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Aussie Meat Trends

G’Day USA

(Only In Australia) Permanent link

Every January, Aussies celebrate Australia Day, our version of July 4th, though it celebrates the anniversary of first European settlement on the continent, not our independence as a nation. It happens January 26th, and an explosion of fireworks, picnics and BBQs will ensue. One key difference – down under, we prefer lamb to American hot dogs. All are welcome to join in the celebration – in fact in many cities there will be “G’Day USA” festivities to mark the occasion. And you can always throw some Aussie Lamb on the grill to celebrate yourself! Try this recipe if you need some inspiration.

Grilled Australian herb and wattle seed crusted lamb lollies with caramelized pumpkin

Meet the Farmer: Allan Piggott

(Only In Australia, Meet the Farmer) Permanent link
Allan PiggottIn this month’s edition of the Meat Mail, we talk with 3rd generation sheep rancher Allan Piggott from Tailem Bend, South Australia. 

MLA: How long have your family been ranching sheep?

Allan Piggott: My grandfather purchased this property as a bush block in the 1922. Extra land has been purchased in recent years so we now own over 5000 acres and sheep have always been a very important part of the business mix. Not only do we produce prime lambs for the domestic and export markets, but we are also a seedstock producer, which means that we breed rams for other prime lamb producers.

MLA: How has the business of husbandry changed over that time?
AP: There have been many changes over the 35 years that I have been involved with breeding lambs. We now have numerous labour saving devices that enable us to care for many more sheep safely and more efficiently. We are able to use the innovation and technology that is now available to make our Australian sheep and lamb industry more productive and more sustainable.

MLA: Are new generations coming into the business, too?
AP: We now have a large number of young sheep producers who are actively involved in our industry and excited and passionate about it. It’s a great sign for the future.

MLA: What should Americans know about lamb from Australia, from your ranch, and more generally?
The Australian lamb that arrives in the USA has been grown in a clean and green environment by producers who are committed to providing the very best meat possible. Every plate of lamb is supported by decades of science and research to ensure that it meets the expectations of the consumer.
American consumers might not know that Australia has done decades of studies to find the gene markers for the best meat eating qualities, such as marbling and intramuscular fat. On our ranch we use this service and DNA test our young rams to ensure that they have the genetic traits to breed lambs that will produce the meat that we all enjoy. The result is a product that is nutritious, satisfying and delicious.

MLA: You recently hosted a group of hi-calibre chefs from the US to your farm - what do you think they responded to the most or were most impressed by?
AP: We had a long and interesting discussion about lamb production in Australia and I think they appreciated the information about the innovation and technology that is being utilised by Australian sheep farmers. During the discussion, we talked about the importance of providing a consistently good product to our consumers to ensure that they will always have a good meat eating experience. The flavour and tenderness of the meat is determined by the genetics, the production system used to grow the lamb and the methods used to process the lamb. As an industry we are continually working to ensure that we get this right.

MLA: American consumers eat about 1/20th of the lamb compared to their Aussie friends. If you could serve one lamb dish to convince a Yank to eat more lamb, what would it be?
AP: You can’t beat the Australian favourites of a lamb roast, rack of lamb or lamb chops on the BBQ. But equally as good (and a little bit different), my wife Sue makes a fantastic pulled lamb dish that has been slow cooked for up to 24 hours in Asian flavours

Reflections on a Trip Down Under

(Only In Australia) Permanent link
Chef Conor Hanlon of The Dutch Miami recently returned from a trip to Australia, which he earned by winning a menu contest for his Australian Lamb Saddle with Goat Cheese Polenta and Romesco this spring. We caught up with Conor as he was preparing for a series of “Winter Wonderlamb” promotional events in Miami in his new role as an official “lambassador.”
Conor Reflections
MLA: Now that you’re back, what are some of your takeaways from the trip down under?

Conor: It was a bit of a whirlwind – 11 planes, 22 busses, water ferries, you name it…we covered a LOT of ground, and that was part of the learning. Australia is roughly the size of the US, but with a fraction of the people, so there’s a great deal of prime ranchland and pasture and wide open spaces. It’s perfect for raising lamb and beef in a natural environment, and it was great to get to see that firsthand, and especially to meet the people behind the products.

We visited small and large operations, but despite the high level of sophistication and professionalism, it never felt “corporate.“ These are family farms with multiple generations working the land. And it’s impressive that family farms can deliver the consistency and traceability that they do. It also stood out to me that they considered themselves “grass farmers” – they spend a lot of time and effort making sure that their pasturelands will thrive for generations to come. They know that without the natural grasses, they can’t raise Aussie meats the way they want to.

MLA: Is anything coming to The Dutch menu as a result of your trip?

Conor: I was definitely inspired by the grassfed wagyu I saw (and ate!) in Australia. Seeing them graze on fresh nettles in their natural pasture is something I’ll remember for a long time, and I wanted to showcase that clean, natural flavor. I think everything tastes better on the bone, so we’re getting a 32oz tomahawk Australian ribeye, broiling it up and serving it with a local farm salad and a stack of housemade onion rings. It’s simple, but a dramatic presentation that people order once they see it walk through the dining room to another table.

Come in, Spinner!

(Only In Australia) Permanent link

ANZAC is an acronym for "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps," coined during World War I. April 25th, or Anzac Day, is a national holiday in Australia, commemorating all of the country's military veterans. There are plenty of heartfelt memorials and ceremonies, including the part where fellow citizens take to pubs and restaurants across the country to raise a pint and do a little coin-tossy gambling!

For this day and this day only, the pitch-and-toss betting game of Two-up becomes legal. Played with pennies and brought to Australia by English and Irish convicts, Two-up became famous as the pastime of World War I diggers (soldiers). After an era of speakeasy-style "Two-up schools," aided by corrupt policemen and guarded by eagle-eyed Cockatoos (lookouts), the game waned in popularity, until it resurfaced legally at a few casinos in the 1970s. Now permitted in all states on Anzac Day, Two-up is considered symbolic of a sense of shared experience with past and present Australian soldiers.

How to Play:

A person is selected as the Spinner (generally greeted to loud calls of "Come in Spinner!" by the rest of the players). The Spinner places two coins on the kip (a small piece of wood)—one coin goes heads-up, the other coin goes tails-up. Then, the Spinner tosses the coins into the air using the kip, until they win or lose.

The basic format of the game:

  • Two heads means the Spinner wins. 
  • Two tails means the Spinner loses. 
  • Odds means the Spinner throws again.

The Spinner is required to place a bet before the first throw that must be covered (equaled) by another player. If the Spinner wins, they keep the bet and cover, otherwise it goes to the player who covered the bet. The Boxer (the game manager, who doesn’t do any betting) takes a commission out of this bet.

The other members of the group place side bets (bets against each other) on whether the Spinner will win or lose and the result of the next throw.

Only in Australia... Aussie Burgers

(Only In Australia) Permanent link

A summer BBQ is never complete without an Aussie Burger.
Here are the 10 essentials you need for your perfect burger, Aussie style: The-Great-Aussie-Burger

  1. Ground lamb
  2. Grilled pineapple
  3. Pickled beets
  4. Fried egg
  5. Grilled onions
  6. Cheese
  7. Lettuce
  8. Tomato
  9. Toasty buns
  10. Last but not least…Bacon!

Check out our take on this classic.

Servings

2

Marinate 

30 minutes

Cook 

15 minutes

Ingredients

12 ounces ground Australian lamb
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, finely diced
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices cheddar cheese

To Serve

2 hamburger buns, split and toastedbutter
2 lettuce leaves1 tomato, sliced
4 slices pickled beets
pineapple, thinly sliced
tomato ketchup
4 bacon strips
2 eggs

Method

Place the lamb, garlic, onion in a large bowl.
Season with salt and pepper and mix together.
Using clean hands, massage the burger mix until combined.
Shape the mixture into two patties, place on a plate, cover and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Heat oil in a large, non-stick fry pan over medium heat.
Cook the patties for 3 minutes on each side or until almost cooked through.
Transfer to a baking sheet and top each patty with a slice of cheese.
Place in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until cheese melts.

While cheese is melting, cook bacon and eggs in fry pan.

Assembly

Spread the hamburger bun base with butter then layer lettuce, tomato, beets, lamb patty, pineapple, tomato ketchup, bacon and egg.
Cover with bun tops and serve.

 

Footy Fun

(Only In Australia) Permanent link

 Summer is a quiet time for American football. Down Under, though, the “footy” season’s well underway—although “footy” could mean three different things, depending on who you ask! The action’s happening in three codes: the AFL–The Australian Football League, or “Aussie Rules” football; The Australian Rugby Union; and The Australian Rugby League. The latter two codes also field international teams, The Wallabies and The Kangaroos.

Wondering what’s what? For starters, American football and Aussie Rules football are quite different. With its focus on kicking the ball into a goal, many Americans would say that Aussie Rules bears a closer resemblance to soccer (though you wouldn’t want to call it that to an Aussie!). On the other hand, while they’re not exactly the same, tackle-heavy rugby can be likened to American football—though any rugger would surely remind you of two missing uniform parts: shoulder pads and helmets. 

Differences among the three codes include pitch (field) shapes—oval for AFL; rectangle for rugby, and passing methods—football: any direction from the hand; rugby: backwards only. Then there’s the number of players on a team (18 for AFL, 15 for Union and 13 for League) and scoring methods (through the posts for football; touching down for rugby). And so on! 

Fans tend to swear allegiance along geographic lines. Aussie Rules draws mostly from the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. Rugby League and Rugby Union loyalists are concentrated in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. As you might imagine, rivalries are fierce. However, there’s one game day tradition on which everyone can agree: meat and beer. Grilled Australian Lamb chops are a tailgating must, and during the game it’s all about what you can hold while you watch. Meat pies, sausage rolls and chili are standard fare. 


Merry Chrissy!

(Only In Australia) Permanent link

Australian Christmas is already a bit different than American Christmas, and the calendar (December 25th is in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere summer) makes it all the more unique. Spotted: Santa Claus with surfboard, in red shorts and flip-flops!  

For diners, Christmas happens at one of the most delicious times of the year, when seasonal fruits and veggies are hitting their peak, and fresh seafood is at its most riveting. Still, many diners refuse to let the heat get in their way of their enjoyment of traditional Christmas foods. Typically served as a late afternoon lunch, it’s not uncommon for the big holiday feast to have favorites like roast lamb and beef, mince pie and plum pudding, along with warm-weather fare, like the Balmain bug (butterfly fan lobster), on the menu. Desserts like custard and whipped cream, or Australian Christmas pudding, made with currants, raisins, sultanas, citron peel (and often with a small silver coin baked inside, for good luck) are a natural follow-up.