Two pioneers of the Irish meat trade, Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers and Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats have just announced a unique partnership, launching Himalayan Salt Aged Beef available exclusively at James Whelan Butchers.
The uniqueness of the product is attributed to the ageing process which takes place in Peter Hannan’s Salt Chamber that contains a 12ft solid wall of Himalayan Rock Salt Bricks. The resulting beef has to be tasted to be understood, it is not just a question of texture or flavour, but a subtle interplay of multiple elements, the reason why it is in such demand.
Hannan’s beef is featured on many Michelin-starred menus across Europe. In Ireland presently, it can only be sampled in a small number of premium establishments including Adare Manor and Locks Restaurant in Dublin. Now this highly sought after product will be available exclusively in James Whelan Butchers’ eight butcher shops and next-day delivery from their online butcher shop.
Pat Whelan, commenting on the new partnership with Peter Hannan, says: “This is a hugely important partnership for both of us, built around a mutual desire to create world class beef. We offer our customers very special, authentic and unique products from some of the world’s top food producers. This partnership with Peter and the addition to our already world class offering is a very exciting development for our team and our customers.”
It was Pat Whelan’s love and admiration for Wagyu Beef from Japan that saw him develop his own Wagyu herd in the heartland of Tipperary. Wagyu Beef, one of the most desirable meats in the world, famous for its intense marbling which produces a tender, juicy, naturally enhanced flavour to the meat. Seeing the reaction and appreciation his customers had for Wagyu, Pat decided to bring his beef offering to the next level – Himalayan Salt Aged Beef.
Listening to Peter Hannan’s story of travelling to the foothills of the Himalayas, Pat knew he had found a kindred spirit in his quest for quality. Peter travelled to Pakistan’s Punjab region, to personally oversee the individually hand cut salt blocks. The translucent blocks which vary in colour from white to orange and a myriad of shades of pink, now stand 12 foot high in the biggest chamber of its kind in the world.
Peter Hannan, managing director of Hannan Meats, commenting on the benefits of salt ageing, says: “It’s a science and a bit of alchemy but the effect on flavour is exceptional. People think it’s about extracting moisture, but that’s not all. In fact, it’s about ionising the air in the room to produce a perfect balance in the atmosphere. The salt also purifies the air. Going into the chamber is like taking a walk on the beach!”
Peter Hannan and Pat Whelan both come from very traditional Irish farming backgrounds. Born into a farming family, Peter began slaughtering and selling his own meat at the tender age of 11. By the age of 14, he was an already experienced meat farmer. From his Co. Kildare farming homeland, he crossed the Atlantic and aged 22 was already running abattoirs in America. At the same time a similar story was unfolding in Co. Tipperary. Born into a fifth generation family of butchers and farmers, Pat Whelan under the watchful eye of his parents, James and Joan, started working in the family butcher shop. Pat very quickly learned the lifetime value of a customer and it was while delivering meat with his mother to a family on the outskirts of the town, a pioneering idea was born.