Top deals on wheels

With the barbecue season almost upon us, Fred A'Court looks at how butchers can add value to an under-used cut of meat

Spring is here and it is time to start thinking about new barbecue products for the season ahead. Steaks, burgers and sausages are the standard fare at most barbecue parties, but as the season goes on, customers start to look for new products to freshen up their portfolio of outdoor eating foods.

Steaks are usually associated with the rump, fillet and sirloin, but these are not the only options available. For example, with an eye to extending the range of value cuts available to the trade, EBLEX launched a range of 12 new steaks last year that extend beyond the traditional cuts, using seam butchery to create steaks from under-used sections of the carcase.

Another cut that can generate quick-fry steaks for the barbecue is topside, which is traditionally seen as a roasting joint, but can be used to produce a range of barbecue products for sale during the summer months when there is less demand for joints. West Midlands butcher Lawson Easthope uses topside to create what is locally called a Tixall Wheel, a whirl of beef with a marinade and herb filling. Lawson says the top portion of the topside, sometimes known as the cushion, is an extremely useful cut for creating the wheel - an added-value barbecue product that can sell at a very reasonable price.

Six or seven wheels can be made from one topside cushion. It can be cooked on the barbecue as a steak, sealing both sides, then cook for four minutes or so on each side.



Topside of beef

Minced beef

Oil-based marinade of choice

Green herb of choice



1) Trim the cut of excess skin and cut in half. Some of the trim can be used for quick-fry steaks

2) Cut the top of the meat (the cushion) - away and ensure sinews are removed

3) Tenderise the meat and paint with an oil-based marinade of your choice

4) Coat with a green herb to give good definition

5) Place a thin layer of minced beef onto the herbed meat

6) Coat with more marinade

7) Roll and place in a refrigerator, preferably overnight, to firm up

8) Tie with string or trussing bands at even distances as a guide on where to cut. Hold together with BBQ skewers. Trim ends, then slice into wheels