I’ve been eating less beef recently. Chilli isn’t always what I want when it’s warm out. And when I’m limited to time in the evenings, and occasionally on creativity too, simple burgers are the other main thing which pop to mind. But they’re not always what I fancy. Which I know disappoints Alex.
I’ve come to the conclusion I was just un-inspired by the meat. I wasn’t feeling the urge to try and create anything more summery. I just don’t think I realised how good beef could be. Whatever the weather.
I recently attended an event with M&S where I learnt all about its beef. Did you know, they can actually trace all meat back to the cow through DNA tracing, not just the farm? Someone has already asked me why you would want to know that info. But it’s more to do with the fact that you know it’s come from a healthy animal and that it’s all recorded.
They also only work with select farmers (from two suppliers), all of which have been hand-selected and rigorously tested. A team personally goes out to validate each farm. They know every animal, when its born, etc. and really do care about where the meat comes from and how animals are treated. Which I think is fantastic!
What’s more, all the beef in store is 100% British. Totally repping that local produce. Even sandwiches and ready meals include British beef which has gone through the same tracing as it’s most expensive meat. Which is pretty cool!
We heard from one of their suppliers, Kettyle, from Linden Food Group, who manufacture air and salt-dried beef. Morris who founded Kettyle, travelled the world to learn about beef and now aims to be super innovative within the industry. They’ve created their own unique salt block (which has been patented) to help with the ageing process. We heard all about the dry-aged beef, and how the more aged it is, the more flavoursome it is. Although when it gets to over 100days, it does start to go a bit funky.
All this knowledge and insight started inspiring me to try more beef recipes. From salads to sandwiches, brunches and even using a bit of aged steak to top dishes, I wanted to try it all.
This was the dessert from the event – beef fat biscuits, chocolate ganache with miso, dark chocolate with wasabi. Amazing. So creative.
We of course talked through burgers – they’ve sold millions of patties this year. The M&S “Best Ever Burger” has recently launched too. Made from chuck steak, brisket and short rib, each burger even includes bone marrow which is processed by hand. There’s no added rubbish either, just a little breadcrumb and salt. Exactly how a burger should be! It’s one super tender burger, packed with flavour.
Alex and I had one the other night – and it topped all other burgers. Definitely not a simple burger. But how you serve it really does make the difference. You have to think about the flavours, the textures and how to make that burger as far from simple as possible.
Because we both like our burgers topped a little differently, here are some of our tips for the ultimate burger – no simple ones:
- Fried > oven. The fats from the burger should grease the pan itself, so don’t use extra oil. Frying helps keep the flavours from the fats in the burger. You don’t want to lose that to the grill tray.
- Cheese – The meltier the better. I do love a blue cheese in my burger, but it does over power the other flavours. The new M&S cheese melts are SO good. They’re crumbly, and creamy and melt really easy. They’re easy to add and delicious in flavour.
- Bacon – Crispier the better. Adds a delicious crunch to the burger. If you have time, even add a super crispy piece, and a couple slightly less crispy for a good mix.
- Salad – Absolutely no tomato. It just slides out, or comes out in one go the minute you bite into it. But Lettuce and onion I’m all for.
- The bun – we always disagree about this aspect. Alex loves a brioche bun. I love a more flavoursome wholemeal/cheesy one, or even a sesame seed topped roll.
- Get creative – bored of burgers? Shake up the buns and toppings. There are so many combos! Ever tried adding Peanut Butter to a burger? Try blue cheese or feta instead of cheddar/cheese melts. Add mac’n’cheese or brisket too – not the healthiest, but certainly worth it. Even switch up the sauce, or go bunless with salad.
It’s not just the burgers we’ve tried. And there are plenty more beef and steak product we’re dying to try too. As mentioned, I’m now totally inspired to try more beef dishes…
Other beef recipe ideas I’ve tried or am now dying to try:
- Steak Asian salad – we made this at the event. With green leaves, radish, asparagus, slaw, caramelised nuts and a light dressing (sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce and lime), it was simple yet delicious.
- Open top brisket kebabs – I made these last weekend. Topped with hummus, beetroot, apple & pink cabbage, brisket, halloumi, carrot and herbs. They were amazing! Definitely a more summery dish
- Beef jerky salad with peach – I think the beef would go so well with the juicy flavours from the peach. Throw some nuts in too for some added texture.
- Salt beef hash – Love a hash for brunch! So thinking I might add salt beef next time; or perhaps even have salt beef eggs benny.
- A sweet potato salad bowl, with a rainbow of vegetables and rare steak. I love a sweet potato dish, so think this would make the perfect summery dish.
Keep an eye out for more beef recipes coming your way.
Do you eat beef/steak very often? How do you eat yours?
* I was invited along to the M&S beef event. All views my own.