Here at the Ox we take great pride in the meat that we serve, it’s the reason that we’ve been voted best steak restaurant at the Bristol good food awards two years in a row. We don’t only care about the quality of the meat that we serve, we also care about the quality of life for the animal, which is why we asked our butchers, Buxton Butchers, to come in and teach us a little bit of what they know, to show us how they prepare the cuts of meat we order from them, and where their meat comes from.
Buxton Butchers are a local, independent business started by Nigel Buxton who comes from a long line of butchers dating back to the 1890’s! That’s a lot of butchers blood right there! And the experience shows, Nigel really knows his stuff. He’s travelled most of the world on the hunt for the very best meat that money can buy, and he’s worked in some very impressive cities over his career. We’re very lucky to have Buxton Butchers as our butchers, and we were even more impressed when they came in to talk to us about what they do.
For our kitchen team it was a chance to meet Nigel and get geeky talking through the finer points of modern butchery, and for the front of house team it was a rare opportunity to see the cuts of meat being butchered first hand. It’s important to us that every member of the team knows their stuff so that they can pass it on to you. Our head chef, Todd, handed over his kitchen for the afternoon and Buxton Butchers brought in most of a cow to demonstrate what they do to it to get all the cuts of meat we like eat in the restaurant.
The first thing to say is that butchery to watch is very impressive. Nigel worked through the meat with such speed and precision it was hard to keep up at times. It really is an impressive artform to be breaking this animal down in such a precise manner. There were in depth conversations about the good and bad bacteria that grows on beef, the difference in steak cut along and against the grain and the current trend for using some different cuts of beef so that every part of the animal can be used, and nothing needs to be wasted.
For the team in the kitchen the most important thing was learning about where our beef comes from, the quality of the animal and how it was treated. Buxton Butchers source most of their animals locally, as long as the quality is good enough, and unless it says otherwise on our menu all of our meat is from the UK. When Nigel is looking for a meat supplier there are a few things he looks for: a good breed of cow that has not been overbred, a good life without intensive farming and a good abattoir. A farmer can spend a good amount of time carefully rearing their cattle only to have it ruined by a bad abattoir. It’s important to Buxton Butchers, and us, that the cow suffers as little as possible, it’s not only ethically right but it produces better meat.
So, the next time you come and enjoy a steak with us you can chew on every delicious bite secure in the knowledge that we’re serving you the very best meat we can find, locally sourced, ethically reared and prepared to perfection at every step of the process from the field to your table.