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Aussie Meat Trends

We Gaúcho Your Lamb

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We recently caught up with Chef Evandro Caregnato of Texas de Brazil, a Churrascaria chain based in Dallas, TX. Chef Evandro’s “Gaúcho-style Lamb Shoulder” with Australian Lamb was served at a recent media event in Dallas to great acclaim.

AL: Tell me about the “Gaúcho-Style Lamb Shoulder” - you made it for us at the event in Dallas last year, and it was a huge hit. What was the inspiration?

EC: This dish is very typical of southern Brazilian cooking. There is a long history of Italian immigration to that part of the country, including my family back in the late 1800s. Italian families came to help settle the country, farm and ranch, and they brought their culinary traditions with them. [gaúcho means cowboy in Portuguese] As a result, you find foods like polenta a lot in south Brazil. It’s like mashed potatoes for Brazilians…at least in the south.

Lamb is typically cooked in long and slow braises in Brazil. The garlic and aromatic herbs like sage and rosemary are quite common, and echo what the lambs would graze on. You want to taste the natural lamb flavor, so it’s a pretty simple dish - hit it with a quick sear, braise with wine, garlic and herbs and tomatoes, and serve over the soft polenta. It’s delicious.

AL: Last year you had a very successful promotion for Aussie Lamb at Texas de Brazil. What have you noticed about Americans’ preferences for lamb?

EC: I think it helps that with our churrascaria concept, you pay a flat price and can try any variety of meat you want. If you’re at a traditional steakhouse, it can be hard to try something new and commit to a full entrée of something less familiar like lamb. At Texas de Brazil, all of that pressure is gone, and we get comments all the time from guests who tell us “It’s been so long since I had lamb” or “I didn’t think I liked lamb.” We had one guest eat 52 Aussie lamb chops in a single sitting! I don’t recommend that, but it shows you how far lamb fans will go once they have a good product prepared the right way. 


Aussie Meats: a favorite flavor at Flavor Experience

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Fresh off the plane from the always fabulous Flavor Experience in Newport Beach, CA, we’re feeling like the most popular kid in school. Grass-fed beef, lamb and sustainable, humanely-raised proteins were on everyone’s lips, and not just because we were serving them ! 

Trends Guru Gerry Ludwig of Gordon Foodservice presented his annual “Flavor Finds” featuring noteworthy menu items from around the country, and had an entire section of his presentation about lamb! In particular, he noted that lamb was experiencing an uptick in menuing, and starting to show up in more casual, approachable dishes. Three of the examples were:

  • Crispy Lamb Scrumpets with Minted Pea Puree and Malt Vinegar Dipping Sauce at Ada St in Chicago, IL
  • Lamb Meatballs with Mint Chimichurri and Yogurt Sauce at the Mudhen Tavern, Los Angeles
  • Lamb Meatball with Mint, Garlic, Chili and Rich Lamb Reduction at J. Rocco Italian Table, Chicago, IL

Grass-fed beef and sustainable proteins were much discussed at Flavor & the Menu magazine’s annual trends roundtable. Not only did data from Technomic and Datassential point out that younger consumers are increasingly demanding grass-fed and sustainable meats, but several major chain restaurants told the group that grass-fed beef was all they served, and that Australia was where it came from!

"Grass-fed beef was a hot topic with restaurant operators at the Flavor Experience." said Cathy Holley, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Flavor & the Menu, who had “grass-fed” on a list of trends discussed in her open-forum roundtable session. “One major chain in particular mentioned that they exclusively serve grass-fed beef, and that it came from Australia. This opened up the discussion of the interest and availability in grass-fed in high-volume foodservice. We see this as part of a larger trend towards more sustainable proteins overall, and a reversal of old attitudes about grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef. Chain restaurant operators are clearly interested in this movement."

Featured Video: Grilled Lamb T-Bones with Shaved Fennel Salad

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Lamb t-bones take just minutes to grill. In this video, Culinary Institute of America Chef Tucker Bunch prepares the t-bones in a Mediterranean-style marinade.

Kentucky-Style Barbequed Lamb

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Australian lamb leg gets the ‘ol Kentucky BBQ treatment with a dry rub and plenty of time in the smoker. In this video, Culinary Institute of America Chef Tucker Bunch demonstrates a killer BBQ dish that combines the classic hickory-smoked “low and slow” BBQ technique with the earthy, meaty flavors of Australian lamb leg.