Grouse back on the menu

Red grouse will be returning to menus in pubs and restaurants up and down the country as the grouse season gets under way on Friday 12 August.

Wild and sustainable, grouse is the ultimate seasonal produce lauded by the hospitality industry across the country.

Living off young heather tips, insects and berries, its varied diet contributes to a richly flavoured and lean meat.

The start of the season, is a celebration of the majesty of the grouse and a thank you to those who conserve the species to ensure the harvest of a sustainable surplus.

Grouse moors are managed across the UK uplands, with gamekeepers creating ideal conditions for grouse and numerous other protected species through habitat and wildlife management.

Annette Woolcock, BASC’s head of wild food, said: “The start of the grouse season is a date in the calendar of all chefs. Produce doesn’t come any more seasonal and sustainable. 

“After three years of low grouse numbers, a productive breeding season this summer has meant there is an air of positivity across the uplands and the hospitality sector.”

Nick Lister, game dealer and owner of Ox Close Fine Foods, near Wetherby, West Yorkshire, said: “Without getting over-optimistic, we are looking at a better year. Demand is extremely high and we hope that the supply will be able to match that.”

Alistair Moran, owner and chef at The Blacksmith Arms, Lastingham, North Yorkshire, said: “August 12th is one of the biggest days of the year for the North York Moors. I love having locally shot grouse on our menu. The morning of the twelfth I make sure we have a few brace delivered to the kitchen so we can prepare and cook them for the evening service.

“It’s the start of an exciting season for our kitchen and it is always great to find new ways to serve our locally shot game.”

Mark Kempson, head chef of Michelin-starred Kitchen W8 in London, said: “Young, new season grouse is such a wonderful gift in a cook’s larder and marks the beginning of autumn’s bounty. Working with seasonal ingredients is such a joy and the game season is certainly something to be celebrated.”

Click here to get some grouse recipes you can cook at home.