Happy hump day

30 May 2018

The Smokin Yak

Read the article below or listen to an interview with Matthew Noakes from The Smokin’ Yak here.

There was plenty of beef on the menu at Beef Australia 2018, but one of the most popular choices was slow-cooked Brahman hump from The Smokin’ Yak.

It was so sought after, more than one tonne of the Texas-style slow-cooked meat was consumed during the week-long event.

Hump day gets a new meaning

The Smokin' Yak is the brainchild of two Marlborough, Queensland Brahman beef breeding families — Matthew and Fiona Noakes of Solo Brahmans and Gary, Sharon and Alison Polkinghorne of Copperville Brahmans.

“This started off as a breed promotion but it has just grown and grown," said Matthew, who designed and built the Texas-style barbecue used to cook the humps.

When cooked low and slow for 10 hours over rosewood, the high level of collagen and connective tissue in the lower value cut breaks down and turns it into a moist, tender product with a slightly smoky flavour.

“Rosewood has almost a Turkish Delight smell – it’s a sweet, rosy smell and I think it imparts that a little bit on the meat," Matthew said.

“It’s real carnivore food – only a simple salt and pepper rub is used to enhance the real beef flavour of the hump.

“We serve it sliced about as thick as a HB pencil, the same as the Texans do with their brisket, with a range of accompaniments."

Fast-tracking food innovation

A passion for food and the desire for a new venture gave rise to The Smokin' Yak, which is a participant in the MLA Donor Company (MDC) Producer Innovation Fast-Track program.

The program is designed to accelerate innovation and adoption capability that has the potential to significantly improve farm and value chain performance. It provides the expertise, co-funding and support to producers who are innovators, early adopters, ag-tech entrepreneurs or future value chain leaders.

Matthew said the Fast-Track program had provided the business with great advice as they navigated their way through the process of growing their business and branching out into value-added product.

“We’ve been attending expos, food festivals and catering for private functions for the past couple of years, and this week we’ve launched our sliced Brahman hump pastrami and vacuum-packed ready to eat sliced Brahman hump, which consumers can take home and eat cold or re-heat,” he said.

Setting up for future expansion

The Smokin' Yak is now eyeing a greater audience, with the team contemplating the logistics of further growth. Under consideration is cooked and chilled products with re-heating instructions for time-poor cooks.

“At the food festivals that we go to, we’re not preaching to the converted. We have people who’ve never had a beef experience like this, and often at the events we go to, we’re the only beef product there competing with chicken or seafood,” Matthew said.

Matthew, who is a cattle buyer for Teys Australia, works with Teys to source the humps.

“At the moment, it’s a low value cut of meat – it’s 70CL trim, the hardest thing to sell from a processor perspective. If we could just bring it up to the value of brisket, it would triple the value of the product,” Matthew said.

“By having this uniquely Brahman product accepted by the masses, we’re hoping to dispel consumer negativity towards the breed. It is my long-term hope that breed references will be removed from consumers’ minds, with MSA grading determining eating quality, regardless of breed.”


Producer Innovation Fast-Track program: mla.com.au/fasttrack

The Smokin’ Yak: thesmokinyak.com

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