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The New Zealand Beef and Lamb Marketing Bureau

The New Zealand Beef and Lamb Marketing Bureau
STEAK OF ORIGIN COMPETITION

 

The NZ Beef and Lamb Marketing Bureau Steak of Origin Challenge was first held in 2003, replacing the National Carcass Competition. The number of entrants, from beef farmers, retailers, wholesalers and the foodservice sector nationwide has continued to increase, providing tough competition for all involved.

The Process:
Participating meat processors identify entries on arrival. A sirloin is taken from each carcass, cut in half and individually vacuum-packed. They are then sent to Lincoln University for the initial testing. The objective of this is to identify the best four steaks in the four classes.
Each sirloin steak is tested for tenderness (shearforce/kgF) using a standard tenderometer, % marbling, % cooking loss and pH. Sixteen finalists (four from each class – European, British, Crossbred, Retail Foodservice) are chosen based on the tenderness result. The lowest % marbling is used to break a tie if necessary.

▪ Tenderness is measured by taking the kilograms shearforce (KgF). This is the force to bite across a cooked steak. It has been recognised that a very tender steak, as judged by consumers is between 3.0 and 4.5 kgF. Below 2.5kgF, the steak begins to lose it’s structure and steak characteristics. A steak with a measurement above 4.5kgF requires more chewing.

▪ Meat pH should be below 5.7 as these conditions allow ageing of meat without bacterial spoilage. High pH (over 5.9) promotes colour change (dark meat) and reduced shelf life. All entires have to attain Quality Mark Standards, which cover pH.

▪ High losses in the weight of steak due to cooking (over 40%) are associated with pumping preservatives into the product. Stress on the animal and processing conditions are also known to influence cooking loss. The connection between cooking loss and eating experience has not been established. However, high moisture loss when cooking would lead to dryer and/or tougher steak. 

 

Following this initial testing of the steaks, they are sent to Palmerston North for the final judging at the Meat and Wool New Zealand Beef Expo.
A panel of high profile personalities and chefs judge the steaks on their tenderness, taste, aroma, juiciness and texture after pan-frying.

Glanworth has won the competition in both 2004 and 2005 – the only entrant to have won the overall prize twice in a row.  Both years the judges have commented on the ‘Roast beef aroma’ of the winning steak – ‘The taste lived up to the aroma, all it’s characteristics were a stand out’. (Greg Heffernan)                    

 

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