Pitney Farm Whole Lamb and Hanging

Whole lamb

Pitney Farm Whole Lamb

3 months done and I’m settling into my new surroundings. We’re slowly changing things around and most recently we’ve been buying in whole animals for 3 reasons:

1. The Hang – You have to really trust your butcher when asking for nicely hung meat. Hanging takes time which means money, so lots of people cut the hanging process by a few days. Hanging also incurs loss in size and weight of the animal. There’s a massive difference between giant supermarket meat and meat from a good butcher – you just have to use your eyes. Most of the butchers we use at the Castle know all of the animals and work really closely with the farmer. In Rob’s case he is the Farmer; he rears and looks after the lambs himself – 100% organic, so we know the flavour and hang are top notch. When I lived on the Isle of Wight I worked closely with a farmer called Jackie Charder of Mottistone Farm. One week I told Jackie there was a complaint about the Sunday Roast sirloin beef being tough, not thinking she’d take offence. She stood back and looked at me then told me that “Rosie” (naming and knowing each of her own animals) was not stressed and was a beautiful Angus Cross and that it must have been my cooking that made the meat tough! Working with Butchers who are as passionate as you are is key.

2. The Knowledge – passing on tips and showing young chefs the breakdown and process. Utilising each cut of meat and explaining the process and possibilities on the menu. Lots of places buy in meat that is portioned and ready to go mainly due to the lower cost of the product and ease.

3. Respecting the whole Animal- So many people like eating loin or fillet and overlook the other cuts. With it being autumn / winter it’s the season for braises, slow roasts and stews. Most of the time the shoulder/ leg/ shins etc have far more flavour, they just need more time, but the wait is worth it. These other cuts are also cost effective so anyone on a budget should look to them.

So armed with a cup of tea and our trusted knives me and John a.k.a Mixi set to work on Rob’s Lamb.

I got to show him each cut and the breakdown and what processes goes into the cooking of each piece of the animal.

We use a salt rub with garlic and thyme for our slow cooked Lamb. The salting brings so much flavour out when cooked and we always have the trims for staff tea.

Beef is best from 20 – 30 days and we go for the latter end. I think the minimum required is 9 days.

Pork is generally 2-3 days. It’s better fresh as the more it hangs the stickier it gets.

Lamb benefits from a hang also, so around 8 days +.

Venison benefits from a hang of 3 weeks +.

It is all dependent on the fat content and type of meat being hung for how long you give it: the longer you hang the stronger the flavour.

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