On a beautiful sunny Spring morning we set off to Barcombe to meet Phil Beal from family-run Beal’s Charcuterie. After spending 11 years in the Andulucian mountains learning to make and love cured meats, Phil and Melisa came back to Sussex (luckily for us) and began producing fantastic artisan charcuterie. They do everything – from rearing the pigs, butchering them, preparing the meat either by grounding it or removing it from the sinuses, curing it, packing it and delivering it.
They use two types of pigs, but are the only producers of Mangalitza pig chorizo. This pig was once called the Lincolnshire Curly Coat pig and was bred for lard, but as lard went out of fashion in the UK this breed became less popular. These pigs take 8-9 months to reach maturity, compared to a usual pig taking just 5 months.
Beal’s cooking chorizo and coppa have won Great Taste awards and we will be proud to be serving these in The Crown.
We had a great time tasting all the charcuterie… well, someone had to do it! All the charcuterie is dry cured, not in brine. We loved Phil’s Coppa (the whole neck muscle) – it has cloves, cinnamon and cayenne rubbed on it. We learnt that his parma ham is cured for about 6 weeks and wrapped in ox-middle casing. The pork and black pepper salami is just delicious, it is simply cured in salt, black pepper, garlic and sugar. Make sure you try the pork, beef and white pepper too.
The Pastrami is silver side of beef, dry cured in an aromatic mix, dried, rolled in toasted black peppercorns, and then put in the oven for an hour.
The chorizo has a growing heat which doesn’t hit you straight away but really builds up. This version uses delicious Mexican spices. The smoked pancetta is cured for a couple of weeks.
Keep your eyes out for recipes at The Crown using Beal’s Black Pudding. Phil and Melisa lived in the South of Spain, so the spices in it are influenced by Africa – clove, anise, cayenne, smoked paprika.
We were very impressed with Phil’s hands-on knowledge – he even knew which pig each ham was from! We look forward to going back in the summer and seeing the pigs.