The Glorious Twelfth marks the beginning of the shooting season. Grouse shooting started in the mid 1800’s and it is without doubt that grouse shooting is vital for the rural economy. Employing large numbers of people directly in country communities, grouse shooting also brings substantial economic benefits to associated rural businesses such as hotels, restaurants, pubs and shops. Careful management of the moors play a huge part in conserving the fragile ecosystem of the moors and as grouse is a truly wild bird there is no need to be concerned with farming welfare.
Exclusive to the UK, these birds are totally wild and a highly-prized harvest. There is often a sense of theatre around 12th August as restaurants race to get fresh grouse onto their menus directly from the moors. The great grouse races take a huge amount of coordination from keepers, guns, chefs and restauranteurs although what could be better than tucking into a perfectly roasted grouse to mark the start of the season.
It is without doubt that Covid-19 has been disruptive to many businesses, none more so than hospitality. Creativity and resilience has shone through and with the exponential growth of home delivery services, there has been a flurry of restaurant kits bringing wild game to your door and offering the consumer the opportunity to enjoy restaurant quality game dishes in the home.
One of the most applauded of these initiatives in the press has been the collaboration between the British Game Alliance and London-based Scottish Restaurant and butcher, Mac and Wild to create grouse cooking kits. Publications from the Evening Standard to The Times were keen to communicate the opportunity to cook a restaurant quality grouse meal in the home.
Each Cooking Kit includes a brace of Grouse, sourced from BGA registered processor Ardgay Game in Scotland, celebrating the Scottish heritage of the bird in harmony with Mac & Wild’s ethos as a business. By using BGA assured grouse, Mac & Wild is confident it is providing its customers with peace of mind that the meat has been sustainably harvested and produced to high environmental and welfare standards.
The kit has been designed to recreate a traditional Roasted Grouse for two served on toasted brioche loaf, dirty chicken jus, charred red pepper and spring onion. The kit includes a step-by-step recipe card so customers can recreate the dish at home.
If you are buying whole grouse to prepare at home, rather than a restaurant kit, concentrate on buying the best birds to cook in the home from a BGA assured game dealer. Lincolnshire Game have been supplying both Harrods and Fortnum and Mason with grouse this season. They have also worked with renowned game maestro, Jose Souto, to provide demonstrations to chefs on how to cook the perfect grouse for the season in establishments such as The Game Bird at The Stafford and Robin Birley’s members club, Oswalds.
When cooking grouse in the home, another consideration is the age of the bird. Younger birds are good for quicker cooking methods such as pan frying and although older birds can be a bit tough, they have huge amounts of flavour and are perfect for slow cooked stews, curries and pot roasts. The sharpness of the claws and the flexibility of the breastbone are good indicators of a young grouse.
Andy Gray of BGA Assured, The Meat Box Company, says,
‘grouse encourages people to eat game so we often add grouse to our game boxes to give them a point of difference and added appeal.’