LOT feeding specialists and vertically integrated family-run beef business Mort & Co has taken top honours in one of the country’s most prestigious branded beef competitions via a crossbred entry with an intramuscular fat content of 44 per cent and a rib eye area measurement of 123.7 square centimetres.
Mort & Co’sThe Phoenix was named Grand Champion branded beef at the Australian Wagyu Association’s annual conference gala dinner in Mackay this week.
The competition is run in four classes, with points allocated for tenderness, flavour, juiciness and overall liking.
Medals are awarded for meeting a minimum point score, rather than a placing, and this year an incredible 19 medals were presented.
The winning entry was bred by Selwyn Maller’s Hamilton Park Pastoral Company near Roma.
It had a 420 kilogram carcass weight, was fed at Mort & Co’s Grassdale near Dalby and processed at the Northern Co-operative Meat Company in Casino.
The Phoenix range was launched in 2015 as “the new breed of Australian beef cuisine.” Along with Wagyu, it also includes an Angus product, Grandchester. The Wagyu product is exported primarily to China, Dubai, Korea and Singapore.
The Phoenix is the Mort family crest of French origins and dates back to the 15th century.
Managing director Charlie Mort said it was a fantastic achievement for the Mort & Co team, who had invested a tremendous effort into building the branded beef range.
“An award like this is also testament to the dedication of our producers. They’ve done all the genetics work and we simply can’t get to this point without them,” he said.
Other brands to perform strongly in the 2018 competition included family-run Sydney business Andrews Meat Industries, which picked up a gold medal in the commercial Wagyu steak class via Tajima Wagyu.
The brand, sold both domestically and exported to 20 odd countries, is supplied by cattle re fed at the JBS facility Prime City in Griffith.
The Hart family’s Stockyard Beef also collected gold medals for its Stockyard Black and Stockyard Silver brands.
NSW’s David and Phillip Warmoll’s Jack’s Creek Wagyu picked up a gold in the crossbred class while South Australia Limestone Coast’s Mayura Wagyu, from the de Bruin family’s Mayura Station, was a gold medalist in the fullblood class.
Brisbane business Direct Meat Company's Black Diamond won gold in the fullblood class, via a Macquarie Wagyu bred animal.
An innovation in this year’s competition was the decision to trial sampling the steaks from further along the striploin to showcase the entries at their full potential with bigger steaks and more marbling potential.
Instead of taking steaks immediately after the removal of the gluteus medius muscle, the decision was taken to go further down the striploin, following competition protocols.
From the judging panel’s analysis, the exhibits in this year’s competition presented better visually and this was reflected in the judges scores which were noticeably higher than previous years.