INNOVATIVE breaking down of a carcase, with the idea of not only producing higher value cuts from the same original article but also highlighting the diversity of beef to the consumer, is the latest trail blazing venture for one Queensland branded beef business.
The Angus family’s Signature Beef, which exports to 33 countries under six labels has been focussing on finding ways to utilise the whole carcase while meeting consumer demand for convenient, easy-to-use, good eating experience beef.
It’s not rocket science, according to Blair Angus, but it does require a think-outside-the-square approach.
Clearly, a passion for inventive and tantalising beef dishes has also come in handy.
Mr Angus, whose family has produced northern beef for four generations, is renowned for his abilities it the kitchen.
There’s no celebrity chef marketing team following him about and his recipes are all kept securely in his head but from a pork belly style brisket or camp oven bourguignon to salt caramelised beef brownies and beef scones, the reputation of his dishes spans far and wide, including across the seas.
He even has a beef ice-cream to his repertoire.
What he has discovered is that a well-fed beef buyer hosted at his family’s Kimberley Station near Moranbah in Central Queensland is a customer for life.
Mr Angus recently opened the doors to both his kitchen and his way of thinking in terms of profitable and successful beef exporting at a field day run as part of Queensland Country Life’s Food Heroes series.
In a candid presentation, he demonstrated how Signature Beef is breaking down a chuck eye roll differently for customers in China.
Traditionally sold as a primal, it wholesales for around $6 to $6.50 a kilogram on the commodity market.
Signature Beef instead has extracted six different meal solutions in 500 gram packs.
The cost of that value-add is around $2.50/kg and Mr Angus estimates up to $40 has been added to the carcase once those costs have been taken out.
That’s 15c/kg back to the producer for an animal, Signature Beef’s general manager Tess Camm said.
Blair and Josie Angus’ cattle, run on 162,000 hectares of central and north western Queensland country, underpins all six Signature Beef brands.
“From time to time, as market gaps appear, we also buy from other trusted suppliers,” Ms Camm said.
One of the gems of the chuck eye roll breakdown is the 250 to 300 gram Delmonico steaks.
“From a 6.5kg chuck roll we can produce six of these steaks, which gives a grilling option, and sells for $20/kg,” Mr Angus said.
Another is the Denver cut, one of first pieces to marble.
It has proven very popular with Chinese customers for stir fry and flash fry dishes.
At the end of the day, marbling not presented to the customer is lost value, Ms Camm said.
“What we are doing is identifying a market gap and tapping into unrealised potential,” she said.
“It’s about appreciating each different muscle and how it wants to behave and finding the best market for it.
“In the background, we are constantly telling the story of how our beef is produced.”
The chuck eye roll is just one section of the carcase where this concept is being applied.
“We can achieve similar outcomes with other cuts,” Mr Angus said.
Ms Camm oversees the processing and marketing of the six brands, which includes the flagship Kimberley Red.
Breaking down the carcase in different ways was what butchers did in years gone by, she said.
“But as the industry moved more towards a disenfranchised supply chain over the past 20 years, the shift was towards a wholesale mentality,” she said.
“This is about going back to realising maximum value, for both the producer and the consumer.”
The products Signature Beef have created increase saleable meat yield by 6 to 8pc on traditional boning room averages, she said.
Put simply, says Ms Camm, it’s more inclusive cutting lines that still deliver a valuable eating outcome.