Steak of Ori­gin win­ner re­veals se­crets

Waikato Times Weekend - - NEWS - RUBY NYIKA

Stress-free cat­tle, fresh grass and fat-mar­bling makes the per­fect piece of meat, the pro­ducer of the coun­try’s best steak says.

Otoro­hanga an­gus breed­ers Tim and Kelly Brit­tain won the Steak of Ori­gin cham­pi­onship with their an­gus steak en­try, beat­ing over 300 sub­mis­sions from across New Zealand.

‘‘We were re­ally chuffed,’’ Tim said. ‘‘We’ve been in­volved with Steak of Ori­gin for a long time and we’ve been fi­nal­ists be­fore but we have never nailed the win.’’

‘‘We think it’s a recog­ni­tion [that] our breed­ing pro­gramme is go­ing in the right di­rec­tion to suit what con­sumers want.’’

Tim said stress can kill the flavour. Rather than use dogs to move the steers, a staff mem­ber shifts a small mob to fresh grass ev­ery day, keep­ing them happy and re­laxed.

‘‘They’re used to see­ing the same per­son ev­ery day,’’ Tim said. ‘‘We never want to stress an­i­mals, but par­tic­u­larly those ones that are go­ing to slaugh­ter. Then we treat them [care­fully] and we try to avoid any stress­ful sit­u­a­tions.’’

‘‘[Stress] tends to raise the pH level in the meat and that makes it darker coloured and po­ten­tially not as ten­der.’’

Lead­ing up to the com­pe­ti­tion, held in Auck­land, Tim and Kelly also fo­cused on breed­ing steers with a pre­dis­po­si­tion to in­tra­mus­cu­lar fat or mar­bling.

‘‘That gives the meat its juici­ness and ex­tra flavour and makes it more suc­cu­lent in the mouth.’’

Head judge Gra­ham Hawkes said it was the tough­est com­pe­ti­tion yet and some steaks were tasted twice to make sure the judges made the right de­ci­sion.

Steaks were tasted and as­sessed for aroma, ten­der­ness, juici­ness and taste by a panel of top chefs, in­clud­ing New Zealand’s My Kitchen Rules judges Gareth Ste­wart and Ben Bayly and Lo­gan Brown co-owner and chef Shaun Clous­ton.

Tim’s own per­fect steak is cooked medium rare on a bar­be­cue with salt and pep­per.

‘‘That’s all a good steak needs.’’

SUP­PLIED

Otoro­hanga an­gus breeder Tim Brit­tain and his wife, Kelly, pro­duced the coun­try’s best steak this year.

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