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Aussie Meat Trends

Where there’s Smoke there’s….lamb!

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You’d have to have been lost in a cloud of smoke of a different variety to have missed the many variations of the “smoke” theme on menus, trendwatch lists and at conferences everywhere lately! Since it goes so well with our Aussie lamb, we thought we’d pick up the thread and chatted up a few of our favorite chefs about how they like to get their smoke on. 

What are some of your favorite preparations using smoke with Aussie lamb?

I recently prepared “Smoked Australian Lamb with Butternut Squash and Wild Mushrooms”(left) inspired by the province where I grew up in India, where lamb is a staple. I wanted to use lamb to create a dish with the flavor profiles of bacon, and decided on smoked lamb belly that had been slightly cured. It kept the naturally earthy and sweet flavor and gives you everything you would want in one beautifully presented bite—bacon, smokiness and earthiness. – Regional Executive Chef Nijo Joseph, Residential & Dining Enterprises, Stanford University

“Slow smoked lamb shoulder with hickory and mesquite is hard to beat. But I also love grilling lamb chops over charcoal, with fresh rosemary sprigs placed directly on the coals. As the sprigs smoke, they release a great aroma which flavors the meat.” – True Aussie Chef Adam Moore

What’s the best part about cooking with smoke?

“Using smoke with lamb allows me to do something unique, but with flavors that my guests are used to. It allows me to educate our diners on various cooking methods and expose them to new foods. The food education aspect of my job is a great part of working for R&DE Stanford Dining.” -Chef Nijo

“I like using smoke because it has a familiar appeal, that sort of backyard BBQ feel to it, but you can be a lot more creative than just using a grill, and use more creativity and subtlety without alienating your guest.” - Brendan Joy, Bondir

If all that isn’t enough get you to light it up, check out Chef Brendan Joy’s Aussie Lamb Tartare with Smoked Egg Aioli.

tips and pairings 2

The humane touch

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At True Aussie Beef & Lamb, we are often asked about animal welfare, and what we do Down Under that might be better for the animals we raise. We know that restaurant guests are asking more and more for humanely raised, “clean label” meats that they can feel good about ordering, and we’re proud to be a major source to help chefs answer the call. Over the past few years, we’ve taken small groups of chefs and journalists to Australia to see our husbandry practices firsthand; here’s a look at what they saw, and a few of their own words about the experience.

"My trip to Australia was life changing, it really opened my eyes to the efforts they go through to get their meat to the U.S. Just seeing how humanely they are treated was eye opening, too. We are definitely using a lot more Australian lamb since I returned from Australia.”
- Bill Kim, Chef/Owner, Belly Shack, BellyQ, and UrbanBelly, Chicago IL

lamb in field“It was beautiful. We know that Australia is a wide open country with not too many people, but it was really nice to see all the open-air pasture and sheep who live a nice life.”
– Anita Lo, Chef/Owner, Anissa, NYC

“I was struck by the passion for doing things right, from the farms that we went to and the way they treated the animals. I had never seen producers care so much about how the animal felt so it wasn’t stressed. It’s not just better for the animal, but also so important in the final product.”
– Kevin Ryan, Executive Director, International Corporate Chefs Association

“I choose to use Australian lamb because of the flavor profile and also because I’ve seen first-hand in Australia how they’re raising their animals. They are by far the happiest looking animals I’ve ever seen. The quality of life they have is fantastic. Everything is pasture-raised and grass-fed in beautiful fields with tons of space. That translates to the flavor of the food.”
– Conor Hanlon, Culinary Director, NoHo Hospitality Group, NYC