Reviewed by Angela Paull
Having salivated over the Donald Russell website on many occasions we were very excited to have the opportunity to try out some of the new products in their BBQ range – as well as testing the new “Raised Without Antibiotics” bacon from Spoilt Pig.
Now the better weather seems to be with us to stay we are getting the BBQ out of the garage almost every weekend but it’s probably fair to say that burgers and sausages are the main two items we tend to cook on it. Donald Russell has a vast range of products that can help change all of that. Of course, they have burgers and sausages aplenty but also temptations such as ribs, steaks, chops and chicken breasts.
Firstly, the sausages and what an awesome idea to put them on a pair of skewers! This made cooking them so much easier as you can turn 5 sausages at the same time using the wooden skewers provided. No more fiddling with your tongs or losing sausages between the rows of your BBQ’s rack. The same applies, of course, if the weather’s not so great and you’re cooking them under the grill indoors! These sausages look and taste great – despite getting a little “charcoal” effect on the BBQ they were so moist inside and packed with flavour. Made with 80% pork you know you’re also getting a decent amount of meat in your banger too.
Our favourite product was the BBQ Pork Shoulder Steaks. I can be a little wary of BBQ flavoured meats as the sauce can be a little over sweet and sickly but no such issue here. The steaks are marinated twice in both dry and saucy marinades and it really does pay dividends in the final flavour. It was subtle yet perfectly strong enough at the same time and the smell was absolutely divine. The steaks themselves were extremely tender and any fattiness just melted away during the cooking process.
Finally, the we tried the Spiced Lamb Chops. Having a Welshman in the house means that lamb is always a guaranteed hit. These chops were easy to cut into, very tender and packed full of that perfect “lamby” flavour. However, I wouldn’t necessarily say that they tasted very spicy. Given the list of ingredients, which includes pepper, garlic, thyme, rosemary, cassia, clove and nutmeg, I thought they may have had a stronger spicy taste. Spiced does almost imply a certain degree of heat and anyone looking for a chilli-esque blast of flavour might be disappointed that there wasn’t more of a zing to these.
The benchmark for us though is whether everything gets eaten and there wasn’t a scrap left once we’d finished – even the 6-year-old kept coming back for more and more and, like most small people, he can be prone to fussiness. On that basis, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend (or buy) any of these products – in fact I’m already extremely tempted to order some ribs and steaks!!
Moving on to Spoilt Pig and their new “Raised Without Antibiotics” bacon. Why is this important? It’s quite well known that the effectiveness of antibiotics is starting to wane as our bodies have become immune to them. It’s time to consider not just the antibiotics we are prescribed but the way these drugs are used in farming. Widespread antibiotic use in the food chain can have a knock on effect to the consumer and, eventually, global health.
I think it’s a really positive move by Spoilt Pig to tackle this issue. Importantly it’s not just of benefit to us but also ensures higher standards of welfare for the pigs. I’ve always held the view that I would prefer the meat I eat to have had a happy life so this really fits with my ethos.
How does it taste though? One word, marvellous. I tried both the smoked and unsmoked varieties and both were delicious. The bacon looks appetising in the pack, the rashers are a decent thickness and the smoked bacon has just the right amount of smokiness to it. During the cooking process, it didn’t lose loads of liquid like some bacon can or shrink to half its original size. I would have piled much more onto my BLT but had promised to save plenty for our Saturday morning bacon and mushroom sarnies!
We really have been a very spoilt and well-fed family this week.