresser,
but now there are noThose were the daysmore than a handful left in Britain, mostly in the north of England where tripe eating is still popular.





A surviving tripe shop in Leeds Market

There are very few places where you can buy it these days but ask at your local butcher.





British cooking of tripe has remained loyal to a very small number of recipes, most commonly lightly cooked in a thickened, white onion sauce. This dish is always served with creamed potatoes and a dusting of fine-ground white pepper.

Less common is tripe fried with bacon; creamed tripe with a toasted potato topping in cottage pie style; or, creamed tripe with celery instead of onions.

Tripe has also been eaten cold in England, served simply with sliced tomatoes or a full salad. Brown malt vinegar is sprinkled on the tripe to give some acidity.

All is not lost for tripe. A very slow, but steady increase in its use in restaurants, most noticeably among those pushing down the rustic route, has begun.

Tripe is a versatile ingredient and will absorb other flavours yet still retain its own character.

Click here for an interesting range of tripe recipes and here for a traditional tripe and onions recipe.

Charlie the Butcher

National Butchers Week 2011

Happy National Butchers Week to everyone. National Butchers Week was set up by the Meat Trades Journal to provide the retail butchery sector with a platform to promote their business. The aim of the week is to raise the profile of the trade among consumers, promoting butchers as a beacon of excellence for all things meat, and as a potential career to young people. Please pop along to your local butchers for a look because many will runnning special events of promotions.

We, as a trade, offer great service, advice, skills and knowledge. Go on, treat yourself to a steak this week and support your butcher. But remember even when it’s not National Butchers Week, support your local butcher. To find your local shop check it out here

There is a full article here and you might just recognise someone.

You can also check it out on Facebook here

Charlie the Butcher

The Gambia

With the weather turning and the dark nights drawing closer and closer, it was time for a holiday. So off to The Gambia I went. If you fancy a sunny, different, smiley and happy holiday, Gambia is the place to go.
My holidays are always like a “bus man’s holiday” dragging my poor girlfriend along with me I always plan a little meat related trip. When you say Gambia and meat it’s a little different to Australia and meat or the USA and meat. So after a quick thumb through the Rough Guide,  Albert Market in the capital Banjul was the place to check out.
We found a guide and asked him to take us to the meat market, so off we headed through little lanes turning left and right via great spice and fish stalls. We finally got to butchers’ row. It was a buzzing place with lots of shouting and cutting. I got behind the block and to the butchers’ amazement showed off a little bit of skill and also had a great little chat about the trade.
As you can see I met the coolest butcher ever the guy in his shades. I’m thinking it’s the way forward so watch out !

If you are ever in Banjul pop by the Albert Market and have a butchers.

Charlie the Butcher.

An Evening of Meat

On Monday 1st November me and my good friend Ben Greeno of supper club Tudor Road will be hosting ‘An Evening of Meat’.  It was decided over a couple of drinks and we both thought it would be a great idea to share our skills and passion. Ben is a very talented chef and over the last few years he has spent his time working around Europe, including two stints at Restaurant Sat Bains and two at Noma in Copenhagen where he was the first cook employed at the then unknown venture.  You will experience a wide range of different cuts of meat, a butchery demonstration and be talked through each course by Ben and myself.  We will be using unusual meat cuts complemented along the way with matching drinks.  Over the evening you will be served six courses along with matching drinks,  it will cost £80 per person.  Spaces are limited to 10 people.  For bookings please email

Hopefully see you on the 1st.

Charlie the Butcher.