Gary McBean is the best kind of butcher – knowledgeable but oh so approachable. As fourth-generation butcher in Prahran Market, he not only knows where all his meat supply comes from but the names of all the farmers who produced it, and exactly how they care for their stock.
Here are some new and old favourites to mix it up in the slow cooker this winter. For each of these cuts he recommends an average cooking time of four hours at 150. No need to worry if don’t have a slow cooker, a cast iron pot or a baking dish with some foil will do just fine.
- Lamb belly
Fairly unknown compared to its pork counterpart. The lamb version is incredibly tender and flavoursome, and a great cut to try as an interesting alternative to shanks.
- Beef short ribs
Gary’s have been grass-fed to perfection at XX. The marbling will break down slowly through the meat, keeping it moist as it cooks. He highlighly recommends this Ottolenghi recipe. Slow roasted a day ahead and then marinaded just before grilling keeps the garlicy flavours to the maximum. Gary grilled his over coal for extra smokiness but a gas BBQ or grilled pan would work too. Perfect idea if you’re having guests over and want to keep the prep simple on the night.
- Lamb shanks (lamb leg)
Winter just wouldn’t be winter without tucking into your own personal lamb shank! Gently cooked through with the holy trinity of wine, rosemary and tomato and you really can’t go wrong.
- Osso Bucco (veal shin)
Always a classic, an amazing combination of tender meat with rich marrow makes this an ever-popular dish. Check out The Guardian’s guide to cooking the perfect osso buco including some top tips on the ideal thickness.
- Chuck Steak (beef shoulder)
By far Gary’s most popular order over the winter months. He doesn’t think pre-searing to lock in the flavour is necessary due to the amount of moisture that is introduced during the slow cooking process. Why not experiment with twist on the classic flavours with this spicy Jamaican version by Serious Eats.