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High steaks: Qld retains iron grip on award for nation's best beef


A Queensland family-owned company has confirmed its status as the country’s best producer of great tasting beef.

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A genuine Queensland-owned and made product that graces the tables of high-end restaurants worldwide has been crowned Australia’s best steak for the fourth year in a row.

Stockyard Beef confirmed its stranglehold on the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show (RQFWS) Branded Beef and Lamb Competition Awards at the Brisbane Showgrounds on Tuesday, beating a field of smaller but still high quality contenders battling for accolades in a tough year for premium beef.

Stockyard’s entry from its Kiwami brand, is derived from full-blood Wagyu cattle, bred in central Queensland near Nebo and finished for 400 days on grain at the company’s feedlot near Dalby.

The investment produces steaks with a marble score (fat content) of 9+ that usually finds a welcome home in the premium food service channel of Japan but can also be sourced from some of Brisbane’s five-star restaurants.

Other export markets include the US, Europe, Middle East, South-East Asia and North Asia.

“Kiwami once again showcased its extraordinary credentials – long-lasting well-retained juiciness, a luxurious molten texture on the palate, and visually it was outstanding,” said chief judge Elaine Millar.

“The scores were high and very close, many with less than one-point difference, therefore proving that grain, grass and wagyu entries are all worthy of the highest accolades,” Millar said.

“For a country that produces some of the finest beef in the world, we have unearthed the best of the best which continues to position Australia as leader in the international beef market.”

Comprising a judging panel of 13 chefs and food experts, the RQFWS Branded Beef and Lamb competition, held in conjunction with the Ekka, is considered the country’s most prestigious.

Winners will use the highly coveted credential as part of their marketing here and abroad to boost sales.

Family owned Woodward Foods Australia claimed the title of Australia’s best lamb for the second year in a row, this time with their Australian Lamb product produced at Swan Hill in Victoria.

It was the first time in three years Tasmanian produced lamb had been outshone, with Woodward Foods Australia’s HRW Tasmanian Lamb winning in 2019 and 2017, and Melrose Wholesale Meats’ Tasmanian Royal taking top honours in 2018.

Millar said the Australian Lamb product had a long-lasting juiciness, due to its fine silk-like threads of marbling.

“It showcased beautifully balanced flavours of emulsified cashew, sweet biscuit and delicate earthy oyster mushrooms,” she said.

Stockyard sales and marketing manager David Clark said the Kiwami brand, which means ‘outstanding excellence’ in Japanese, is a niche product line within its overall Wagyu offering, comprising no more than 10 per cent of the overall category.

It makes for a rare eating experience that he hopes will generate strong consumer interest in a year where restaurant trade has been severely restricted due to Coronavirus shutdowns globally.

“This is a very pleasing win and you can bet we will be using it well to promote our product,” Clark said.

“Hopefully with this endorsement we can keep the demand coming.”

RQFWS award-winning beef and lamb products will be served from August 7-16 at a pop-up store in King Street at the Brisbane Showgrounds, as part of Ekka 2020 Online in lieu of normal scheduling due to Coronavirus restrictions.

Disclosure: InQueensland journalist Brad Cooper is a long-standing judge of the Branded Beef Competition, including this year’s event. He had no insight into the names of entrants in line with strict competition protocols during the event or prior to the preparation of this article.

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