Chefs share a special relationship with their butchers — so, we asked them to create dishes that showed off what’s possible when the two work in unison — and then paired the result to an award-winning Jacob’s Creek wine.
There was a time when a trip to the butcher was part of the daily routine.
After a few visits, you were on a first-name basis and choice cuts for that night’s dinner were set aside for you, wrapped up for when you strolled through the door. But that was back before Elvis was churning out hits and poodle skirts were still fashionable.
The ’60s and ’70s ushered in a different mindset. Convenience trumped specialty, and the focus shifted from the butcher to the supermarket as wholesalers took over the meat industry. This kept prices stable—even low, in some cases—but many question what the cost of that economy was in terms of quality.
Now the pendulum has begun to swing back. Increasingly, consumers want to know what’s in their food, and that’s triggered a shift away from the feedlot towards open fields, more natural sources of feed, local sourcing, fewer antibiotics and meat that hasn’t been deep-frozen for transport.
Of course, that’s no surprise for restaurants. When it comes to grilling, braising and roasting, the best chefs have all sorts of tricks up their sleeve to help ensure the meats on offer at their restaurants taste great. But no industry secret is more important than the relationship a chef has with their butcher.
This issue, we look at some of those special relationships across the country, matching a great chef to their trusted meat supplier to showcase one recipe that wouldn’t be the same if it hadn’t started with the finest cuts.
Double the flavour.
It’s generally accepted that you should pair grilled or charred meat with wine that’s been aged in oak. Oaked wines tend to be full and rich, and balance well with the strong flavours of cooked meat.
If that’s true, then Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel offerings are the ultimate companion to your meat course.
Double Barrel is finished in whisky barrels, which adds a distinct flavour.
“Each barrel performs differently, so it took time to understand the true effect on the wines and achieve a result that was perfectly balanced,” explains Ben Bryant, Chief Winemaker at Jacob’s Creek. “We started with high-quality fruit from selected Barossa vineyards, from which we crafted premium red wine. We then matured the parcels traditionally in French and American oak barrels, before finishing 100% of the matured wine in old whisky barrels.
The perfect complement for Shiraz was found by using Scotch Whisky barrels versus any other type.
“We discovered that finishing the wines in aged whisky barrels introduced additional intricacy and a smoother texture, due to the fundamental differences between barrels made for ageing whisky, and those crafted to age wine.”
Whisky barrels are scorched at a high heat, which releases their natural wood sugars, while their narrower staves allow for greater oxygen exchange. Over a long period of time, this imparts colour, flavour and sweetness to whisky. For Double Barrel, the influence of the whisky barrels is subtle—adding intriguing nuances without changing the essential character of the wine.
Chef de Cuisine, Restaurant Grinder
The Carbon Bar
P+M Prime Meats
Chef de Cuisine, Au Comptoir
Two Rivers Meats