Butcher Andrew Birks is wild about game. He doesn’t only sell pigeon, grouse, partridge, hare and mallard...
Scan the meat counters at his shop in Rotherham’s Riverside Precinct and it’s like being on safari. Zebra, ostrich, kangaroo, crocodile and buffalo - which one takes your fancy?
“They each resemble the flavours of the meats we are used to, but with their own unique taste and texture,” says Andrew. “People can get a bit squeamish about eating meat from an animal they’ve seen at the zoo but it is very good for you. It’s low in fat, high in protein and the animals have grazed naturally,” he says.
“Ostrich is a bit like mutton and zebra and kangaroo are similar to beef.”
A butcher for 20 years, he supplies a host of restaurants, including Eat Sheffield’s 2012 best restaurant Devonshire Arms in Middle Handley, his home village.
Andrew brings horse meat in from France and the exotic meats come all the way from South Africa - minus the water buffalo which he’s proud to say he’s just sourced from a farm in Derbyshire.
He’s equally proud of how little his regular meats have had to travel- his beef is from Ridgeway, and his lamb and pork hails from Bakewell.
At Andrew’s, butchery is done on the premises to traditional techniques. He and his team even make their own pies and sausages and Andrew’s mate, well-known Sheffield chef Lee Vinton, pops in on a Monday to create unusual flavour combinations for the meatballs.