STANBROKE Pastoral Co last night completed a hat-trick of Darling Downs Beef Challenge taste test titles, with the award being decided at a testing dinner in Toowoomba.
Owned by the Menegazzo family, the vertically integrated company operates series of large-scale properties in Queensland’s gulf country, backgrounding and feedlot operations in Southern Qld and a processing plant in the Lockyer Valley.
Stanbroke beat eight other grainfed beef brands to the title – including Rangers Valley, JBS, Mort & Co, The Grove Shorthorns, NH Foods, Stockyard Beef and the North Australian Pastoral Co.
The broader Darling Downs region accounts for close to half of Australia’s lotfeeding capacity, providing a perfect showcase for quality local product in the competition.
Chris Woolhouse of Stanbroke said the result was “very, very exciting”.
“This is such a sensational competition, and it is wonderful to win in terms of promoting a local business and building brand recognition,” he said.
“We were pretty nervous about whether we could take out the trifecta, but the win is testament to the hard work of all our staff.”
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise has been running the competition for the past five years – with half the score coming from a panel of judges and the other half coming from a crowd vote among 400 participating diners.
Each brand submits a grainfed sirloin which is judged on flavour, tenderness, juiciness and overall presentation and liking.
Joining the panel was Meat & Livestock Australia’s corporate chef Sam Burke, who said the competition was a good chance to celebrate the important work of the beef industry in Southern Qld.
“The Darling Downs has really passionate producers and we know that 60 percent of grainfed beef comes from the area, so it is quite an important part of the beef supply chain for domestic and export markets,” Mr Burke said.
“The area has really good farming practices with shades over the feedlots and things like that, which I think needs to be celebrated.”
TSBE Food Leaders Australia general manager Justin Heaven said the idea of the competition was to throw 50pc of the judging to a crowd, to put the product to the “pub test”.
“We wanted to get people in a room tasting product and being part of the judging process and we have 400 people coming to the event,” Mr Heaven said.
“What you can get in a restaurant or a pub every weekend was what we wanted to showcase.”
The competition was preceded by a cooking demonstration at the Toowoomba TAFE.