Beef is complicated.
It is the sum of its parts, its breed and genetics, rearing, what it ate when, what climate it lived in, how healthy it was, whether it was male/female, how old it was, how it was handled, how it was slaughtered, aged, butchered and cooked.
Our approach is to principally serve beef grown in extensive or regenerative systems, typically raised on small family run farms in the UK and Ireland.
We favour traditional breeds and longer, slower rearing that yields marbling in the meat and juiciness and flavour in the steak.
We primarily judge beef from an eating perspective on flavour, juiciness and tenderness. There are lots of different styles of amazing beef, as there are with wine. We are wary of those who say wine can’t be good if it's not matured in oak/of a certain age/ made with a particular grape. We love lots of different styles of beef; tender and juicy with a subtle flavour, rich and buttery or intense and almost overpowering.
Like everyone we are conscious of the effect we are having on the planet and the need to tread as lightly as possible. We are learning how cattle can be used as part of a mixed system to regenerate soils and increase carbon content, but we certainly don’t have all the answers.
What we do know is that eating less, better quality beef, that is fully traceable and has assured welfare standards feels like the right thing to us.
In the same year I set up Flat Iron, I travelled to Thirsk, Yorkshire, to meet third-generation beef farmer Charles Ashbridge.
We got talking about what breed, feed and husbandry could make the best beef anyone had ever tried. This sparked the thought that if we had our own herd of cattle, together with Charles’ experience, we could experiment and learn everything about how to breed and raise the best cattle. Today our herd numbers about 40 head, give or take. Using rare and traditional breeds leading a longer stress free life, we strive to produce the best beef we possibly can.