Thank you to Catherine Fulvio of Ballyknocken Cookery School for mentioning McCarthy’s North Cork Pancetta during a recent piece of filming she did for broadcast on MSNBC in the USA. Catherine is also a member of Good Food Ireland.
Highly acclaimed, Ballyknocken Cookery School lies in the pretty village of Glenealy near Ashford, County Wicklow. Catherine is the food writer for the Irish Garden Magazine and has made many media appearances in leading magazines such as Saveur USA, and TV such as Discovery, The Food Network, UKTV Food, RTE 1 & 2, TV3 to name a few.
The McCarthy family has been in the meat business for almost 120 years, and now Jack and his son Tim are giving old traditions a new twist with a creative range of products that appeal to young and old alike. McCarthy says he wants his products to appeal to everyone, rather than just foodies. ‘‘I want middle of the-road, everyday specialities, not just the exotic types of things,” he says.
However, despite managing to appeal to all customers, McCarthy’s range of gluten-free sausages, dry cured bacon and spiced beef has also caught the eye of many a foodie. His meats are used in many high-end restaurants around the country, have won a host of awards and also got the thumbs-up from the Bridgestone Irish Food Guide.
All the meat he uses is 100 per cent Irish and sourced locally whenever possible. The various flavours that infuse his meats come from a combination of ingredients, such as organic herbs, spices, honey, Irish whiskey and Guinness. As with the meat, using Irish ingredients to add flavour is also something that McCarthy considers important.
He says that he constantly updates his product range to reflect the flavours of the season. For example, last Christmas, his Guinness and cider spiced beef proved popular with customers.
Other favourites include honey-cured roast pork and Irish whiskey dry-cured bacon. For sausage lovers, McCarthy has a range of gluten-free sausages in flavours including chive and cheese. He says that most traditional sausages have about a 10 per cent rusk content in order to absorb moisture.
To produce a gluten-free alternative, he uses soy based products instead of rusks. His gluten-free sausages are proving increasingly popular, with McCarthy tipping it as a large growth market for his business.
The gluten-free range also includes pork and apple burgers, beef burgers and lamb burgers, and he also produces black and white puddings. McCarthy recognises how food tastes constantly evolve and his enthusiasm for new products reflects this – he is considering introducing a new meatloaf product in the year ahead, among others.
If the sound of his products appeals to your carnivorous side, you can buy his products direct from his shop in Kanturk and from a selection of local delis. A limited online service is also available fromwww.jackmccarthy.ie.