Food Grouse 2018

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Benedict Jenks, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. There was lots of "doom and gloom" about quantity and supply before and just after the glorious 12th, but now that we are a couple of weeks into the season what do others think?

    The prices are at the same level as last season (at least in London) £11-12.50 a bird and the bird I had on Sunday night was a good size and had a tender plump breast as well as legs that were less stringy that some of last years birds. I'm having the other half of the brace tonight and whilst I may not break last year's record of 38 birds, unless the supply suddenly dries up I'll be aiming for high teens/mid twenties by December.
    Will Devize likes this.
  2. How do you cook em, Benedict?
  3. I’m yet to have one! Something I do need to remedy soon.

    I think I shall try cooking at home this year for the first time. The couple of places I saw them for sale last year haven’t had any, can you advise of a decent source?
  4. Haven’t seen any this year. Not surprising since nearly every shoot in england and scotland has abandonned the season completely as I understand it.
  5. I bought some on Friday last week from McKanna meats on Theobalds road. Cooked them over the weekend (browned in pan with garlic, butter, thyme and then finished in the oven). They were in fine condition, tasted good and weren't stringy at all.

    Edit: From memory they were about £11 each.
  6. There will be a plentiful supply throughout the season. Can't speak for Scotland, but I do know the position in Yorkshire.

    Many shoots did cancel their early days, and for some of them that was because the counts which are traditionally done in late July did not show up birds in good numbers. Water shortages on some moors may have contributed to unexpected shortages of birds on drier moors, but equally to unexpected surpluses on other moors where they had an adequate water supply even in the worst of the heat. In other cases, they counted when it was just too hot, and the birds will not fly or show themselves in hot weather, unless there is a dog right on their tails. These moors may well find they have better stocks later on, than they expected based on their July counts.

    But others only cancelled early days because, although they knew they were there, the young birds were backward -- they did not grow as quickly as usual in the summer heat. A low hatch of insects (chicks need protein for their first 6 weeks or so) may have contributed to that. It is always better to let the young birds grow to full size before starting to shoot, in a season such as this.

    By the middle of this month, a moor's actual stocks should become more apparent, and it is already clear that a good number of moors do have a good surplus, at least in this part of the world, and will be shooting through into November.
    Andrew Stevenson and Paul Day like this.
  7. Had a very decent one last week, at Rules. Still have some of last year’s slumbering in the freezer, so haven’t yet rushed out to purchase any new ones for home consumption.
  8. Seems much more positive than what I read this morning!
  9. No good in the north east of Scotland. Very few shots heard near we've stayed whereas it's usually busy in august. The local butcher wasn't too hopeful of a great season and a lot of places have cancelled the lot. Very dry up here and lots of people haves seen their wells dry up. I was running across some bits of ground on paths and birds were scarce. I was paying 6 quid a bird last year but this was in October. Poults are doing well though!
  10. I've had three so far this year, two in restaurants and one at home, bought at Booths for £7.00.
  11. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    As usual we had our first of the season at The Peat Inn a couple of weeks ago. As unusual, they were cooking a special celebration meal for us and a dozen friends, but each had beautiful, tender grouse breast (1) along with lovely little leg meat bon-bons and liver pate. So at least 7 birds for us alone that night, whereas early in the season last year I know they were struggling to get hold of two pairs each day. I didn't have the chance to ask where they were from, but pretty certain it would be a local dealer from Fife or Perthshire - certainly Scotland.

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  12. Freemasons at Wiswell grouse (with cherries, bread sauce, and the liver & heart on a stick):

    Art School, Liverpool grouse (with beetroot, kale and blackberries):
  13. Picked up a brace from McKanna’s today (£10 a bird). Thanks for the tip Edmund. They said they were having no problems with supply.

    I will be having one tonight, going to keep it simple with a sear and roast.
    Edmund Neuberger likes this.
  14. After searing the bird, how long would you roast it in the oven? I've never cooked grouse and I'm not sure I've ever had it anywhere, so thought I might try it.
  15. Off to Chez Bruce tomorrow for dinner with a mate so hoping for my first of the season there!
  16. 20-22 mins for a pink bird at 200 (not fan or 180 fan)

    Edited - I take mine out of the oven and rest them on the worktop and not in the oven - Tom's 7 minutes plus another 10 resting in the (cooling) oven may achieve a similar result.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  17. That's a bit long for my particular taste. I'd more likely do 7-8 minutes at 230C, but there is no magic answer. The only reason for searing is to brown the skin, a good thing to do if the oven is not very hot, but it needs repeating ad infinitum that the concept of 'sealing in the juices' of any animal has been completely debunked.
  18. I've been using the triple cook method that the forum has discussed at length (for partridge, however) with consistent results for a while now.
    Gareth Powell likes this.
  19. Yup triple cook method for me to. I generally give grouse 5 minutes poaching, 2 minute pan-fry and 2 mins at 220C and 8-10 resting. Pretty much always perfect. Breast medium rare, legs still tender and not overdone.
  20. Which has always seemed to me an ideal restaurant method but profligate with oven heat in a domestic context, one can just poach for a bit longer, paint with melted dripping then blowtorch fiercely. Reading this thread has inspired me to try putting a cold bird, its skin first allowed to become very dry in the fridge(painting with vodka helps, then once dry with dripping, the appropriate fat for grouse) into a cold oven which is then turned to maximum.
  21. There’s a queue of us forming for this, just tell us when to set off:D
  22. I use a variation of the triple cook. Iron skillet to sear the bird first, this cooks only the skin but is essential for flavour. Secondly the bird is poached but in a vacuum pack. I use a sealable plastic bag, splash of red wine, few sprigs of thyme and some peppercorns all in the bag. A deep inhale of breath which is more than adequate to ‘vacuum pack’. Poaching just brings the meat up to temperature (10 mins or so). Meanwhile get a casserole into the oven with herbs, onion and oil, and get it up to 220 ish (inside). After poaching empty the bird into to hot casserole, seal with foil before placing the lid, and roast to desired pinkness. Rest for twice as long as you think.
    christopher prain likes this.
  23. Which restaurants in London other than Rules are recommended for traditional grouse? I've enjoyed them in Quality Chop House and St John B&W in the past.
    Alex Lake likes this.
  24. First time cooking grouse at home was a success!

    I followed Benedict’s method (from here and last years thread), with the oven time at the lower end as I had a small bird.

    Very much enjoyed this and, as dining alone, I unashamedly picked all the meat off the bones with my fingers well after the point one would stop in polite company. The legs were not at all stringy either.

    As an aside, Joliet Clos De La Perriere 2012 was fantastic with this. Although, I am tempted to try the other half of the brace with Burlotto Pelaverga 2016 (perhaps as early as tomorrow).
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  25. Medlar have always done a decent job.
    Alex Lake likes this.

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