Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Meat Porter: Restaurant Quality Meat Online

I was recently invited the launch of a new business, Meat Porter. It's a startup with a simple premise: bringing home cooks restaurant quality meat to their door. Him Indoors and I are confirmed meat eaters, therefore I was keen to investigate what this new venture was all about, so I headed out to Battersea's Doodle Bar to sample the wares. 

Doodle Bar, by the river, has a cute little outdoor beach area. It was the perfect place for an early Spring Barbeque, just the informal and fun setting for trying out Meat Porter's products; artisan, high quality meat and poultry.

I met with Stefan Porter, the company's Managing Director and founder, and had a natter with him about his background, the new business, his love of meat and home cooking. Stefan is a meat nut. I mean that in the nicest possible way. He is passionate about food and crazy about meat. He speaks with knowledge and a genuine love for all things meaty. In his teenage years he worked in a restaurant, where, as he says he "learnt a lot at that restaurant: how to sauté, how to sweat, how to scrub and how to swear." Naturally, he also learnt to cook! 
Stefan Porter, Meat Porter's founder and MD; picture provided by Stefan

So what is different about Meat Porter's meat? Well, most of us are used to buying meat in the supermarket. It's convenient and inexpensive. But what we are losing out on is quality and taste. Much of the meat has been pre-frozen to facilitate transportation from producer to shelf. That process results in loss of flavour and texture in the meat. Also, to make us feel the products sold are fresher than they really are, some of our meat gets monkeyed around with. 

Water is added to up the weight and make the meat look moist,  for example. I didn't realise until I spoke to Stefan that even the humble steak isn't safe. Because we have been persuaded to believe bright red meat is better, the suppliers to supermarkets 'gas flush' raw beef with nitrogen to prevent any natural oxidation. In fact, steak should be burgundy rather than bright red. Meat Porter's meat has not been pre-frozen or messed with, and the steaks are aged for flavour and texture.
Sirloin Steak; picture provided by Stefan Porter

Stefan has managed to feat of finding restaurant quality meat by finding out where top London restaurants get their supplies from. As a result, he uses the same Smithfield based butchers as some Michelin starred eateries in the capital.

But what about the taste testing? The lamb chops with honey and black pepper were scrumptious, the meat needing little fuss or other ingredients to taste great. They were juicy and had far more flavour than I expected. 

The chicken shish kebabs were simply prepared with a little lemon juice. The chicken was firm, and despatched all notions of the cardboard chicken breast meat we are so used to from the supermarkets. I usually avoid buying breast meat as it is bland. This had quite literally the taste of chicken about it!

The duck breast was deep and earthy. No, I didn't take a picture of them, because, well... I stuffed my face with it before I remembered to take a picture!

So, what is Stefan's favourite meat? Turns out it isn't beef (I had suspected he would be a steak fiend), but is, in fact, lamb. As Stefan says: "it’s so versatile. Because it’s naturally sweet, it works so well with spices, but also with acidity. From culture to culture, it features. From tagines in Morocco, to British Sunday roasts with mint, from seared chops with Garam Masala, to flame-grilled with rosemary and honey. And the fat crisps up so well, too!" 

If you are interested in Meat Porter's high quality products, then do visit their website: http://www.meatporter.com/. Not only can you put together your own box of meat, but soon there will be a monthly selection picked by Stefan and the team (based on seasonality and quality) and a "surprise me" box. The minimum order is £25.  

The website is still young, but has a blog featuring recipes, cooking tips and meaty thoughts from Stefan and his colleagues. 

My readers can get a 20% discount off their first order by using the voucher code:  IAMNEW14MAJU
A useful element of the service is next day delivery if you order by midday Monday to Friday. Deliveries for Tuesday to Friday are free, and because the service is new, Saturday deliveries are currently free. 

The guys will deliver to home or work, and your parcel is kept cold using ice packs so you don't need to annoy your work colleagues by taking up all the space in the communal fridge if you get your meat sent there! The package is designed to keep your meat cold for 30 hours from dispatch, with the meat vacuum packed to keep it fresh.

My thanks to Stefan who invited me to the Meat Porter launch as a guest. 

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