Do you know where you can find the best meat in the world?
We know José Gordón from long time ago, a restaurateur from the little town Jiménez de Jamuz in northwest Spain, in Castile and León province – the region offers a varied culinary landscape – , whose crazy personal project, Bodega El Capricho, shook up locals and the entire world more than a decade ago.
The Time was among the first to mention Gordón in 2007 on the article Where’s the Best Beef? and two years later The Guardian listed El Capricho as One of the 50 Best Things to Eat in The World. More recently – in July 2018 – The Wall Street Journal talked about him again! If you haven’t seen the documentary Steak (R)evolution by Franck Ribière, you should. Years of consistency in pursue of excellence, tones of passion and an affable character have been key to make Gordón one of the best beef breeders worldwide.
The place: a hundred-year-old cave owned by the family for several generations that has been dug out inch by inch by the effort of his family, with unique nooks and crannies; there is exactly where the tables are set. Wine connoisseurs are in for a treat at Bodega el Capricho with the newest addition of its stunning cellar and superb selection of local and international wines, it’s no wonder that his cellar is quickly becoming one of the region’s favorite spots.
The man:unlike other grills, José does not depend on any particular slaughterhouse, he looks for animals in the Iberian Peninsula that graze freely and buys them, leaving them indefinite times in which they reach unthinkable weights. He likes old working beefs that have been subjected to hard work of shooting and have a considerable weight. They can reach up to 1,600 kilos (over 3,500 pounds). He likes to have them close, to personally supervise them and feed them so that they achieve high quality fats. He sometimes keeps them for three or even four years! Is the business profitable? Not always, but for this beef-obsessed man quality is first.
The maturation: once the beef reaches the optimum weight and level of fats, the animal is slaughtered and transported to his chambers where they stay for long periods.In some cases they can be there for two or three months, something unimaginable in other animals that are served (with good judgment) with 35 to 40 days of maturation.
The Star meat
Undoubtedly the star piece is the premium beef, very often from Galician blonde (rubia gallega Spanish breed), matured more than 60 days, with an almost golden-fat greatly marbled in the muscle. The cut is first brought to the table and then, roasted on a two-level grill, fed with oak charcoal, and finally sliced on the table. Another house specialties that deserve to be mentioned are the tasty and delicate beef tartare (on the picture below), or the yummy and superb ox cecina (salty-dried leg meat).
We felt in love with Gordón’s farm-to-table approach, with his coherent madness, with his smile and his always-ready-to share attitude. That is why we decided to take you there and on our CÚRATE Trip to Madrid & Castile so you can feel part of this almost mystical project.