SHORTHORN beef has been delivered a ringing endorsement for eating performance from the source that matters most: restaurant diners themselves.
The historic Norman Hotel, one of Brisbane’s largest and best known steak dining establishments has just completed its annual “You Be the Judge” promotion during the month of October.
The 127-year-old Norman Hotel is one of Brisbane’s iconic steakhouse pubs, with one-time seating capacity for 800 diners. It regularly features grass and grainfed beef brands from a variety of sources, including JBS Australia, Stanbroke and Bindaree beef.
This year the Norman Hotel pitted four popular beef breeds in a contest to determine the ‘people’s favourite,’ attracting thousands of entries during the month of October while the promotion was active.
Patrons tasted and marked their way through four breeds featured – Brahman, Hereford, Santa Gertrudis and Shorthorn. Each met a common specification for grainfeeding days-on-feed, carcase weight and aging regime. The same cut – rib fillet – was offered for each breed.
Judging was based on industry standard variables including tenderness, juiciness, flavour and overall liking.
The Norman’s head chef Frank Correnti said in addition to topping the competition, customer comments on entry forms about the Shorthorn beef were ‘overwhelmingly positive’.
While the Shorthorn offering tended to be a little larger in cut size than some of the other breeds, Mr Correnti said it tended to stand out in the restaurant’s chilled display cabinet for its marbling, meat colour and general appearance. “It just looked appealing,” he said.
The Shorthorn beef supplied for the promotion came from JBS’s “Thousand Guineas” brand program, based on F2 or better Shorthorn steers and heifers, grainfed 100-days plus, 0-4 teeth with marbling scores 2 and up. Click here to access an earlier article profiling the launch of the Thousand Guineas program.
The brand was launched a year ago, and has rapidly found penetration in the upper end of the food service hotel and restaurant market, especially in the Brisbane and Adelaide regions.
Feeder cattle are drawn from a wide area of Victoria, eastern SA, NSW and southern Queensland, and fed at JBS’s Caroona, Prime City and Beef City feedlots, before processing at the Riverina Beef facility near Yanco.
One of the key motives in establishing a breed-based, Shorthorn-specific brand program was the proliferation of Angus-based programs across Australia, to create an all-important point of difference, while using a breed with strong meat quality credentials.
Particularly through its Beef City operations, JBS has had a strong connection with endorsement of Shorthorn genetics, tracing back to the seminal Your Choice 150-day feedlot trials conducted at the yard in the mid-1990s.
Shorthorn Society of Australia’s Graham Winnell said the Thousand Guineas program was launched about a year ago, with first cattle going on feed in September last year.
“It’s been a tremendous success, both from an eating quality point of view, and demand from food service customers looking for a point of difference,” he said.
“Increasingly, food service customers and consumers generally are looking for something new, and a little different, while still standing up to scrutiny from a quality viewpoint. It’s certainly being very well received,” he said.
From the breed awareness perspective, Mr Winnell said the program was helping ‘validate’ Shorthorn genetics among cattle producers as a viable option in higher quality meat production.
“People are becoming more aware that there is a very strong eating quality aspect to Shorthorn cattle, as well as their other desirable and commercially significant traits,” he said.
“It’s also serving to give Shorthorn breeders a real sense of belief in their product.”
“We think this brand program can grow significantly, but it takes time for that to happen.”