Your Summer Secret Weapon – Fantastic Butchers and Fishmongers for BBQ Season
It is that time of year again folks, keeping one eye on the weather whilst cautiously gathering the ingredients for a BBQ that you hope won’t be rained out at the last minute. Whether you’re into steak or lobster, burgers or sausages, we have compiled a list of some of the finest butchers and fishmongers across the country, supplying premium meat and seafood guaranteed to make your BBQ shine, even if the sun doesn’t!
If steak isn’t top of your list for a BBQ feast, why not try a Pork T-Bone – thick cut and crackling intact? You can pick up this serious meaty treat from award-winning purveyors of artisan pork McCarthy’s of Kanturk and let the flames have their way with it. What’s more, McCarthy’s Blas na hEireann gold medal winning Bramley Apple Sausages will elevate the humble BBQ staple to new heights.
Alternatively, pick up some of their quality beef mince and multi-award winning, almost creamy textured black pudding, in a ratio of 2:1 and whip up some stunning black pudding burgers to throw on the BBQ – you won’t regret it.
If you’re the kind of person who gravitates towards steak when dining out, you’ll have spotted Sheelin beef on menus in some fantastic eateries – but why not bring that seal of quality to your BBQ? Run by the Galligan family, Sheelin Meats is famed for Sheelin Dry Aged beef, using a tried and true method which adds exceptional tenderness and intense depth of flavour.
Dry ageing their Aberdeen Angus beef means each cut loses roughly 20% in weight, resulting in concentration of flavour in the meat and natural fats, to give this grass-fed beef a rich and distinctive taste. A Sheelin Dry Aged T-bone would be difficult to top as a BBQ centrepiece.
James Whelan Butchers have won just about every award going, and fifth generation butcher and farmer James literally wrote the book on beef – which you can pick up a copy of here. Whelan’s collection includes the king of beef – ridiculously marbled Wagyu, which begs to be seared over hot coals.
Perfection doesn’t come cheap, with two Wagyu Striploins for just under €40 they are silly pricey but an absolute investment for an intimate BBQ á deux. Thank me later – this could be the best money you ever spent. Whelan’s also stock the pork equivalent of Wagyu, Free Range Iberico Pork, in both rack form and chops. With similar marbling, Iberico chops are meltingly tender and delicious and are perfectly suited to the indirect heat of a coal BBQ.
Hailing from the West, Mayo-based Kelly’s family butchers specializes in black pudding, so unsurprisingly make a mean sausage too. Their Lamb and Redcurrant Jelly Sausages are deserved Blas na hEireann Gold medal winners and make for an interesting update of the Irish BBQ staple ‘hot dog’ we all know and love. Wrap one of these up in a roll with some crumbled feta and thank me later.
While you’re at it, their traditional pork sausages have picked up numerous accolades including the Irish Butchers Association All Ireland Pork Sausage award, so worth nabbing a pack too. Handily, these superior sausages are available in Supervalu and Dunnes Stores nationwide.
My local butcher, Ranelagh’s Village Butcher catches my eye every time I walk by (several times a day) with a cellar of ageing beef crying out to find a home on my BBQ. Stunning steak options include flavourful Hangar and drool-worthy “Cowboy” tomahawk steak on the bone, but if you’re a BBQ burger fiend this is the BBQ butcher saviour for you.
It would Beef and Cashel Blue burgers – built in cheesiness people. I’ve said enough. Unless you also like a good lamb burger, in which case I should add that their Lamb and Apricot Burgers are also winners – dedicated burger BBQ anyone?
Another family-run favourite, Mulhall’s Coolanowle Organic Meat is the place to go for superior grass and clover fed beef reared on limestone-based land. Beef from Coolanowle, in Co. Laois, comes primarily from their own herd and as it is organic no pesticides or hormones are used, which compounded with the cattle’s diet and a three week ageing process produces fantastically flavoursome cuts.
Try their flank steak (which you my have spotted on menus called bavette) on the BBQ and you may never look the same way at a fillet again. If you’re more of a burger person, their beef patties were awarded a Great Taste Gold star in 2016. Coolanowle meats can be ordered online and delivered across the country, but can also be found at Super Natural Organic Market, Saturdays from 9.30am to 3.30pm on Pearse Street.
The second generation fishmonger Fitzsimon family could originally be found in Smithfield’s old Fish Market but have since opened in Kimmage and most recently, on Lower George’s Street in Dun Laoghaire just last year. The sheer variety of fish and shellfish on offer at Fitzsimons makes it a safe bet for all your BBQ needs, whether it is some Dublin Bay prawns, juicy tuna steaks or fresh Irish mackerel fillets you are looking to fire up, you’ll find it all plus super friendly and helpful staff at both Fitzsimons stores.
I first stumbled upon this gem on the way to Lobstar in Monkstown and almost fell over craning my neck to see the bounty on offer. I was delighted to find out that my dinner a few doors up had been composed of treats from George’s Fish Shop – Howth lobster from Celtic Lobster and goodies soured down the road from Ocean Marine Dun Laoghaire.
Having sampled tuna, scallops and lobster picked up from George’s, I was utterly hooked and am more than happy to hop in the car and drive to Monkstown specifically to get my hands on some of the freshest seafood on the East Coast here. A trip to George’s will have you throwing some seriously plump, juicy and sweet shrimp, or indeed lobster, on the barbie, amongst other delights.
BIM’s Young Fishmonger of the Year Stephen Hurley can be found here, so you know you’re in safe hands at The Fish Shop, Union Hall. This little treasure is run by Glenmar Seafood, which exports globally, but if you happen to be in Union Hall (and you should make it your business to be) you can pick up their amazing catch in person to pop on the BBQ, all the better if you get the weather and can do it overlooking the sea. Think lobsters, scallops and brown crab – shellfish feast necessary.
An Aladdin’s cave of wonders for food lovers, Caviston’s is a Glasthule institution run by a family with 60 years in the seafood industry. Their seafood restaurant consistently draws diners looking for a real taste of the coast, and you could never feasibly leave the Emporium empty handed. Caviston’s source wonders of the deep from all corners of Ireland, from incredible Blasket Island crab in Kerry to plump mussels in Galway and every kind of treasure in between.
The best thing about Caviston’s, apart from their utterly drool-worthy Instagram feed, is the fact that you can always find something a little different here – when was the last time you flame-grilled octopus on your BBQ? Or popped some razor clams over hot coals for irresistible smokiness? You can gather all such rarities here, as well as plenty of advice on what to do with them from the experts behind the counter.
Stephane, a Frenchman we can consider ourselves lucky to have adopted as our own, is the purveyor of locally sourced gems of the deep to many of the biggest names in the Irish food industry. Everyone from Jess Murphy in renowned Kai Café Galway, to Michelin starred JP McMahon and fellow Frenchman, Ashford Castle’s Phillipe Farineau, trust Stephane’s Gannet to provide seafood of outstanding quality.
Stephane sources a great deal of his haul on his doorstep from Rossveal Port, and his market stalls are always chock full of everything from luscious langoustines to giant spider crab. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself – you can find Gannett at Galway, Oranmore, Loughrea, Moycullen and Ballinasloe markets and also at their shop in the Eyre Square market, Galway.
Certainly not a hidden gem, but one that demands inclusion, Kish Fish is consistently recognised as one of Ireland’s finest seafood purveyors and with good reason. If you’re looking for incredible seafood in Dublin city centre you’ll need to head to Smithfield, Bow Street to be precise. Get there early on a Saturday (they close at 2pm) or pop to their new concession at Avoca Dunboyne and you’ll be rewarded with a veritable cornucopia of treasures from the deep.
Kish Fish supplies some of the very best seafood restaurants in Dublin (like Fish Shop) and beyond and have been trading since 1966, so it is safe to say the BBQ seafood platter of your dreams begins here. Swap your beef for juicy swordfish steaks and skewer some plump monkfish tails with wedges of lemon for seafood kebabs in the sun – Kish Fish has it all, fresh off the boat, and you can too.
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that as the ultimate motivator, I realised baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, fuelling my desire to focus on food in a serious way. Working with TheTaste allows me to satisfy this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing, ranting and cooking. You can catch me in the act on TV3’s Six O’Clock Show Kitchen.