Supreme Champion and Golden Fork winner | Glenarm Shorthorn 4-rib Roast | Hannan Meats
A cut above the L
ast year, some producers must have breathed a sigh of relief when they found out that Hannan Meats was taking a year off Great Taste “to stand back and draw breath”. Being up against the Moira-based butchery business for an award must be like finding yourself next to Mo Farah at the start of a running race. Hannan Meats was crowned Great Taste Fat is a glorious Supreme Champion in thing and we have 2012 and had won the been misled for a Northern Ireland Golden Fork three times, not to number of years about it mention so many gold stars that even the Great Taste organisers are struggling to keep count. And this year, the company was back with a vengeance – winning more than 35 awards, taking its customary regional Golden Fork and the Supreme Champion title for a second time. The entry that won the most plaudits was its Glenarm Shorthorn 4-rib roast, a rack of ribs that is dry-aged in the Himalayan salt chambers, at Hannan’s HQ in Moira, to produce a succulent and flavoursome roasting cut. It is the very definition of slow food, starting with the rearing of the beef cattle and ending with a stint of 28-45 days in the chamber. “We are very reliant on the 122 farmers who produce Glenarm Shorthorn beef for us,” says managing director Peter Hannan. “We pay them a premium for rearing the beef exactly how we want it. After two years, they deliver it to us and we make a substantial difference to it by aging it properly.” A further, seemingly minor but crucial detail is that the ‘fat cap’ is left on top of the ribs.
“The muscle on the top of the rib is called a ‘cap’,” says Peter. “Quite often, we take that off to age the meat, but in this case we left it on to draw out the moisture, so it turns into magnificent golden fat when roasted. “Fat is a glorious thing and we have been misled for a number of years about it. Now people are returning to animal fats.”
With so many accolades to its name, it begs the question whether Hannan Meats is getting too ‘great’ for Great Taste. But unfortunately for his rivals, Peter is more committed than ever. “We really missed it in 2015 and would never abstain again,” he says. “Great Taste makes a huge difference to our business. As a food producer, we need to be part of the process, not least because our marketing work is done for us if we do well in Great Taste.” www.hannanmeats.com
How to use: cook for 15 minutes per lb or until it reaches an internal temperature of 54ºC and serve as the centrepiece of a classic roast beef dinner GREAT TASTE 2016-17