26 April 2023
Williams Refrigeration has provided a Yorkshire butcher with future-proof refrigeration and meat ageing equipment.
Dry aged meat has soared in popularity in recent years and requires specialised equipment like the Meat Ageing Refrigerator (MAR) from Williams to ensure meat is aged correctly.
Philip Armstrong of Armstrong Butchers relocated his business to Walkers Garden Centre in Blaxton, near Doncaster, and installed a range of equipment from Williams.
“We aim to provide something that supermarkets can’t,” said Philip. “We work with local farmers and slaughterhouses to handpick our meat, we have a great selection of rare breeds and can offer cuts of meat that you don’t get anywhere else.
“Storing large sides of beef takes a lot of room to do it properly, and the temperature needs to be rock solid. Our old equipment took too long to get down to temperature once it was filled, and I wanted more room to be able to keep more stock at hand.”
Philip Armstrong with the Williams Meat Ageing Refrigerator
Williams installed two dual compartment cold rooms. The external cold room is configured with one compartment as a chiller room and the other as a dry store, while the internal one has a chiller room and a freezer room. Williams’ cold rooms are completely modular, allowing for bespoke designs precisely suited to customers’ requirements taking full advantage of the available space. For example, the external cold room’s compartments are accessed via their own doors, while the internal cold room has a door connecting each section to allow easy movement of product between them.
Williams was also able to install strengthened rails to hold sides of meat. “You need space for hanging meat to allow room for air to flow around it properly,” says Philip. “Our cold rooms let us hang up a lot of meat without danger of any of it touching, which is great.”
On average Philip will hang meat in the cold room for a few weeks, but to age the meat for longer he uses the Williams MAR. This is an upright cabinet that was designed to put the technology Williams developed for its meat ageing cold rooms into a unit that can be installed almost anywhere. It creates the perfect conditions for ageing meat by precisely controlling temperature within a range of +1 to +6°C and humidity between 60-90%.
Himalayan salt blocks assist with moisture management as well as improving flavour. An activated carbon filter removes any odours allowing it to be installed in public facing areas, while a full length glass door and bright LED strip lighting create a dramatic display of the product.
Using the MAR, Philip is able to age meat for longer, creating cuts of meat with deeper and richer flavours while minimising product loss. Armstrong Butchers offers aged beef and lamb sourced from local farms. “The longest I’ve kept meat in it so far is 80 days, it really enhances the flavours and it becomes beautifully tender,” said Philip. “Customers love it, it’s one of the most popular things we offer.”
All Williams products are designed to be energy efficient and sustainable. The cold rooms and MAR include many features to increase stability while reducing energy consumption, helping to lower running costs. These include CFC free, zero ODP polyurethane foam for insulation, and a simple to use control panel featuring digital readouts and temperature alarms.
The project was carried out by Whitco of Kettering, who collaborated with Williams to ensure the refrigeration met Philip’s requirements.
The garden centre has also invested in Williams Multidecks which have been multiplexed to provide a seamless run with extra-large capacity. These models have been installed with remote refrigeration systems, providing low noise levels and easy access for servicing.