Thursday, 22 September 2011

Blackface Meat Company Young Grouse Review

I used to be very squeamish about new meats and as I have grown up, my tastes have matured and my feelings towards different foods are more accepting and less faddy.

You are reading the blog of somebody who as a child did not eat any vegetable, eggs, only chicken breast,, I wouldn't touch fat and only ate mashed potatoes, or chips. Rice, no! Pasta, nope! I was a parents nightmare at dinner time.

I recently had the absolute delight of cooking the award winning mutton from the BlackFace Meat Company, it was so tasty, as I fried it in olive oil only I could  smell the herbs that the sheep had eaten. The delight was the smell and look, the joy then came when eating the mutton in a spicy tagine. A new family favourite. Read my recipe and review here

I was once again pleased when the BlackFace Meat Company asked me if I would like to try the Oven Ready Young Grouse, these are now available on their site this seasons fresh young birds, oven ready and a great special dinner main course.  

The Grouse are available for delivery any day between Tuesday and Friday each week for the next few months.

My pair of birds arrived nestled in a box of shreeded paper with ice packs. I have never seen a grouse either oven ready or running in the Scottish countryside and I have never eaten one either.

This was going to be another adventure for me. Inside the box I found two bird both plucked,  as I opened the packets they gave off  an intense aroma. They have a very dark looking meat. Chris who has eaten them before said they were just right and wonderfully gamey.

Having never cooked grouse I set about exploring the net and picking friends brains on how best to serve.

There seems a divide between fast cooking each bird for as little as 15-20 minutes and slow cooking for anything up to 2 hours.
Now had I been more observant I would have gone to the Blackface website and seen the very helpful guide to cooking grouse along with pheasant and partridge.

I will add here so you can try this method too.

As I did not watch this video and I can be a tad squeamish with some meat so chose an in between time of 50 minutes, over the Blackface recommendation and in hindsight would have chosen 35 minutes.

I also decided that they would best be eaten as unadulterated as possible, so I finally settled on wrapping them in bacon and stuffing with thyme from my garden.  I was pretty close to the video guide.

As my little bacon wrapped birds roasted, the meaty smell is very intense, I was reminded of woodsmoke and a deep heather smell was very evident.

I cooked up some savoy cabbage, carrots, roast potatatoes and bread sauce.
I threw some red wine into the roasting pan after the grouse was removed, in our eagerness to eat I photographed minus the wine jus!

Conors theory was they taste like chicken, a very strange  this is his opinion and I feel a little well how can I put it delicately....Wrong!!

For me the taste is a  meaty flavour, infused with the heather and thyme. The texture is very succulent. Its a rich meat and the simple additions of roast potatoes and plainly cooked vegetables complemented the strength of flavour.
The bread sauce worked, next time I would like to braise the birds possibly cabbage wrapped in wine, as was  suggested by Kathryn at Blackface.

Thank you Blackface meat Company you have amazed yet again with a high quality meat and a new foodie find for me. Perfect!


  1. This looks amazing!!! Great post.

  2. I've never eaten grouse either! Interesting to see what you thought of it. :O)

  3. Nor had I, I liked it, Chris and Conor loved it, Paige not so keenm she wasn't keen on the rich aroma.

  4. I am a bit dubious of trying new meats. We eat a lot of Chicken in this house. I'm not a fan of red meats either. Interesting to see how others find trying out new tastes. I really should grow up lol.

  5. I am the same, very reluctant to try new foods, that's why I love the review opportunity. I get to experience new food and pass on my findings.
    I love chicken and this is nothing like it, despite my son saying so.

  6. This is an amazing company the meat is so good and the best thing is the actual place is only 10 miles away from where i live so we can go up and pick our products fresh-at Christmas time they have some turkey thats organic and been allowed to roam about those heather filled hills and we go up a few days before and pick up the freshest tasting turkey you`ll ever eat.Id recommend them to anyone-never tried the grouse though but i will maybe order some up now iv read this!

  7. Thanks I want to try the turkeys I keep hearing they are so good.

  8. Ooh they look and sound so different. Rather hungry now. Had a look at the Blackface site, quality food, would like to try turkeys and pheasant as well as lamb.