While headlines tout a plant-based future, reality belies that narrative. According to Datassential, 89 percent of consumers either increased or maintained their rate of red meat consumption in 2022. Sixty-six percent of consumers said they believed red meat was a healthy source of protein.
That doesn’t mean consumers will eat any type of red meat. Datassential also found that 44 percent of diners were concerned about animal welfare when it came to the red meat they were consuming.
This is where Australian lamb and beef can give operators an edge: providing delicious red meat that was sustainably sourced. The country’s red meat industry is one of the largest in the world, and has already met its goal of being climate neutral by 2030. Perhaps because of that, Americans view red meat from the country favorably, says Kevin Draper, executive chef at Bin 54, a high-end steakhouse in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
“People definitely associate Australian lamb with quality,” Draper says. “I think it’s well-known as a place where they do lamb—and beef—right.”
In order to inspire chefs to innovate with Australian beef and lamb, commodity board Aussie Beef & Lamb, and FSR magazine, recently teamed up to launch the Aussie Beef & Lamb Chef Challenge. Three different chefs from three different restaurant groups across the country selected a cut of meat and were sent samples by Aussie Beef & Lamb. A previous slideshow by FSR magazine covered each chef’s preparations for the challenge.
Here’s what each chef ended up making.
Chef: Brian Landry
Title: Chef/Co-Owner of Marsh House (Nashville, TN) and Jack Rose (New Orleans, LA)
Meat Cut Selected: Lamb Ribs
Menu Item: Lamb Ribs with Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce and Chow Chow
Landry says he wanted to ensure the delicious flavor of his Australian lamb ribs was front and center. He used the other components of the dish to embolden that flavor and texture of the lamb—chow chow and the dipping sauce added brightness to it.
“I think diners will enjoy that richness of the dish and the simplicity of the recipe,” Landry says. “The dipping sauce, rub, and chow chow can all be made ahead of time, and the ribs themselves are very easy to make with very little prep. The low-and-slow cooking process allows for a deeply flavorful dish.”
Chef: Ben Lambert
Title: Executive Chef, Modena (Washington D.C.)
Meat Cut Selected: Lamb Shoulder
Menu Item: Carrot-Saffron Cavatelli with Date and Pomegranate Molasses Lamb Shoulder
Chef Ben Lambert created this dish, Carrot-Saffron Cavatelli with Date and Pomegranate Molasses Lamb Shoulder, with a side of roasted carrots and cipollini onions, with crispy chickpeas.
“Pasta balances everything out,” Lambert says. “I like making something new and surprising, but you also have to create something that’s approachable—there are a lot of picky eaters out there.”
Chef: Kevin Draper
Title: Executive Chef, Bin 54 (Chapel Hill, NC)
Meat Cut Selected: Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin
Menu Item: Hickory-Grilled Australian Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin
“Grass-fed beef comes off to many as tasting, for a lack of a better word, gamey,” Draper told FSR prior to creating his menu item for the chef challenge. “I’d say it’s got minerality and deep beefy flavor, and I don’t want to mask that but to complement it.”
Draper ended up creating a Hickory-Grilled Australian Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin with some sides—Hasselback potato cooked in tallow, red beet and burgundy puree, caramelized cipollini onions, king oyster mushroom, asparagus tips, seared foie gras, black truffle and a madeira demi-glace.
“Grass-fed beef is typically leaner as it takes many more years for good marbling to develop,” Draper says. “Using beef tallow rendered from the chain of the tenderloin to crisp the Hasselback potato adds a greater depth of flavor. The richness of the foie gras, for me, brings the dish all together.”
Draper says the dish was inspired by the classic French dish, Tournedos Rossini.
For more on Australian beef and lamb, check out the Aussie Beef & Lamb website.