Dry times lead to rare Blonde d’Aquitaine beef sampling opportunity

December 1, 2014

With Christmas party season fast approaching, Brisbane steak lovers will get an opportunity to sample a beef breed which rarely, if ever makes an appearance on steakhouse menus, in purebred form at least.

During December, Brisbane’s Breakfast Creek Hotel steakhouse will feature beef from purebred Blonde d’Aquitaine cattle, an opportunity which has come about only due to the unfortunate effects of this year’s drought.

Nolan Meats co-principal and former Australian Meat Industry Council chairman, Terry Nolan has had a fancy for Blonde cattle for decades, and he maintains a herd of purebreds for herd bull production. In fact, the Nolan family runs the largest purebred Blonde herd in Australia.

The European breed is primary used in terminal crossbreeding programs over complimentary maternal genetics, but the drought has force Terry and family to place a large mob of purebred steers and heifers from the herd on feed at Nolan’s Wide Bay feedlot for processing, as paddock feed ran out and hay costs became prohibitive.

The result will be a rare, if not unprecedented offering anywhere in Australia, of a large volume of purebred Blonde steak cuts in coming weeks. A sizeable chunk will feature on the menu at the Brekky Creek, where Nolan Meats’ regular beef has featured for ten years or more.

Nolan Meats at Gympie has processed and aged a total of one tonne of cube rolls, 1.6 tonnes of rump and 204 tonnes of T-bones from the Blonde cattle for the Breakfast Creek promotion. That sounds a lot, but with a one-time seating capacity of 1000, the Brekky Creek is the largest steakhouse in Australia and gets through a ‘ship-load’ of meat each month.

The beef was tenderstretched, graded under MSA and has aged for seven weeks since slaughter, guaranteeing its tenderness. Most of the steers were 10 to 14 months of age at slaughter averaging around 260 kg carcase weights, after a tough start in the paddock. Some has massive eye muscle areas, characteristic of the breed, ranging up to 120sq cm, and marbling scored up to 3, after 200 days on feed.

“What patrons will notice about the beef is the fresh, almost crisp flavor, as the finely textured meat breaks down in your mouth, a unique feel” Terry said.

While the relatively obscure breed may not be familiar to steak lovers, it has to be said Blonde steers and heifers – often three quarters to purebred in breed content – have featured among the winners in the prestigious annual Gympie Carcase Classic with monotonous regularity over the past 25 years.

The beef featuring at the Brekky Creek is from the same heard that also provided the winners in both the export and heavy trade carcase classes in Australia’s only truly National Carcase Competition at Beef 2012 in Rockhampton.

Carcase data captured from the recent turnoff has also been submitted for the Beef 2015 National Carcase Competition event, due to be announced in May next year.

The Brekky Creek regularly features 14 different grassfed and grainfed wet and dry-aged steaks, but the December “Blonde on Blonde” steak feature will offer something different again, and an offer unlikely ever to be repeated.

Blondes are the third most numerous breed in France, but are said to produce France’s most highly prized beef for discerning French consumers.

“Some people buy a boat or share in a racehorse, but I find great enjoyment in Blondes – of the four-hoofed variety” Terry said.

The Brekky Creek Blonde on Blonde promotion starts December 1 and will container through to the New Year or until supply is exhausted.

Blonde Daquitaine Promo

Source: Jon Condon, Beef Central