Discover Great Meat in Northern Ireland
When better to enjoy a barbecue than in the last weeks of August, as the summer hols slip by for another year. Meat is the mainstay of a barbecue for most people. And of course it features in so many other feasts. Which is why it is highlighted in August as part of the Year of Food and Drink in Northern Ireland 2016 initiative.
The area north of the border has good grazing for a variety of livestock. Here we go through just some of the meat specialities you can expect to find when you’re up north for a few days. Whether you’re dining out or intending to buy some to cook at home or in your self catering accommodation, you’ll find some excellent meat choices in this prolific region.
Superb eating from Northern Irish reared Angus and Dexter beef. Angus is a traditional beef breed, producing well marbled cuts which are succulent and full of flavour. Dexter is a heritage breed, smaller than Angus, but produces gorgeous sweet and tender beef.
You may see Himalayan Salt Aged beef on menus in places like Newforge House. This comes from a local beef producer and butcher, who has built his own Himalayan salt chamber. This dry ages the beef on the bone in the traditional way in a strict temperature controlled environment, for extended periods. Produces succulent melt in the mouth results. John Mathers at Newforge cooks this beef like a dream!
The Busmills Inn located in the picturesque county of Antrim, proudly declare their use of Irish meats and produce on their menus. Recently introduced to the menu at Bushmills Inn is beef from the Belted Galloway breed. Originally from Scotland, now bred in Northern Ireland, and exclusive to the menu at Bushmills Inn Restaurant. Don’t miss it!
Prime pork is used in Northern Ireland for superb black and white puddings, and traditional bacon joints and rashers, and pork cuts for roasting or the barbecue. Free range and heritage breed pork is also available in good butchers.
The beautiful Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland are home to several breeds of sheep, all producing superb quality lamb. Slopes help to build muscle and wild grazing gives a herby flavours to Black Face mountain lamb. Lush pastures in the foothills of the mountains provides sweet grazing for lowland breeds. All delicious on the barbecue, as kebabs or cutlets grilled over the coals. And superb for roasting too.
Look for local lamb on the menus in our Hastings Hotel Slieve Donard, which has views of the Mourne Mountains from some of the rooms.
You will also find goat on the menu in some restaurants in Northern Ireland. Goats are incredibly hardy creatures and they dine out on whatever they find around them! That means the meat has a taste unique to where the animals are reared. County Down is currently producing kid goat on a family farm. If you’ve never eaten kid goat meat, it’s similar to the first of the new season lamb, but slightly sweeter, and absolutely delicious roasted slowly or popped into a stew. You can also marinate and barbecue goat steaks over the coals.
Produced on a private estate in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains in County Tyrone, wild venison can be found in season on the menus of all our Hastings Hotels. Slieve Donard, Europa, Culloden Estate, Stormont and Everglades all feature this wonderful meat which comes from Japanese Sika deer, from a herd first introduced almost a century ago.
These majestic animals dine out on wild grasses and saplings which don’t have any additives or growth enhancers. Giving just beautiful tender venison meat produced as nature intended.