Author Archives: Hans

07/07/2016

Hans Baumann

Why grass-fed beef?

I have a passion for grass-fed beef. It has health benefits, for ourselves and for the cattle. It has a superior texture, and as for the flavour, well, the flavour is simply incomparable.

You see, we are lucky enough to live in a country that allows a mixture of grasses, sweet clovers and wild herbs to flourish in our fields. Our succulent grass and mild climate combine to produce perfect conditions for the cattle to thrive, with a low-stress lifestyle that’s ideal for producing prime beef. The cattle that graze in our lush pastures are, quite simply, world champions.

The cattle I choose are raised in the old-fashioned, traditional way. They grow slowly at their own natural pace, grazing outdoors on that juicy grass. Winters here can get fiercely cold, so they have access to roomy barns through the worst of the weather. During this time while normal grazing isn’t possible, their diet is supplemented with hay and silage – both made from 100% grass!

angus

…but not all cattle are grass-fed

Sadly not all cattle are so lucky. Cows are designed to eat grass – they have evolved to do so over millions of years. The problem is that, even in the UK, many are now fed on grain in industrial ‘feed lots’.

Grain-fed cattle fatten and grow much more quickly (frequently, it must be said, with the added aid of synthetic growth hormones, although these are banned in the UK). We all know that time is money. Faster growing cattle, with less land required to keep them, equals cheaper beef.

cattle

Counting the cost…

But grain doesn’t agree with the cattle. They have evolved to eat nothing but grass, and have very specialised digestive systems to enable them to do so. A grain diet doesn’t suit their stomachs, so they are usually fed routine antibiotics to stop them getting ill. This contributes to increased antibiotic resistance around the world – bad news for the animals, and bad news for us.

Grain-fed beef also comes at a cost in terms of texture and flavour. If the cattle aren’t roaming in open fields they don’t build muscle tone, which means soft, flabby meat. They grow so fast that the flavour is undeveloped and one-dimensional, and they are butchered at a younger age so the meat has no time to develop a full, rich, beefiness.

cattle2

Adding-up the value…

On the other hand grass-fed beef eats better, tastes better and is better for us!

All red meat is good for you – it’s full of iron, protein and B vitamins. But grass-fed meat is even healthier. It’s more nutrient-rich and lower in fat than grain-fed meat, but has a higher concentration of healthy omega 3 – one of the ‘good’ fats we are always being told to eat more of. Grass-fed meat also contains higher levels of vitamins A and E, zinc, potassium and phosphorus – all essential for our good health.

steak

British grass-fed beef tops the taste test

Over the last two years, I have cooked and tasted premium beef from all over the world – including Kobi, Wagyu, Argentinian – and run taste tests alongside my own beef. I’m looking for one thing – flavour. I may be biased, but I can say hand on heart that my beef has come out top in every one of these tests.

Our unique grass-fed beef is fuller, richer, deeper in flavour – just somehow beefier – than any other kind across the globe. I wouldn’t choose anything less than the best grass-fed beef for Donald Russell, and neither should you. You deserve the best beef money can buy!

Hans Baumann

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Hans Baumann

What makes our Minced Steak the best?

How can I be so certain that our Minced Steak will create truly memorable meals? Because over 40 years of experience goes into making sure of it! Since 1974, we have focussed on bringing you the very best in flavour. We know that for our Minced Steak to stand out from the crowd, it needs treating differently from the very start.

cattle

So first of all, we insist that our cattle are slow grown and grass-fed outdoors. Only this natural lifestyle gives the subtle marbling and healthy muscle tone that produces beef with the ultimate flavour and perfect texture. Other cattle may be grain-fed, which piles the weight on fast, but never gives the superior flavour or texture of grass-feeding.

mark

Our expert buyers work hard to source the very best of this beef, carefully examining each week’s offering to ensure that only the premium carcases are selected. They look at a number of things, including the firmness of the lean muscle (‘soft’ meat doesn’t eat well) and the level of marbling (how fat is laid down within the meat).

factory

Once we’ve selected the best, we mature it traditionally to deepen the flavour even further. Maturation is costly, as conditions need to be kept at exactly the right chilled temperature, with a constant flow of air. The meat loses a lot of weight to evaporation, and the outside sections darken and need to be cut off. However, we never cut costs here, as proper maturation improves the final quality to quite a remarkable degree.

mince

Only once it’s fully matured do our butchers use their impressive knife skills to hand cut each carcase into roasts, steaks and casserole cuts. Their experience allows them to slice each cut to perfection, carefully retaining the flavoursome trimmings.

mince2

And what happens to those? Why, we mince them, of course! So you see, it’s not much wonder that once our customers taste the old-fashioned depth of flavour of our Minced Steak, they never want to go back to the supermarket version. Ours has been treated exceptionally from the outset – I insist on nothing less!

Yours sincerely,
Hans Baumann

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Hans Baumann

Minced Steak

‘Back to basics’ doesn’t have to be boring, just as ‘good value’ doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself! If I close my eyes and think of the kind of foods that really make me happy, especially at this time of year, my top three are mince dishes…

There’s something so comforting about a steaming pot full of Bolognese, or a cottage pie fresh out of the oven. Just by writing about it I can hear the sizzle of the gravy hitting the hot dish as it bubbles over, under its golden topping of mashed potatoes! When it has been simmered slowly with all the juices and the vegetables, the meat really becomes one with the sauce – you won’t get that wonderful effect from any other cut of meat.

comfortingIt is easy to eat and easy to digest, making it enjoyable for the whole family, from the new toddler right through to the grandparents. And there’s nothing like mince to feed them all well on a budget!

As with all cookery, the key to getting a really good result is to start with the best natural ingredients. Choose your mince wisely. It will be the foundation of the whole dish and its flavour will have to carry through the sauce, as well as the potatoes, pasta or dumplings you’ll serve it with.

There is mince, and then there is Donald Russell mince, and believe me they are very different…

What makes our mince different from the rest?

Our mince is made from the same meat as our steaks and roasts. It’s as simple as that.

The meat we mince has received exactly the same level of care from my butchers as our finest 5-Bone Rib, or even a Fillet Steak. It goes like this…

    Making Mince

  1. 1. The full side of beef is hung to develop its full flavour and tenderness.
  2. 2. It is skilfully cut down into its parts, and trimmed of fat and silverskin to become our roasts.
  3. 3. Some of the roasting joints are further trimmed, pared from the bone, and sliced into our steaks.
  4. 4. The pieces which are too small to be steaks go into the mincer, along with some chuck (from the shoulder), which adds an extra depth of flavour and heartiness to the mince.
  5. 5. The meat is coarsely ground twice, so it retains its juicy texture and won’t melt away to nothing in your cooking.

Mincing BeefBecause we choose to make our mince this way – only from the meat we would happily cook and eat whole – it tastes like your favourite steak, is always tender, and its rich, full flavour goes a long way.

The process is the same for all our varieties of mince: Beef (we call ours Minced Steak, as that’s what it is!), Lamb, Pork, Veal and even Venison.

The ingredient behind so many delicious family meals…

My friend and neighbour, Rachel, does the best cottage pie. Sometimes she varies it to a Shepherds’ Pie or even a Hunters’ Pie (made with wild venison mince), but it’s always so good! I know I’m a bore – every time she invites us to visit, she knows I will be crossing my fingers for one of these dishes.

Great Value & VersatileI hope she will be reading this and invites me
round again soon – I will be counting down
the days to Rachel’s next cottage pie!

Rachel’s exact recipe remains a closely guarded secret. However, with five kinds of mince to choose from, the possibilities are endless!

Yours sincerely
Hans Baumann

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