Head keeper on Drumlanrig Estate
Rab was born on the estate and has worked there for the past 36 years. Head of grouse management since 1999, since 2004 he has been in charge of all game.
Favourite game to eat?
Nothing beats a young grouse. A bit of seasoning with a touch of dry garlic, seal the bird on your BBQ at 400˚C, then close the lid and let the bird rest on the warming rack above for 4 or 5 minutes. Very pink, but not bloody. Served on a bed of rice with a brandy, cream, onion and garlic sauce and washed down with a delicious bottle of Bordeaux.
What’s the perfect elevenses on the hill?
Soup, a wee nip, and some game sausages served in an edible napkin (tatty scone).
Would you advise hanging game?
Yes. Twelve days minimum in the chiller for grouse gives you a true wild taste. For pigeons it should be 20 days, and for beef 63 days.
Worst game dish?
Roasted old grouse. That’s not to say I don’t like old grouse – they can be delicious, but need slow cooking.
How can we encourage more people to eat game?
Price point is key: there’s no reason why pheasant or partridge should be more expensive than chicken. Add in the fact that it is truly organic, then surely once people know the benefits then it will fly off the shelves. We need to educate the supermarkets – once they are onside and it becomes acceptable then we won’t have the problems we have today. On the estate here, game is served at elevenses and at lunch, plus every gun takes away two brace each of pheasant and partridge. And all those that help with the days are encouraged to take game.
Favourite day’s shooting?
The Glorious 12th. It’s a long time from the 1st of February, but finally the wait is over and we’re off and running again!