Mariusz Hańczewski of the Czerwona Krowa butchery talks about the importance of introducing top quality meat to your diet…
Photos by Remigiusz GRUDZIEŃ
Where do you get your meat from?
We use a few different small breeders with all of our suppliers’ placing an emphasis on quality over quantity. Cultivating a good relationship with them is important, and many have become good friends. You need to be able to trust them.
How important is marbling on beef?
A good beef steak needs to have marbling. Why? Because this fat shows how tender and juicy the steak really is. There’s even a scale to show how much marbling a steak has, and this influences the price. For example, the most expensive beef is Japanese Wagyu; it’s the most expensive because it has the most marbling.
Any BBQ tips?
The most important aspect is of course the meat and the quality of the meat. If you’ve got the right meat then you’re 80% of the way there: the rest you can read about and learn. We’re always open to questions, in fact we’ve had customers call us while they’re in the middle of grilling.
Is there an underrated meat you stock?
People are still suspicious of seasoned meat, but everyone who tries it comes back for more – it has an unusual taste: deep and mature. We actually make it in our store and keep it in a special fridge. The taste is unusual, deep and mature.
Do you handle any unusual requests?
We’re very open-minded. We try to educate people, and we’re also open to being educated by others. Our customers come from different backgrounds, so we have Koreans wanting extra thin slices of beef, or Danes asking us to prepare pork complete with the skin. Anything is possible – we enjoy the challenge.
Can a butchery be beautiful?
That’s something we’ve focused on. We wanted our store to be well-designed as that’s a basic indication to customers that we treat our ‘subject’ seriously. We want the whole process to be a pleasure from beginning to end. The interior is part of our philosophy: everything has to be perfect.
What’s the most common question you hear?
To our customers a meat’s freshness is the most important aspect, then its extraction. Local knowledge has expanded a lot; people appreciate Argentinean beef and are actively looking for it. When they buy hams, they’re interested in the composition. Trust and strong relationships are a basic foundation so we’re always open to answer any question.
There’s a lot of fuss made over organic, hormone-free animals, etc. What is your opinion of these?
We respect and understand the choices people make. We also want to create our own trend, however, that being that people eat less meat but increase the quality of what they do eat. The extraction of our meat is very important to us, so we’re trying to increase our portfolio to ensure that the final product is the very best. I’m disappointed that meat and ham are such a big part of our diet and yet many people don’t really care about its quality.
We’re looking forward to partnering with the Smolna 8 Studio for an event: the best chefs in Warsaw will be preparing meals using our meat so that’s obviously a huge honor for us.
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