Q&A with Farmer Al at Ballakelly Farm - IOM Meats

We recently caught up with Farmer Al at Ballakelly Farm in Andreas asking him a range of questions on Manx meat including his favourite cuts and cooking tips!

Located in sunny Andreas in the north of the Isle of Man, Ballakelly Farm has been farmed by the Teares family for five generations. They have over 500 acres of grass and arable land, and they produce 100% home-grown beef, lamb and pork!

Here’s what Al had to say…

Favourite meat cut?
At the moment, it's our ‘poor man's fillet' of beef - a special cut, taken from the rump, that tastes and acts like a proper piece of tenderloin. It's a lean and tender steak for meat lovers looking for a cheap and simple weeknight dinner, and those who like to try the new and different.

Our brisket of beef is also a classic and a crowd-pleaser, perfect for those low-and-slow one-pot dishes and for joint-roasting too.

Best-selling product?
Sausages! Lovely special bangers, all made on site at the farm. Hand-made from Ballakelly pork, beef and lamb, this is the time of year when we really go to town. Just this week we've been knocking out our signature Pork & Apple and Lamb & Mint creations while refining our festive range too - see our website and social media for the full rundown. Be warned: you'll have pigs-in-blankets on the brain right up to the big day...

Most niche/unique product you currently sell?
Our succulent, rich dry-aged mutton, left for 28 days in our on-site agers. You won’t believe it ‘till you’ve tried it. Time to explore the possibilities of versatile, aromatic mutton!

As we begin to head into the winter season, what are your top tips for cooking a joint?
Mama Ranson is the master of all things roasts at Ballakelly Farm. For perfect roast beef, she recommends searing your meat, then giving it a 20 minute blast, covered, in a very hot oven, and finally bringing it down low, 20 minutes per kilo, to get fat rendering and juices infusing. Baste regularly and let it sit for a good half-hour when it’s done.

Best way to cook a steak?
Chris, our in-house chef at Ballakelly, says not to over-complicate it. His tips are 1) oil or butter the meat, not the pan, 2) use a heavy pan that can take a beating, preferably a non-stick griddle, and 3) don’t get too involved - place your steak and step away, until it’s time to turn; this makes for the most even cook.

Sauce or no sauce?
No sauce - dry-aged beef and mutton has to be experienced under its own steam!

Sausage vs. bacon bap?
Sorry - it has to be both together! Our bacon cured for seven days on site, with a couple of our signature, seasonal Festive Fusion sausages.