Barbecuing is a great opportunity to try one of the slightly less well-known cuts which you’ll find on a proper butchery counter such as ours. One of my favourites is a sharing steak; at Darts Farm our beef is Ruby Red, and I don’t think you can beat it. Take a rump steak - this is a large steak - and season it all over, then barbecue it for six minutes, turning every minute to get it tender.
After cooking, leave your steak to rest for a further six minutes, then cut into slices across the grain and let everyone help themselves. The beauty of this is that you can barbecue other meats at the same time, and everyone can have a bit of everything.
There’s another wonderful thing that we love, which is chuck rib. This is a seriously good value joint on the bone, and a two-rib joint will be plenty for a small family. I like to cook this low and slow on the Big Green Egg, using the ceramic plate to shield the joint from direct heat; in an oven, set it at 140C/120 fan. The meat will be cooked to glorious perfection in 4 ½ hours. You’ll think you’re eating a top premium rib - it’s almost unbelievable.
Once again, be sure to rest the meat after cooking, for at least 15 minutes. People think the meat will get cold if you leave it out, but in fact it finishes cooking during this time, and the meat gets juicier and more tender. You can cover it with foil if you like.
Season again before serving. This trick of seasoning before and after cooking is something I saw Michael Caines do at a family party. No one asked him to cook - he just got onto the barbecue and did it. We considered ourselves very lucky.
My third suggestion is to make your own burgers. Because our butchers work on whole carcasses, and there is always high demand for premium cuts, we end up with lots of excellent meat for mincing. We’re proud of its superior quality and it makes a beautiful burger.
Check the burgers are cooked then top each with a lovely free range Black Dog egg, a handful of leaves drizzled with Ca’ del Carobonaio olive oil (produced on the Tuscan estate of Topsham resident Frances Nieduszynska), some of our oak-smoked streaky bacon (as served at Lympstone Manor) and a sliver of Cornish Gouda.
See our recipe for homemade burgers here.
If you haven’t got a digital thermometer, I would recommend buying one (we sell them at our butchery counter in fact), because they take the guesswork out of cooking; for rare, you’re aiming for 52C.
To make this barbecue absolutely perfect, you should be using East Devon Nature Reserve Charcoal. This is made in small batches by ranger James Chubb and his team, based on ash, birch, oak and hazel hardwoods gathered to improve the biodiversity of East Devon’s pebblebed heaths. These heaths - Woodbury Common among them - were 240 million years in the making, and it’s great that people like James are protecting them for the future.
For us, nothing says Spring like a delicious lamb roast accompanied by minted, seasonal veg and garlic butter new potatoes!
We are thrilled to announce that our expert florist, Anna Slade, was awarded a Silver medal at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.