How to choose the perfect cut for a great roast dinner

Roast dinnerThe best parts of an animal to use for a roast dinner will depend on the dish you want to cook, your personal taste and your budget.  So ,our experienced team at Hugh Phillips Gower Butchers have come up with a short guide to choosing the best cuts for perfect roast dinner.

As with most meats, it’s always better to buy meat from a butcher’s shop or market stall rather than a supermarket. Meat sweats and it needs air to stay in prime condition and to age properly. Meat that is vacuum packed or stores in cling film prevents this from happening.

Roast Beef

Firstly, you need to decide which cut of beef you want to roast.  You can in fact roast many different cuts from a cow but the most popular, classic cuts tend to be silverside, topside, rolled sirloin and whole fillet of beef.  Growing in popularity are specific cuts like Lamb Mutton Cut, an economical roasting joint taken from the shoulder of the animal; and the Salmon Cut which is also very lean, taken from the silverside and easy to roast and carve.

When choosing your beef joint, it should be dry to the touch and smell slightly sweet. There should be some fat surrounding the joint and don’t discard a joint with visible marbling as it’s the fat adds most flavour when hidden in the fibres of the meat, barely.  You should always ask your butcher what breed the beef is. There are many different options and you should be asking for a pure or native breed. We only sell grass fed Welsh beef which is traditionally matured to bring out the best flavour.

Roast Lamb

Shoulder of lamb is a good roasting joint, alongside with rack of lamb of course the very popular leg. If you want to slow cook your lamb joint, then you can’t go wrong with a shoulder joint. A slow cooked shoulder of lamb is self-basting and won’t require the precise timing of cooking a rack of lamb for example.

At the butchers, traditionally matured lamb should have a slightly darker colour than un-matured lamb joint.  You should also look for marbling with small creamy-white flecks of fat throughout the muscle. This is critical to the flavour of the meat, as the fat melts during cooking to make the meat juicy and tasty.

Roast Pork

Again, it is advisable to avoid supermarket meats as nearly all these pork cuts from commercial pigs which produce a bland-tasting cut.  Ask for pure or native breeds when purchasing your pork joint you will not only get better flavour but the joint will be easier to roast too.

Chefs and butcher all agree that happy, healthy pigs make for tastier meat, like the Welsh pigs which we source from the local farms in the Gelliwen Valley of Carmarthenshire.  These pigs also have Porc.Wales status, the organisation that supports Wales’ specialist farmers, artisan producers and master butchers of pork.

Fat is also essential to a good pork roast, basting the meat as it cooks and improving the flavour.

Shoulder of pork is great choice for roasting as it features both kinds of fat – the solid one on the top, which produces lovely crackling, and the marbling within the muscle for flavour. Leg of pork is also a popular cut along with loin, which can purchased rolled on the bone, depending on your personal preference.

Roast Chicken

When choosing your chicken for roasting, check that the bird ‘farm assured’ as a chicken that has lived a free-ranging life will always taste better.  Birds that are cooped up with little access to natural light, air and with no freedom to exhibit all the behaviours that make a chicken a chicken makes for a terrible life and a bland-tasting bird. Slow-growing, happy free-range, farm assured chickens simply taste better.

At our market stall and through our online shop we only supply farm assured chickens as the welfare of the animals is of huge importance to us.

Our butchers prepare the birds ready for roasting with no added water.

Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher

We hope you’ve found this guide to choosing the perfect cut for a delicious roast dinner helpful.  We can supply any of these joints from our stall in Swansea market or our online shop,

All our meat sold online is packaged and despatched in Woolcool, a multi award winning insulated packaging that is more eco-friendly than conventionally insulated packaging such as polystyrene as it is entirely biodegradable.  As there is no vacuum packing to enable the meat to breath accordingly.  We can also supply you with a full month’s worth of roast meats in our Month of Sunday’s meat boxes.

To find out more, visit our website by clicking on the image below:

roast dinner

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