The 2018 Branded Beef Competition Awards conducted by the Australian Wagyu Association were presented at the annual conference, WagyuEdge, on Thursday 3rd May in Mackay, Queensland. Representing the very best of wagyu, the competition celebrates the exceptional work the industry undertakes to create the very best eating experience, that is so characteristic of Wagyu.
The Grand Champion of the Wagyu Branded Beef Competition was taken out by Mort & Co for their brand, The Phoenix, with the highest ever Branded Beef Competition score of 803 points out of the maximum possible 910 points. The judges described the beef as ‘glorious, an extremely tender, juicy and beefy flavoured meat with enduring bold flavour’. The Grand Champion was sourced from Queensland Breeders Selwyn and Jocelyn Maller of Hamilton Park Wagyu.
Wagyu beef is a prized, premium meat originating in Japan, but is finding increasing favour in Australia’s hospitality industry as a high-quality exceptional eating experience. The eating experience is derived from the monosaturated fat content, flecked through the meat, known as marbling. A marbling score of 9+ is considered exceptional and the finest table meat in the world.
Cooked on a high heat and eaten hot, the surface caramelises to a rich, sweet crust and the fats permeate the meat to create a unique flavour profile and mouthfeel that cannot be replicated in any other meat.
Using striploin, each entrant is judged on visual appeal as an uncooked product. Each sample is placed in a sous vide for 15 minutes to the optimum Wagyu temperature of 60°C, then cooked on a grill for little more than a minute on each side to allow caramelisation before resting for five minutes.
Judges allocate points on tenderness, flavour, juiciness and overall appeal. The Grand Champion for wagyu steak is calculated on the highest scores across all three Classes.
The steaks are divided into three classes:
Two Gold Medals were awarded this year for Class 1: Mayura Wagyu’s Mayura Fullblood and Direct Meat Company’s Black Diamond brand (sourced from Macquarie Downs).
Class 2 had the highest number of entrants, resulting in three Gold Medals to Mort & Co’s The Phoenix brand (supplied by Hamilton Park Pastoral); Kerwee’s Stockyard Wagyu F1 Black brand (supplied by Wally Rae Cattle Company) and Jack’s Creek own Jack’s Creek Wagyu brand.
Kerwee’s Stockyard Wagyu F1 Silver brand also took out the Class 3 Gold Medal sharing the accolades with Andrews Meat Industries with their Tajima Wagyu brand.
In the Gourmet Wagyu Sausage category, a range of entrants was presented for judging with a minimum 75% wagyu trim.
The Gold Medal Gourmet Sausage was awarded to Kobe’s Gourmet Butchery, White Hills, Queensland. Using wagyu brisket and chuck and flavoured with pecan, pear and grand padano cheese, Judges described the sausage as a ‘very enjoyable sausage with an interesting flavour of pecan combined with the sweetness of the pear – a great balance of sweet and salty and texture”.
Judging for the competition was held in March 2018 in Brisbane. The judging panel included 16 judges drawn from chefs, restaurateurs, food critics, sponsors, industry experts and wagyu producers. The Chief Judge was Peter Lewis and Chief Steward, Gary McPherson.
Download the full list of winners (PDF, 6mb)