The answer to that question depends largely on whether you’re drinking your Guinness or reading it. And while a pint of Guinness and a hearty beef stew might sound good right about now as the weather starts to cool, that’s not quite the Guinness we had in mind.
Around since 1955, Guinness World Records does in fact have its liquid counterpart to thank for the name. In 1951, the then managing director of Guinness Breweries, Sir Hugh Beaver, became embroiled in an argument debating the fastest game bird on the continent. Realising there was no reference book for settling such arguments, his notion of a record-keeping reference book was born. His idea became a reality in 1954 when brothers, Norris and Ross McWhirter, who ran a fact-finding agency in London, researched and compiled the first edition – it became a runaway success and 61 years later it remains a record-breaker itself as the world’s best-selling copyright book ever.
So what do Guinness and meat have in common? Well, quite a lot actually – here are a few of the meatier record-breakers:
- The longest slice of meat was 30.11 m and was achieved by Francisco Alonso on Guinness World Records Day, in Puerto de la Cruz, Spain, on 15 November 2012.
- The most expensive pie cost customers to the Fence Gate Inn, Lancashire, UK £8,195 or £1,024 per slice when ordered by eight guests on 14 November 2005. The pie's ingredients include £500 worth of Japanese wagyu beef fillet; Chinese matsutake mushrooms (£500 per 1kg) - so precious, they are harvested under guard; Winter Black truffles; French Bluefoot mushrooms at £200 per 1 kg; gravy made from two bottles of vintage 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine at £1,000 each; and finally the pastry topped with edible gold leaf costing £100 per sheet.
- The longest marathon slicing meat lasted 72 hr 13 min 08 sec and was achieved by Noé Bonillo Ramos, a professional ham slicer, at Les Grands d'Espagne, Paris, France, on 3-6 February 2015.
- The most people slicing meat is 202 at an event organised by Plataforma Benéfica Manuel Correro Sanchez in Sierra de Yeguas, Malaga, Spain on 20 September 2015. Participants sliced ham for this attempt.
- The longest skewer of kebab meat is 245.4 m and was achieved by Meinen AG in Wyssachen, Bern, Switzerland, on 24 May 2011. It took 500 kg of charcoal on a 30-metre grill to cook the record-breaking kebab. The meat itself weighed 350 kg.
- The largest skewer of kebab meat weighed 4,022 kg and was achieved by Zith Catering Equipment LTD and the Municipality of Pafos in Pafos, Cyprus, on 31 December 2008.
- The largest meat stew weighed 4,087.62 kg and was made by BeefMaster Chef Grzegorz Cielecki in Chorzów, Poland, on 9 September 2012.
- The world's largest meat pie weighing 10.54 tonnes (containing 5,500 kg of diced British braising beef and 1,400 kg of diced ox kidney) was made by 17 catering students from Stratford-upon-Avon College, Warwickshire, UK at the Hand Stadium, Clevedon, Somerset, UK on 12 April 1998. The pie was made in a container measuring 9.75 m long, 2.32 m wide and 0.61 m deep.
And if you were wondering which country holds the record for the largest per capita consumption of beef and veal in the world during a year (2010 to be exact) – it’s Uruguay at approximately 62.1 kilograms per person! While South Africa might not lead the per capita consumption record (I’m as surprised as you are), we did manage to clock our own meaty record in 2013 when we took the title of ‘world record for most people cooking simultaneously’ when 2,353 people all braaied together on Heritage Day aka National Braai Day. So there you go, Guinness and meat do have a lot in common, now move aside record and pour that pint …