Joe Doyle is my grandfather, a first generation butcher. He was reared on a small farm on the side of the Sugarloaf Mountain in Wicklow. He started his butchers apprenticeship with Grehan’s Butchers in Blackrock , Co Dublin in 1940 .At this time all stock was bought at the cattle market located at the North Wall, Dublin. Cattle were slaughtered at the rear of the butcher shop.
Joe foresaw the opportunity to supply butcher shops with quality beef sourced from his farm in Wicklow. He assembled a network of local quality beef farmers to ensure a constant quality supply chain.
Joe Doyle Abattoir was established in Bray in 1960, with the construction of a modern abattoir. The primary objective was to source only quality heifer beef from the farm and from beef farmers who were committed to producing quality livestock on their farms. This quality beef was supplied to butcher shops in Dublin and Wicklow.
The cornerstone of Joe’s meat business was quality, and he would say "If the quality of my beef is the best, everything else will fall into place." Butchers knew that he wasn’t the cheapest meat wholesaler, but his beef was the best.
The heifers were hand picked from the farmers by Jack Merrigan of Glendalough and Pat O’Neill of Aughrim every day and delivered to the abattoir each evening, where they rested on straw beds overnight. The cattle were slaughtered the following morning in the traditional way , and left to hang overnight, allowing the muscles to relax slowly, thus enhancing the quality of the beef.
The cornerstone of the business has always been the sourcing, production and the supply of quality Beef to customers.
The sourcing of quality cattle, coupled with the age old method of slaughter, resulted in a superior quality beef, unlike the current modern intensive meat factories where cattle are delivered, killed and deboned solely for commercial optimisation.
In order to comply with new EU regulations which came into force in the 1990's, Joe built a new Abattior at Seapoint Road, Bray and was the first member of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme, supplying beef to Roches Stores Meat Departments, Donnybrook Fair and many other quality Butcher Shops.
Sadly, due to the over zealous implementation of EU regulations in the early 2000's and the downward pressure on price exerted by the retail multiples, many small meat abattoirs and butcher shops closed. Beef was perceived as a commodity and quality was secondary to price.
Meat is more than a commodity.
The Breed We source all our beef from herds of Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle. We select only maiden Heifers/ females , as they produce the most tender beef. These are slaughtered at 24 months. Which is the stage when the carcase is at its best, optimising the primal conformation and general quality.
The Farm All our beef comes from farms where animal welfare and husbandry are carried out by experienced stockmen. Grass and clover grown provide the cattle with a healthy diet.
The Diet During the Summer months the Heifers are outside, and graze the lush pastures. In the winter months cattle are housed inside and fed a combination of grain, meal and silage.
Fat Content Cattle need to have a good level of Intramuscular and Subcutaneous fat content. Intramuscular Fat is commonly referred to as marbling, which gives Steaks their dept of flavour.Subcutaneous Fat is the fat on the outside of the carcass. This assists with the retention of moisture while ageing takes place, as well as adding flavour to cooking. The combination of the above produces Beef of the best quality possible.