Himalayan salt wall takes butcher to the “next level”

Thatcham Butchers is hoping to be a cut above the rest with the installation of its Himalayan salt wall.

The design is part of the Berkshire-butchers newly built beef dry-aging fridge, complete with high velocity fans and dehumidifiers to ensure no moisture is present.

At nine-by-three meters, Thatcham Butchers worked alongside Royale Refrigeration to make the fridge a reality.

“The fridge itself is going to be better than the majority of beef aging fridges out there because it’s brand new, state of the art,” director Nigel Wilks told Meat Trades Journal.

Whereas there was nothing wrong with the previous fridge, the new one will offer the butchers the freedom to test how long cuts can be dry-aged for. Wilks explained that the business would aim to age meat for 21-28 days, but sometimes pushed this to 85 days. “However, I don’t think the quality of my fridge allowed us to do it,” he admitted.

“My idea here is that we will carry on with our 21-28 days but I will have a few customers who will want me to push things, and I’m going to push it. If I can 100-day dry-age beef for somebody and they want it, I’ll do it. But it’s like anything, it’s about experimenting.”

As suppliers to restaurants and hotels, Wilks said that an important part of the operation is having that unique selling point that will help sell the business to customers. “A lot of restaurants all want something to put on their menu and they all want the latest thing,” he said.

The idea of the Himalayan salt wall is not necessarily an essential piece of equipment, but more of a “concept”.

“I wanted to do it to take us to the next level, to give us that extra bit of advertisement.

“A lot of people say it’s dry-aged beef. I want to try and build that story because that’s what the chefs want to put on their menu. In the long run, it’s obviously going to pay for itself but to pay the money I paid out, it’s more a case of us staying ahead as a company.”

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