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McLoughlin's Butchers, Dublin

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  • McGloughlin's Butchers
  • Pat McLoughlin

Cooking is a group effort.
What ends up on your plate, whether you are mopping up the gravy from your plate in Bear, or enjoying something delicious in Pearl Brasserie, or enjoying rack of lamb in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, owes a lot not just to the skill of the chef, but also to Pat McLoughlin, of McLoughlin's butchers of Ballyfermot, a quiet guy who quietly supplies prime cuts to some of the best places to eat in Dublin.
“My father began the business in 1965 and always sold quality”, says Mr McLoughlin.
Touring the cold rooms of the shop in Ballyfermot, and in their factory in Clondalkin with Mr McLoughlin, you get a speedy masterclass in quality beef. The new cuts hang bright red on their hooks, and as you duck in and around the rows of meat, you can see exactly how the fat darkens from pale white to keyboard ivory, and the beef darkens from bright red to a claret-coloured darkness.
And then there is the queer gear, the unusual cuts which restaurateurs like Joe Macken have done so much to popularise – The Pope's Eye; the Onglet; Bavette; Jacob's Ladder; Rosary Cut; Feather Blade; London Broil.
Mr McLoughlin sources his beef mainly from County Wicklow. Unusually, he doesn't place as high a premium of the breed of beef as some others do. For him, it is knowing the source of the beef and the treatment before and after slaughter. He minds his meat, and his modesty is delightful. The shops – in Ballyfermot and Clondalkin – are modest and delightful also: you wouldn't pick them out from the norm but, when you talk to Mr McLoughlin, you hear the expertise and consideration of a man born into the butchery business.
So, visit the shops, talk to the man, and get onside to get that queer gear: when you have made a slow braised stew with onglet, you will have experienced an unctuousness that is unlike any other cut of beef. And what's the story with the Pope's Eye? How did it get a name like that? Oh, we couldn't possibly tell you why it's called that. You will have to ask Pat McLoughlin himself.

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