Meet Our Butcher

Meet Our Butcher

John Saunderson’s is an award-winning butchers on Edinburgh’s Leven Street with over 80 years of experience under their belts. From giving advice on cuts of meat to inspirational recipe ideas, we spoke to butcher, John Saunderson, to see what advice he had for summer barbecue entertaining.

How do you like to entertain in the summer and which cuts of Scotch Lamb and Beef would you recommend for the barbecue?

I personally prefer a barbecue where you just nibble or graze most of the afternoon or evening, rather than a sit down meal. It gives people a chance to socialise, and stand around with a drink in one hand and something to eat in the other. I’d recommend burgers in a roll, kebabs and sausages. If you are having a sit down meal, steaks are a popular choice and are great with a salad.

What should customers look out for when selecting cuts of meat?

Choose cuts that will cook quite quickly, so they are done properly inside but also don’t char on the outside. We have one customer whose signature barbecue dish is a butterflied leg of lamb with a herb crust; she cooks it very slowly for a long time so the meat just falls apart. If you want to make kebabs, bavette steak, chops or lamb shoulder meat are the best and most versatile cuts to choose.

What are your top tips to ensure that people get the best out of quality meat when barbecuing?

You should really cook everything properly to ensure the product is safe to eat but the last thing you want to do is over cook it so it burns on the outside and is chewy in the middle. Coating the product during cooking in an oil based marinade will help prevent this and make sure it cooks through.

What is your bestselling product when the sun comes out and people are having barbecues?

In the summer, our best selling products are definitely burgers, sausages, kebabs and steaks- all things that you can marinade and cook easily on the barbecue.

What is your favourite barbecue dish?

Although I said I preferred finger barbecue food, I also do like a good ribeye steak with buttery corn on the cob and a fresh mixed salad. Ribeye’s normally have a nice mixture of fat running through them which helps to keep them moist during cooking and extra tasty when eating.

The weather in the UK is notoriously prone to change. If you had a customer planning a barbecue, what would you recommend they buy just in case the ‘heavens open’?

I wouldn’t advise customers to buy anything different. All the barbecue products we sell can be cooked indoors under the grill or in the oven. What often happens when it rains, especially in my house, is someone ends up cooking it on the barbecue outside anyway with tongs in one hand and an umbrella in the other- it is Scotland after all!

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