Steak of Origin winner reveals secrets
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.’’
Otorohanga angus breeder Tim Brittain and his wife, Kelly, produced the country’s best steak this year.