Quite a while back, we expected a bone-in joint of beef but were accidentally sent a boned one instead. Abel & Cole’s customer service was on the ball and arranged to send us the correct joint at a later date.
In the meantime, we roasted the boned joint and I was blown away by just how flavoursome it was.
As I said at the time: “As soon as it came out of the oven I (as the Mrs Spratt of the family) sliced off some of the crisped fat. The orgasmic sounds started there and then! And all the way through the meal I just couldn’t stop myself oohing and aahing and making delighted comments about how exceedingly good the meat was. I was so repetitive about it Pete near as damnit told me to shut the hell up! The texture was as good as it always is for this cut, and the moistness that results from the marbling of fat was evident too – so far so expected. But it was the flavour that was so unexpectedly fantastic. I cannot remember the last time I so enjoyed a piece of beef in any format or dish.”
So I had high expectations of the bone-in joint when it arrived in early August.
The meat itself had a good rich red colour as expected. I was slightly surprised that a layer of fat had been tied on to the joint – all the boned rib joints I’ve bought have simply come with their own thick layer of fat in tact. And the dark grey area showing between the pieces of fat was a little off-putting too. But I’m a strong proponent of trusting one’s senses and as it smelled fine, I popped it into the oven to roast.
So, what did I think? Well, honestly, whilst this was a tasty piece of meat, it didn’t come close to matching the flavour of that accidentally received boned rib I raved about before. This was a perfectly decent, good quality piece of meat but not one that made me want to sing out loud. Not one that made me think about putting my Christmas order in here and now.
(I wondered if I’d misremembered how good that boned joint had been but, a couple of weeks later, we defrosted the other half of that boned joint – which had been too large for just the two of us to use in one piece – and my excitement was renewed all over again).
Leftover beef went into a tasty, crunchy salad the next day including home-grown carrots, supermarket red onion, spring onion, cucumber and sugarsnap tossed in a simple home-made salad dressing.
The bones are in the freezer to be made into stock.
So, is there a case to be made for Abel & Cole including the suppliers’ names on each package of meat they send out? Certainly, if I felt there was a reliable way for me to order beef that would equal the first (boned) joint rather than this bone-in one, I’d place my order now. As it is, I can’t justify spending that kind of money on what could very well be no better than the considerably less expensive meat I can get in my local supermarket.