Grass fed rare breed beef

About Dexter Beef   About Irish Moiled Beef 

Why supermarket beef doesn’t cut the mustard
We supply rare breed Dexter, Irish Moiled and Highland beef. These traditional native breeds mature slowly and yield beef of the highest quality. The difference in beef quality derives from the method of raising beef cattle. Cattle raised for the lower price end of the market are fed up to 20lbs of grain a day to speed their growth so they can be killed between the ages of nine and 14 months. This means they achieve the lowest possible production cost per kilo; check out the beef provenance board at your local supermarket – you will see the age of the beef is about nine months. Supermarket beef carcases are hung for only two or three days, because hanging, which is vital for beef to reach good flavour and tenderness, results in up to 10%  weight loss due to evaporation (supermarket accountants don’t like it). The resulting cheap beef is a bright, almost pinky red colour, with whitish fat (the sure sign of a high grain diet), a slightly mushy texture and poor flavour. 

And why slow is good

On the other hand the traditional native breeds of cattle in which we specialise are relatively slow to mature, reaching their killing weight between 24 and 29 months. Their meat would be even better if they could be kept for four or five years but this is not permitted in the UK. Interesting to note that the finest beef produced and consumed in the best restaurants in France is six, seven or eight years old. 

These native Irish breeds of Irish Moiled and Dexter and the native British breed of Beef Shorthorn are hardy, and can stand out in our Irish climate all year round. Their diet is made up exclusively of grass for 12 months of the year, if the farm land can stand the tramping of the cattle in the winter. Some of our suppliers farm on damp, clay soil and the pasture is spoilt by ‘poaching’ if the cattle stand out in the Northern Ireland winter, and so in the four months of winter they are housed and fed on silage or sugar beet pulp or a maximum of four pounds of grain per day.

Natural through and through

Apart from being wormed, the cattle we use are not treated medicinally unless they are ill. They are not injected with antibiotics as a preventative, nor are they given extra hormones or probiotics.

After killing the hindquarters are dry aged in our cold store for 28 days. The beef has a creamy yellow fat (the colour of fat from grass fed cattle) and the meat is a dark, plummy red, marbled with fat, which melts during cooking – a kind of self-basting which ensures tender meat. 

Good flavour and good for you

Not only does grass fed beef have more flavour, it also has nutritional benefits. Meat from grass fed animals has two to six times more Omega Three fatty acids than meat from grain fed cattle. Omega Three’s are ‘good’ fats because they play a vital role in every cell in your body. With grass fed beef you are eating the type of meat that humans have evolved to eat over millennia, so naturally it is better for your body.

In the production of grass fed cattle small is beautiful. The larger the frame, the harder it becomes to ‘finish’ on grass. Dexters and Irish Moiled cattle, being small native breeds and thrifty hardy animals, can thrive on grass alone. And it is those green leaves that contain the Omega Three. As well as high levels of Omega Three, grass fed beef is higher in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and higher in antioxidant vitamins.