The bull pictured is Wolferising Gordon, a pedigree poll Charolais in our farmyard at Streetfields Farm near Lutterworth.
Because he is a poll none of his offspring have horns, which is a good thing when you look at the size of him.
Our beef cattle are reared as part of a Charolais suckler herd, but we also have a Hereford bull and an Aberdeen Angus. The resulting calves suckle their mothers and graze grass until they are weaned at around 10 months old. They are housed overwinter in straw bedded yards and fed home produced oats and barley. The cattle are finished between 15 and 24 months and taken to a local abattoir. The round trip from the farm to our butchers counter is 17 miles.
All the breeds we use tend to produce well marbled meat. Marbling refers to the white flecks of intramuscular fat in each cut of meat. Marbling adds a lot of flavour and can be one indicator of how good the beef is. It impacts the tenderness, moistness, and overall flavour.
Because marbling is added fat between the muscle (not the kind that you cut off the edge), it impacts a steak’s juicy flavours. Marbling keeps the meat moist during cooking, so natural juices don’t evaporate in the pan. Overcooking is marbling’s worst nightmare, since it renders all the fat out of the meat, leaving behind a dry and tough steak without the moist flavours that make it special.
The most marbled cuts come from the loin where the muscles were not heavily worked. The most lean and least marbled cuts tend to come from the legs, shoulder, and rump, where the muscles get a lot of exercise and result in much leaner cuts.