Sometimes it is possible to add value to a cut of meat simply by doing some extra, imaginative trimming, rather than adding loads of ingredients. London butcher Steve Hennessy has had great success in selling Ribeye of Beef on the Bone, a cut that has been successfully adapted from the more traditional Rack of Lamb.
Steve works with his father Gary in their shop in Northcote Road, south west London. A stone's throw away from what is claimed to be the busiest railway station in Europe, Clapham Junction, Northcote Road is full of interesting food, antique and designer shops, as well as having its own street market of mostly food stalls. As such, it is at the centre of an affluent customer base of young professionals who thrive on dinner parties and barbecues. Ribeye of Beef on the Bone is something slightly different from the norm and so eye-catching in the display cabinet, as well as being a talking point when taken home.
Steve says he has not seen many butchers display it, but it is a definite winner with his customers. It can be sliced and carved or cut thin. For really big eaters it should be cut tight to the bone. During summer months it is a good alternative cut to display in place of traditional roasting joints. "It looks great when displayed among other, more conventional cuts," says Steve.
The recession may have hit sales of steak in many areas, but not in Northcote Road. "We have found that steaks are our biggest sellers at the moment," says Steve. "In this area it's all about quality, so we buy from a farm in Suffolk where the farmer has a good eye for conformation." The Hennessys supplement their Suffolk beef with supplies from Scotch Premier. "They offer good quality and good service. You get everything you ask for."
Preparation of this cut includes removal of the 'hanger steak' - a steak that is part of the diaphragm and hangs between the rib and the loin. Gary says he had never heard of it until it was referred to a few times on television programmes. "Some of our customers now come in asking specifically for hanger steak," he says.
1) Take forerib of beef, chine the bone
2) Remove the backbone.
3) Remove the hanger steak
4) Remove excess fat
5) French-trim the bones
6) Tie the prepared rib. Some ribs can be cut off for a wider range of display options