Brahman hump, the brisket of Australia
AS THE 18th World Brahman Congress kicks off this week, an interesting cut of meat is set to feed hungry brahman breeders - the hump.
"We've never tasted it before," said Brahman farmer Linda Gaiter of Warwick-based Ellenjay Pastoral.
"But now it seems to be a bit of a delicacy."
She and her husband, Jack, like many other of Australia's brahman breeders, are converging in Rockhampton this week to discuss the future of the unique, humped cattle.
Matthew Noakes runs and cooks for The Smokin' Yak, a barbecue catering business that, "brings authentic Texas Barbecue to Central Queensland".
He said that the brahman hump is traditionally considered a trimming.
"Usually it's packed as a third-rate trimming," Mr Noakes said.
"Traditionally, it's worth next to nothing."
Now, Mr Noakes and his team are trying to lift the fatty cut's profile by cooking it in a way that renders the fat and enhances the meat's tenderness.
"It's an amazingly good cut," Mr Noakes said.
"I haven't had anybody who has tried and not come back for more of it.
"It's a juicy, tender meat with a strong beefy flavour."
Mr Noakes usually sells the cooked meat at farmers' and food markets, but has amped up his intake by catering the week long congress.
"I've got 600kg of brahman humps sitting here," he said.
"I'd love to do a tonne one day."
Mr Noakes said the best meat comparison to the hump is a Texan-style slow cooked brisket.
"We cook it in the same method Texans do brisket," he said.
"We give it a salt and pepper rub and slow cook it for eight to ten hours depending on the size."
Mr Noakes has been cooking the brahman hump and selling it publicly for ten months, but has been eating the cut his entire life.
"I'd like to see its profile uplifted," he said.
"Then if the demand is enough we can start pushing it further."
As well as serious discussions of genetics, technology and the future of the beef industry, the World Brahman Congress will host the first ever World Brahman Hump Cooking Championships.
"We have a selected a group of eight Brisbane-based barbecue teams that have been travelling around doing low and slow cooking," Mr Noakes said.
"They traditionally cook with brisket, and we've invited them up here to try hump.
"They've enthusiastically accepted the challenge."
The World Brahman Congress wraps up this Saturday, May 21.