Fri. May 24th, 2024

Order meat online from Swaledale Butchers: Review

Swaledale Butchers - Cooked Tomahawk
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Please note: I received free products from Swaledale for the purpose of this review, but this in no way impacted my opinion. The accompanying ingredients were purchased with my own money. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, and the brand did not see this review before it was published.

 

Meat-eaters: where do you normally buy your meat?

With supermarket prices rising (and quality so variable), I’ve taken to buying much of ours from the local farm shop. The aim is to eat less meat but to buy better quality meat when we do, making it more of a treat (as well as better for both us and the planet).

So, when online butcher Swaledale reached out to me I was intrigued. Owner Jorge set up Swaledale in 2009 after a chance chat with a chef in London: a meeting at which Jorge raved about the fantastic Yorkshire produce he’d discovered while studying at university in Leeds.

He began working directly with Yorkshire farmers to supply some of London’s restaurants with high-quality, high-welfare heritage breed meat, the provenance of which was guaranteed and could easily be traced. His brother-in-law Charlie soon joined the business, and the pair continue to promote nose-to-tail eating, supporting small farmers and providing customers across the UK with quality meat that is always sold fresh, never frozen.

The minimum order value from Swaledale is £40, with the £3.95 delivery charge removed if you spend £60 or more. With so much choice available, spending £60 is easily done – and with meat delivered fresh, it’s possible to freeze it when it arrives.

Packaged with a combination of TempGuard insulated packaging and ice blocks, my order was still nicely chilled when it arrived, the delivery bang on time.

 

Swaledale Butchers - Delivery

Swaledale Butchers - Bacon, Sausages, Tomahawk

 

The first thing we tried was the smoked sliced bacon belly (£4.50 for 250g): a Great Taste award-winning streaky bacon that Swaledale smoke in-house over beech wood and make using traditional methods. As soon as I cut open the plastic packaging I was greeted by an incredibly woody, smokey smell – and I was impressed by both the uniformity of the slices and the ratio of fat to meat.

 

Swaledale Butchers - Raw Bacon

 

It cooked up beautifully, crisping perfectly in the pan. The flavour and texture were both worlds away from the flabby, bland bacon you’ll find in the supermarkets, making for the best bacon sandwiches I can remember eating for a while. The size of the pack meant we enjoyed these bacon sandwiches on a few occasions…

 

Swaledale Butchers - Bacon Sandwich

Swaledale Butchers - Bacon Sandwich 2

 

Described on the Swaledale website as “adored by children”, I decided to put the Yorkshire breakfast sausages (£5.25 for six) to the test in a classic bangers and mash meal one evening. These sausages are gluten-free, using rice flour instead of being bulked out with other cereals, and have a pork content (shoulder and belly) of 78%. With black pepper, ginger, onion, nutmeg and mace used as flavourings, I had high hopes for these.

They’re absolutely enormous sausages, as you’ll see from the size of them on my dinner plate. They browned up nicely in the oven, keeping their shape and size, and as you’d expect from a decent sausage, left quite a bit of fat in the tray after cooking. Texturally, they were nice and dense thanks to the high meat content, and the natural casings, while a little tougher than some to cut through, didn’t detract from the eating experience. The flavour of the individual spices didn’t come through strongly, but worked together to create a rich, meaty and full-flavoured sausage that we all very much enjoyed.

 

Swaledale Butchers - Raw Sausages

Swaledale Butchers - Cooked Sausages

Swaledale Butchers - Sausages and Mash

 

The thing I was most excited to try was the 800g Tomahawk steak (£31.60): a 28-day dry-aged ribeye cut with the rib bone still attached. It’s a real caveman cut and one I’d never cooked at home so it took some planning.

 

Swaledale Butchers - Raw Tomahawk

 

Because of the sheer size of the thing I decided to reverse-sear it in the oven, seasoning both sides liberally before cooking. With a five-year-old partaking in the meal I did cook it for longer than I would normally have done but the flavour was absolutely incredible: there was a great deal of marbling but it came out as perfectly tender fat, the exterior crisped up nicely and the meat itself was juicy and packed full of flavour.

 

Swaledale Butchers - Cooked Tomahawk

Swaledale Butchers - Sliced Tomahawk

Swaledale Butchers - Tomahawk Bone

 

With the weather slowly perking up and the days getting longer, I’m already planning the next Swaledale order, ready for barbecues at home. I was really impressed with the quality and flavour of the meat I received, as well as the ethos of the business itself. It’s easy to see why this native breed butcher is used by so many restaurant kitchens up and down the UK!
 

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