Everything but the squeal
With the change in season what better time to embrace the new trend of cheaper cuts sweeping the kitchen….
When I used to watch my granny devour the parson’s nose with as much pleasure as a dieter demolishing a chocolate bar, I never gave it a second thought – until I found out what it was!
But in these tough times, we’ve had to revert back to the good old days when nothing was wasted. Chefs no longer have the luxury of using just prime cuts. Now, everything from the nose to the tail is cooked. In truth, every part but the squeal. “More than ever before chefs are seeking out flavour and many of the cheaper cuts provide this in abundance,” says Gordon Cartwright of Visionary Dining. “Historically all we ever used to eat was the low-cost cuts, so there’s a wonderful sense of nostalgia in enjoying ingredients almost encoded into our DNA.”
Over the past 12 months Holdsworth Foodservice wholesaler has received requests ranging from pig ears, pig tails, trotters, lamb tongues, sweetbreads, ox cheeks, beef bone marrow and even duck’s feet. “We have noticed a slight increase in ‘cheaper cuts’ sales and the demand for creating a new meat dish with less costs involved,” says David Wood, butchery operations manager. “The good old fashioned ‘cheap cuts’ like belly pork, shoulders of lamb or lip-smacking ox tail, are great meals on a winters day.”
Scotland based supplier Food Options has invested £150k into a 2500 square foot factory in Livingston and now provides fresh meat alongside its 2000 chilled, frozen and ambient products. “We’ve seen an increased demand for Belly Pork and Feather Blade. These cuts are used by good chef’s who know they get better value and more taste,” says Tony Reilly, managing director.
And the change of season is the perfect time for your customers to get their chops around these slow-cooked, appetising meals. Not only are they more sustainable, there is far more choice to tickle our taste buds.
“Cuts like pork belly and ox cheeks are more interesting to cook and have much more flavour,” says Rupert Rowley, head chef at Fischers, Derbyshire Hotel. “You can play around with them and be more adventurous.” But it takes culinary magic to produce a meal diners will be drooling over. “Low cost ingredients provide a higher gross profit but more often require longer preparation time, a higher level of skill, and energy in cooking that many prime cuts don’t necessarily require,” adds Gordon Cartwright.
See our Top Tips for using cheaper cuts here.