There was a day when a trip to the butcher’s meant ordering some chops and sausages for the barbie.
Not any more! Now, with supermarkets covering a range of commonly bought products, butchers have moved into specialty items, pre-preparing meals each day ready to pop into the oven as soon as the customer gets home.
Miller’s Gourmet Butcher does all that and more. Their stores in Westfield Coomera and Pacific Fair stock ranges of delicious locally-sourced rubs and sauces (including local Oksana’s no added sugar preservative-free sauces, Lane’s BBQ sauce and Heavenly Hot Sauces), fresh eggs, honey as well as many pre-prepared meal solutions showcased in their window.
“Our meats are restaurant quality, grass fed, hormone free and ethically sourced,” he adds. “Customers’ wants are changing and butchers’ shops have to change to keep up.”
This includes covering a range of price points with the best meat they can, from prime gourmet meat fetching hundreds of dollars a kilo, such as 20 – 30 year bred Japanese Wagyu, aged Tomahawk steaks and premium aged grass-fed fillet steak to quality budget items to go.
“People are time poor. We have pastries ready to go, made daily in the store, schnitzels crumbed fresh daily, six different sorts of racks of ribs, chicken skewers, kebabs and steaks,” says Master Butcher Ian Farrelly, manager of Westfield Coomera’s Miller’s Gourmet Butcher.
“Feedback from our customers has changed completely,” he says. “Talk at the butcher shop used to be about snags and chops. Now people want to buy the best meat they can afford. Most customers want grass fed meat and want to know where it comes from.”
Miller’s stores are also the dry-aged meat specialists. Beyond the front display of both stores, you will see the purpose-built ageing room lined with warm glowing pink Himalayan rock salt imported from Pakistan.
“Dry ageing is the modern equivalent of ‘hanging’ meat,” Master Butcher Ian Farrelly explains to us. “It intensifies the flavour in a controlled room where temperature, humidity and salt age the meat over a minimum of four weeks. People buy a block of rib eye fillet on the bone, we store it for them and cut it as required. The meat cooks more quickly and is more tender and flavoursome because of the ageing process. It’s a taste that cannot be created from just cooking or seasoning. Once you’ve had this meat you’ll never go back,” he says.
While many barbecues today are fired by gas, lots of people across the coast are experimenting with coal barbecues, smokers and low and slow cuisine.
“They talk to each other about how they’re going to cook meat, what cuts they buy, what barbecue or smoker they own and how they use it,” Ian tells us.
“95% of the best steak in restaurants is cooked over charcoal,” he says. “Buy the best meat that you can afford to cook, and you’ll get the best results possible.”
Ian gives us a few tips on a great home barbecue:
Choose a good rib fillet, which breaks down nicely to be tender and flavoursome. (Rump is also good for the budget-minded, he says.) Rub in salt and pepper or a rub if you prefer. Heat your barbeque to 160 – 180 degrees C. Then, cook your steak for 2 – 3 minutes per side on an open grill. Serve with salad.
Westfield Coomera, 103 Foxwell Rd, Coomera Ph: 07 5619 5304
Open: Mon-Fri 8am-5.30pm; Sat-Sun 8am-5pm
Also at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, 34 Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach Waters Ph: 07 5526 8409