ARE BEEF EATERS becoming more discerning in the cuts they buy and the quality they expect?
This was evident when about 110 guests gathered at Woolloongabba’s Norman Hotel in Brisbane to not only partake of a Tongue-to-Tail Lunch — with the added spectacle of watching a beef carcase being broken-down in a live butchering demonstration.
Regarded as Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant, the Norman Hotel staged the inaugural event last year, and according to manager, Andrew Forde, due to its success, has adopted it as an annual event.
The butchering expertise came from Stanbroke Beef, who grow, feedlot, kill and market the Diamantina Beef and Sanchoku Wagyu brands. While their boss, Brendan Menegazzo — one of the country’s wealthiest cattle barons — joined in the lunch, Stanbroke’s corporate butcher, Doug Piper, and experienced butcher from the floor of the Grantham Abattoir, Kieren Hoffman, gave a slice-by-slice explanation of the varieties of cuts that can be gained from a carcase
“There’s a good story behind the Stanbroke brand, a 100 per cent Queensland/Australian-owned company” Doug Piper told the audience.
During the demonstration he held-up a brisket, which he described as “the pork belly of the animal.”
He suggested smoking it: “You can smoke it in everything bar marijuana,” he said with a wry smile.
Vital to the event was what to wash-down the fine fare, and James Squire beermeister, Jim Hollars took time during courses to promote the varieties of quaffers accompanying each course.
Among the five courses were ginger beef braised tongue rice paper roll (best described as Vietnamese-style) and open cheek pie with mushy peas — with Swindler summer ale.
An absolutely delightful carpaccio of chuck tender with fried capers, rocket leaves and parmesan aioli — paired with The Chancer golden ale
By now, mobile phones were out with photos being dispatched to friends and no doubt workmates still nose to the grindstone.
Second course was a soy-braised brisket in steamed bao bun with Asian slaw — washed-down with Nine Tales amber ale.
Next was a BBQ rump cap and rump medallion with shared sides of double-whipped mash, baked brussel sprouts and iceberg wedge with oxtail and blue cheese dressing. The ale was Hop Thief American pale.
Then came the dessert — but not before some complained that they couldn’t fit any more in. Yet, a taste of the candied beef chocolate brownie with beef jus ice cream — while creating discussion about beef in a dessert — was too good to push aside.
Executive chef at The Norman, Frankie Correnti, claims this is his ‘special’.
He uses ox tail off the bone, which is minced and ground, and then folded through a chocolate brownie mix. Combined with caramel, the mix is formed into a praline. For the accompaniment, a red wine beef jus was folded into the ice cream.
“It only comes in well done,” quipped Frankie. “You can’t have medium-rare and rare.”
When asked if this would become the hotel’s signature dessert dish, his reply was “you never know.” He’s gone on holidays to think about it.
Hotel manager Andrew Forde said he decided to promote such an event because of the number of patrons who visit the steakhouse who know the popular cuts, but don’t know where the rest comes from.
“We want to build on this, and make it an annual event on the Brisbane foodie calendar,” he said.
Top picture: Stanbroke corporate butcher Doug Piper shows the Tomahawk beef cut at the Norman Hotel’s Crafty Cuts lunch.