Owner of Barbecues Galore Bob Burnell shares some of secrets to cooking a good steak.
Owner of Barbecues Galore Bob Burnell shares some of secrets to cooking a good steak. Cathy Adams

‘Steak' a claim for trip to US

CHARRED snags and chewy meat are not the results we look for when firing up a barbecue.

But what is the secret to cooking a perfect piece of steak?

Bob Burnell, of Barbecues Galore in Lismore, said the first step was choosing the right cut of meat.

"You have to start with a good-quality piece of steak because if you start with rubbish you will end up with rubbish," he said.

"A lot of people are also impatient so they don't preheat their barbecue for long enough."

Another tip is to make sure the barbecue is extremely hot, then to lower the temperature once you have placed the meat on the grill. While many of us find it tempting to poke and prod meat while watching it sizzle, Mr Burnell said this could cause the meat to lose flavour and juices.

"Once you put the steak down you should only turn it once," he said.

Meat and Livestock Australia is searching for the best barbecue tongmaster in NSW. To enter, all you need to do is create your own barbecue recipe using beef scotch fillet steak.

The NSW winner will board a plane as part of a five-person Australian team bound for the BBQ Capital Cook-Off in Lexington, US, in April. The competition is a sign many Australians no longer see a barbecue as a case of serving up sausages with potato salad. Mr Burnell said more Australians were purchasing quality barbecues.

"It's come a long way from when people took a blade off a plough and lit a fire underneath it," he explained. "Barbecues today are more than just a plate to grill on - they're a total cooking centre."

To enter the barbecue tongmaster competition send your beef scotch fillet steak recipe along with an entry form to beefbbqcompetition@mla.com.au or fax to 02 9463 9173.

New meat grading system

Shopping for high-quality meat should be a lot easier now Meat Standards Australia (MSA) has introduced a quality grading system.

The MSA grading system was developed by asking nearly 90,000 consumers to taste-test more than 603,000 beef samples across eight different cooking methods. Based on the findings, a meat grading system was developed.

The green and gold MSA symbol will now be used to identify Aussie beef that has met independent standards for tenderness, juiciness and flavour. MSA labels the red meat product with a guaranteed grade and recommended cooking method to identify eating quality according to consumer perceptions.

It's hoped the symbol will help consumers take the guess work out of choosing a piece of quality beef and understanding how best to cook it.

The MSA system has been adopted by more than 600 butchers and several supermarkets Australia-wide.

So if you want to purchase the best meat in Australia, look out for the green and gold MSA symbol.

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