030 Brad – Pure Meats Robina

Brad from Pure Meats RobinaA quality butcher is vital to success in BBQ and one of the best butchers around is Brad from Pure Meats Robina. He’s a classically trained butcher who’s become a low’n’slow specialist butcher. He has a tonne of knowledge and his shop is known as the only place to go for low’n’slow cuts on the Gold Coast. Please be sure to subscribe and leave a review of this episode.

As a young kid in rural Victoria, he grew up running around his grandfather’s farm learning the trade from the old man, himself a traditional butcher. As soon as he could he started his apprenticeship and quickly developed a passion for ‘the old way’ of doing things. The low’n’slow movement affords Brad the opportunity to explore his passion for organic, all natural meat products and saves so many cuts from the mincer! If meat is your passion, you’ve got to catch this episode!

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Show Notes
  • Brad loves to cook lamb chops
  • His first experience with real BBQ was when he ate some food from JR’s Smokehouse
  • What draws him to low’n’slow
    • The ability to use the cuts that he was trained were ‘secondary’ for mince or sausages
    • Increases the shops turnover and profitability
  • Pure Meats
    • The owners pioneered sustainable, ethically grown and raised food shops on the Gold Coast
    • Most products at Pure Meats are organic and grass fed
    • Free-range grass-fed products have health benefits and are more flavourful
    • They’ve made the store as transparent as possible with a walk-in floor plan and demonstration areas for breaking down beasts, mince and sausage making etc
  • There’s a marked shift in buying patterns suggesting people are moving away from processed foods and back to farm style foods
  • Ethically Sourced
    • Means animals haven’t been raised in cages
    • They’ve been raised humanely
    • They’ve led an enjoyable life and are well looked after
  • Ethically Sourced vs Non-Ethically Sourced
    • The flavour in the fat is different
    • The chicken flavour is different as the chickens have the opportunity to forage
  • What makes Pure Meats so unique
    • They source the best possible quality meats they can find
    • They work directly with Jack’s Creek and Borrowdale Freerange
    • Once they find a line that works well, they stick with it ensuring consistency
    • They listen to teams and cut and present meats the way teams want them
  • Wagyu vs Non-Wagyu
    • They carry 7-8 grade
    • The higher the number, the more marbling and the creamier the fat, changing the flavour
    • Higher number Wagyus have a richer taste
  • Brad’s grandfather was a butcher and so he was interested in it from a very early age
  • Butchery in Melbourne vs Gold Coast
    • Different things have different names
    • In the country they never did ‘value-add’ products like pastries or quick-cook meals
  • To get into butchery, start as a casual, or ‘clean-up’ in a butcher’s shop and then pursue it through the boss and be persistent
    • There is quite a bit of book work at Tafe involved as well
  • A day in the life of Brad the butcher
    • Starts work at 6, setting up for the day, stocking, redressing and presenting the cabinets
    • They prep for the next day or the next few days
    • They do have their turn-over on Saturdays and Sundays
    • Stock will be all gone by CoB Sunday
    • Every afternoon is clean-up
    • They finish at 6pm – everyday is a 12 hour day
  • There are more ladies coming through as apprentice butchers and lots of ladies working in other areas of the business – especially customer services
  • The kind of people suited to butchery
    • A flair for detail – many cuts have to be precise
    • A lot of pride in their work
    • Have to enjoy cooking to share how-to’s with customers
    • The average carcass quarter is 40 – 50 kgs and you’ll spend all day on your feet so you need to be in good physical shape
  • They aimed to be a low’n’slow specialist butcher from the start
    • They started out educating themselves, researching cuts
  • The biggest challenge and how they overcame it
    • Getting their name out there
    • Finding the best products
    • Finding the best products CONSISTENTLY is a big problem especially getting meats at the same specs each time
  • Biggest success
    • Sponsoring teams especially Smoking Hot Smartfires in Port Maquarie BBQ Wars
  • HIdden issues
    • Specs not coming in right
    • Getting the cuts trimmed right
  • What happens to the wastage when comp cuts are cut?
    • Sausages, mince (they sell half a tonne a week)
    • If it’s too fatty it gets discarded
  • Brisket burgers are a great use for brisket leftovers – they always come out great
  • He rates being a butcher highly – he loves when people show him pictures of things they’ve cooked
  • What cuts are often overlooked and which cuts should we be looking to cook with?
    • Picanha and Tri-Tip are not well known in Australia
    • Neck fillet of lamb – the scotch fillet of lamb. Shreds really nicely
    • The muscles that do a lot of the work on the animal are the ones to look for
  • How to approach a butcher to cut things the way you want them?
    • Be gentle as some butchers don’t like to change, and don’t like to be told how to cut things differently
    • Looks for some tutorial videos and after you’ve built a relationship, take a video in to show him how you want it
    • You won’t get things cut the way you want at a supermarket as most no longer cut on site
  • What are the advantages of buying from a butcher over a supermarket?
    • Supporting local small business
    • Butchers stock broader ranges of products
    • Butchers are more willing to work with you to get the cuts that you want
    • Most supermarket meat is cut in factories and shipped to the stores
    • The quality will be better from a butcher due to the way they process the carcass
      • Supermarkets ‘hot bone’ which changes the flavour and the tenderness
      • Hot boning means the animal is boned and broken down while the carcass is still warm from being freshly killed
      • This means that the meat will be tight and the fat won’t settle
      • Butchers will let the meat hang and dry age – tissues start to break down which intensifies the flavour
  • Is there a difference between meat from different regions?
    • Different seasons and different times of the year affects quality of products
    • If temperatures are too cold, the beasts will have too much fat on them
    • If the temperature is too hot, the beasts will not have enough fat on them
    • Diet can play a big part. In barren areas, it is difficult to fatten animals without supplementing with grain
    • TAS and VIC have great product most of the year around, but it drops off during winter time
    • The animals have more to eat in the south, vs the north so the animals have a better diet in the south than the north
  • Why is organic beef preferrable?
    • More vitamins and better health benefits in organic beef
    • More vitamin profiles in organic beef
    • Ethical benefits of being raised well
    • It’s eaten well and so tastes better
  • What makes a great sausage flavour and how does he decide which ones to go in the cabinet?
    • It takes some fine tuning to get the flavours right
    • Art & Creativity
    • They start with what they like and then offer taste tests to the public
    • Customers can bring in their own recipes to Pure Meats Robina and they’ll make them for them
    • Can even hide veggies in sausage
  • How many cuts have been saved from becoming mince since low’n’slow has picked up in popularity?
    • Mostly beef cuts were rescued from the mincer
    • Short ribs weren’t a thing 8 years ago
    • Brisket and ribs often went into mince
    • Pork shoulders were often cut into shoulder chops but are now sold as Boston or Collar Butts
    • Lamb shanks used to be given away as dog food
  • 3 pieces of advice for people wanting to become a low’n’slow specialist
    • Source the right products with consistency
    • Know what your customers want
    • Know how to cook it so you can give advice. At the very least, understand how to trim and prep them so it can be cooked right